Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, the Hong Kong-based luxury hotel operator, revealed details today about its exciting pipeline of new luxury properties across the Indian Ocean and Asia at a press conference held during Arabian Travel Market 2017.

Shangri-La will set a new standard for luxury hospitality in Sri Lanka with the opening of  Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo. The hotel will be the most luxurious to open in Colombo in 35 years and will complement the Group’s 300-room Shangri-La Hambantota Resort & Spa, which opened in June 2016.

Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts is expanding into Sri Lanka at a time when the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) forecasts the country’s travel and tourism GDP will grow 6.3% per year over the coming decade and, by 2026, the industry is expected to be worth US$85 billion to the country’s economy.

“We are witnessing the increasing popularity of Sri Lanka, both as a leisure and business destination. In the first quarter of 2017 there were over 500,000 visitors to the country. The target markets are very much aligned with our own, with India boasting the highest number of visitors (84,568) followed by China (79,222) and the United Kingdom (59,137),” said Shangri-La Executive Vice President Michael Cottan, who oversees the group’s portfolio in Europe, the Middle East and the Americas (EMEA).

Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo benefits from a prime location between the Galle Face Green promenade and Beira Lake and boasts uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean. The site occupies 10 acres of land and is part of a mixed-use development including an office tower, two residential towers and a high-end shopping mall. The hotel will feature 466 guest rooms, 41 serviced apartments and 34 spacious suites, including a Presidential Suite and three speciality suites.

Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo will be a contemporary dining hotspot, unlocking a new social and dining scene in the city with five innovative restaurants and bars including the best and only authentic Chinese restaurant in Sri Lanka, plus a western grill, an interactive all day dining restaurant, a casual bar and terrace, and a lobby lounge.

In meeting the needs of Colombo’s thriving business community, the hotel will also feature the largest and most extensive hotel conference and event facilities in the region, catering for up to 2,000 guests. Chi, The Spa will lead the hotel’s lifestyle experience with 10 private rooms for individuals and couples and a selection of traditional Sri Lankan and East Asian treatments and therapies. The spa will be complemented by a state-of-the-art health club open 24 hours.

“Our world-class facilities in the hotel will appeal to leisure travellers and business people alike. They are ideal for conferences and meetings and will enable the destination to compete with other MICE hotspots like Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Phuket and Bali. Our combination of service quality, conference capabilities and in-room technology means this is a truly unique product for Sri Lanka,” said Cottan.

Gulf carriers ensure great connectivity between Colombo and visitors from the region. In addition, Sri Lankan Airlines recently announced a direct route from Colombo to Gan, the closest airport to Shangri-La’s private resort in the Maldives.