Tag Archives: Heritance Hotels

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.

Heritance Ahungalla, Home to the Best Hotel Team and Best Culinary Team in Sri Lanka

3 Aug

Heritance Ahungalla, the recent recipient of the Sri Lanka Tourism award for the Best 5-Star Resort in the island has now emerged as the Best Hotel Team and Best Culinary Team in Sri Lanka after competing against both international and domestic star class hotels at the 14th Culinary Art Competition held from the 29th to the 1st of August, 2011. Organized by the Chefs Guild of Sri Lanka, this event is the largest food and trade exhibition combined with that of a culinary competition.

Maintaining its reputation for offering the best cuisine in the country, Aitken Spence Hotels won an unprecedented 145 medals including the prestigious awards for the Best Hotel Team and the Best Culinary Team which were both won by Heritance Ahungalla.

There were 25 categories for the medals and the Aitken Spence medal tally displayed the sheer dominance the resort chain’s chefs had over its competitors in this field. World acclaimed Chef Dimuthu Kumarasinghe – Group Skills Development Chef, Aitken Spence Hotels and Heritance Hotels who led the team and Mr.Amal Nanayakkara, General Manager –Training, whose continuous training and motivation guided the participants, were jubilant along with the teams from Heritance Hotels who collectively won 13 special awards out of a total of 32 special awards. The awards included the following: Best Cocktail – H.D. Dilum Jeewantha Jayathunga, Heritance Ahungalla, Bru Coffee Apprentice Dessert Live –Avner Deen, Heritance Ahungalla, Best Individual Ice Carving – Chef Anil Gunewardene, Heritance Kandalama, Dress the Cake – Chef Sanjeewa Niroshan Premathunga, Heritance Kandalama, Best Chocolate Showpiece – Chef Susantha Premalal Gunathilake, Heritance Ahungalla, Best Wedding Cake Structure – Chef T.Nirmal Alwis Weerasinghe, Heritance Ahungalla, Best Bartender (Mixologist) – G.H.D Shanika Niroshini Jayasekara, Heritance Ahungalla, Best Artist – Chef A.A Kavindu Isurumal Amarasinghe, Heritance Ahungalla, Most Outstanding Pastry Chef – Chef Sanjeewa Niroshan Premathunga, Heritance Kandalama, Most Outstanding Regional Team (Cultural Triangle) – Heritance Kandalama Culinary Team led by Chef Hassim, Most Outstanding Regional Team ( Southern Province) – Heritance Ahungalla Culinary Team led by Chef Lalith, Best Culinary Team – Heritance Ahungalla, Best Hotel Team – Heritance Ahungalla.

“I am tremendously proud of the achievements of my team, walking away with 145 medals from a competition such as this is no easy task. We believe that we are the best and having being presented with 13 of the special awards including the award for the Best Hotel Team in the island, no doubt reaffirms our beliefs”, said Mr.Gemunu Goonawardena, Vice President, Food and Beverage, Aitken Spence Hotels who has had a strong leadership influence on the team.

Chef Guilds of Sri Lanka from their modest beginnings in 1988 has emerged as the premier professional body of culinary professionals in the hospitality trade.
A platform for recognizing true culinary talents, the competition symbolizes the pinnacle of excellence as hundreds of practitioners in the food & beverage industry in the country gathers to prove their mettle.

“It is essential for us as a destination, to attract the high-end traveler, and in order to do so we need to be able to offer the products and services expected from this market segment. Aitken Spence Hotels is committed towards elevating the image of the country and being recognized as having the Best Culinary Team is yet another endorsement of our continuous yearn to position Sri Lanka as a world-class tourist destination. Our greatest asset is our staff at all levels who are loyal, dedicated and committed and work together as one team assisting and encouraging each other to be the best.” said Mr. Malin Hapugoda, Managing Director, Aitken Spence Hotels whose unstinted support helped the team in its achievement.

Aitken Spence Hotels is the largest resort operator in Sri Lanka and the largest international hotel operator in the Maldives with a portfolio of hotels in multiple locations in India and Oman. Its range of international award-wining properties, management & culinary expertise and environmental commitment has set industry benchmarks both domestically and internationally.

