Colombo’s Grand Oriental Hotel (GOH) has paid a dividend of Rs. 10 million to owner Bank of Ceylon (BOC) after a lapse of several years. The BOC owns 98 % of the hotel located near the Colombo harbour.
GOH Chairman Rohan Jayasinghe told the Business Times that this payment was made recently and pointed out that profitability was returning with increasing room rates and opening of roads in Fort. Re-introduction of old themes and stringent controls has brought profits and customers back, he said.
Asked to comment on whether the hotel has found a buyer or new manager based on bids called by the BOC, Mr Jayasinghe said that at the moment there is no development in that direction. “All bids submitted are with the Bank of Ceylon. As far as I am concerned I have been given the task of managing this property and I will do my utmost to maximize the returns on it. Though the returns are there now for a property valued in excess of Rs. 2 billion this has still a long way to go in yielding maximum returns. Given the right environment and the tools I will show an even greater return.”
He said that since his appointment in February 2010 he has made every effort to bring the hotel to its past glory. “Every aspect of the hotel operation is personally overseen by me,” he said. Rooms are to be upgraded in keeping with the colonial style of the hotel with part of the profits being set aside for the improvements. Popular menus have been reintroduced as food was one of the main factors that the GOH was famous for. The ‘Blue Leopard’ night-club, once one of the trendiest places in town, will be re-launched shortly.
Mr Jayasinghe said they planned to have Go-Cart races in August and theme nights at the Harbour View restaurant along with several other changes.