Juliet Coombe checks out the cities most exciting hospitality newcomer Jetwing Colombo Seven – Courtesy of Daily News.
Remember the scene in ‘The Devil’s Advocate’ where the Devil, played brilliantly by Al Pacino, takes the Attorney, Kevin, played by Keanu Reaves, onto the rooftop of his high rise building with an amazing infinity pool and a view to die for? Well, the setting at the top of Jetwing Colombo Seven is similar but even more beautiful, especially at dusk, and the good news being a Jetwing property you don’t have to sell your soul for it.
Neither will you be tempted, like Jesus, by the same Devil, to think that you might have dominion over all you see if you worship him, for this has been built by a family with the greatest integrity and vision, who ward off such spirits and ensure that everyone they work with is valued as it is the Jetwing team that makes Jetwing Hotels exceptionally special experiences. Like his father, Herbert Cooray the company founder, before him, Hiran Cooray Chairman of Jetwing Hotels has strong vision and religious faith in God and his amazing team. His father had the inspiration to build Jetwing Colombo Seven but sadly never saw it materialise in his life time “But I am sure his blessings from above will always be here”, Hiran says.
L-R Architect Sim Boon Yang, Ruan Samarasinghe, Hiran Cooray, Shiromal Cooray, Ramesh Costa, Jerome
Jetwing vision spans the whole of Sri Lanka and will one day, no doubt, go beyond its shores to teach the rest of the world how to value mother nature so it is protected and all its beauty, but also equally importantly all the people involved in the wonderful business of making people from all over the world feel at home in the best settings the island has to offer. In fact, the family, and this is another key element to their success, goes beyond making you feel at home and towards making their staff and you feel that they are part of maintaining a healthy, diverse, exciting and sustainable approach that protects the island for future generations to enjoy in the same way, and working in a new constructive world dominated by clarity and most importantly of all integrity they make the impossible happen even with the smallest plots of land, which in this case was originally Herbert Cooray’s family home.
Jetwing Colombo Seven is the latest in an exciting line of stunning hotels to be rolled out by the group around the country with more opening later in the year. The hotel caters to all tastes but is probably most attractive to the serious business traveller who needs to put in a focused, productive day in the business centre of Colombo, a very short ride away from Ward Place without the stress of battling through hair-raising grid locked traffic. Its central location makes it possible to return quickly after meetings to complete peace and tranquillity, either to unwind in the most relaxing possible way or to finish off communications for the day’s tasks in a conducive boudoir designed to be both chic and ultra modern.
A world of amazing shapes
Hiran, a lover of world travel and great architecture, explains how the inspiration for this stunning property, on a tiny plot of land, came from a very small Hotel in Singapore called the Naumi. When Hiran stayed there, he thoroughly enjoyed the utilisation of the space in this small block and immediately wanted to meet the architect who designed it. That is how Hiran met Sim Boon Yang of Eco ID and invited him to Sri Lanka to design a hotel for Jetwing.
One can only fully appreciate the brilliance of this architect by zipping up in the lift to the rooftop and diving into the beautiful pool overlooking Colombo. You won’t feel like you are swimming in a pool, but more like flying through the city like Peter Pan, surrounded by a world of amazing shapes lit up in dazzling bold neon lights against a moody black crenelated tropical Manhattan skyline. This is where the infinity experience really comes into its own, some twelve storeys above the exciting port city of Colombo. The bar is also perfectly situated for a valentine’s liaison, a deal clincher if ever there was one. A superbly stocked bar which to be honest you need not drink at all here for you will get quite tipsy enough on the atmosphere, ambience and altitude of the setting.
After the most breath-taking of swims as the sun sets over the city turning from orangey reds to royal purple golden hues, you will be ready for something to eat and you can continue to drink in the panoramic views from the comfort of the hotels world class restaurant, treated to exquisite food cooked by the young Indika Bandara, trained under the three star Michelin Chef Yannick Alleno. In the luxury of such, you can admire the sights in slow comfort, of this tropical resort style setting – the Nelum Pokuna Theatre is particularly stunning with its flower-like vibrant colours at night and depending on which direction you are looking you will see views of the Indian Ocean and be able to see historic buildings like the National Gallery and the National Museum amongst many other architectural wonders.
A birds eye window
As with all Jetwing hotels, the staff reflect its style, with the management having wide and long worldly experience whilst the ‘7’ team are drawn from both the local population with great knowledge of their surroundings or having been trained at other great hosting establishments. They are trained primarily to make you feel fully at ease, being attentive when you need help whilst also knowing when to leave you in peace.
The hotel is also fully fitted with a host of other great things such as four very different conference rooms for a diverse range of presentational styles, a luxurious spa, 24 hour room service, a concierge service with fantastic local knowledge and, if you are poorly or just need a little advice on your health, a resident doctor. And, of course, there is a fully fitted gym where you can listen to your favourite music whilst you treadmill-walk the perfect city panorama.
Whilst it’s still affordable, with amazing opening deals this hotel is an absolute must for those seeking solace and great service with a multitude of facilities in a unique resort style ambience in the heart of it all and who want to feel that penthouse amongst penthouses experience, up on a prominent city ‘mountain’, to reflect and recuperate, free from the temptations of the buzzy world below.
Hiran who sees his father as both his hero and his guru says building this hotel was pivotal to his fathers vision of the Jetwing group being an island wide group “I would like to see Sri Lanka positioned as one of the best Island nations in the World, offering not only lovely beaches but also wildlife, culture, thousands of years of fascinating history, and amazing greenery. We are known all over the world for the beauty of our Island, but today’s traveller is not aware of the product improvement that has happened over the past seven years, since the end of the thirty year conflict. This needs to be communicated so that we can continue to attract discerning travellers to our Island.”
Hiran, along with selecting a great architect, has put together a dream team and is delighted to have Ramesh Costa, who was based in London for over 30 years, join Jetwing as the general manager of Jetwing Colombo Seven. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Sri Lanka and Jetwing, not only in food and beverages but also in general management.
This is truly a hotel in the centre of Colombo with a birds eye window on the world and a style that embodies everything that is truly Sri Lankan, from a family whose roots run deep into the very soul of the island, or in this case, the very foundations on which this magnificent hotel is built. For me, the view from the roof, the azure swimming pool bar’s uber cool minimalist design, and the terrific restaurant will make this a legendary stopping-off point for all worldly travellers that truly appreciate premium hospitality.