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Hotel Lanka Oberoi relaunched as Colombo Plaza

Hotel Lanka Oberoi was reborn as the Colombo Plaza last week with the handing over of its management by Oberoi Hotels of India to its owner Asian Hotels Corporation Ltd (AHC), the largest listed property company in the country.

"We are presently negotiating with five of the best hotel operators in the world. The Colombo Plaza will be the name of the property during the transition period, signifying the dawn of an exciting era in the future," said Director AHC Viren Perera.

The 530-room hotel set in 12 acres is part of Crescat City, which includes one of Colombo's most modern shopping malls and a condominium building. A new spa and fitness centre and 300 additional car parking spaces are currently under construction and scheduled to be completed by the end of the year. It will include a pool on the roof deck and a tennis court set in a landscaped garden, to be managed by an internationally reputed operator of spas and gyms.

Director AHC Daniel Roche said Oberoi Hotels is handing over the management to them at a very opportune time as there is tremendous potential and opportunity for tourism in Sri Lanka due to the peaceful situation presently prevailing in the country.

Director AHC Nick Clayton said a comprehensive refurbishment of the hotel, Colombo's largest, will be central to plans currently being drawn up. Apart from a soft refurbishment of rooms, more emphasis will be laid on revitalising the hotel's food and beverage operations through the launch of new restaurants.

"We want Crescat City to be the destination of choice; whether to live, work, dine, shop, play or relax," he said.

"At present, the hotel is rated number two in occupancy and room rates. We are aiming at the number one spot and are confident that we can achieve it in the near future," he added.

Speaking of financial results, he said that improved results have come not only from the hotel business, but significantly from the activities of Crescat Developments Limited (CDL), AHC's wholly-owned subsidiary. CDL's enhanced performance has been made possible by the increased demand for its condominium units.

The improved sentiments created by peace as well as CDL's offer of a guaranteed return of nine per cent in US dollar terms have been behind the high demand. Speaking of future plans, he said that plans are under way to increase the bottomline by 30 per cent.

AHC and the manager of the hotel, Oberoi Hotels, after discussions came to an amicable decision in the best strategic interest of both parties to terminate the agreement, which was originally scheduled to end in March 2009. Oberoi had managed the hotel since its inauguration in 1973.

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