Heritance Ayurveda Maha Gedara Geared to Commence its Sustainable Operations

22 Jul

Heritance Ayurveda Maha Gedara Geared to Commence its Sustainable Operations
Situated on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, Aitken Spence Hotels’ first hotel property, Neptune Hotel has re-opened as Heritance Ayurveda Maha Gedara. The authentic ayurveda resort has joined the groups’ prestigious Heritance portfolio. The Heritance brand mission is aimed at travelers experiencing, connecting with, and learning from Sri Lanka’s rich cultural heritage.
Heritance Ayurveda Maha Gedara is about learning to live, enjoying and appreciating every moment, and in doing so, creating a personal path to health and wellness. Nestled within acres of lush tropical gardens, this beach front property represents tranquility at its best with its luxurious accommodation and ayurveda treatment facilities along with traditional Sri Lankan charm and hospitality.
Located in a secluded world of beauty and serenity, the 64 luxurious rooms include 16 standard rooms, 36 deluxe rooms, 7 suites, & 5 corner suites. The accommodation is inspired by a harmonious blend of East meets West and offers privacy along with stunning views of the gardens and azure ocean.

“At Heritance Hotels, we believe that our natural environment is priceless and as responsible citizens of the world we have a responsibility to protect it. As in with the construction and operation of all our Heritance properties, Heritance Ayurveda Maha Gedara too has been constructed with a strong, focused commitment towards reducing the environmental footprint associated with the development and operation of a hotel”, said Mr.Rohitha Rajaratne, Vice President- Engineering, Aitken Spence Hotels.

Typically, energy costs are the second highest expenditure component of a hotel subsequent to the cost of human resources. As such Heritance Hotels has made a conscious effort to reduce its energy consumption. Lighting at Heritance Ayurveda Maha Gedara has been restricted to Light Emitting Diodes (LED) for garden lighting, Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL) in public areas and rooms and T5 fluorescent bulbs in the back of house areas. In doing so, the hotel is on par with current technologies in energy efficient lighting. For the external lighting alone, 200 LED ground lights have been installed resulting in an annual saving of 27,448 kWh when compared to conventional lighting. This is equivalent to a reduction in the hotel’s carbon footprint by 21 Tonnes. This will result in a phenomenal achievement; the savings from this initiative can be used to power 25 average Sri Lankan households for an entire year.

Heritance Ayurveda Maha Gedara has leveraged innovative strategies in the area of renewable energy. Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Panels have been installed in order to convert solar energy directly into electricity. PV cells are made up of two or more layers of semi-conducting material, usually silicon, which when exposed to light, generates electricity. Solar Photovoltaic Systems can be broadly connected either as an off-grid system (solar power used to charge batteries) or and on-grid system (solar power fed directly to the grid). The 3.5 kW system installed at Heritance Ayurveda Maha Gedara has features of both off-grid as well as on-grid. During the day, the solar panels charge the batteries and feed any excess power generated to the grid via a net metering agreement. During the night, the batteries are used to power the garden lighting. The annual savings from the system is 4,639 kWh which is a reduction in the hotel’s carbon footprint by 3.4 Tonnes; this significant saving is equivalent to a one ton household AC running for a period of a year.

The existing central hot water system which was used during the operations of Neptune Hotel utilizes a boiler for the production of steam which in turn produces hot water by means of a calorifier. The proposed solar hot water system which will be installed shortly will be used to increase (augment) the temperature of cold water supply being fed to the calorifier. This will in turn reduce the furnace oil consumption by the boiler. The hotel will be saving 1,417 Liters of furnace oil annually thus mitigating its carbon footprint by 4.6 Tonnes.

Heritance Hotels sustainable practices have ranged from simple, hands-on activities like planting trees to more sophisticated areas such as on-site generation of renewable energy. Plans are in place for setting up a biogas plant at Heritance Ayurveda Maha Gedara, the biogas plant will use kitchen garbage as the primary source for the production of biogas which will be utilized in the herbal preparation area of the wellness resort. The property will operate primarily as an Ayurveda resort and as such the wet garbage production will be comparatively low when compared to a traditional hotel operation. An estimated 100kg of waste will be produced per month, which if used for biogas production, will save 2,800 kg of LPG annually. All wet garbage produced by the hotel will be utilized and disposed. In addition, the slurry from the plant will be used in the hotel premises as manure and the excess, if any, will be distributed to neighboring villagers.

