Written by Ramesh Irugalbandara
16 Mar, 2015 | 3:32 pm
Last week we traced the history of tourism and its emergence as a socio economic force of reckoning in Sri Lanka. We also highlighted some popular hotels and personalities that have helped this phenomenon take form with perseverance and genius. The local tourism industry has taken off and new ideas and concepts that fit the various particular requirements and needs of discerning travelers are being custom built. The newest evolution is the concept of lean luxury.
The Cinnamon red on Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha, Colombo 3, is a visual stunner. Compact and no nonsense it is the ideal in and out for the co-operate journeyman who wants no frills and fuss but insists on comfort and convenience which the Cinnamon red provides with added luxury in the heart of the city.
Coming under the Cinnamon Hotels and resorts umbrella with the Cinnamon hotels in the city headed by Mr Rohan Karr, which include notable 5 star giants like the Cinnamon Grand and the Cinnamon Lakeside, the Cinnamon red is open to business with the very lucrative mid-tier market. “Cinnamon red guarantees an ambiance and environment for the modern traveler to simultaneously thrive and feel at ease, while being immersed in the city life that surrounds them.”
Mr. Terrence Fernando the General manager of the Cinnamon red describes the success of the red which has maintained a consistent average occupancy of 85-88% since its inception in September last year as due mostly to online travel agents comprising of almost 40% of the room sales. It is a 3 star category hotel with high product value and a 5 star sleeping experience.The reds smaller younger team are happy and are trained to multi task and receive one of the highest service charges in Colombo. This is mainly due to the staff to room’s ratio, which is at 0.75 contrasting with the 2-2.5 in other graded hotels. Lean luxury is here to stay because it is efficient, has a profitable niche market and because hotels like the pioneering Cinnamon red know how to deliver a luxury product at economical prices in a modern environment of convenience that connects appropriately with the global travel market.
Cinnamon red has 243 rooms, a designer restaurant on the 8th floor, a reception cum tea and coffee bar on the 7thfloor and on the 26th floor an eye-popping view of the city of Colombo together with an infinity pool and gym and the excitingly hip ‘Cloud Red’ roof top bar also on the same floor. It is in every way a well thought of and evolved concept and we welcome the discerning to visit, as they will be very pleased with the sense of independence, convenience and sophistication it proffers.
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Not far from the trendy lean concept of the Cinnamon red sits the 150-year-old Galle face Hotel. We discussed briefly the magnificence of this matriarch last week and something of its heritage of old world comfort and service.
While the management is maintaining a relative hush-hush policy about the renovations of the hotel and the eventual Gala opening we were privileged to meet the new ‘Head of Culinary Operations’ Chef Jan Seibold from Germany at his first press presentation. (Image chef)
Coming from a region close to Alsace near the borders of France, Switzerland and Italian influences he describes himself as enjoying home cooking as a child and joining the industry just barely into his teens. Since then Chef Jan has travelled and worked most everywhere in the world. The Imperial New Delhi, Shangri-La Jakarta, Sun city South Africa and the JW Marriott in Cairo Egypt to name just a few. A self confessed ‘foodie’ Chef Jan admits to enjoying working with spices and is very enthusiastic about Sri Lankan cooking and plans to make local dishes the prime focus.
Describing a simple prawn curry as his favorite he says that he is very impressed by the range of fresh ingredients and products he has discovered in this surprisingly clean and very beautiful country. The mostly Sri Lankan contemporary dishes he plans to introduce will be fairly priced and invitations to specialized international guest Chefs will be the combinations for success to make the Galle face the premier dining destination in Colombo. Chef Jan goes on to place the Galle Face Hotel on par with The Imperial in New Delhi, The Savoy in London and the The Peninsula in Hong Kong in terms of her heritage and standards. We will be closely observing the Galle face hotel and it is our anticipation that the new team succeeds and continues to keep this revered old lady beautiful and charming and a heritage for generations to come. More news about the Gala opening and developments as we know more.
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Next week we will travel to Galle and see what this historic city of once Dutch colonial conquest is offering to travelers.
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