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Aitken Spence Hotels launch ‘SpenceSafe’ safety guidelines for guests

30 Jun

Premier hospitality company, Aitken Spence Hotels recently launched ‘SpenceSafe’, a complete guide to health & safety in support of the efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The blueprint, accessible on their website (aitkenspencehotels.com/spencesafe) and shared with their key travel and trade partners, aims to reassure guests and restore their confidence by sharing their comprehensive and cohesive health & safety procedures over all functions.

The Group has 22 hotels and resorts in Sri Lanka, Maldives, India and Oman under its brands Heritance Hotels and Resorts, Adaaran Resorts, and Turyaa as well as its managed properties. Collectively, the Aitken Spence Hotels have taken a holistic and precautionary approach benchmarked to global best practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Company is gradually opening their doors to welcome guests, with Earl’s Regent being the first to open at the beginning of June 2020, followed by Bandarawela Hotel, Amethyst Resort Passikudah Heritance Kandalama, Heritance Negombo, Earl’s Regency and Turyaa Kalutara in July. Heritance Ahungalla and Tea Factory are scheduled to open in October and November respectively.

‘SpenceSafe’ explains precautionary measures implemented as well as the expectation of guests’ responsibility. For the benefit of guests, the document explains procedures to be followed from the point of making a reservation, arriving at the hotel, check-in, accommodation, dining, use of meeting and conference venues and public spaces and recreation. Developed under the second phase of the Company’s Risk Mitigation Strategy, the document provides guidance to all guests, staff and supplier touchpoints to assure safe and carefree travel for all stakeholders when the hotels and resorts reopen in the next few weeks.

“The wellbeing of our guests has always been of paramount importance to us,” said Aitken Spence PLC Director, Head of Tourism and Leisure, and Chairperson of Aitken Spence Hotel Managements Stasshani Jayawardena. “We believe our legacy in hospitality is based on providing a superior experience to our guests by going the extra mile. Throughout our hotels, we serve with warmth and care, inherent qualities of being a local brand taking our well-known hospitality to the world. While we open our doors after a hiatus, we are keen to reacquaint our guests with our customary hospitality, only made better with the enhanced safety protocols.”

Adding to the sentiments, Aitken Spence Hotels Managing Director Susith Jayawickrama asserted, “Collectively, our hotels have taken stringent precautions to ensure the safety and health of all stakeholders, and to reassure peace of mind for our guests who have been anticipating a holiday at our resorts.” The practices outlined are based on local and international health & safety standards and have been strengthened by in-house expertise.

“We believe in creating a safe environment for our guests; promoting hassle-free travel to relax, rejuvenate and enjoy a much-needed break which is worth the wait,” he said.

The safety precautions will be constantly monitored by the Company’s Risk Response Team and will evolve with the changing global and national needs.

Furthermore, the Group used the lockdown period to educate their staff on emergency response, recognising symptoms and to familiarise them on other emerging protocols for post-lockdown operations following the SpenceSafe initiatives. The staff have also been educated on the heightened hygiene standards and safety guidelines to be followed both at work and at home as well, reiterating the Group’s commitment towards mitigating any contagion.

“Our Company has always followed international guidelines for health & safety, environmental protection and quality. For example, we maintain HACCP/ ISO 22000: 2005 certified food safety management systems. These industry benchmarks have paved the way for not only operational efficiencies and high-quality standards but for responsible tourism practices maintained across all our operations,” Jayawickrama assured. Aitken Spence Hotels look forward to welcoming all guests with hospitality from the heart at a safe haven while you are away from home.

Aitken Spence Hotels Victorious with Heritance Hotels Sweeping the Culinary Art Expo 2019

28 Oct

Aitken Spence Hotels Culinary Art Food Expo 2019 – Winning Team

 

Aitken Spence Hotels showed their mettle at the Culinary Art Food Expo 2019 walking away with the championship trophy and an impressive 130 medals in total. Heritance Hotels & Resorts were the stars of the show clinching 126 medals.

Heritance Aarah Maldives emerged ‘Overall Champion’, the second win for the luxury resort within just few months of operations. The property also excelled at the Food & Hospitality Asia Maldives 2019 (FHAM) competition with the highest number of awards won by an individual property.

Heritance Hotels along with Turyaa collectively won 42 Gold, 37 Silver and 51 Bronze medals. Aitken Spence Hotels received the most number of medals for a company at this event.

