Suriya by Suriyasena – An Indulgent Affair
Composed in the serenity of the Indian Ocean on one end and the gushing Gin Oya on another, is Suriya, an 11-acre haven of luxurious comfort and rejuvenation. The star class yet highly exclusive property draws from its pristine surroundings an air of unmatched tranquility that is heavily sought but rarely happened upon.
Mere months since it’s operational inception, the property has won the hearts of a select audience and aims to expand its client portfolio with its promise of luxury. Suriya is an architectural icon with expansive spaces, complemented by high rising ceilings and an overall interior stated by its spacious design. The minimalistic cut cement finishes and white walls place great emphasis on the scenic surroundings bestowed upon the property by virtue of its immaculate location in proximity to reserve forestry and water bodies.
The lull of the ocean accompanies the ambiance of the property by blending into the experience that is Suriya. Accommodation is offered to the truly privileged in three types of bed-units, categorised as deluxe rooms, suites and water bungalows. An uncompromised view of the lush surroundings are guaranteed as part of each accommodation unit in addition to the individually designed interior and hardwood flooring. Comfort is an attribute that naturally springs to mind at every turn and corner of Suriya, cementing the success of the property as a hallmark of contemporary luxury.
Eric Suriyasena, the man behind the magic requires no introduction, having established himself not only as a successful resortier but also as a pioneering artist of the country. Mr. Suriyasena who despite an education in the field of finance remained inclined towards his artistic pursuits began what was fated to be a highly illustrious career as a designer. Having practiced design as a hobby in his early youth, he returned to the island following his higher education and developed an undying passion for batiks.
“It’s unfortunate that in Sri Lanka, we consider batik to simply be a shirt, blouse or sarong. Batik in itself is an extensive art with a wide range of applications”
Mr. Suriyasena speaks proficiently about the art that has led him to his current success. With a career spanning as far as five decades he truly is an authority on the industry and its art.
Having first developed a passion for batiks in his foreign visits, Mr. Suriyasena has successfully concluded exhibitions in over 63 countries. In 2014 he hosted his 99th exhibitions much closer to home at the Lionel Wendt. In a highly illustrious career pioneering not one but two industries within the local arena, Mr. Suriyasena has successfully established himself as an enterprising artist with two properties now under his name alongside the batik factory that today caters to a niche clientele.
“A batik is a unique work of art. Every batik is one of a kind and can never be recreated. The technique itself can be utilized to portray any number of things, batiks can be representations of modern or abstract arts.”
Mr Suriyasena spent a large part of his youth travelling to countries where batik was practiced to learn and study the art. At a time when the industry was primitive at home, this gave him the means and the knowledge to convene the knowhow in Sri Lanka.
When eventually he established his factory in Sri Lanka, he began infusing a local touch to the pieces he created. “Every country has a style and identity for its batik and we have been successful in creating our own identity over the last fifty years.
“The first resort I established was Goldie Sands in Negombo. I decided to get into tourism and hospitality because I felt it aligned well with the art that I was creating, we had a big foreign market for our pieces.”
Mr. Suriyasena, has created a social enterprise surrounding the batik manufacturing by employing housewives who have limited employment opportunities. With the training and guidance offered to them, their standards of living have greatly improved and alleviated through their involvement with the batik production. Today, an independent enterprise, Mr. Suriyasena’s factory in Marawila brings his artistic visions to life and creates opportunities for many Sri Lankans.
Each suite in Suriya is decorated with a signature batik created by Mr. Suriyasena and contributes to the overall charm of the stunning property. The highest standards have been pursued in creating the Suriya experience and as such employees the services of many highly experienced staff members. The eclectic mix of cuisine on-spread at the resort is credited to an exceptionally experienced kitchen team and continues to complete the Suriya experience.
The enchantment that is Suriya remains unbroken through the spells of flute and guitar that easily flows through the night. A stay at Suriya is assured to be a rejuvenating affair for the mind, body and soul. True to its concept, the gymnasium at the resort is a popular stop for patrons vacationing at the Suriya, challenged only by the boat-ride that covers the expanses of the Gin Oya.
“My sons are also greatly involved in the operations of the resort and were key contributors to the property since its inception. They travelled around the world prior to the designing of the property to visit the most popular destinations in the world and draw inspiration from them.”
Nilan Suriyasena who formulated the concept to develop the resort is a Management graduate with an affinity towards interior design who has arrived in the country following his stint in the USA, his brother Ninesh also has completed a similar tenure in America with a qualification in Finance. The two brothers are designated the titles of Deputy Chairman and Managing Director respectively.
Nilan Suriyasena has contributed greatly towards the interior design of the property and is an avid lover of Bawa style architecture, a fact that is reflected in the many rustic doorways and boundless open spaces that merge with the natural scenery.
The third brother in the family Niransha Suriyasena is currently pursuing a career in the hospitality sector in Australia, employed at a leading resort. He too is hoping to relocate to Sri Lanka in a bid to contribute towards the booming local industry and the tourism sector in the country.
“I’m happy to have my sons in the country and for them to be involved in the business. Following the war they had better prospects in the island and of course recognized the need to contribute towards the development of the country.”
Scattered throughout the property are sites of significance whose background relates a great story. The mural at the reception is the vision that Mr. Suriyasena has for the front yard of the property in years to come and can be seen creating a scene for the future. The pool bar is home to a hanging timber ceiling that has been draped with an unusual technique, hanging loosely and unrestricted.
“Nature is to me the biggest inspiration and it’s something that we always tried to maintain at Suriya. We wanted the experience to be a close encounter with nature and its marvels that are abundant in Sri Lanka. The property itself is flanked by a vast forest reserve in addition to the water bodies surrounding it and this has come to be one of the most distinct characteristics of the resort.”
A green world is a vision that lies close to the resort and its creator’s heart, Mr. Suriyasena also cultivates a 15-acre land in the vicinity as an organic farm that is fertilized through the use of degradable waste from the resort. The fruits and vegetables produced in the land are intended to be used by the resort itself and also to be supplied to the hotels in the area. The project will be launched in the rainy season of 2015, with the necessary infrastructure already put in place.
Mr. Suriyasena describes the resort as a merger of water, wood and garden, a close encounter with nature that is merely facilitated by the concrete structures and their containments. Tucked away in a quiet hideaway off Waikkal, Negombo, Suriya is now the newest addition to the Sri Lankan luxury accommodation ensemble, and as such is set to mark a new hallmark in the standards of hospitality available in the country. In summary, the resort itself and its experience is one that shouldn’t be missed or overlooked.