Sri Lanka’s John Keells scouts new Maldivian property

Mar. 06 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s largest hotel operator, John Keells Holdings, is in the process of picking up another Maldivian resort to add to their growing hospitality chain, a top official said Monday. JKH, which is splashing billions of rupees to re-brand key properties, has been scouting for a new Maldivian property to replace Validhu Island Resorts.

“The lease on Validhu ends in March 2008 and we are looking for a replacement. We will formally announce the new Maldivian property when we get all approvals,” JKH’s Deputy Chairman Ajit Gunawaredene told LBO.

Keells Hotels Ltd, under which all JKH hotels come under, has already entered into a memorandum of understanding with a Maldivian party to carry out a due diligence on the property, which is believed to be between a three-to-four star range.

The owners of the 100-room Validhu, have also not indicated if they want JKH to continue with the lease, he said while declining to disclose the purchase price.

Besides Validhu, JKH also owns Hakuraa Club which has a mix of water and beach bungalows — and Alidhoo in the Maldives.

Work on the 100-room Alidhoo is progressing smoothly and Gunawardene is confident the new property wil