Heritance Kandalama emerged ‘Most Outstanding Cultural Triangle Team’ with 4 Gold, 11 Silver and 19 bronze medals. Heritance Ahungalla won 22 medals while Heritance Negombo won 21 medals. Heritance Tea Factory and Heritance Ayurveda won 4 medals in total. Turyaa Kalutara also won 4 medals at the competition.

Known as South East Asia’s biggest food and hospitality show, Culinary Art Food Expo was organised by Chefs’ Guild of Lanka together with World Association of Chefs Societies and CDC Events & Travels. The event was held from 22-24 October 2019.

Ms. Stasshani Jayawardena, Executive Director – Aitken Spence PLC and Chairperson of Aitken Spence Hotels congratulated the teams, expressing delight over the many accolades. “Aitken Spence Hotels, and especially the Heritance properties, are known for their distinction in the culinary field. Our resorts, irrespective of its location, have been commended many a times on the unique F&B offering – by certifications, awards and most importantly, our guests. As such, the awards that are brought home from this competition are not a mere matter of pride but a reiteration of our commitment to nurture talent and present only the very best to those who walk in through our doors,” she said. Ms. Jayawardena, who also heads the Tourism and Leisure sector of Aitken Spence, added “The achievements of Heritance Aarah Maldives is especially commendable as it has been in operation for just a few months and have won two championship awards both in Maldives and Sri Lanka.”

Ms. Jayawardena also asserted that this recognition reflects the Company’s dedication to excellence and passion to drive innovation. “Since inception, the Company has been steadfast in its commitment to cultivate talent, promote innovation, inspire youth and local community development. This is evidence of the talents of our youth and we are proud to call them part of our family. We hope they utilise all available resources to improve their capabilities and together, create memorable holidays for our guests.”

The winning team was recognised at a ceremony held at Aitken Spence Towers, presided by Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake, Deputy Chairman and Managing Director, Aitken Spence PLC.

Aitken Spence Hotels is part of the Sri Lankan blue-chip conglomerate Aitken Spence PLC and operates 21 hotels and resorts across Sri Lanka, Maldives, Oman and India. The Company’s owned hotels are reflected under the Heritance, Adaaran and Turyaa brands, popular around the world for its exceptional service and undisputed product and curated lifestyle experiences. The Company’s Sri Lankan portfolio includes 11 resorts spread across the island, whilst the Maldives resorts totals to five, four in Oman and one in India.

 

Heritance Aarah

Aitken Spence Hotels celebrate 14 awards at the South Asian Travel Awards 2019

22 Oct

Aitken Spence Hotels reaffirmed their position as a trendsetting industry leader in hospitality, achieving the highest number of wins at the recently concluded South Asian Travel Awards (SATA) 2019 – winning six regional awards and eight country awards.

Aitken Spence Hotels in Sri Lanka, Maldives and India were recognised in the Gold and Silver categories.  Gold awards were awarded for the South Asian region and silver awards were presented in the respective countries (Sri Lanka, Maldives and India).

The iconic Heritance Kandalama brought home wins for both Sri Lanka and South Asia under Leading Eco-friendly Hotel/Resort. Heritance Kandalama, designed by the legendary Geoffrey Bawa, celebrated its 25th anniversary this year. The world’s first tea factory that was converted into a hotel, Heritance Tea Factory was awarded the Leading Theme Hotel/Resort in Sri Lanka and the region. Providing an authentic ayurvedic experience and having presented Sri Lanka as a leading wellness provider to the world since 2011, Heritance Ayurveda was adjudged winner, again, from both country and region as Leading Wellness and Spa Hotel/Resort. The hotel with the widest beachfront in Sri Lanka, Heritance Negombo was adjudged the winner for Leading Designer Hotel/Resort Sri Lanka.

Aitken Spence Hotels in the Maldives contributed to the wins with Adaaran Prestige Water Villas – Leading Bungalow/Villa, Adaaran Select Meddhupparu – Leading Dive Hotel/Resort and Adaaran Select Huduran Fushi – Leading Surf Hotel/Resort. The three resorts won awards in both the country category as well as the South Asian region.

Turyaa Chennai, India, located in the IT corridor and enjoying success as a business hotel won the country award for Leading Boutique Hotel.

Speaking of the recognition, Aitken Spence PLC Director, Head of Tourism & Leisure, and Chairperson of Aitken Spence Hotels Management.Ms. Stasshani Jayawardena expressed her delight in having secured the most number of wins at South Asia’s most prestigious hospitality and travel industry awards.

