Lankem Group made a strategic investment in the leisure sector by taking control of the award-winning boutique hotel Galle Fort Hotel with an investment of US$ 7 million, it said in a stock exchange filing. GFH is an award-winning boutique hotel in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Galle Fort in Southern Sri Lanka.
The Galle Fort Hotel was fully owned by Australian investor Karl Steinberg.
It is the winner of ‘Sri Lanka’s Leading Boutique Hotel’ award in the 2010 World Travel Awards and the 2007 UNESCO Asia Pacific Award of Distinction for Heritage Conservation, the highest award ever given to the country.
It has an international reputation for its minimalist and heritage-inspired design, boutique service and its food. Designed by Channa Daswatte, it is featured in numerous design books and magazines as an iconic Sri Lankan hotel and is the benchmark for the conservation and adaptation of Galle Fort buildings.
Also a source close to the Lankem Group said its already building a new wing with luxury suites at the Galle Fort Hotel in order to expand the room count and general facilities of the hotel and is in the process of acquiring more properties within the Galle Fort for further expansion of facilities in view of the anticipated growth in the tourism industry.
Galle Fort became a major tourist attraction after being declared a World Heritage Site in 1988. The Portuguese, the Dutch and the English all made Galle their main administrative centre to rule Sri Lanka. Even today, one can identify buildings bearing the architectural styles of these three nations. Due to this reason and the unique state of preservation of the fort it draws a large number of European tourists.
Plans have already been initiated to make Galle Fort a Centre for Cultural Tourism. The National Heritage and Cultural Affairs Ministry is undertaking a major renovation plan in the ancient Galle Fort to attract both local and foreign tourists, with the restoration, landscaping and paving the streets of Galle Fort to make it attractive to tourists, the improvement of infrastructure and minimise traffic congestion within Galle Fort to develop it as a centre for cultural tourism.
Lankem is a diversified conglomerate with business interests in paints, agro chemicals, industrial chemicals, consumer products, leisure and plantations. Lankem is part of the CFLB Group of Companies and is engaged in the FMCG business through EB Creasy and CW Mackie and through Colonial Motors (KIA) in the automobile sector.
The Group is also involved in plantations through Agarapatana and Kotagala Plantations and operates in the leisure sector through Club Palm Bay Marawila, Sigiriya Village and The Palms Beruwela that the group owns and manages.