Browns LOLC caters to grow­ing Chi­nese mar­ket

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - SPECIAL REPORT -

The East coast is in­un­dated with a de­mand from trav­ellers seek­ing to rest and re­lax at The Calm Re­sort and Spa by Browns Ho­tels and LOLC with ex­pec­ta­tions for a good sea­son this win­ter from De­cem­ber to Fe­bru­ary.

The four star prop­erty will have a huge im­prove­ment com­pared to the num­bers that came in last year, The Calm Gen­eral Man­ager Su­san­tha Ban­dara said in an in­ter­view with the Busi­ness Times.

He noted that the prop­erty would be able to at­tract a 40 per cent in­crease in traf­fic this year com­pared to the 30 per cent in­crease in 2016.

Con­sid­ered an- year- round des­ti­na­tion, Mr. Ban­dara pointed out that the only set­back this year would be the rains ex­pected from De­cem­ber to Jan­uary.

The ho­tel com­prises 115 staff dur­ing the peak sea­sons with over 80 per cent em­ployed from the re­gion and ob­tain­ing in- house on- the- job train­ing to­wards which 10 per cent of the to­tal earn­ings are al­lo­cated, he said.

But dur­ing the low sea­son they would em­ploy around 85 staff at the ho­tel due to less work, it was pointed out.

Com­pe­ti­tion rides high to at­tract staff to ho­tels along this coastal belt which are lo­cated like a string of pearls on the beach­front stretch­ing from one end to the other com­pris- ing a to­tal of ap­prox­i­mately 600 rooms.

The shal­low beach front fac­ing the ho­tel is a wel­come treat for tourists who might even want a stroll on the sands at dawn or in the evening.

One of the in­ter­est­ing sights here is a must- see for divers want­ing to take a peek into the HMS Her­mes Bri­tish car­rier ves­sel from WWII that got sunk when it came un­der at t a ck by the Ja­panese at Trin­co­ma­lee back in 1942.

The GM told the Busi­ness Times an in­ter­est­ing story of how a Rus­sian cou­ple was adamant that they en­ter the wa­ters to see this ship­wreck and due to bad weather the ho­tel had not al­lowed them to dive in and so had a few other es­tab­lish­ments as well. How­ever, as a re­sult, he ex­plained the cou­ple had then sought help from a small- time op­er­a­tor that of­fered to take them to the location and were later res­cued by the ho­tel since they were un­able to get back up. But the guide was pulled out only the next day after much search­ing due to rough seas.

The ho­tel has 70 rooms in four cat­e­gories namely Deluxe, Premium, Gar­den Col­lec­tion and three suites with only one that has a plunge pool called the Passi Bay Suite which is oc­cu­pied by Prime Min­is­ter Ranil Wick­remesinghe dur­ing his stay in the area. Pres­i­dents and Min­is­ters were also said to have oc­cu­pied this par­tic­u­lar suite.

This ho­tel is con­sid­ered to be one of the old­est ho­tels in the ar­eas and ini­tially be­longed to the Prime Min­is­ter’s f ather Es­mond Wick­remesinghe that was es­tab­lished with an In­dian part­ner. The lat­ter’s part­ner still has shares in the prop­erty, the man­age­ment noted.

Browns Ho­tels also has a prop­erty in Dam­bulla, the Par­adise Re­sort and Spa which is lo­cated within the cool seren­ity of the sur­round­ing rocks and trees. In prox­im­ity to the Kalu Diya Pokuna and the Dakini­giri Vi­hara or the For­got­ten tem­ple vis­its to these sights is a must for any trav­eller. Not only do you get to view the peace­ful sur­round­ings but also trek a bit to see the tem­ple and one would no­tice how some of the carved rocks are dis­placed. An­other in­ter­est­ing sight are the pil­lars po­si­tioned that would have housed a hall.

The Par­adise has 67 lux­u­ri­ous chalets in Deluxe, Su­pe­rior Du­plex and Gar­den Suites cat­e­gories in the four star prop­erty which was ini­tially owned by an Ital­ian in­vestor who had later sold the prop­erty.

The invit­ing am­bi­ence wel­comes vis­i­tors to the space above the rooms found at the top of the stair­case that is quite a get­away within the ho­tel it­self.

The Gar­den Suites pro­vide large fam­i­lies and groups to have in­ter-con­nected rooms and set apart from the rest. Both ho­tels have spa fa­cil­i­ties pro­vid­ing tra­di­tional ayurveda and Thai spa treat­ments.

The Par­adise Re­sort and Spa Res­i­dent Man­ager She­han Gre­gory said that they were run­ning to ca­pac­ity for the up­com­ing win­ter sea­son and that a group of Chi­nese vis­i­tors were also stay­ing with them.

The ho­tel has spe­cial ar­range­ments for Chi­nese vis­i­tors who wish to have ex­tra blan­kets among other ser­vices. The Browns Ho­tels and Re­sorts is a sub­sidiary of the Browns Group and to­day is all part of the LOLC group.

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