Suriya by Suriyasena – An Indulgent Affair

ERIC (4)Dilshan Senaratne

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 ofERIC (2) 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.

ERIC (8)“We don’t play loud music and host parties at Suriya. It’s important for us to maintain the ambiance that we have created. Most nights are accompanied musically with a flute and guitar.”

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.

ERIC (7)Ninesh Suriyasena handles the operation­al facets of the property and the smooth flow of things at the resort holds testimony to the great management that turns the clock-work.

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.”

ERIC (6)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.

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