- LOLC Leisure buys popular Dickwella Resort for Rs. 1 b
LOLC Leisure yesterday announced the strategic acquisition of Dickwella Resort in the deep south of Sri Lanka, thereby expanding its formidable presence in the country’s hospitality industry.
Located at the southern-most tip of Sri Lanka, Dickwella Resort is universally acknowledged as having the most stunning location of all beach properties in the island.
LOLC Leisure emerged triumphant to purchase 100% for Rs. 1,014 million for the highly-coveted beach resort, set in such a valued location. LOLC Leisure is owned by LOLC and Browns Investments with a holding of 70% and 30% respectively.
Ishara Nanayakkara, Deputy Chairman, LOLC Group, the holding company of LOLC Leisure, commented: “We are proud to have acquired this beachside property situated at such a prized location. This acquisition marks another milestone in our leisure holdings and propels us into the forefront of the hospitality industry.”
“Dickwella Resort will be another key offering in our bouquet of hotel properties along the western coast of Sri Lanka. The resort has already carved out a distinctive niche for itself on the global tourist map and we intend to upgrade the luxury facilities and enhance the room capacity in the months ahead to catapult it further into a multi-star category hotel that offers a holiday experience of a lifetime,” Nanayakkara said.
He said that with the Southern Expressway, now operational, has succeeded in drastically reducing travel time to the resort. In time to come, the completion of the Colombo-Katunayake Highway will reduce travel time to Dickwella Resort even more.
“LOLC Leisure remains committed to consolidating its leisure business in the years ahead and we remain in pursuit of acquiring resorts in unique stunning locations, such as Dickwella Resort, that instantly set them apart for their sheer natural beauty. We are extremely bullish about prospects for tourism in the country and our substantial holding of uniquely located properties will ensure they become the preferred choice in the local and global tourists’ itinerary,” Nanayakkara added.
Situated on a promontory that projects outwards into the ocean, the resort is surrounding by the sea on all three sides and has a rich pioneering history behind its origins. In 1975, Italian entrepreneur Enzo Azzola ventured out into the untouched south coast of Sri Lanka. Unable to believe his luck on discovering a beautiful location so reminiscent of the Italian Riviera, he built Dickwella Resort on this spot and introduced the ‘club’ concept for the first time in Sri Lanka, in vogue in Milan at the time.
The Italian collaborated with local artists and blended traditional Sri Lankan architectural styles with contemporary design, imparting a unique character to the resort. Today, Dickwella is a dream getaway for tourists seeking peace and relaxation.
Celebrated sci-fi author Sir Arthur C. Clarke has famously called Dickwella Beach “the best beach in Sri Lanka”. Significantly, its equidistant location from the eastern and western shores of Sri Lanka enables tourists there to get a sensational view of sunrises and sunsets with a timeless appeal.
And yet, the resort also offers guests recreational options such as water sports, diving instruction, shipwreck sites, canoeing, etc., to choose from. The resort boasts of a world-class luxury spa managed by French wellness expert, Yves.
Located close to Dondra, the resort offers easy access to world famous tourist sites such as Yala, Kirinda, Mirissa beach, dolphin and whale-watching excursions and so on.
However, many tourists might find it impossible to tear themselves away from the poetic beauty of the location of the 76 beautifully designed villas of Dickwella Resort, preferring perhaps to soak in the majestic splendour of the sweeping vistas of ocean, beach, blue skies and feeling of peace and serenity. LOLC Leisure intends to leverage on the vast property to expand the room capacity to 100 plus in the immediate future.
The highly-diversified conglomerate, LOLC Group, forayed into the leisure sector with LOLC Leisure acquiring Confifi Group hotels in 2010, namely, Hotel Riverina, Club Palm Bay and Eden Resort & Spa. The two former hotels are closed for extensive renovation and will be reopened in 2013.
Operating under LOLC Leisure management, Eden Resort & Spa has just completed the most successful year of operations since its inception in 2010/11. LOLC Leisure has also acquired Tropical Villas, previously owned by Jetwing and Hayleys, located alongside the other three properties, and which is also under extensive refurbishment.
Once reopened in 2013, these hotels will be managed by a reputed hotel management brand and reflect 4-star plus luxury at its best. Demonstrating its commitment to acquiring land or property situated in valuable locations, LOLC Leisure has bought another beautifully located 30-acre swath of land in Passikudah, which is surrounded by the sea, river and lagoon, offering tremendous potential as an exotic resort in the near future.
All in all, LOLC Leisure now holds 626 rooms in the country’s ‘Golden Mile’ on the western coast and in Dickwella in the deep south. The extent of room capacity makes LOLC Leisure one of the largest resort-owning companies in Sri Lanka.