Business Times

Legendary hotelier in Rs.2.5 bln enhancement, upgrade

By Sunimalee Dias

The Galle Face Hotel Group has incurred an investment of approximately Rs.2.5 billion for upgrading and enhancing its properties, the management said on Thursday. The company has invested approximately Rs.1 billion in upgrading some of its properties and restaurants and a further Rs.1.5 billion towards refurbishments in its balance properties, Galle Face Hotel Senior Vice President Chandra Mohotti said.

He was speaking at an informal media briefing held to highlight the group's achievements over the years namely the first and only Presidential Award for the Best Heritage Hotel in 2009; PATA Grand Award for the Best Heritage Hotel in 2011; Sri Lanka Tourism Award for the Best Heritage Hotel in 2010; and the World Travel Award for the Best Business Hotel in 2011. The group would be undertaking re-branding of its properties as "Prestige", "Heritage" or "Rest Houses" as well. In addition, plans are underway for the establishment of a joint-venture hotel in Kandy in the near future, Mr. Mohotti said. In this regard, the group was in talks with foreign partners from the region to construct a new property behind the present Swisse Hotel in Kandy. It is being discussed as to whether this new hotel would be branded under the Galle Face Hotel group or form part of the foreign partner's brands as the latter were also engaged in the leisure sector as part of their diversified operations.

However, he refused to state the name of the foreign partner since discussions were still underway between the parties. Mr. Mohotti believes they must lift service standards as they were not in competition with the rest of the hotels on the island but with their regional counterparts. Speaking on a broader level relating to the industry, he said an effective and enhanced curricular for the Hotel Management School was required in a bid to ensure present day hotel staff were equipped with sales and marketing techniques. Mr. Mohotti, while calling for the inclusion and hiring of foreign trainers to provide adequate knowledge for the new recruits, said that towards this end government leadership was imperative.

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