“As a key player in the highly competitive and ever-changing industry of hospitality, Aitken Spence Hotels have consistently pursued excellence not just in the experience offered to our guests but also in the work environment enabled for our suppliers and staff. We endeavour towards this with a commitment to attain sustainable growth, contributing positively to the people, planet and economy. Awards such as these reaffirm our strategies and our vision towards creating this holistic growth through superior product offering and service from the heart,” she asserted.

“In all hotels where we are located, we work tirelessly to offer our guests a holiday that celebrates locality whilst promoting unique opportunities for them to experience. The awards we have won celebrate just this,” she said. Ms. Jayawardena thanked the management teams, the General Managers of the Hotels and the entire Hotels team for their dedication which has undeniably strengthened the growth of the company.

Launched in 2016, the prestigious awards for travel and tourism stakeholders in the region has affiliations from regional associations. The awards were held for the third consecutive year at the iconic Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai, India. With over 500 entries from Maldives, Sri Lanka, India, Nepal and Bhutan under 36 categories; the recognitions thus received further reiterates Aitken Spence Hotels’ leadership in the region as an innovative hospitality service provider.

Aitken Spence Hotels portfolio consists of 21 properties, with eleven owned and managed properties in Sri Lanka, five in Maldives, four in Oman and one in India. The hotel chain recently introduced the ‘Heritance’ brand of hotels to Maldives earlier this year with the opening of premium all-inclusive all-villa property, Heritance Aarah.

 

Heritance Kandalama

Leading Eco-friendly Hotel/Resort – Sri Lanka

Leading Eco-friendly Hotel/Resort – South Asia

 

Heritance Tea Factory

Leading Theme Hotel/Resort -Sri Lanka

Leading Theme Hotel/Resort – South Asia

 

Heritance Ayurveda

Leading Wellness and Spa Hotel/Resort – Sri Lanka

Leading Wellness and Spa Hotel/Resort – South Asia

 

Heritance Negombo

Leading Designer Hotel/Resort – Sri Lanka

 

Adaaran Prestige Water Villa

Leading Bungalow/Villa – Maldives

Leading Bungalow/Villa – South Asia

 

Adaaran Select Meddhupparu

Leading Dive Hotel/Resort – Maldives

Leading Dive Hotel/Resort – South Asia

 

Adaaran Select Huduran Fushi

Leading Surf Hotel/Resort – Maldives

Leading Surf Hotel/Resort – South Asia

 

Turyaa Chennai

Leading Boutique Hotel – India

 

Aitken Spence Hotels introduces LEED certified architecture to Maldives with Heritance Aarah

26 Sep

Aitken Spence Hotels, a subsidiary of Sri Lankan blue-chip conglomerate Aitken Spence PLC, took its premier brand Heritance beyond the shores of Sri Lanka for the first time, with the introduction of Heritance Aarah earlier this year.

Heritance Aarah embraces the brand promise of the Heritance chain of hotels, where tradition is alive.  The property is nestled in an island in Raa Atoll, just a 40-minute seaplane ride away from the Male International Airport. With five successful Heritance properties in Sri Lanka, each boasting of inimitable stories of culture merging with hospitality and comfort, the move to open this latest resort comes with the expansion plans of Aitken Spence Hotels.

Coincidentally, Aitken Spence Hotels was also the first Sri Lankan resort operator to venture overseas for hospitality services with its entrance to the Maldives with the Adaaran hotel chain. The well-established Adaaran Resorts includes the stunning Adaaran Prestige Vadoo, Adaaran Select Meedhupparu, Adaaran Club Rannalhi and Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi. Heritance Aarah joins this élite group of properties with a unique proposition of quintessentially traditional, curated experiences delicately woven into a five-star luxury resort.

Akin to the Heritance properties in Sri Lanka, each strategically designed in exciting locations, the island of Aarah on which the resort lies is home to a large lagoon and reef, welcoming guests to a tropical tapestry of the perpetual paradise that is Maldives.

Operating as a premier all-inclusive resort, Heritance Aarah consists of 150 villas including 26 intimate luxury duplex ocean suites, 56 sunset ocean villas and 68 land villas ranging from beach villas to pool beach villas, family beach villas and family pool beach villas. Designed to inspire and custom-built to immerse guests in the scenic sights and soothing sounds of the ocean surrounding the island, Heritance Aarah is adorned with earthly hues and vibrant blues.

