Cinnamon Lakeside to launch first-ever floating restaurant

Friday, 9 December 2011 00:04 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  •  8° on the Lake to set sail  on 20 December

By Cassandra Mascarenhas

Amidst the rapid development and beautification that Colombo is currently undergoing, Colombo’s five-star city hotel Cinnamon Lakeside is preparing itself to make a new unique addition to their line-up of offerings in time for the festive season while at the same time, making a distinctive contribution to the tourism offerings in the city.

Capitalising on their fantastic location right by the Beira Lake, the establishment is readying itself to launch 8°on the Lake, a floating restaurant on a two-storey catamaran-based boat, an initiative like no other in Sri Lanka.

“We are very proud as this initiative portrays John Keells at its best with innovation and creativity and bringing something new to further assist the country. It’s something very exciting as it’s a brand new concept here – people were fighting to be the first to be on the boat.

It’s an incredible addition to the tourism offerings in the city as anybody can go to eat in a restaurant or a garden anywhere in the world but not everyone in a city has a chance to have a boat like this. It’s fantastic,” said Cinnamon Lakeside General Manager Denis Gruhier.

Set to be launched on December 20, Gruhier explained that the boat has been named as a follow-up to the hotel’s popular chill-out spot by the lake, 7° North which is now an established brand in Colombo.

“I believe that it is something absolutely unique here in Colombo and we already have a lot of requests coming up for the boat. It’s a logical initiative for us to undertake if you look at the hotel as we are the only five-star establishment in Colombo which is in a fantastic location right by the lake,” he elucidated.

“We are in the city centre which is very convenient for any business traveller but at the same time, when they finish their hard day’s work they come back to the hotel and they really have a place to relax and chill out because of the atmosphere that the lake brings to the hotel.

The logical thing of course for us to entertain our guests and to make sure that they have a great time is to use the lake and what better way to use it than to have a floating restaurant.”

The boat will be equipped with two forty horsepower engines that will allow it to go around the lake for guests and will be able to accommodate 100 people for cocktails and around 50 people for dinner.

Featuring two floors, the ground floor, closed up and air-conditioned, will be more of a dining area, but Gruhier was quick to add that tables can be moved to transform the area into a lounge for cocktails.

The second floor will be a viewing deck complete with a Perspex ceiling so that guests will be able to enjoy the star-lit night onboard.

 It will be an open area fitted out with curtains which can be dropped down in case of wind or other adverse weather conditions.

The entire project required an investment of nearly Rs. 100 million and planning for it commenced over two years ago, with the construction itself starting eight months back.

“The boat was built locally from scratch. It is a Sri Lankan project for Sri Lanka built by Sri Lankans for Sri Lankan people. I’ve only been here for four months and I went to see the construction site shortly after I arrived and I saw the work and I was so impressed to see the quality of the job that the people were doing and I have seen boats been built for other companies and the quality I saw at that site was incredible so I’m really proud for Sri Lanka to be able to produce such a great work. Soon it will become an icon,” Gruhier stated proudly.

As there has been such a demand for the boat for private functions, it will initially only be used for special functions but eventually in the future, the hotel will open it out once a week for individual guests to dine on it as well.

8°on the Lake will also feature themed nights so that recurrent guests will have something new to look forward to with each dining experience.

The restaurant will feature all the cuisine currently served at the various restaurants at the Cinnamon Lakeside which includes Thai, Chinese, Mediterranean and Indian fare amongst many others. The inbuilt kitchen onboard will allow the preparation of dishes on the boat itself.

“When you think about it, it’s not just true in South East Asia but globally, how many cities have the luxury of having a beautiful lake like the Beira Lake in the centre on the city? Very few and it is something that will help set Colombo a little bit more on the world map by saying that Colombo is a beautiful city with creative ideas and things to do in the city because the issue in many tourism-based countries is whenever the plane lands in what tends to be the capital of the country, what do you do there?

“With the boat there, before they travel to other parts of the island, we can offer visitors a good night here and put them in the mood before they go on their trips. It is something very appealing and will really set us apart, not only as a competitor within Colombo but within the region as well,” the General Manager noted.