Accordingly, both of the resort hotels will be operated by Centara under a management contract and will be part of the company’s core brand of four-star properties.
Centara Passikudah Resort & Spa Sri Lanka is a 126-room property located next to the beach in Passikudah, while Centara Ceysands Resort & Spa Sri Lanka is located on the Paradise Island Peninsula in Bentota.
Chris Bailey, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Centara Hotels and Resorts said that the two properties will be opened this year.
“This is the perfect opportunity, with two beautiful resort hotels in two very different locations, to achieve a high profile in the market,” he said. “Our response from the industry is already a very positive one,” he added.
Centara Ceysands Resort & Spa with 166 units is flanked by a river and a pristine beach; the hotel is accessible only by ferry and all rooms have spectacular views, while Centara Passikudah Resort and Spa will be located on a long sweeping portion of the Passikudah Beach, the shallow waters of which are ideal for windsurfing, kayaking and bathing.
Room types at both resorts will include Superior, Deluxe, Family Residences and Suites, with Deluxe Pool Access type will be unique to Centara Ceysands and Premium Deluxe will be a unique room type at Passikudah.
“These two superb hotels mark our debut in Sri Lanka, a market that we feel holds great promise for us,” said Thirayuth Chirathivat, Chief Executive Officer, Centara Hotels & Resorts.
He added that the two resorts are an important stage in the company’s development strategy for the Indian Ocean.
Restaurants at the Ceysands will include an all-day dining outlet serving Sri Lankan, Asian and international cuisines and features live cooking stations, while a seafood restaurant and the Ceylon Club will have an emphasis on the Ceylonese tea heritage.
The hotel will also operate dinner cruises up and down the river each evening. Centara Ceysands Resort and Spa will have a Spa Cenvaree with six treatment rooms designed for singles and couples.
Along with the all-day restaurant and an attractive bar lounge, the Passikudah hotel will feature Spice Market Restaurant and Elements, with interactive cooking stations focusing on freshly prepared Asian, Indian and Middle-Eastern dishes. The hotel will also feature a Kids’ Club.
Meetings and events will form an integral portion of the market mix featuring Vandeloos Bay Ballroom, which can welcome up to 150 guests at one time and is complemented by state-of-the-art audio visual equipment and professional event specialists to assist guests and delegates in exceeding their expectations.
Centara Hotels & Resorts is Thailand's leading operator of hotels, with 37 deluxe and first-class properties covering all the major tourist destinations in the kingdom.
A further 17 resorts in the Maldives, Philippines, Vietnam, Bali-Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Mauritius Indian Ocean, bring the present total to 54 properties.
Centara operates 25 branches of Spa Cenvaree, one of Thailand's most luxurious and innovative spa brands, together with its newly-launched value brand Cense by Spa Cenvaree, which provides core spa services for busy travellers.
Meanwhile, several key vacancies have opened up with the Centara’s debut in Sri Lanka as the resort firm’s website has advertised for a number of key positions.
Some of the vacancies advertised for Centara Passikudah Resort & Spa are executive chef, HR manager, resident manager, chief engineer, financial controller etc. while similar key vacancies have been put up for Centara Ceysands Resort and Spa.
The Thai hotel chain’s resorts are among several other luxury resorts and hotels that are in the pipeline for Sri Lanka.
The recently announced Shangri-La Colombo and Hambantota which is to be opened in 2015, Sheraton Colombo, that will make its debut with this 306-room hotel opposite Galle Face Green tipped to be opened in October 2013 and Mövenpick Colombo, which is to start operations in the middle of 2013, are some of these projects.
Also, local hotel group Jetwing’s project, Jetwing Colombo, will have 70 rooms and 28 serviced apartments and will open in April 2014.
Meanwhile, Avani Kalutra, the second property under the new mid-market brand by Thai-based Minor Hotel Group and local partner Serendib Leisure will be opened later this year. Located an hour south of Colombo, it will have 105 rooms.
Anantara Kalutara which is a 138-room upscale resort with a spa will also be opened in late 2013.
Further, Soneva Ahungalla, a result of Bangkok-based Six Senses’ founder Sonu Shivdasani’s partnership with Sri Lanka’s Aitken Spence Hotels, will create an exclusive 71-villa project, occupying 10 and half acres of beachfront land and the 26-acre Meeraladuwa Island, just south of Bentota will be opened in early 2014.
Also, Jetwing Yala Safari, Yala, where the original luxury game lodge at one of the country’s best-known parks was destroyed in the 2004 tsunami will be getting a new facelift with the new development having 70 rooms and 28 villas and is expected to open in April 2013.
In the East, Jetwing Reef, Uppuveli, a 68-room property, set to open December 2013, will be among the first high-end resorts to open in the region since the war ended. (Keishara Perera)