Dilith-Varuni duo gets more bullish on post-war tourism

Wednesday, 29 December 2010 00:36 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Emagewise controlled Citrus Leisure to build a 4-star resort in Kalpitiya
  • Acquires 78 acres for Rs. 122 m to build 150 rooms and 28 waterfront villas

Citrus Leisure PLC, formerly Hotel Reefcomber PLC, has marked its name change with an announcement to build a four star resort in Kalpitiya following the acquisition of 78 acres of land identified as ‘Santhoduwa-Kalpitiya’.

The total investment in the land amounted to Rs. 122.18 million. The acquisition is the company’s second following a change in management earlier this year. Emagewise Ltd., a private venture of Triad Advertising fame Dilith Jayaweera and Varuni Amunugama Fernando, is the controlling shareholder of Citrus Leisure.

The proposed resort will comprise of 150 rooms and 28 water front villas. The villas will be built facing a 50 meter-wide waterway, which cuts through the land and connects at the end to the sea. These exclusive villas will have individual gondolas, providing the occupants access to the sea.

In a unique proposition, the villas will be made available to local and foreign high net worth individuals on the basis of a 99-year lease. Citrus Leisure will operate the villas as part of the hotel with the concurrence of their owners, managing and marketing them accordingly.

The ‘Santhoduwa-Kalpitiya’ site is ideally placed in close proximity to the whale- and dolphin-watching sites in the seas off Kalpitiya and the magnificent Wilpattu National Park, home to the elephant and the elusive Ceylon leopard. The company believes the proposed resort will cater to the growing demand for suitable star class accommodation along the north west coast of Sri Lanka.

Chairman of Citrus Leisure, tourism-veteran Prema Cooray, said: “Our decision to enter Kalpitiya is a strategic one that considers the area’s vast untapped potential to become a tourist hotspot. Kalpitiya is one of the zones being targeted in the Government’s new vision for tourism and Citrus Leisure is excited to be a flag-bearer in the emergence of destination Kalpitiya.”

Renowned architect Murad Ismail has come on board to design the resort, bringing with him his extensive experience in designing world-class properties, including the prestigious Four Seasons Hotel in the Maldives.

The purchase of the ‘Santhoduwa-Kalpitiya’ land is the company’s second major acquisition following its purchase of a 7.2 acre beach property in Waskaduwa, where construction will begin in early 2011 on a 150 roomed 4-star property.