Heritance Kandalama Celebrates 30 Years of Iconic Hospitality and Sustainability Excellence - Aitken Spence


Heritance Kandalama Celebrates 30 Years of Iconic Hospitality and Sustainability Excellence

Heritance Kandalama, the celebrated flagship property of Heritance Hotels and Resorts by Aitken Spence Hotels, marked its 30th Anniversary on June 24th 2024. Nestled within the rich tapestry of Sri Lanka's Cultural Triangle, Heritance Kandalama stands as the leading eco-retreat in the region, blending seamlessly into its natural surroundings while offering immersive experiences.

Designed by Deshamanya Geoffrey Bawa, the resort holds the distinction of being the first LEED certified resort and the first Green Globe 21 certified resort in Asia, a testament to its commitment to environmental stewardship and Sri Lanka’s longest-certified ISO 14001 Environment Management System.

Constructed amidst initial community resistance and misinformation in the early 1990s, Heritance Kandalama opened its doors in 1994, overcoming significant environmental and cultural concerns. Criticisms primarily focused on potential disruptions to wildlife habitats and perceived impacts on local culture and community. In response, Heritance Kandalama implemented robust measures in its architectural design. Elevated on columns, the design was specifically crafted to facilitate natural replenishment of the lake by rainwater and to enable wildlife to thrive freely, thus minimizing environmental disturbance.

The resort's commitment to biodiversity conservation is evident in its 211-acre eco-forest reserve, harboring 128 documented species of native flora, 64 butterfly species, 183 bird species, 19 reptile species, and 17 mammal species, nurtured by 11 protected natural streams.

Today, Heritance Kandalama stands tall not only as an architectural marvel, but also as a beacon of sustainability best practices. The resort is deeply ingrained in its community, employing over 60% of its workforce from within a 20-kilometer radius and sourcing supplies and services including fruits and vegetables locally adding to the local economy. Culinary experiences at Heritance Kandalama are equally remarkable, from the revered Bawa Dinner paying homage to Geoffrey Bawa to the enchanting Cave Dinner set within a centuries-old cave, offering guests an immersive journey through Sri Lanka's culinary and cultural heritage.

Sharing her thoughts, Stasshani Jayawardena, Jt. Deputy Chairperson and Jt. Managing Director of Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings stated “We are incredibly proud to reach this significant milestone in our journey. Heritance Kandalama embodies our enduring dedication to sustainability, environment, and unparalleled guest experiences. By balancing conservation with community support, Heritance Kandalama exemplifies how responsible tourism can flourish, preserving natural ecosystems and cultural heritage. As we celebrate 30 years, we renew our pledge to preserve the natural beauty of Kandalama and narrate meaningful stories for generations to come."

Aitken Spence Hotels Jt. Managing Director, Susith Jayawickrama stated, “At Heritance Kandalama, we believe that our responsibility extends beyond providing exceptional hospitality. We are deeply committed to being an integral part of the community and empowering its people. As we celebrate 30 years of excellence, we reaffirm our dedication to sustainable tourism practices that not only enrich the guest experience but also uplift the lives of those in our community. Through initiatives such as local sourcing, employment opportunities, and community outreach programs, we strive to create a positive impact that extends far beyond our resort's walls."

In celebration of its 30th Anniversary, a special jounrney gallery will be displayed at Heritance Kandalama from 24th June onwards, narrating its 30-year journey and the voices of Heritance Kandalama.

About Aitken Spence Hotels

Heritance Hotels and Resorts is the flagship brand of Aitken Spence Hotels, a part of Aitken Spence PLC, a leading Sri Lankan blue-chip conglomerate. Aitken Spence Hotels oversees a diverse collection of 17 hotels and resorts across Sri Lanka, India, Oman, and the Maldives through its diverse collection of brands - Heritance Hotels and Resorts, Adaaran Resorts, and Turyaa. Heritance Hotels & Resorts stands as the custodian of the largest portfolio of Bawa designed hotels in Sri Lanka, adding a touch of architectural distinction to its rich offerings.

Heritance Kandalama then and now