Hotels coming under the Hemas Group, like many other mega leisure companies, are undergoing a change in terms of re-development, upgrades and investment as Sri Lanka prepares for a better tourism climate after the war.
Hemas Holdings Group Director Abbas Esufally, who in charge of the group’s hotel and leisure activities, told the Business Times that the Club Hotel Dolphin at Waikkal, just past Negombo, will be upgraded to a 4-star property from a current 3 ½ star hotel, at a cost of Rs 500 million. “Work will begin this summer (March-October) on the renovation and part of hotel will be closed for this purpose,” he said adding that plans are also underway to revive the pact with Bangkok-based Minor Group and its Anantara brand of hotels.
“We want to go back to the plans that were put on hold due to the uncertainty (owing to the war),” Mr Esufally said, adding that the plan is to re-name the hotels in line with the Anantara brand. Hotel Serendib will be the first to come under the new plan and will be re-named accordingly.
The group is also looking at developing the Hemas land bank with unused properties in the south and hill country and considering investments in the East. In Kandy, the group plans to re-design a Yoga /Spa retreat on 32 acres of land which had a Geoffrey Bawa-architectural plan but was not proceeded with due to the country’s turbulence. “It’s easier to invest and manage boutique hotels because there is less marketing required and the returns are quicker,” he pointed out.