Bringing the impossible to life while breaking new ground with unique concepts, Jetwing Vil Uyana over the years has excelled beyond expectations through the commitment and contribution of all those who brought the property to what it is today. Being the first man-made nature reserve ever to be created in Sri Lanka, Jetwing Vil Uyana in Sigiriya celebrates a decade of eco-luxury living this October.
Jetwing Vil Uyana is highly praised for its layout of a wetland system with lakes, reed beds and forest to form a private nature reserve allowing dwellings to be built within a variety of habitats. Its contribution to nature and unique designs throughout the 10 years has been acknowledged by leading institutions in the world. This property is a fortune of lavish living, warm service, exceptional architecture and design, royal history and eco-friendly surroundings.
A pioneer in world class design and creating open spaces, Jetwing Hotels embarked on an ambitious journey in 2002. Making a bold move by converting an abandoned land into a manmade wetland and nature reserve, the inspiration behind Jetwing Vil Uyana is the model at the Barnes Wetland, UK. In an effort to ensure the continuation of life through the establishment of a wetland consisting of beautiful landscapes and encounters with wildlife, it was important that Jetwing Vil Uyana embodied a sustainable design. With the input of a number of specialists, the property stands as an enclosure in perfect harmony with natural habitat.
The total land area of Jetwing Vil Uyana stands at 28 acres; 4 acres of land is used to grow paddy using traditional and organic harvesting methods while 3 acres have been used for vegetable farming; 5 acres consist entirely of the man-made lakes and the balance 17 acres of land includes the forested land with distinct native species attracted to the area.
It was important that the eco system remained intact and that the property would build itself around the natural surroundings. Thus, with the help of experts in the field and the resident naturalist at the time a data capture program was conducted to monitor the changes in flora and fauna. The original assessment during construction revealed 24 species of butterflies, four species of fish, three species of amphibian and reptiles, 29 species of birds and 12 species of mammals. Currently, there are 36 species of butterflies, 120 birds, and 20 species of mammals. This signifies that the property has in no way endangered the eco system but in fact enhanced the bio diversity in the area and as a result has attracted the said species. One of the many attractions to date at Jetwing Vil Uyana is the night trail which goes on to spot the elusive Grey Slender Loris, who were naturally attracted to the habitat and also the fishing cat.
With the intuitive understanding of Jetwing’s commitment to undisrupted habitat, environmental architect Sunela Jayawardene put together a concept for Jetwing Vil Uyana including elements of the hotel such as the dwellings inspired by traditional watch huts on stilts used by farmers deep in the Sigiriya jungles and the incorporation of vernacular design integrated in a built wetland refuge, thus creating a hotel with a unique lifestyle. The concept encompasses a plan to irrigate similar to traditions of ancient kings and also embodies the lifestyle of royalty with open gardens for leisure. This paved way for 36 dwellings to be built in and over water, paddy field, forest, marsh and garden surroundings.
Working in perfect harmony with the local community, Jetwing Hotels went on to introduce the Jetwing Youth Development Project (JYDP), by taking under their wing 120 school leavers who underwent a six month comprehensive education and training course. Offered both practical and theoretical training – ranging from English language proficiency, skill development, industry training – they were prepared for a career in the travel and tourism industry. The project at Jetwing Vil Uyana was awarded a PATA Grand Award in 2007 and 10 years on in recognition of the value of the program, the same award was received in 2016 for its valuable contribution. Interestingly two of the associates from the first JYDP batch at Jetwing Vil Uyana still provide their valuable service at the property and celebrate 10 glorious years with the hotel.
In recognition of Jetwing Vil Uyana’s sustainability practices and distinct service, a number of awards have been won by the team. From being named as a waste management champion by the EU SWITCH, receiving Asia Greening Hotels Awards and a Silver Award at the National Green Award in 2013; WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Award for Environment, a PATA Grand Award for the environment under ‘Man & Nature – In Perfect Harmony’, a merit award from the Sri Lanka National Energy Efficiency Awards, a merit for energy & water conservation, & waste management at the THASL Greening Awards in 2014; the property was also named Sri Lanka’s Leading Boutique Hotel at the World Travel Awards and the Global Luxury Wildlife Resort at the World Luxury Hotel Awards in 2015.
“Jetwing Vil Uyana was a risk, no doubt – a project of this scale and scope had never been undertaken in Sri Lanka at the time! The location was completely rural, the investment was sizeable, and the tourism industry at the time was hard hit due to the civil war. All we had was a vision, and a dream to create an eco-resort that truly allowed guests to experience the finest nature had to offer, without compromising on luxury and comfort.
“Today, I look at Jetwing Vil Uyana and I am very proud. Our associates, the community, and all our guests over the past 10 years have given the resort a personality of her own; a concept can be copied, after all, but a personality and identity is unique. We look forward to celebrating such milestones in the future as well,” said Jetwing Chairman Hiran Cooray.
The true home of Sri Lankan hospitality is Jetwing Vil Uyana; with the magnificent rock fortress in view amidst solitude and bliss in an enclosure fit for royal living, 10 years of service makes Jetwing Vil Uyana a premier eco-luxury resort.
To get the best of the 10th year anniversary offers at Jetwing Vil Uyana log on to www.jetwinghotels.com or call on 011 4 709 400.