The Sunday Leader

Eap Group Ventures Into Niche Tourism With Boutique Hotels

Rock Chalet Boutique Hotel

The end of the 30-year civil conflict in Sri Lanka is marked by a number of positive opportunities, progress and development for the country. The increase in the number of tourist arrivals for instance, reflects the paradigm shift of the island’s post-war tourism industry.

As thousands of holiday makers continue to pour into the country, the EAP Edirisinghe Group took this as an opportunity to diversify its company into the niche-market leisure business.

“We have decided to focus on niche tourism targeting up-market tourists, be it foreign or local, who prefer private and rejuvenating holidays,” Jeewaka Edirisinghe, the managing director of the EAP Edirisinghe Group said.

The EAP Group is nationally renowned with businesses spanning many industries including gold jewellery manufacturing and retailing, finance, entertainment, engineering and construction, among others.

The first boutique hotel

The company’s initiative to tap niche tourism started with the opening of Rock Chalet, the first of the series of boutique hotels that the company will put up in select locations like Nuwara Eliya, Bentota, Hikkaduwa, Passikudah, and Trincomalee.

The Rock Chalet, located in the Koratota Estate in Kaduwela, just 45 minutes away from the metropolitan activities of Colombo, is the archetype of EAP Group’s boutique hotels — private and luxurious, with a maximum of six rooms and fully-equipped with modern amenities.

Edirisinghe explains, “Trends suggest that future tourists will be more discerning, wanting more quality time in more tranquil settings, surrounded by nature. Within this market segment, the higher spender would want a private holiday. This is what our boutique hotels would offer.”

The luxury of the Rock Chalet is in the view and the location. The hotel itself is situated in the middle of a  50-acre rubber estate with perfectly manicured lawns and natural rubber trees, ideal for travellers who want a private getaway as Edirisinghe pointed out.

Historical background

The Koratota Estate also has a historical background.

Edirisinghe stated that 75 years ago, the estate served as a hideout for an Englishman, Bracegirdle  who fought against the British rule. At that time, Bracegirdle was to be deported to his country for dissident activities  against the British regime.

According to historical accounts, Bracegirdle occupied an outer room in his grandfather’s walawwa (bungalow), where he was taken care of by locals. The same room has been renovated and refurbished into a plush boutique hotel suite.

“The suite’s exclusivity, location and entry by way of a bridge, has captivated guests, hence it is much in demand,” Edirisinghe added.

In addition to the suite, the Rock Chalet has five luxury rooms, aptly named after local rocks. The rooms are furnished with king-size, four poster canopy beds. Each room is a perfect blend of contemporary style and minimalism and is uniquely decorated with modern and antique pieces of furniture; the diffused lighting adds to the secluded getaway feel. Every room has its own spacious baths.

The Rock Chalet also has a swimming pool, herbal spa, an open-air dining area with highly personalised service, and a spacious barbecue area, complete with barbecue facilities, overlooking a beautiful natural landscape, great for outdoor picnics with family and friends.

The Rock Chalet, the first of the boutique hotels of the EAP Edirisinghe Group is located in the Koratota Estate in Kaduwela. The Rock Chalet offers holiday makers a private sanctuary with a swimming pool, herbal spa, barbecue area, amid a breathtaking natural landscape.

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