Thilanka : A Jewel in the Kandyan crown

A few decades ago, Kandy was not a busy tourist destination like nowadays and there were few hotels to accomodate them. Apart from traditional names, Hotel Thilanka was one of the oldest hotels to join the new Kandyan era of the post tourism boom in the seventies.

It started as a guest house in the mid eighties, which turned out to be one of the most sought after destinations in Kandy. Even after the Esala Perehera, the hotel is fully patronised by many Sri Lankan and overseas tourists. Nestled in the foothills of popular Udawatta Kele, just on a higher elevation to the Dalada Maligawa, Hotel Thilanka reflects the typical Kandyan traditions.

Over looking the city of Kandy and the Lake, Thilanka has well appointed 87 standard and deluxe rooms. This four star hotel has gone through a massive refurbishing programme during the past few months, which gives the complete face lift to the hotel. According to Thanuj Gunawardena, the Managing Director of the hotel, Rupees 30 to 35 million was spent on up grading 30 rooms.

‘The old wing is totally refurbished and we are currently completing the rest including ten balance rooms, coffee shop and the public area' he said. 'We simply do not close the entire hotel for this project. We have maintained our occupancy rate at very healthy level during the past months and we do not want to stop this success. It was a packed month for us during the Perehera season. So we go on step by step refurbishing programme and it will be ready for the coming winter season' he explained.

Bathiya Gunasekera, the General Manager of the hotel said most of the top travel agents are working with them and they stick to them for various reasons. They always come back to us because we have some extra points such as close proximity to Maligawa, City, Udawatta Kele and of course the service' he said.

It began life as a private house, built by a wealthy Kandyan towards the end of the colonial era. It has now been enhanced by a six-storey new wing, the minimalist décor of the rooms including elegant wooden furniture, television, telephone and mini-bar with all other facilities.

Hotel's main restaurant serves menus from around the world. Traditional Kandyan dishes are favourites among Sri Lankan clientele. Continental, Chinese, Indian and Japanese food are popular with Sri Lankan and foreign travellers. Lobby Bar and Woodpecker Bar are two top attractions. Thilanka overlooking the picturesque view of the Kandy Lake, the giant Bahirawakande seated Buddha statue, is the ideal base for excursions and relaxation.

'We arrange tours to various places of tourist attraction such as Dambulla Cave Temple, Sigiriya, Aluvihare, Lankatillake and Embekke Temples of Cultural and artistic value' GM Gunasekera said. The banquet hall is one of the biggest revenue earners of the hotel, which can accommodate 400 persons. The Board Room is air conditioned with seating capacity for 50 persons, for all conventions and banqueting . The major attraction of the hotel is its Ayurvedic Spa.

The ancient healing arts of the Himalayan Rishis are there to savour at our 'Ayurvedic Spa. Like the Nawaratna - the nine precious stones that make up one ring for protection, power and lasting health, our Spa offers the herbal secrets to fitness, wellbeing and regeneration' GM Gunasekera said. Massages, sauna and herbal baths, facial treatment, yoga sessions, medicinal oils, the wonder of floral ingredients, the help of facial packs, toning, and cleansing are some of the treatments available at the Hotel.‘We have Ayurveda treatment too’ he added.

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