Please note that in order for the domestic rates to be applicable the Sri Lankan Identity card or the local resident VISA should be produced upon check in at the hotel. In case of group bookings, please note that individual room guest will have to produce the above mentioned identification in order for domestic rates to be applicable.
We are where we are today because of our staff.
We recruit as many of our staff as possible from the local area – many of them have never worked in hotels before. However, we are proud that they quickly learn how to meet the needs of our guests: 49 of our managers started at the bottom, and nine are still with us.
Without the dedication and commitment of our staff we would never have won our numerous awards for our cuisine, service and environmental practice.
You can read some of their stories below.
Ranjith is passionate about developing staff and passing on opportunities to future generations
“I started at Heritance Kandalama in 1994 as a trainee waiter. I worked my way up through the food and beverage department to become the restaurant and bar manager, but then in 2006 I became a human resources executive. Now I am the human resources manager, with diplomas in HR management and development.
“I think I can achieve more in human resources by thinking about the future and developing innovation. I want the local villagers to be involved in Heritance Kandalama, to pass on opportunities to them.
“My parents were farmers, and I worked in the fields after school and studied in the evening. I didn’t know what a knife and fork were when I started working here! So we run a comprehensive orientation course for new recruits, as well as free English and German classes.
“And we encourage staff to mix with staff in other departments and develop in other ways. So we hold drama performances in English or get managers and staff to go and clean up litter once a month. This helps develop their leadership skills.
“The most important quality is attitude – we can train people if they don’t have qualifications. I’m still studying myself – I get up at 3.30am every Saturday to attend a course on quality management in Colombo, a 10-hour round trip!”
The haunting flute music that you may hear while dining in the evening is played by Siripala, a local villager
“I play the flute and tabla [a type of drum]. My father played the flute, and I started playing at the age of 19 – my four brothers also play. I used to play for village dramas and cultural events before I started at the hotel.
“My flute is a traditional Sri Lankan instrument, made from a type of bamboo that grows in only one area of the country. I mostly play traditional Sri Lankan music, but I also make up my own compositions.
“I live for music, so working for the hotel is great, as I don’t have to worry about having to do other work. I’ve played here for 17 years, but I still play from the heart.
“I’ve travelled all round Sri Lanka and would like to produce a CD, but I don’t have enough money yet. My favourite Sri Lankan musician is WD Amaradewa, who plays the flute as well but is best known for his singing.”
Piyasena, 61, has been leading nature trails at Heritance Kandalama for 10 years
“I was born and brought up in the local village. I used to be a farmer, and I knew all the names of local animals and plants from growing up in the area.
“I really enjoy teaching hotel guests about our natural world. I’ve taught myself the names of all the main species in English, French, German and Italian so that I can help people understand better!
“I lead all types of nature trails – birds, butterflies, snakes, whatever people are interested in. Bird trails are the most popular. My favourite bird is the Asian paradise flycatcher.
“The hotel has been good for me, my family and the village. My son is now working as a cook in the hotel.”
Nalinda has a passion for nature and wildlife and would love to be a national guide
“I actually started at Heritance Kandalama as a trainee accounts clerk in 1996, and worked my way up to senior accounts clerk.
“But I was always interested in nature and wildlife, so in 2006 I switched to become a trainee co-animator. My friends told me not to do it – I would have better prospects by staying in accounts! But I really wanted to help children learn more about the environment.
“Since then I’ve studied for diplomas in wildlife conservation. I would like to do a BSc, but I need to save more money for that! I’m also going to Chinese classes, as we get lots of Chinese birdwatching tours from Taiwan and Hong Kong.
“Since 1994 we’ve had visits from more than 200,000 schoolchildren, learning more about the importance of the environment. My oldest son, aged 19, also wants to be a naturalist.
“One former naturalist I know is now a national guide – I would love to do that.”