Guests can indulge in the many charms of the island at a poolside bar and an open-air rooftop venue while ocean suite guests can enjoy a more exclusive space with three separate bars. With nine outlets for guests to experience diverse cuisines, the culinary culture unfolded at the resort is intended to promote exclusive gastronomic delights from around the world. The six restaurants offer a wide range of flavours from Asia, Europe, Middle East to Latin America. The award-winning F&B team of Heritance Aarah has illustrated their exceptional culinary skills clinching 19 Golds at the Food and Hospitality Asia Maldives (FHAM) 2019 competition, the highest number won by an individual property.

Accentuating this impressive offering are the the overwater infinity pool and the medi-spa equipped to cater to the rising demand in the wellness segment with state-of-the-art treatments and equipment. The spa, with six treatment rooms set over the lagoon with views of the eastern coast of the island, provides a range of high-end wellness and pampering treatments, salon services, beauty treatments and programmes. From weight loss to anti-aging treatments, massage therapy to body care, facial care to revitalisation programmes, Heritance Aarah is set to become a destination for those pursuing wellness combined with leisure and luxury.

With variety being the spice of life, the resort hosts a dive and water sports centre, a range of excursions and adventures, an interactive and engaging kids club, and traditional local activities to present a unique luxury holiday experience to guests. Keeping with the brand promise of Heritance to promote culture and tradition at the forefront, the resort unveiled an exciting calendar of daily activities including coconut leaf art workshops, cookery demonstrations for traditional sweets and dishes, traditional Maldivian bodu beru drumming and a memorable local island dinner.

The resort also follows the ingrained ethos of sustainability and ethical commitments of the Aitken Spence Hotels group. Heritance Aarah has drawn the best practices from the Group and has successfully implemented many an initiative which includes (but not limited to) reduction of single use plastic, coral reef restoration and sustainable sourcing with close integration with local communities. Heritance Aarah is the first property in the Maldives to attain the LEED Gold Certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – the most widely used green building rating system in the world).

Heritance Aarah is the first property in the Maldives to receive the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification.

LEED buildings save energy, water, resources, generate less waste and support human health. Given the increasing demand and pace of green building in the hospitality sector, LEED is an official recognition that a project complies with the requirements prescribed within the LEED rating systems by the U.S. Green Building Council. Having achieved the Gold level certification from the most widely used green building rating system reiterates the sustainability commitment of Aitken Spence Hotels group.

“Our strategies to expand are led by guests’ expectations and design-led refurbishments to enrich the experience at our properties. A key priority is to ensure our resorts contribute positively to protect and preserve the environment and the ecosystems we operate in. We are proud that we were able to introduce the Heritance brand to the Maldives as the first LEED Gold certified property in the islands,” commented Ms. Stasshani Jayawardena, Aitken Spence PLC Director, Head of Tourism & Leisure, and Chairperson of Aitken Spence Hotels Management.

“I give credit to the team that has worked tirelessly and conducted extensive research and integrated innovative and sustainable strategies to reduce the carbon and water footprint by 30% and 55% respectively,” she asserted. “These have been successfully implemented and have aided in creating a healthier and safer working environment while maximising guest comfort. These strategies I believe, have contributed towards achieving this milestone for Heritance Aarah.”

Heritance Aarah has opened its doors with a distinctive experience, offering guests a truly one of a kind holiday.

For more details, visit www.heritancehotels.com/aarah.

Aitken Spence Hotels’ sustainability ethos commended yet again!

22 Aug

Premier hospitality chain, Aitken Spence Hotels, reaffirmed their position as leaders in sustainable hospitality with four Heritance Hotels & Resorts properties walking away with multiple accolades at the National Sustainability Tourism Certification (NSTC) ceremony held on 5th August 2019.

Heritance Kandalama was the only property to be recognised in the Platinum category, the highest accolade awarded at the NSTC, whilst securing a special award for Environmental Preservation. Heritance Tea Factory was placed in the Gold category followed by a special award for Effective Sustainability Management. Heritance Ahungalla and Heritance Ayurveda were commended as Bronze winners.

This recognition programme was convened by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) with the technical and financial assistance of Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN) of UNDP in mid-2018. The efforts capture the industry’s stance towards the global movement for sustainable tourism and to successfully compete as a high-demand destination.

