Sri Lanka is widely recognised as a key destination for Australian travellers and a partnership between Emirates and Qantas has now improved connectivity offering even greater incentive to experience the destination. In response, premium resort hotelier Uga Escapes has been early into the action, signing a representation agreement with Enticing Asia, a leading Australian hospitality marketing agency, and opening up its own sales office in Melbourne.
Uga aims to deliver “a uniquely Sri Lankan experience that guests will remember with pleasure all their lives.” Its properties, located within easy reach of the island’s finest beaches, nature reserves and cultural sites, all share key elements of the Uga style: informality, non-ostentatious luxury, closeness to nature, environmentally-friendliness and unbeatable service.
Ulagalla, the company’s flagship, was once the country estate of a great Sri Lankan family. A 150-year-old manor house is the centrepiece. Accommodation is provided in 20 private villas on the 24-hectare grounds. The location is ideal for visits to the monuments of Anuradhapura and the Cultural Triangle.
Uga Bay is an elegant 46-room resort hotel beside the legendary Bay of Passekudah. Architecturally stunning, it is one of the best-rated beach hotels in Sri Lanka by guests and industry experts alike.
Jungle Beach, on a forested peninsula dividing the Indian Ocean from a lagoon teeming with tropical birds and wildlife, is Uga’s gateway to Sri Lanka’s east coast. Half an hour away is Trincomalee with its picturesque natural harbour, a paradise for nature lovers, whale-watchers and history buffs.
Chena Huts, the newest Uga resort, lies adjacent to the jungles of Yala, Sri Lanka’s oldest and second-largest natural reserve, overlooking a beach where sea turtles come to lay eggs by moonlight. Its luxurious detached, private pavilions are designed to harmonise with the forest environment.
The Residence, once a magnificent old Colombo townhouse, is now an exclusive 11-suite boutique hotel with an ambience that recalls its own rich history. Fitted out in opulent style, filled with every amenity and indulgence, the Residence is the ideal pied-à-terre for demanding visitors to Colombo.
Keen to preserve the natural beauty that is Sri Lanka’s most important asset, Uga follows a policy of minimal ecological impact – vital because so many of its properties are in biodiversity hotspots.
Ulagalla, with its solar farm, organic vegetable farm, reverse-osmosis water recycling and biogas reserve power plant, was one of the first boutique hotels in Sri Lanka to receive a LEED certificate from the US Green Building Council. Similar measures are in place at other properties.
Uga has led the Sri Lankan industry in sustainability, and is also proud of supporting local communities with trade and job opportunities.
A growing presence
With continued expansion across the country, Uga hopes to make it possible for a visitor to explore all of Sri Lanka without ceasing to enjoy its hospitality. With sights currently set on the central hill country and the south coast, the company says it also wants to expand abroad, into the South Asia region.
Sri Lanka is still recovering after a long internal war and there is much rebuilding to do. Uga is working hard to tackle industry-wide issues of marketing, infrastructure and human resources. Though further development is essential, it remains confident of the future of Sri Lanka as a destination, and is steadily moving towards its goal of becoming a major player in the industry.
Uga is a premium resort hotelier in Sri Lanka, owned by Finco Holdings, a large private Sri Lankan business group founded in 1963.