Browns LOLC caters to growing Chinese market
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.