Aitken Spence Hotels, having operated on a comprehensive sustainable model that takes into account the varied attributes that encompass the triple bottom line, has been a forerunner in the industry for its long-term vision supporting a well-balanced business ecosystem. Moreover, the hotel chain has been recognised both locally and internationally for its efforts. In particular, Heritance Kandalama pioneered the integration of environment and social conscious practices into hotel operations and implementing an extensive 7R system (Reject, Reduce, Reuse, Reclaim, Repair, Replace and Recycle) to reduce carbon and waste footprint.

Among its many accreditations are Heritance Kandalama being the first Green Globe 21 certified hotel in Asia, the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified hotel in the world and the first hotel chain in the World to have a certified energy management system (ISO 50001:2011). All Heritance Hotels and Resorts in Sri Lanka are Travelife Gold certified, while also adhering to ISO standards in environmental management, HACCP food safety and energy management.

“We are elated to be recognised in the National Sustainability Tourism Certification awards. It attests the hard work of our teams to provide exceptional hospitality services while also protecting the environment and empowering our communities.” Aitken Spence PLC Director, Head of Tourism & Leisure, and Chairperson of Aitken Spence Hotels Management, Ms. Stasshani Jayawardena said.

“Aitken Spence Hotels have carved a niche in the industry for its forward-thinking holistic sustainability practices that goes beyond the general understanding from an ‘eco’ perspective. The practices have been firmly established within the core of our operations, enabling us to lead from the onset. Our teams continually work towards improving the processes year on year, combining our expertise with emerging trends to serve the industry in the most sustainable manner.” she added further.

More on the hotels’ sustainable endeavours can be viewed at http://bit.ly/33grgzY  (Annual Report 18/19).

The Heritance Hotels and Resorts is part of the hospitality arm of Sri Lankan blue-chip conglomerate Aitken Spence PLC which operates 21 hotels and resorts across Sri Lanka, Maldives, Oman and India. The Company’s owned hotels are reflected under the Heritance, Adaaran and Turyaa brands, popular around the world for its exceptional service and undisputed product and curated lifestyle experiences. The Company’s Sri Lankan portfolio includes 11 resorts spread across the island, whilst the Maldives resorts totals to five, four in Oman and one in India.

Heritance Kandalama General Manager Priyan Wijerathne receiving the award

 

Heritance Tea Factory team receiving the award and certification

 

Heritance Ahungalla General Manager Sisira Senarath receiving the certificate

 

Heritance Ayurveda General Manager Janaka Buddhakorala receiving the certification

Landmark victory for Heritance Aarah and Adaaran Resorts at an International Culinary Challenge

30 Jul

Culinary prowess of the leading hospitality chain Aitken Spence Hotels was recognised with an impressive 94 awards at the recently concluded Food & Hospitality Asia Maldives 2019 (FHAM) competition, with its new entrant, Heritance Aarah clinching 19 Golds – highest number won by an individual property.

Heritance Aarah is the latest addition to the noteworthy hospitality portfolio of Aitken Spence Hotels. Opened in end March 2019, Heritance Aarah is Aitken Spence’s first ‘Heritance’ brand in an overseas operation. Heritance Aarah showcased its versatile food and dining offering through the 33 awards won in total. The team, trained and led by culinary maestros of the Group, brought home six silver awards, five bronze awards, three merit awards and 11 special individual awards; a testament to the superior F&B offering at the resort which features six (06) restaurants and four (04) bars. The culinary experience at the premium, all-inclusive resort includes international buffets such as French and Italian cuisines, Middle Eastern flavours, street food favourites, and many innovative dishes among the fusion of flavours offered.

Aitken Spence Hotel’s long-standing brand in the Maldives ‘Adaaran Resorts’ added to the overall jubilation with 62 awards, totalling the Group’s win to 94. Adaaran Select Meedhupparu won 19 awards, Adaaran Prestige Vadoo 14 awards, Adaaran Select Hudhuransushi 12 awards and Adaaran Club Rannalhi five awards. Additionally, Aitken Spence Hotels received 11 Special Awards.

The team competed with 500 chefs from international and local hospitality chains in diverse categories assessed by a panel of industry experts. The event was held from 15th-17th July 2019 in Dharubaaruge, Maldives.

