Friday, September 30, 2011

The Fortress to global spotlight with int’l tourism award

Sri Lanka’s iconic The Fortress Resort and Spa based in Koggala was again thrust into the global spotlight when it won a brace of trophies at the coveted World Luxury Hotel Awards 2011, held in Croatia last week which included the accolade for world’s Best Luxury Coastal Hotel. It also walked away with the premier Luxury Coastal Hotel in Sri Lanka award at the star-studded event. The fiercely-contested prizes were received on behalf of The Fortress by its General Manager, Jan van Twest, at the glamorous red-carpet gala held at the Regent Esplanade Zagreb Hotel which paid host to an ensemble of guests from the international hotel industry.

Established in 2006, the WLHA are viewed by many as the world’s most prestigious awards insofar as only exceptional hotels, lodges and resorts operating within a luxury niche market are allowed to participate.

Award winners within its various categories are deemed to be setting the benchmark in terms of their world class facilities and service excellence, and they act as a stamp of confidence and assurance within what is an increasingly competitive global market. 

According to Sumith Adhihetty, Managing Director-The Fortress, “This international recognition for the Fortress Resort reinforces the Sri Lankan luxury sector as amongst the best in the world. We are profoundly honoured to receive these awards - especially considering that The Fortress is still relatively young. It confirms our ongoing and passionate response to the demands of our evolving clientele.”

This was a reference to The Fortress’ other recent initiatives, the first being the launch of a Butler Service which saw a batch of 15 internationally-trained butlers placed on the service menu following a gruelling four week programme held by the Australian Butler School. The second saw nearby Koggala Lake effectively transformed into a landing spot for the SriLankan Air Taxi Service through whom The Fortress has arranged exclusive flights on behalf of its guests.

“It is also a wonderful recognition for our dedicated team of hospitality professionals, who are providing a world class service, Sri Lankan-style,” continued Adhihetty.

Indeed, the hotel is fashioned in the style of a powerful fortress. Rising next to the beach, the resort’s walls enclose verdant gardens and water features, a spa featuring Ayurvedic treatments, a freeflow swimming pool, wine cellar, restaurants, boutiques and exquisitely appointed rooms, lofts and residences. The resort’s architecture forges historic Dutch and Portuguese styles with the motifs of Sri Lanka.

It will be of no surprise, then, that the Fortress Resort and Spa has been a frequent contender at the World Travel Awards, having been nominated in the ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Hotel’ and ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Luxury Resort’ categories for three consecutive years. It is one of just six hotels in Sri Lanka recognised by ‘Small Luxury Hotels of the World’ and is also a member of The Kiwi Collection, an exclusive list of high-end locations aimed at the insightful wayfarer.

Marinique Truter, Manager-WLHA stated: “I firmly believe that a World Luxury Hotel Award is the highest accolade that a hotel can receive, because it says more about the property than any brochure can communicate, any pictures can portray and any personal testimonial can express.”

“Outstanding hotels are those that surprise the guest with unexpected experience bonuses, experiences that are more about recognition of the guest than about any thread count,” said Truter.

This was a view reinforced by Dhammika Perera, Chairman-The Fortress Resorts PLC and the Vallibel Group, who stated: “Sri Lanka’s potential for luxury tourism is indisputable and our innovative services essentially reflect a competitive effort on the part of this fine hotel to win brand loyalty. Our latest travel awards are a strong testament to this, and are also a challenge for us to ensure that The Fortress never fails in its efforts to raise the bar even further.”

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