Sunshine Travels – a subsidiary of Sunshine Holdings Ltd., one of the leading investment conglomerates in Sri Lanka – is further expanding its business in the hotels segment with substantial investments towards innovative new developments.
It aims to offer a unique holiday experience through its newly launched umbrella brand ‘Mandira Bungalows,’ which will feature colonial style boutique bungalows in several locations around the island – most with some historical significance.
Recognising tourism as the thrust sector for the Sri Lankan economy since the cessation of the 30-year civil war, the parent Group Sunshine Holdings intends to capitalise on its current positive experience in the tourism industry by taking steps to penetrate new avenues in the travel business.
Hence, the company is expanding its horizons in the hospitality industry by establishing ‘boutique bungalows’ across the country – this is in addition to the two plantation bungalows of Sunshine Travels which now come under the Mandira brand – newly refurbished and re-launched as Mandira Strathdon Bungalow and Mandira Dickoya Bungalow. Promoted as boutique bungalows, they are aimed at offering a novel experience.
Making a refreshing change from the over popular beach destinations, the misty mountains and the cool climes of Sri Lanka’s ‘up country’ holds much potential for the leisure sector, with new opportunities and options to take advantage of – precisely what Sunshine Travels has taken the lead in doing, by starting out with the launch of Mandira Bungalows.
Now owned and managed by Watawala Plantations – a leader in the plantations sector – Strathdon and Dickoya bungalows were built in the early 1900s in the style of that era to provide a comfortable and somewhat familiar home from home to ‘planters’ who presided over the estates. Their colonial ambience is lovingly preserved today in the elegant decor; the simple luxury and the warmth of service that makes these two boutique bungalows so unique.
The bungalows are cosy havens where guests can step back in time and wake up to the charms of 19th century decor. Old prints of colonial heyday adorn the walls. Heavy drapes, feather soft pillows, linen and lace and thick pile carpets – with such comfort embracing one from all around, the temptation to snuggle up in an armchair all day and lazily admire the view of lush estates outside the window is one that is easy to give into.
Colonial comforts aside, every modern facility and convenience - from hot showers to cable TV is also there to keep visitors firmly in the indulgences of the 21st century. The gardens surrounding the bungalows are extensive with beautiful mountain vistas and the rolling slopes of the tea estates around.
The cuisine at Mandira offers the best of both worlds with an extensive menu offering a choice of Western and Eastern dishes carefully prepared to suit the most discerning tastes. And if guests have particular dietary requirements, that can be catered to as well.
With the ‘Hill Country’ of Sri Lanka being as rich as the tea it produces, guests have diverse distractions to enjoy too. A wealth of cultural traditions, unspoilt wilderness and varying landscapes are all there to be experienced firsthand and for those who refuse to sit still, there is much to explore.
The Lonarch dairy farm hides high up in the mist. A quick course on tea can be taken with a factory visit to Kenilworth Estate. The oldest Golf course in Asia is nearby at Nuwara Eliya with enough spectacular waterfalls to admire along the way. The Zesta Tea Cup provides a stopover for a refreshing cuppa and to pick some brew to take home. Rare herbs and spices grown at the Carolina Spice Garden en route also make an interesting diversion.
With both the initial Mandira properties now in full operation and being much in demand, the future prospects certainly look bright for this unique brand of boutique bungalows. They also plan to partner with other bungalow operators across the country to provide their clientele a more exclusive, personalised vacation at these boutique bungalows.
With the ‘season’ having been in full force and 2011 being just around the corner, Sunshine Travels is actively pursuing opportunities for growth and increase in market share with the launch of the Mandira boutique bungalows.
With exciting plans for further developments and additional properties to be unveiled in the near future, the new website www.mandirabungalows.com will also be launched for the boutique bungalows, giving them global exposure and opportunities for further progress in the leisure sector.