Time Magazine names Sri Lanka’s Santani a ‘World’s Greatest Place’

ECONOMYNEXT – Time, a US-based magazine, has named Sri Lanka’s Santani Wellness Resort & Spa, health oriented hotel on a mountain top, as one of the 100 ‘World’s Greatest Places’ in its inaugural listing, bringing wider recognition for Sri Lanka, officials said.

"Santani is in the inaugural list. That’s great," Santani Founder/Chief Executive Vickum Nawagamuwage told reporters in Colombo.

"It’s not like they’ve exhausted other places."

"Last time we (Sri Lanka) were on the cover of TIME was for the Tsunami."

Santani, which opened in 2016 with an investment of four million US dollars, has helped put Sri Lanka on a spotlight in a positive way, he said.

“In two years, we have been able to deliver more than any other property in Sri Lanka has in the world stage,” he said.

The list, published by one of the world’s most widely read magazines, follows on the footsteps of its more widely known Time 100 Most Influential People list, published over the past 20 years.

“It’s easy to find guides to famous attractions. But which new and newly relevant destinations are worth experiencing right now?” Time said, explaining the list.

The World’s Greatest Places list received nominations from the magazine editors and correspondents for bars, restaurants, theme parks, cruises, hotels, museums, parks and other attractions.

They were then evaluated based on criteria such as quality, originality, innovation, sustainability and influence.





"Time has recognised Santani for its skillfull entrepreneurship," Tourism Minister John Amaratunga said.

Nawagamuwage said that Santani’s architecture was one if its main assets.

"We have architectural silence," he said. "Santani has clean lines. It’s decluttering. It is a less of a distraction for guests when they are there. It’s like meditation."

Santani promotes mindfulness to go along with its offerings of spa and other wellness services.

 As a part of the experience, the resort has no televisions, and Wi-Fi is restricted. A guest who cannot live without access to the internet would have to pay a premium for the service.

The resort is located in a former tea plantation in the Knuckles Mountain Range, with rooms built on the slopes.

Amid high labour turnover at other hotels, Santani has also managed to attract some of the best talent due to its unique concept, Nawagamuwage said.

“They were doing the same thing over and over again, so they were attracted to a new concept,” he said.

Operations Director Chamindra Goonewardene said Santani sent its staff overseas to experience and learn from the best hospitality practices globally.

Nawagamuwage said the hospitality industry in Sri Lanka lacks brains to create unique products, and after the war ended in 2009, the industry reverted back to its thinking in 1983, before the war started.

"They went back to 1983 and started building big hotels," he said. "They’re doing the same thing over and over. Same fine dining and buffets. We have created new concepts."

Santani did its homework in analysing what foreigners are looking for in this day and age, he said.

People world over now come to Santani, not wanting to miss out on the experience, Nawagamuwage said.

The resort has also been recognized by Condé Nast and Vogue magazine, he said. (COLOMBO, 29 August, 2018)


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