The Finco Group of Companies have invested over Rs. 2.5 billion in three boutique hotels targeting up-market travelers, with the newest, Uga Bay, at Passikudah on which Rs. 850 million has been invested due to be opened at the end of this month by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Priyanjith Weerasooria, Managing Director of Finco Holdings which is looking at further investments in leisure said last week that they began their thrust with an investment of over a billion rupees at Ulugalla in the Anuradhapura district, restoring a traditional walawwa into the most luxurious boutique property in the cultural triangle.
"We’ve just finished two years of operations there and are now breaking even,’’ he said. ``We charge up to USD 1,000 for a suite there and are attracting high-end visitors.’’
The 20-room property spreads over 58 acres of freehold land and incorporates what the owners called a green and sustainable concept both in the development and operation of the resort.
The second hotel, Uga Jungle Beach at Kuchchaveli, has been operational since June this year. Like Ulugalla, this 48-room hotel too has been developed using sustainable low carbon technology with great care taken not to destroy or disrupt the natural environment. Built on a 15 acre property leased for 99 years, the development entailed a Rs. 850 million investment.
"We’ve had a good off-season there,’’ Weerasooria said.
Uga Bay at Passikudah, also a 48-room property on nine acres leased for 33 years, cost Rs. 850 million to develop.
"The accommodation there is unique,’’ Weerasooria said. ``It has 46 rooms, each 500 sq. ft. in area, in addition to the Bay Suite with 1,000 sq. ft. indoor and outdoor space and a beach chalet. The architecture in contemporary tropical fused with a Mediterranean theme.’’
With three boutique hotels up and running, Finco is also looking at a South coast property and one in the hill country although Weerasooria stressed that plans for these have not yet been finalized.
He said that gearing was 20 percent across all three properties now operational.
Asked whether the hotel sector is `over-banked’ with more rooms on offer than there are visitors, he said that the destination was being promoted with the country offering many attractions that must be built upon.