In addition to the biogas plant, the central cooling system at the resort will operate utilizing a screw type chiller which will consume 0.769 kilowatts per ton of refrigerant (kW/Tr). Additionally the secondary pumps will be controlled by variable speed drives, thus ensuring that the pumps are utilizing only the required power.

“We believe that sustainable tourism will enhance and protect the environment we operate in. By using resources such as energy and water wisely, minimizing waste, conserving ecosystems and biodiversity, and sourcing locally where ever possible, our hotels are reducing the negative impacts that contribute to climate change”, said Mr.Malin Hapugoda, Managing Director, Aitken Spence Hotels.

The company’s premier resorts operate under Heritance Hotels & Resorts. Its latest Heritance property Heritance Ayurveda Maha Gedara commenced operations in July 2011. It has joined the award-winning Heritance Hotels & Resorts portfolio consisting of Heritance Kandalama, Heritance Ahungalla and Heritance Tea Factory.

Tourism Boom

3 Dec

Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings, with a portfolio of 27 resorts and hotels, spanning Sri Lanka, the Maldives, India and Oman and translating into a huge 2,300 room capacity, is currently Sri Lanka’s largest resort operator. The company’s 600 rooms, spread across 7 resorts also make it the largest international operator in the Maldives.

Already boasting of exotic properties such as Barefoot at Havelock, located on the “ best beach in Asia” as rated by the Time magazine, Heritance Kandalama Sri Lanka’s most awarded hotel and “an icon of modern hotel design” as rated by the Observer UK, Desert Nights Camp, Oman rated as “one of the top ten desert retreats in the world” by The National and the unique Heritance Tea Factory rated by The Independent UK as one of the ‘top five factory hotels’ in the world and “one of the best 100 places to stay in the world” by the Sunday Times UK, the chain is poised to further astound the tourism sector, both at home and abroad. Aitken Spence is unrivalled in product diversity; from the quaint colonial house-turned hotel in Bandarawela to the upscale Heritance Ahungalla, the group has something for everyone.
On the island, new plans include expansion in all of the cardinal directions, as well as further developments in India and possibly the Middle East. Whilst majority of the new properties will target the high end, Aitken Spence plans to broaden its portfolio, keeping the variety for which it has become renowned and cater to additional niche segments such as wellness and business travel. In addition to a new resort planned for the company’s 100-acre plot of land on the soft white sands of Trincomalee, plans for a high-end resort to be built in Ahungalla are also under way. The latter, will include an island on the Madhu river and be run under the Six Senses banner. In keeping with its reputation for diversity, Aitken Spence also aims to construct city hotels in Colombo and Jaffna. A sustainable tourism model, which Aitken Spence pioneered in Sri Lanka will be the key consideration in growth.
When questioned on how future plans for new target markets would affect the current portfolio and perception of Aitken Spence properties, Mr. Hapugoda quickly says, “We have always been confident of Sri Lanka and continued to spend on our properties during the low years; as such we are one company that is ready to take the upturn. Having said that, as tourism is due to boom, we have some of the best and most unique resorts and we can boldly target the high end, whilst continuing to have a presence in the volume market.” In post-war Sri Lanka, when the future of tourism is looking brighter than ever, Mr. Malin Hapugoda, Managing Director, Aitken Spence Hotel Managements, acknowledges that the true strength behind the award-winning Group is the team who continuously strives towards excellence in service. He encourages them to persist in their endeavours as he says, “There is no favouritism, everyone is rewarded on merit and in the company’s expansion plans, current staff will always be given preference for growth opportunities within the group, whether in Sri Lanka or abroad.”


A Dining Experience on Wheels at the Highest Elevation in Sri Lanka

18 Aug

The majestic compartment of yester years, TCK 6685 is most probably the last of the compartments of the glorious past. The refurbished to its former glory, carriage TCK 6685 is a fine dining restaurant consisting of only 16 covers, a dining experience limited to a few  on wheels at the highest elevation in Sri Lanka.

Hethersett Tea Factory which is now the Heritance Tea Factory was the highest located tea factory in Sri Lanka and Kandapola railway station was the highest located railway station in the country served by the Ceylon Government Railway when it was first commissioned in 1903.

