Sri Lanka’s premier resort brand, Heritance Hotels & Resorts, swept the green and individual awards at the recently-concluded Sri Lanka Tourism Awards.
Sri Lanka’s most internationally awarded hotel, Heritance Kandalama won the awards for ‘Best Practices in Green Architecture’ and ‘Best Green Practices in Accommodation’.
Chef Lalith Gunasekera of Heritance Ahungalla was awarded the coveted ‘Best Chef of the Year’ award, while Kumara Karunarathne from Heritance Ahungalla was named the ‘Best Employee of the Year’ and ‘Best Restaurant Manager of the Year’ award went to Thushara Gunanaratne, also of Heritance Ahungalla.
Aiming to recognise and reward excellence in the travel and tourism industry, thus promoting and enhancing the delivery of service standards, this year’s Sri Lanka Tourism Awards was held for the fifth consecutive year on the 30 August.
Heritance Kandalama is routinely recognised as one of the most eco-friendly hotels in the world, setting industry benchmarks recognised and applied globally. It is also a supreme example of Bawa’s philosophy of adapting architecture to suit the environment.
Chef Lalith is one example of a truly loyal employee of the Aitken Spence Hotels chain. Since completing his training at the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management he joined the Aitken Spence group at the Browns Beach Hotel in Negombo.
Following a stint at the Hotel, he also played the role of an executive chef at Club Rannaalhi in The Maldives and Waters Edge in Colombo, before settling down at Heritance Ahungalla. Frequently rewarded for his expertise, Waters Edge being awarded the prestigious recognition of becoming the ‘Most Outstanding Hotel Team,’ under the leadership of Chef Lalith at the Culinary Art Competition in both 2005 and 2007, is perhaps most noteworthy.
Having worked in various capacities at Hill Top Kandy for a period of 20 years, Kumara Karunarathne was promoted and transferred to Heritance Ahungalla in 2010. Winning several service awards, such as the ‘Best Wine Waiter of the Region’ award at a competition organised by Orient Lanka at the Hotel Swiss in Kandy, Kumara has time and time again been recognised for his potential and good works.
Thushara Guna-naratne is yet another success story. Since the start, he was a personality with tremendous public relations skills, who started treading in the path of success within a short time span of being in the industry. Today, Thushara brings with him a unique set of skills and capabilities, satisfying both internal and external customers as a restaurant manager at Heritance Ahungalla.
Speaking about Aitken Spence’s exceptional team, Malin Hapugoda, the Managing Director of Aitken Spence Hotels, commented: “Our employees represent the Company’s most important asset and, as such, are vital to its success. It is only thorough the strength of our team that we have been able to win accolades such as the awards won at this year’s Sri Lanka Tourism Awards; and for that, I would like to thank then immensely.”
Aitken Spence Hotels’ premier resorts operate under the brand Heritance Hotels & Resorts. Famed for its distinctive properties, exquisite food, culinary art and exceptional service, Heritance Hotels & Resorts has over a period of time gained the reputation of being one of the best hospitality chains in the region.
A veteran in the tourism industry, Aitken Spence Hotels is no stranger to these awards. The industry giant has been dominating the awards for the past consecutive years, with Heritance Hotels & Resorts winning many coveted awards at last year’s event.
Heritance Ahungalla, was awarded the ‘Best 5-Star Resort’ in the island, successfully taking over the baton from Heritance Kandalama, which held the award for the last three consecutive years. This win secured for the resort a position in the prestigious Hall of Fame last year. In addition, Heritance Tea Factory emerged winners in the ‘Best 4-Star Resort’ category for a second year. Further demonstrating the dominant position maintained by Heritance Hotels & Resorts in Sri Lanka, Heritance Kandalama was awarded the ‘Best Host Hotel for Eco Tourism,’ reaffirming the group’s commitment towards the environment.