Hilton Colombo with a $45 million renovation plan is the latest among Sri Lanka's five star properties preparing to cater to 2.5 million visitors by 2016. Among these plans is creating five new suites and 10 new dining rooms.
Removal of bathtubs, an old tradition in hotel rooms, is also on the cards. Thiru Nadesan, Chairman of the state-owned Hotel Developers Ltd, said local and international bids were called on Sunday for refurbishment of the 362-room property, managed by Hilton International, in two phases.
The first phase is likely to start after September and be completed by August 2013. He said the company is looking for a suitable consultant and interior decorator to renovate one of Colombo's oldest five star hotels which opened in 1984. "The hotel will be closed during these two phases of the renovation," he said. Several hotels across the island have undergone major renovations in the past 18 months with room rates also doubling. In Colombo, the 5-star, 229-room Continental is being renovated at a cost of nearly $14 million.
The hotel has been closed since February and due to re-open in October 2012. The 300-room Taj Samudra, Colombo is planning on an extensive renovation later this year with an interior decorator already preparing a mock-room. A spokesperson for the hotel said costs were yet to be worked out but noted that the renovation will be in phases with just parts of the hotel closed. Meanwhile leisure industry sources said local parties are negotiating with the Four Seasons and Raffels to set up properties in Colombo.
"If these deals materialize these hotels will come on stream by 2018," one industry source said. The latest big names to the industry are Shangri-La, Six Senses, Movenpick and Minor Group - Anantara group while the Marriot, Hyatt and Sheraton are under negotiation.