“This recognition is a further testament to our exceptional culinary offering in the Maldives, which is a hallmark of our properties. I am delighted at this significant win. With Heritance Aarah shining at FHAM just three months since it opened doors, guests from around the world would have got a glimpse of the quality and creativity they can experience at a Heritance or Adaaran property.” said Aitken Spence PLC Director, Head of Tourism & Leisure, and Chairperson of Aitken Spence Hotels Management Stasshani Jayawardena.

Whilst congratulating the team, she also noted the commitment of the Group to offer innovative culinary wonders to the industry. “The awards highlight our continued efforts to raise the bar in service, quality and the overall experience. As a hospitality group that is globally renowned for superior service and unique offerings, our continual efforts are focused towards transcending guest expectations at every turn. With lifestyle experiences being a key deciding factor, our resorts in the Maldives deliver the finest curated excursions through exhilarating activities and memorable gastronomic experiences.”

FHAM International Culinary Challenge & Exhibition is recorded as the premier event experienced by the hospitality industry and is the largest gathering of the industry in the Maldives. The event is endorsed and certified by the World Association of Chefs and Society (WACS) and is organised in partnership with Chef Guilds of Maldives (CGM) and Chef Guilds of Lanka (CGL), in association with the Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism Studies of the Maldives National University, the Ministry of Tourism Arts & Culture and the Ministry of Economic Development – Maldives, and the Maldives National Chamber of Commerce & Industry. The involvement of all these organisations and institutions of Maldives makes it the official exhibition and culinary challenge for the hospitality industry of Maldives.

Ladies first! Aitken Spence Hotels invests Rs. 70 Mn in ladies’ accommodation facility at Kandalama

24 Jul

The tourism industry generates income and employment worldwide. According to global statistics published by the World Travel and Tourism Council in March 2019, 1 in 10 jobs overall in 2018 and 1 in 5 new jobs created over the last five years were attributed to the tourism industry. It has also created a plethora of direct and indirect opportunities across Sri Lanka. However, similar to global statistics, female representation in the tourism sector is considerably low.

When more women work, economies grow. Enabling economic participation for women pays enormous dividends for families, communities and economies. However, the gender parity in the workforce is the widest in emerging economies such as Sri Lanka due to many reasons. These reasons could range from social and cultural limitations to a dearth of required skills.

Premier hospitality chain, Aitken Spence Hotels has worked over the years to bridge the gap of required skills among youth. In their efforts to create and promote a conducive work environment as an equal opportunity employer, Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings PLC opened a well-equipped ladies’ accommodation facility at its most iconic property, Heritance Kandalama. This is yet another benchmark in the tourism and hospitality industry as this iconic property marks 25 years.

“Aitken Spence Hotels have always been a Company that valued and promoted equality and non-discrimination,” Aitken Spence PLC Director, Head of Tourism & Leisure, and Chairperson of Aitken Spence Hotels Management, Ms. Stasshani Jayawardena said “The Company’s decision to invest Rs. 70 Mn in infrastructure is a reiteration of its commitment to enable greater access to our immediate communities to opportunities in the tourism and hospitality industry, and our effort to ensure women also benefit from those opportunities. We are confident that our proactive efforts towards enhancing accommodation and amenities will increase the female representation within our workforce.”

The hotel maintains a close relationship with its immediate community and regularly conducts educational programmes at local schools to enhance skills and knowledge among youth. With their employment policies giving priority to local applicants, over 60% of its workforce is from the community within 35-40km radius. Families of new recruits are invited to observe the working environment at all properties to allow them the peace of mind of their child’s safety and wellbeing.

“Competitiveness of Sri Lanka’s tourism and hospitality workforce weighs heavily on promoting employment for women and youth. Encouraging higher involvement from these two demographics, however, remains a challenge. Young women are hesitant to pursue a career in tourism and hospitality due to a myriad of socio-cultural views. It is our belief that all efforts must be made to welcome more women into the industry and to create a working environment where they feel safe and comfortable; thereby making a positive ripple effect on the economy.” She asserted that the ladies’ accommodation is but one area of the Company’s investment towards attracting a more diverse workforce.

The newly launched facility can accommodate over 40 females and offers three room categories – for Executives, Supervisors and Non-Executives. Comparable in design to a guest room, this ladies’ accommodation is fully equipped with all amenities for the comfort of the employees. The facility also consists of two common lounge areas designed for rest and relaxation.