Tea and railway went hand in hand in this region in the first part of the last century as tea was transported via the railway. Vestiges of the line still remain in a stout iron railway bridge near the race-course, the railway station at Nuwara Eliya and the stops at Brookside and Ragala now converted into shops.

At the Heritance Tea Factory TCK 6685 restaurant, the menu is a fusion of Western class and eastern aromas complimented with a variety of vegetables and herbs grown on the slopes of Kandapola village emphasizing on freshness and on quality.  The six course menu is served elegantly by white -gloved railway guard.

The HeritanceTea Factory has been recognized by the Britain’s leading newspapers ‘Sunday Times’ as one of the 100 best places to stay in the world and ‘The Independent’ selected The Tea Factory as one of the 5 best factory hotels in the world. The Heritance Tea Factory mission is to enable guests to experience a unique interaction with nature and the tea culture, while leaving a minimum impact on the environment.

Media Release – 18 August 2010

Heritance Tea Factory Triumphs at the Asia Pacific Property Awards

22 Apr

The results of the Asia Pacific Property Awards 2010 in association with Bloomberg Television have been revealed and Heritance Tea Factory is rightly proud to be amongst the winners. Successful entrants were announced at a high profile gala dinner held at the Langham Hotel in Hong Kong on April 16th and Heritance Tea Factory was delighted to be presented with an award in the category of Best Hotel, Construction and Design. Presenter for the evening was Paul Gordon, news broadcaster for Bloomberg Television.

The event is part of the International Property Awards, the world’s most prestigious competition dedicated to identifying the best real estate professionals across the globe. Scooping one of these coveted awards is proof that Heritance Tea Factory is not only able to compete at this level but also win within the highly competitive Asia Pacific property arena.

Later this year, the highest scoring winners from the Asia Pacific Property Awards will compete against other winning companies from Europe, the UK, Europe & Africa, the Americas and Arabia to find the ultimate World’s Best in each category. Last year, the Asia Pacific region scooped no less than seven World’s Best awards – two more than the year before and an amazing feat. No doubt the property industry will be watching and waiting to see if this record number of international wins can be matched or even beaten in 2010.

The judging panel is formed by a large group of professionals whose collective knowledge of the property industry is unsurpassed by any other property awards. This year’s judges include Ben Wood, industry head property markets of Google UK; Peter Bolton King, group chief executive of the National Federation of Property Professionals; Christopher Hall, president elect of FIABCI; Patrick Grove, executive chairman of i.Property.com Group Asia Ltd; Thijis Stoffer, International Consortium of Real Estate Agents Association (ICREA); Helen Shield, editor-in-chief of International Homes magazine and Iris Dunbar, British Institute of Interior Design.

Mr. Malin Hapugoda, Managing Director, Aitken Spence Hotels said of the award,

“Heritance Tea Factory is the result of the successful development of an abandoned tea factory into an eco-friendly world class hotel and we are delighted that the recently re-branded Heritance Tea Factory has won this prestigious accolade. ”

Media Release – 22 April 2010

Hotel Heritance ropes in city-born DJ from Abu Dhabi for New Year bash

28 Dec

The ‘five-star’-category urban luxury resort Heritance Madurai has roped in the Madurai-born international DJ Ricky to perform in its New Year celebrations.

The celebrations would feature video DJing, which is a new concept and introduced only this month even at Abu Dhabi, according to Srinith De Silva, general manger of the hotel, which is a venture of the Chennai-based hospitality group ETL Hospitality Services.

Speaking to reporters here on Wednesday, he said that this was the first time Heritance Madurai was organising such a New Year bash. It would feature fashion shows, games, and a dinner with a special multi cuisine buffet. All the guests would get a Rs.500-worth gift vouchers.

The stage has been set with imported equipments. An extravagant show of fireworks has also been scheduled. The celebrations would be “one-of-its-kind” in the Temple City, said Mr. De Silva.

Mr. Ricky said that the music would have a good chunk of international songs as there were many foreigners staying at Hotel Heritance. It would also feature video-mix of songs of regional languages.

While the tickets for a single person is Rs. 1,500, it is Rs. 2,900 for couples and Rs. 800 for children below 10 years. Tickets could be obtained from the Hotel.

As seen on The Hindu – 24 December 2009

Media Release – 29 December 2009