ITC Ratnadipa Opens in Colombo

ITC Limited’s wholly owned subsidiary WelcomHotels Lanka (Private) Limited launched ITC Ratnadipa, a jewel in Colombo’s skyline that promises to enrich the tourism and hospitality landscape of Sri Lanka. This flagship hospitality icon was inaugurated by the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, His Excellency Ranil Wickremesinghe in the presence of Hon’ble Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Dinesh Gunewardena, His Excellency Santosh Jha, Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and Sanjiv Puri, Chairman and Managing Director, ITC Ltd, India. We interview Anil Chadha, CEO, ITC Hotels on the journey in Sri Lanka.

If I understand right, ITC Colombo has been in the making for some time? Did it take some extra time?

ITC Ratnadipa is our first international hotel and has special significance for us – despite several challenges including the pandemic we were committed to building an iconic property in Colombo. This project has incorporated super luxury features that are set to redefine high-end hospitality in the region. The building design envisaged as an icon for the country, a preferred destination for MICE-global, inspired us to create ITC Ratnadipa as a futuristic landmark for the country.

How come Colombo? What helped you make the choice for your first international foray? Any further plans for South Asia?

India and Sri Lanka have a rich and long-standing relations, cultural, religious, linguistics and growing economic relationships in trade and commerce. Tourism is growing at a good pace and the resurgence of tourism in this part of the world especially encourages more hospitality solutions in Sri Lanka. ITC group of hotels continue to explore opportunities based on the trends that are available.

What’s the spirit behind architecture of ITC Colombo?

Our properties define the destinations. Staying true to this ethos, the interiors of ITC Ratnadipa reflect the art and culture and essence of Sri Lanka across the hotel. The triangular engineering marvel enables spectacular views of the ocean, to maximize the benefit of the location.

Inspired by ‘Ratna Deepa’ – Island of Gems, the hotel showcases design elements that draw inspiration from the region. This luxury destination draws inspiration from the national flower of Sri Lanka, the floating water lily, which is a recurrent motif across the hotel.

ITC Ratnadipa or “Island of Gems” offers 352 guest rooms, suites and service apartments, each adorned with private balconies with breath taking waterfront views. This landmark complex situated along the shores of the Indian Ocean on one side and Beira Lake on the other, comprises two stellar towers that stand gracefully together presenting impeccable hospitality at both ITC Ratnadipa Hotel and the luxurious Sapphire Residences.

Connecting the two towers at a height of 100 meters, is the first of its kind, state of the art ‘Ahasa’ sky bridge, an architectural marvel. ITC Ratnadipa is meticulously designed to showcase the beauty and rich culture of Sri Lanka, seamlessly blending contemporary elegance with timeless charm. The sprawling property symbolises the traditions of the island nation through its architectural design, culinary marvels and artistic expression. You will also see the work of Sri Lankan art maestros showcased across the hotel’s public areas,.from Sanjaya Seneviratne, Prasad Hettiarachchi to Laki Senanayake, Dominic Sansoni and more.

Do you bring any of your signature sub brands from India to your Sri Lanka’s property?

ITC Hotels’ food and beverage brands and service excellence has been acknowledged globally. It gives us great joy to bring this legacy to Sri Lanka in the form of this hotel and our iconic F&B brands. Complementing its exquisite accommodations, ITC Ratnadipa shall present 9 signature dining destinations that offer a repertoire of local, national and global cuisine. The globally-acclaimed dining selections feature Peshawri – an award-winning restaurant brand that brings alive the robust flavours of the North-West Frontier. Avartana, counted amongst Asia’s best restaurants, offers a sophisticated interpretation of cuisine mosaics. ITC Ratnadipa will also house the Indian Ocean Pavilion, an enchanting offering with stunning views of the Indian Ocean along with the finest buffet selection. Other cuisine brands include Yi Jing, featuring time-honoured recipes from across the diverse regions of China, the soon to open Islander that would offer the bold flavours celebrating the rich bounty of the sea, Silvertips, that celebrates Sri Lanka’s popular high tea culture, as well as Jala Anganaya, a blissful oasis featuring tropical fresh juices and healthy bites. Ahasa, a one of its kind ‘sky bridge’ bar and lounge, promises to become the city’s preferred destination. This engineering masterpiece offers 360-degree panoramic views, making it an ideal spot for sundowners, with breath taking scenery extending far into the horizon.

As is our philosophy across all our hotels, here too we make a special effort to integrate local culinary cuisine & indigenous foods. Accordingly, significant efforts have been made to develop local vendors in Sri Lanka for integral culinary products, contributing to our tenets of Responsible Sourcing and lowering our Carbon Footprint.

The LOCAL LOVE offerings draw inspiration from Sri Lanka’s vast heritage of ancient culinary traditions, its cultural influences. One of our food sections at the IoP is dedicated to local offerings. Our chefs have committed themselves to understanding the indigenous foods of Sri Lanka, the abundance of her produce and native ingredients. Traditional dishes are presented in inventive ways to pay homage to the rich culinary heritage of this island country.

Where does your hotel fit into the city hotels landscape?

ITC Ratnadipa architecture is truly one of a kind. It has been designed in a fashion that every corner/ every room offers a view of either the Ocean or the lake.  This was possible because the location has been blended well to leverage the scenic views of the water bodies surrounding the hotel. Recognising Sri Lanka’s immense tourism potential, ITC Ratnadipa aims to be a fulcrum to attract MICE and inbound tourism in Sri Lanka.  The hotel’s extensive modern banqueting facilities spread over 40000 sq ft together with its delectable cuisines will contribute meaningfully to this mission. The state-of-the-art banquets and event spaces are perfect for hosting corporate gatherings, weddings, and social celebrations. The facilities include the stunning Sangam Ballroom, with 15,000 sq. ft. of pillarless banqueting space along with the Panorama Deck – the dazzling outdoor wedding venue.

Besides unparalleled hospitality experiences, the project also offers best-in-class luxury residences for discerning consumers. Introducing the concept of Sky Mansions to South Asia, the Sapphire Residences, Colombo is an exquisite collection of the most luxurious and spacious apartments and penthouses, in the city’s most scenic oceanfront location, adjacent to ITC Ratnadipa. With its uninterrupted 180-degree panoramic views over the Indian Ocean these iconic luxury apartments in Colombo offer a delightful view of the ocean.

The helipad would be another highlight at the complex. Be it for business or leisure, the helipad at ITC Ratnadipa shall provide access to private landing facilities.

What about your legacy of Responsible Luxury?

Sure, this is enshrined in our charter going forward, carrying the legacy of ITC Hotels in pioneering Responsible Luxury, ITC Ratnadipa has been designed with globally benchmarked environmental dimensions endorsing a climate smart approach. From the inception of the project through construction and ongoing operations, sustainability has been at the core. Initiatives include enhanced focus on energy and water efficiency, sustainable site development, the use of eco-friendly materials ensuring indoor environmental quality, among others. With ITC Ratnadipa, the chain marks its 16th Luxury Collection Hotel in the ITC Hotels portfolio.

You have had a strong build-up of owned and expensive city projects in the last decade or so. Any more such in the pipeline? So, what’s the road going forward for new projects?

ITC’s Hotel Group is on a strong growth trajectory via the asset right model. We plan to add 70 properties in the next five years, taking the total to 200 properties with over 18000 keys. Tourism has a very big opportunity in future, an area with economic multipliers, gainful employment across sections. With this, we plan on growing our presence and contributing to hospitality in the region.

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