HILTON Colombo, armed with a US$45 million renovation plan, is the latest among five-star properties in Sri Lanka to spruce up its hardware in anticipation of 2.5 million visitors by 2016, a bold target set by the country's tourism authorities.
Thiru Nadesan, chairman of the government-owned Hotel Developers, which owns the hotel, said local and international bids were called on Sunday for the refurbishment of the 362-room property. The hotel, opened in 1984, is said to be one of Colombo’s oldest five-star hotels.
Works will be done in two phases, with the first likely to start after September and be completed by August 2013. The hotel will be closed for the extensive makeover.
Nadesan said the company was searching for a suitable consultant and interior decorator.
Spurred by rising tourism demand following the end of Sri Lanka’s 30-year civil conflict, several hotels across the country have undergone major renovations in the past 18 months. Room inventory in the destination had also doubled.
In Colombo, the five-star, 229-room Ceylon Continental Hotel is being renovated at a cost of nearly US$14 million. The hotel has been closed since February and is slated to reopen this October.
The 300-room Taj Samudra, Colombo is planning an extensive remake later this year. A hotel spokesperson said costs were yet to be worked out but noted that works would be done in phases, with sections of the hotel closed.
Meanwhile, leisure industry sources told TTG Asia e-Daily that local players were negotiating with the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and Raffles Hotels and Resorts to establish properties in Colombo.
“If these deals materialise, these hotels will come on stream by 2018,” an industry source said.
With arrivals already on the rise, Sri Lanka aims to double the number of rooms to more than 45,000, from the current stock of 22,000.
Big-name hotels such as Shangri-La, Six Senses, Mövenpick and Anantara have jumped into Sri Lanka, while Marriott, Hyatt and Sheraton are now under negotiation.