Tag Archives: Sri Lanka Hotels

Heritance Kandalama celebrates 20 years of excellence

24 Jun

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.”


Asia’s Responsible Tourism Award Goes to Heritance Kandalama

26 Oct

Bringing pride to Sri Lanka, Heritance Kandalama won Asia’s Responsible Tourism Award for large hotel category at the ITB Asia tourism trade show held at the Suntec City Convention Center, Singapore on 21 October 2010.

Asia’s Responsible Tourism Awards is organised by Wild Asia and it is the only tourism award of its kind in Asia. This annual award aims to recognize accommodation sector and tour operators in Asia who are making a difference to sustainable tourism.


The awards showcase exemplary resorts, hotels and tour operators that are committed to environmentally and socially responsible practices.

This year’s awards attracted a larger and more diverse number of participants, from India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Thailand, Cambodia, China, the Philippines and Indonesia.

Every year, the judging panel select two finalists for each category based on  criteria such as sense of place, whether tourists understand their destinations in terms of the cultural and ecological context; whether the responsible tourism efforts are long-term; involvement of guests, how much the operators involve their guests in their responsible tourism practices; how much sustainability is part of the day-to-day operations and  how the operators strive to improve their responsible tourism efforts continuously.


Mr.Jeevaka Weerakone, General Manager, Heritance Kandalama who accepted the award said that “It is a great honour to receive this award and we will continually raise the bar in making Heritance Kandalama an example in Sri Lanka and the world, at the same time developing it into a learning centre for responsible tourism”.


Heritance Kandalama, a hotel committed to sustainable practices from conceptualisation to construction to its day-to-day operations was named the winner of the large accommodation category. According to the judges, Heritance Kandalama’s all-round commitment and practices gave it the edge over Malaysia’s Frangipani Resort, Langkawi who was placed second in the same category. In the small to medium category, the Sarinbuana Ecolodge in Bali won the award closely competing with Soneva Gili in the Maldives. Andaman Discoveries from Thailand won the award in the best responsible tour operator category.


Mr. Malin Hapugoda, Managing Director of Aitken Spence Hotels commenting on the awards said “Heritance Kandalama is well known for its green architecture and eco tourism practices which have been nurtured  since the inception of the hotel in 1994. The hotel has a green philosophy that covers essential responsible tourism practices such as providing benefits to local communities, protecting and conserving natural environment and mitigating climate change.  We believe in championing sustainable tourism safeguarding the very own resources that our business is dependent on for the future of tourism industry in Sri Lanka”. He further added “Winning the best responsible tourism award for large scale hotels in Asia will certainly help us not  only  to project advantages of implementing responsible tourism as part of a tourism business strategy but  also to  promote Sri Lanka  as a sustainable destination”. Theward received by Heritance Kandalama has given Sri Lanka tourism a boost to project its image as a responsible tourism destination.


Dr. Nalaka Godahewa, Chairman Sri Lanka Tourism sharing his views on the award commented, “I understand that this year’s awards attracted a larger number and a more diverse group of participants, from India, the Maldives, China, the Philippines, Irian Jaya in Indonesia and also from Sri Lanka. This is a great achievement for Sri Lanka Tourism especially at a time when we are working towards accelerated tourism development with sustainability and responsible tourism in mind. I am thrilled to know that Heritance Kandalama was named the winner of the large scale accommodation category”.


A growing concern of the tourism industry is how it will address the complexities of building sustainable destinations which are facing the challenges of global warming and climate change. According to Wild Asia “sustainable destinations can be made a reality by promoting responsible tourism and sharing resources to inspire change from within the travel industry. Wild Asia is guided by UN’s Sustainable Tourism Criteria. The criteria serves as the standard that any tourism business should aspire to reach in order to protect and sustain the world’s natural and cultural resources while ensuring tourism meets its potential as a tool for poverty alleviation.”


The event was co-organized by ITB Asia, Wild Asia and The Green Circuit, and brought together sustainable tourism practitioners to share, engage, learn and be inspired to make a difference.


Heritance Kandalama has won a large number of awards as one of the most eco-friendly hotels in the world. It has set precedence to other hotels on how they too can be effective responsible  tourism  players by contributing  in terms of conserving the natural environment, protecting bio diversity, empowering local communities, supporting livelihoods dependent on tourism, preserving local traditions, arts and crafts and mitigating climate change especially by using bio mass as renewable energy.

Media Release – 26 October 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

How to Find the Best Eco-friendly Hotels

16 Apr

by Katherine J. Chen
Published on April 15th, 2010

From the outside, the Heritance Kandalama in Sri Lanka may look like an abandoned temple run over by weeds and vegetation, but the luxury hotel is actually one of the most eco-friendly resorts in the entire world.

The wild vines, shrubs and plants that cover the hotel’s windows, balconies and roofs ensure that rainwater is able to flow from the hills to the hotel reservoir located just below.

Given the hotel’s abandoned appearance, the location also serves as an attraction to toque macaques and hundreds of species of birds.

The fact that the Heritance Kandalama is eco-friendly is one detail which is proving to be more important than ever for travelers. Expedia, an online travel website that processes thousands of flight and hotel reservations daily, has made plans to add a brand new feature to its hotel listings called Green Lodging Certifications.

This will enable tourists to compare and contrast competing hotels’ green practices, in addition to teaching travelers how they can incorporate green living into their vacation plans.

“Today’s travelers are increasingly interested in gauging the environmental practices of hotels and other travel suppliers,” says Expedia’s Janice Lichtenwaldt. “To that end, Expedia has elected to increase the green resources available to our customers, as well as the green recognition available to our partner hotels.”