This initiative is a testament to the company’s commitment to empower greater female representation in the hospitality and tourism industry. Currently at Aitken Spence Hotels, 15% of the Management is represented by women, with 24% in the Executive cadre and 7% at Associate level. Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings PLC has set an ambitious target to achieve 20% female representation by 2020 and hopes to continue improving on that. This initiative to build accommodation facilities for the female workforce will be gradually rolled out at the hotel chain’s other owned properties.

As one of the first signatories of the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles and a trendsetter in the industry, Aitken Spence is confident that the efforts thus unrolled will bear fruit in the future by setting a precedent for establishing tourism as a tool for promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Heritance Kandalama ladies with their parents, Aitken Spence PLC Director, Head of Tourism & Leisure, and Chairperson of Aitken Spence Hotels Management Ms. Stasshani Jayawardena, General Manager Mr. Priyan Wijerathne

Exterior

Indoor lounge area

Outdoor lounge area

 

 

Aitken Spence Hotels among winners of Travelers’ Choice Awards 2019

18 Mar

The largest travel planning and booking site, TripAdvisor recognised Aitken Spence Hotels as winners of its Travelers’ Choice Awards 2019.

Heritance Kandalama, Heritance Ahungalla, Heritance Negombo, Heritance Tea Factory and Amethyst Resort were among the hotels that secured the accolade, granted based on consistent positive reviews collected over the past year. Heritance properties including Heritance Kandalama, Heritance Ahungalla, Heritance Tea Factory and Heritance Negombo were also merited among the highest in the ‘Top 25 Hotels – Sri Lanka’ based on their exemplary service, quality and value.

The Heritance properties, a name that has over the years been synonymous with superior hospitality in Sri Lanka caters to discerning travellers who are explorers of culture and authenticity. Heritance Kandalama, the leading eco-resort is among the most awarded properties in the country with emphasis on architecture and eco-ethos. Heritance Ahungalla, the first five-star resort in the southern coastal belt is a haven of peace and solitude by the beach. A converted 19th century tea factory that today sings songs of the past through its unique design, Heritance Tea Factory has been a constant favourite among local and international travellers.

As a local hospitality chain that has and continue to aspire, to take the inherent warmth of Sri Lankan hospitality to the world, Aitken Spence Hotels pay heavy emphasis on refining service efforts whilst maintaining and improving the product. As such, the award is looked at as a further endorsement to the chain’s continuous efforts to develop its core products.

Held for the 17th year, the award honours hotels across categories including luxury, bargain, small, best service, B&B and inn, romance, family, and all-inclusive, as well as top hotels overall.

“Travelers can consider these award winners when picking the perfect hotel for their needs – for any budget or trip type – to help inspire their travels in 2019,” says Desiree Fish, Vice President of global communications for TripAdvisor in a statement with a congratulatory message to the hotels.

Aitken Spence Hotels, the premier hospitality chain owns and operates 11 hotels and resorts in Sri Lanka, in key tourist destinations and has been renowned for its unique products and impeccable service from the heart.

Heritance Hotels Achieves Travelife Gold Award

18 Mar

Ayurvedha DSC_9129

Heritance Hotels, Sri Lanka’s leading chain of resorts, owned and managed by Aitken Spence Hotels is once again in the forefront of sustainability with all hotels in its portfolio being awarded the Travelife for Hotels & Accommodations Gold award. Travelife – the international sustainability certification scheme – assesses a property’s performance in managing social, environmental and economic impacts. The Gold award achieved by Heritance Tea Factory, Heritance Ayurveda Maha Gedara, Heritance Kandalama and Heritance Ahungalla is a testament to the chain’s deep commitment to sustainability.

Travelife is a practical tool which assists properties to monitor and manage their social and environmental impacts. The scheme which is supported by some of the largest tour operators in the industry helps hotels cut costs and increase sales, by improved sustainability. To gain Travelife Gold certification the hotel must meet the 150 sustainability criteria set by the scheme. This includes environmental issues, such as minimising waste and use of energy, water and chemicals, as well as taking positive action on social issues, such as employee welfare, working with the local community, child protection and human rights. Hotels must display how they are helping to support local businesses and protect local traditions and wildlife.

The Heritance Hotels portfolio underwent a stringent audit process which focussed on energy saving practices, waste management, emission and environmental sustainability principles followed by each Hotel. The audit results are scored on Bronze, Silver or Gold depending on the degree of the Hotels commitment towards the environment and locality in which it operates. Achieving Gold status is not an easy feat and it is a remarkable achievement that the entire chain achieved this accolade.

