- New premises target lucrative wellness tourism market
By Venessa Anthony
Located in a unique landscape by the sparkling sands of the Negombo Beach, Earl’s Regent Hotel recently opened its doors to guests. The property, where 31 out of 85 rooms are available at the moment, has plans to tap into the wellness tourism market, and attract foreign travellers looking for a healing retreat.
The Morning Brunch had the opportunity to head over to the newly opened hotel for their launch event, which was officiated by Minister of Tourism and Lands Harin Fernando, who also took the time to have a look at the premises. The hotel treated Fernando as well as special invitees to an evening of song and dance with the Ants band.
The Morning Brunch made use of the opportunity to take in all that the hotel had to offer, as any new addition to the hospitality industry holds a lot of potential. Earl’s Regent is a quaint, cosy property, with just two floors for now, and a pool overlooking the beach.
In conversation with Earl’s Regent Negombo Managing Director Dinusha Gunasena, we learnt that they hope to build their brand as a luxury hotel franchise in Sri Lanka, offering both double and triple rooms.
“We also want to focus on the wellness aspect, as we believe it is a very lucrative market at the moment – it will help generate forex and contribute to the economy,” he said.
Elaborating further, Gunasena explained that the hotel is constructing its spa to international standards and will offer a host of local Ayurveda treatments provided by in-house specialists. They will stray from traditional Thai or Balinese spas, instead opting to promote the local wellness our country has to offer.
Straying from the typical sun, sea, and sand aspect that most beach hotels go for, Earl’s Regent Negombo also plans to offer meditation sessions, yoga, exercising opportunities, digital detoxes, and several other novel concepts to heal one’s body, mind, and soul.
The property, as it is now, does leave much to be desired. We found the rooms to be a tad cramped, with a noticeable lack of facilities generally available at any hotel. A few non-functioning items in the room certainly did not leave the best first impression. We found the food too, to be lacklustre, when held to international standards. However, we found the Sri Lankan dishes to be palatable – a hot hopper station at night and milk rice with a flavourful chicken curry in the morning were some of the gastronomical highlights.
While there is much room for improvement, there is also much potential, with wellness being an aspect that many are beginning to take seriously. With a little work, and a few more months of establishment, we believe the kinks will iron themselves out, and that Earl’s Regent Negombo will prove to be an excellent hotel, living up to its promise of luxury. We cannot be too critical – with the economic crisis hitting the hospitality industry quite hard, many have been struggling to keep afloat, and we must commend Earl’s Regent for their out-of-the-box thinking when it comes to what they hope to offer tourists.
While we personally think it is too early to decide if Earl’s Regent Negombo is a hit or miss, it offers a secluded retreat, mere feet away from the warm, sandy shores of Negombo. The convenience of it all is a major plus-point for both locals and foreigners. If you’re ever looking for a quaint property close to Colombo that’s not going to affect your wallet too much, then look no further.
Photos Saman Abesiriwardana