In partnership with Green Key, an agency that specializes in ranking and auditing hotels based on the effectiveness of their eco-friendly practices, Expedia will also be creating an additional resource for eco-conscious tourists called the “Traveler’s Guide to Going Green.”

Kit Cassingham, the founder of Best Green Hotels, explains that what sets green hotels apart from conventional hotels is a genuine concern for the environment. She says, “Green hotels act on their concern by conserving and protecting resources while conventional hotels act as if there is no problem.”

Best Green Hotels, one of the most comprehensive listings of environmentally friendly hotels online, features its own rating system, a term glossary and directories divided by city, state and country.

Cassingham believes that an association for green hotels is necessary for two reasons. The first is to give travelers an accessible resource through which they can easily research and find green hotels. The second is to provide hoteliers with a place where they can learn more about incorporating green practices into their resorts, while getting the support they need.

Cassingham is optimistic about the future of eco-friendly hotels and does not believe that this is only a trend. She says of Best Green Hotels, “The site is about five-years-old. I was thrilled to have 750 green hotels listed within a few months, but I also figured I had only scratched the surface of finding hotels that had green operations.”

“Between more hotels and hotel chains adopting green and sustainable practices and hotels promoting what their actions are online, we are pushing 5,000 listed properties,” she adds. “That speaks to me of a growing sector of eco-friendly hotels.”

Media Release – 16 April 2010

Asia’s Top 10 Sustainable Spas – Heritance Kandalama

12 Jan

Heritance Kandalama is celebrated for its green philosophy and is widely recognised as the five-star resort that put eco tourism on the map in Sri Lanka. Considering the resort and adjoining Six Senses Spa is perched on a rock overlooking a world heritage site – the rock fortress of Sigiriya – it’s no wonder sustainability is its foremost responsibility. Its ecofeatures cleverly let the environment do most of the work, so by day not a single light needs to be flicked on in the resort; instead natural sunlight floods through windows and doors. The hot water system relies on the sun for its power and rainwater is drawn from deep wells. State-of-the-art recycling facilities ensure not a skerrick of pollution escapes into the ancient lake and virgin rainforest surrounding the resort. To witness the area’s pristine beauty, join a bird and butterfly watching tour or lake safari.

As seen on

Awards – 13 January 2010

New York Times says Sri Lanka the No. 1 Place to Visit in 2010

8 Jan

The 31 Places to Go in 2010

New York Times. Published: January 10, 2010

1. Sri Lanka

For a quarter century, Sri Lanka seems to have been plagued by misfortune, including a brutal civil war between the Sinhalese majority and Tamil minority. But the conflict finally ended last May, ushering in a more peaceful era for this teardrop-shaped island off India’s coast, rich in natural beauty and cultural splendors.

The island, with a population of just 20 million, feels like one big tropical zoo: elephants roam freely, water buffaloes idle in paddy fields and monkeys swing from trees. And then there’s the pristine coastline. The miles of sugary white sand flanked by bamboo groves that were off-limits to most visitors until recently are a happy, if unintended byproduct of the war.

Full article: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/10/travel/10places.html

Media Release – 10 January 2010

Heritance Tea Factory Runners-up at Star Awards 2009

18 Dec

Heritance Tea Factory was adjudged the runners up at Star Awards 2009 for the Best Performing Entrepreneurs (Medium Scale – Service Sector) in the Central Province.

The awards were organized by the Department of Industries and Development & Enterprise Promotion (Central Province) and sponsored by the Ministry of Industries. No organization qualified for the first place in the above category.

Awards – 2009

Heritance adds a Third Dimension to Sri Lankan Cuisine

14 Nov

In addition to taste and presentation, Heritance Hotels & Resorts is introducing health as a third dimension to Sri HeritanceLanka’s cuisine in its properties, Heritance Kandalama and Heritance Ahungalla.

Sri Lanka’s premier international hospitality brand which recently announced its expansion overseas brought leading Sri Lankan academics in the field of food science & nutrition, Heritance’s internationally acclaimed chefs and preferred suppliers to discuss the opportunities for the development of Sri Lankan cuisine as a source of nutritive and medicinal value as a value addition in their menus.

The workshop looked into the identification of nutrients and corresponding ingredients, development of cuisine and looking at avenues for supply.

Dr Ananda Chndrasekara, Senior Lecturer of Biochemistry, Human Nutrition & Dietetics of the Department of Food Science & Technology of the University of Peradeniya and Dr Vajira Senaviratne, visiting lecturer, ayurveda consultant and pharmaceutical chemist outlined Sri Lankan food’s nutritional and medicinal values which reveal great promise to develop specialized Sri Lankan cuisine as a health option.

Development of Sri Lankan cuisines is expected to create demand for local ingredients, helping the rural economies of the country.

“The nutritive qualities of specific ingredients in western food are well-known internationally due to the vast amount of research published and media attention. In contrast, Sri Lankan cuisine in spite of its many nutritive and medicinal qualities has not received due recognition. We hope our initiative would help in recognizing the health aspect of Sri Lankan cuisine internationally”, commented the Managing Director of Aitken Spence Hotel Managements Mr Malin Hapugoda.

Mr Gemunu Goonawardena, Director Food & Beverages, Mr Anil Udawatte Director Sales & Marketing of Aitken Spence Hotels, and well-known Sri Lankan master chef Publis Silva also addressed the gathering.

Heritance Hotels and Resorts’ Group Skills Development Chef Dimuthu Kumarasinghe, who is the only chef in the world to have won 9 gold medals in individual events in both the Culinary Olympics and Culinary World Cup and was also present at the announcement.

2007 – Ace Magazine Issue 4