By Marianne David
Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo won two coveted awards at the fifth annual Sri Lanka Tourism Awards – the Best Five Star City Hotel Award and the Best Host Hotel Spa.
Sri Lanka Tourism Awards 2011 awarded high performers across 11 categories and evaluated hotels in the industry based on their contribution towards tourism.
The awards ceremony was held on Thursday 31 August 2012 and the awards were presented by the Deputy Economic Development Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena and Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Chairman Nalaka Godahewa.
Commenting on the wins at a press conference held at the hotel on Tuesday, Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo General Manager Denis Gruhier said: “We’re really proud of having won this award again for the second year and we are very proud indeed to have with us Azmaara Spa, a fantastic partner, which shows that fantastic partners can work together very well and achieve fantastic results.”
Noting that the Tourism Awards recognise organisations and individuals who have contributed and strengthened Sri Lanka’s tourism last year, Gruhier asserted that the hotel won the Best Five Star City Hotel Award for many reasons.
“Cinnamon Lakeside is recognised for the warmth of its staff and exceptional service; completely renovated rooms; and innovation, which has been a key part of our progress over the past year. As you know, we have Eight Degrees on the Lake, the first purpose built floating venue in the country; the first trolley-less service in the South East Asian region; and priority check-in service offered to the Executive Floor guests,” he added.
The criteria for the Best Five Star City Hotel category consisted of five sections covering various aspects of the hotel such as product facilities, business plans, current marketing strategies and customer service and professional development.
Sustainability was another key factor in the evaluation process. Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo’s success in contributing to a sustainable environment was highlighted with the achievement of being the only hotel in Sri Lanka to have received the Green Globe certificate three years in a row.
The hotel has strengthened its activities in contributing to a greener environment by educating their staff and guests on being greener to carrying out a set of green initiatives on a regular basis. Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo believes in contributing to society and as a result participates in range of cultural restoration projects that aims to contribute to the various religions within the country.
“The hotel carries out continuous training and development of staff to ensure high quality service is delivered. As for sustainability, in line with John Keells’ ‘We Care’ pledge, Cinnamon Lakeside has carried out many CSR projects in the last year. The John Keells’ ‘I Will Be Green’ pledge is also followed, with Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo being the very first hotel that has been recertified ‘Green Globe’. By now it will be old news as many hotels have been recertified, but yet we are the first hotel to be ‘three-certified’ by Green Globe – something very important indeed which we are very proud of, for respecting our pledge,” emphasised Gruhier.
Azmaara Spa Management Company Chairman Peter Arendtsz said Azmaara began operations nine years ago in the Maldives and the first spa the company opened was at a John Keells resort, Chaaya Lagoon Hakura Huraa.
“From there onwards, JKH has been helping us as a Sri Lankan company to grow. With the war ending in 2009, we decided to bring this experience to Sri Lanka and the first property we got was Cinnamon Lakeside. I thank John Keells for giving us this opportunity. It was one of the biggest challenges we took, in taking the spa experience to the next level in Sri Lanka. Bringing in new international therapy at this level was not an easy task but there were a lot of people who helped us,” he said.
Following the Azmaara brand launch in Sri Lanka in November 2009, which the company operates exclusively for JKH locally, it has also launched two other brands here.
“It is a great experience to see how far we have come as a Sri Lankan company and we have also achieved membership in the International Spa Association. Now we have nine spas in Sri Lanka and one in the Maldives, with plans to further expand by 2013. Hopefully we can win this award next year as well!” added Arendtsz.
A top of the range spa facility based at the hotel, Azmaara Spa is one of South East Asia’s leading wellness solution providers. Azmaara Spa offers a luxurious experience of Balinese massages with specialist massage therapists and combines a variety of quality products imported from France, Italy and Australia, specially blended with local ingredients to add that homely touch.