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 Post subject: "Walauwas" to become boutique hotels
 Post Posted: Sun Jan 29, 2006 7:28 pm 
Walauwas as discreet, up-market hotels

@WS / 28Jan2006


Recreating the grandeur of the Kandyan Kingdom, through the aristocratic homes of its chieftains, Tropical Pleasure (Pvt) Ltd., operators of the Elephant Corridor resort in Sigiriya, plan to refurbish old walauwas into secluded, up-market hotels.

“We now wish to take the discerning public back in time to Ceylon’s glorious past,” declared Susanne Filippin, Deputy Chairman of Tropical Pleasure (Pvt) Ltd. “The ‘Aristocratic collection of the last Kingdom’ will not only recreate the unique features of the Kandyan Kingdom through accommodation in walauwas of the period of genuine chieftains, we will also touch on the life-style of the British Empire as it was then ‘Ceylon’.”

The company plans to own all the walauwas itself. They will have antique furniture, pavilions in the grounds with pianos, classic limousines, dwarf cattle, donkeys, camels, and carts drawn by white long horned bullocks to give the look and feel of the period.

The small number of staff will offer personalized, discreet service and wear uniforms of sarongs and coats and the ‘konde’, typical of hairstyles men used to wear in those days.

It has selected three walauwas initially for development in Tirappane in the cultural triangle of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Mihintale and Minneriya and the wild life parks of Kaudaulla and Minneriya, and is considering other walauwas in the country subsequently.

“We propose to develop an existing walauwa of the old chieftain, into a secluded, up-market hotel with a few rooms only,” said Filippin.

The impressive home of the chieftain, who ruled this area almost 100 years ago, still possesses the aristocratic life-style and flair of a time gone by. The two-storied walauwa is on 33 acres of its own land, surrounded by open land.

“Our concept is to revive this life-style and flair by developing the walauwa with six large rooms, initially, and develop the existing six rooms subsequently. The style and design in all the areas will be Kandyan/British colonial and we will be using antique furniture, lamp shades, fans, light colours and natural fabrics for carpets, bed sheets and other linen. Antique collectables will be placed to give each room an individual touch. The facilities in the rooms should be as they were at that time, and should not have TVs for example.”

Filippin said Tropical Pleasure will not just yet charge US$ 1000, the rate for the best rooms at Elephant Corridor, but will start as in Elephant Corridor with US$ 150.00.

“As new destinations are demanded from the more discerning traveller, we have focused to develop this existing walauwa, together with excursions to areas less travelled, in limousines, classic open sports cars and the classic Morris Minor,” Filippin said.

The company also plans to offer uniquely Sri Lankan experiences to foreign visitors such as well baths, Sri Lankan breakfast and lunch eaten with the fingers from a lotus leaf.

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