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Mon, 01 September 2014 16:29:30
Sri Lanka islet resort by Six Senses chain
09 Sep, 2009 05:50:48
Sept 09, 2009 (LBO) – International luxury hotel chain Six Senses is to manage a resort built on an islet on the north west coast of Sri Lanka becoming the first tourism project to be announced after an ethnic war ended, officials said.
The first phase of the project in Dutch Bay in Kalpitiya, off the north-west coast, will cost 75 million dollars and consists of 60 mangrove chalets – two-storey villas with plunge pools – and 20 luxury villas on the lagoon.

The Dutch Bay Resort project, to be ready by 2011, is a joint venture between Six Senses and Swarna Dweep, an investment vehicle.

Swarna Dweep was set up by European investors and a Sri Lankan entrepreneur, Neil De Silva, currently operating in Europe and the Middle East.

De Silva, chairman of Dutch Bay Resorts, told a news conference the second phase of the project, costing 100 million dollars, will consist of 80 villas – luxury homes to be sold to Arabs, Europeans and Sri Lankans as holiday or retirement homes.

Owners can lease them back to the developers.

Swarna Dweep, a 51 percent shareholder of Dutch Bay Resorts, is a company established by Norwich International Consultants, a real estate business operating in the Kingdom of Bahrain since 1997.

The Kalpitiya Ducth Bay resort will be bordered by a lagoon on its eastern side and the Indian Ocean on the west.

The 60 mangrove boutique chalets will located within inland water bodies and the 20 two-storey villas along the lagoon.

Both will be managed by Six Senses under the name Six Senses Hideaway at Dutch Bay

Six Senses is not investing money in the project and will be the management company.

De Silva said the project has been planned since 2005 with the land bought from private owners, research and concept planning done and an environmental impact assessment also done and to be made available for public scrutiny soon.

De Silva declined to say how much the investors, who have put in 36 million dollars, had paid for the land.

The project will include a spa, floating restaurants and a helipad.

Patrick De Groot, chief development officer of Dutch Bay Resorts, said Dutch Bay first came to his attention in 2007, when he was scouting for luxury resort and hotel opportunities for Dubai-based Jumeirah Group.

But the war prevented investment at the time, he said.

De Silva said that key resort areas were still in their pristine condition despite two decades of war, which ended in May, when government forces defeated the Tamil Tiger rebels.

"We came in during 2005 when the war was still on looking at the island’s long-term potential," he said. "It was a tough time for us during the civil unrest."

Tourism promotion minister Faiszer Musthapha said Six Senses is the first international chain to start a boutique resort in the island.

"Six Senses coming in would also attract others. We’re now talking with other international hotel operators. It is a matter of time before they come in," he said.

"Terrorism has cost tourism a lot. Top hotel chains and airlines left the country because of the conflict."

Musthapha said the Six Senses resort will charge far highe room rates than existing hotels - around 1,000 – 1,500 dollars a night.

"It is better to get tourists to spend more than attract a large number of visitors who spend less."

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READER COMMENT(S)
1. Hotel Investor Sep 09
Six Senses is not the 'first international chain to start a boutique resort in the island' as stated by the Minister.

Aman Resorts manage two properties in Sri Lanka, while Banyan Tree's Angsana brand is also present (Deer Park).