Heritance Hotels, a pioneer in practicing and promoting sustainable tourism in Sri Lanka, has taken numerous initiatives in ensuring that energy consuming assets have been managed effectively and energy conserving technology has been implemented at each resort. Heritance Ahungalla, one of Sri Lanka’s leading beach resorts, was the first hotel in Sri Lanka to receive the ISO 50001:2011 certification. Heritance Ayurveda Maha Gedara, was the first net metered hotel in Sri Lanka and Heritance Tea Factory and Heritance Kandalama were the first in the hospitality industry to utilize a biomass gasifier as a renewable energy source. Apart from the significant systems implemented at the resorts, all resorts use Sewage Treated Plant (STP) water for irrigation and have replaced incandescent lighting with CFL and LED lights.

The 7R recycling program practiced by all resorts in the chain strives for zero waste to the environment. All waste produced is recycled or disposed of with no impact to the environment in which each hotel operates. Heritance Ahungalla, Heritance Kandalama and Heritance Tea Factory have in-house green pavilions and eco centers where training is provided to guests and the community on the benefits and importance of recycling and reducing the impacts on the environment.

Heritance Kandalama has been identified as a bio diversity hot spot with surveys revealing that the 170 acres of owned and 50 acres of leased land preserved by the Hotel has 43 species of mammals, 173 species of birds, 33 species of reptiles, 8 species of amphibians, 82 species of butterflies and 125 floral species including trees and climbers.

Heritance Hotels is closely linked to each community it operates in with over 40% of its staff being employed from the local communities. In addition facilities such as the Arts and Crafts center at Heritance Ayurveda Maha Gedara are provided for local craftsmen to showcase their talents and keep traditional crafts alive. This also adds to the local economy by ways of added profits to the community and promotion of local culture.

“We are extremely passionate about practicing social and environmental strategies and it is indeed motivating to be recognised for our achievements in this area. Our team constantly strives to ensure that we keep challenging ourselves and having gone through the stringent audit process it is encouraging to note that we have been benchmarked against other international star performers and have been awarded the highest accolade in the scheme”, said Mr.Susith Jayawickrama, Managing Director, Aitken Spence Hotels.

Heritance Hotels and Resorts, the premier brand of Aitken Spence Hotels operate a portfolio of four unique properties in scenic locations across Sri Lanka. Heritance Kandalama was named by The Observer of UK as one of the “Icons of Modern Hotel Design” and Travel + Leisure calls it one of the leading green hotels of the world.  Heritance Tea Factory was voted amongst the “100 Best Places to Stay in the World” by Sunday Times UK and was nominated in the list of “Top 5 Factory Hotels in the World” by The Independent, UK. The chain of hotels has been continuously recognized as a pioneer in sustainable tourism and continuously strives to sustain and innovate processes that reduce the impact of its operation on its surroundings.

Aitken Spence Hotels joins the digital revolution with its app for iPads

23 May

Aitken Spence Hotels broke new ground recently with the launch of its first digital application for iPads. The application was designed to provide a comprehensive snapshot of the Aitken Spence Hotels portfolio spread across four diverse destinations; and covers the fundamental facets used by guests to decide on their preferred hotel or resort.

 

A holistic integration of the information of 21 hotels is presented in an interactive seamless platform enabling ease of navigation for the user. The app provides a brief description of each hotel affording guests a glimpse to the roots of the property. The types of accommodation that can be enjoyed by guests are also listed with pictorial representations of the room and its amenities. Information on hotel facilities, dining options, event spaces and excursions can be accessed at the tip of a finger. The information is complimented by an extensive gallery complimenting the sensory journey one engages with when browsing the app. It also provides a unified platform for feedback and reservation inquiries creating easy interaction between Aitken Spence Hotels and potential guests.

 

“The digital revolution has created a fundamental need for businesses to evolve their practices. The launch of an iPad app for Aitken Spence Hotels is one of the many initiatives lined up to evolve our practices to offer our guests an engaging and seamless experience The app is the perfect tool to create brand awareness amongst tour operators, destination management companies and tourists from around the world. We plan to evolve the services that can be offered through the app creating ease of access to the modern traveler” says Mr. Althaf Mohamed Ali, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Aitken Spence Hotels.

Aitken Spence is Sri Lanka’s largest resort operator and the largest international hotel operator in the Maldives. The Group also manages a portfolio of hotels in India and Oman. The company’s premier resorts operate under the brand Heritance.

 

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