‘The Table by Golden Circle’: Wonderful culinary journey at Shangri La Hambantota

Elegant huts
Elegant huts

‘Shangri La’, throughout the centuries has had many meanings. To some it means a physical earthly paradise. To some it is a yearning for perfection or a goal to strive for and accomplish. To some it is love itself. To others it is a time spent in supreme pleasure in the company of loved ones. Whatever it may be Shangri La is an attainment.

And Shangri La Hambantota Resort and Spa fulfills all of the above. It is a physical paradise and it is perfect in the sense that it is a wonderful experience bringing happiness which is ultimately what we all strive for. It is love because of the way you are cared for. And it is ideal for a time spent in the company of loved ones.

The dining pleasure

The resort is stupendously beautiful with a selection of four restaurants. All four restaurants were a gastronomy delight with an assortment of mouth- watering food. The rooms were spacious and extremely comfortable. Much attention was paid to the family aspect with children’s activities given much prominence. The experience was really something else!

Of course in addition to touring this magnificent property the recent media tour coincided with the ‘The Table.’ Created especially for valued guests, the Golden Circle is more than a frequent guest program. Every time a guests stays, enjoys a spa treatment or dines at Shangri La, they will enjoy exclusive privileges and benefits across many different aspects of the group’s hotel and resort offerings.

Shangi La’s Hambantota Resort and Spa announced the launch of The Table by Golden Circle, a new food and beverage loyalty program offering unparalleled benefits to members who dine at Shangri La properties both on the road and close to home. The dining program is the latest initiative in the ongoing transformation of Golden Circle, which has rolled out industry leading member benefits, new partnerships and exclusive offers.

The Hong Kong based hotel group which operates 95 properties and over 500 restaurants and bars worldwide, in developing ‘The Table,’ has surveyed Golden Circle members, hotel guests and local residents on their attitudes towards dining, restaurant preferences and loyalty.

“Shangri La is a brand that is often recognized for its exemplary culinary culture because we complement authentic local tastes with fresh ingredients and a variety of cooking styles to create a cuisine that results in an explosion for the senses. Our dine by design experiences further add to the dining pleasure with tailor made menus highlighted by exquisite locations available around the resort, for a truly personalized and emotional experience,” said Executive Chef for Shangri La’s Hambantota Resort and Spa, Nonky Tejapermana.

A company- wide program

Shangri La really did things in style! They took us on a culinary journey through the resort – Cocktails on the Putting Green, a cheese and wine pairing at Ulpatha (the Club house lounge and bar), a South Asian Style Hawker Market at Sera restaurant, followed by a barbecue under the stars on the beach and to conclude the culinary feast, guests were treated to desserts at Gimanhala Lounge.

The Daily News spoke to General Manager, Hambantota Resort and Spa, Iain McCormack who proudly described this resort as one of the best.

“This is ‘The Table’ by Golden Circle and Golden Circle is our loyalty program. So what we have done is, we have enhanced on one of the most important parts of a hotel experience which is the food and beverage. So we want to bring that to the forefront because this is what the people enjoy especially in resorts. They want that culinary expertise and excellence. We are enhancing on our culinary journey. So what we are going to do is - give the guests a unique experience where they can benefit from our loyalty program when eating. So it is really a win- win situation for everyone.

Shangri La Hambantota opened its doors on June 1, 2016. So we are only nine months old. It is a fabulous property with 300 rooms. So we are really trying to create awareness. We are a little bit, away from Colombo. It is a beautiful part of the world and great place to go and relax. Our golf course is one of the best in Sri Lanka. We will have private dining on the golf course and creating menus around it. Even golfers would like some food and beverage going around. So it is a nice experience with special cocktails.

Our loyalty program is a company- wide program but each hotel and resort is very individual in terms of what we offer. This program will keep going on. The Colombo Shangri La site opens middle of October and it has 500 rooms and is the largest hotel opening in Sri Lanka and is a beautiful property,” said McCormack

Very exciting

Dining Experiences – a selection of four restaurants and bars allow guests to experience an authentic culinary adventure. Among the offerings are Bojunhala, for an excellent international buffet and Sri Lankan specialties, or Sera for Hawker –style stalls featuring flavorful cuisines of Southeast Asia. Ulpatha is home to one of the finest selection of malt whiskies, while Gimanhala prepares fresh drinks after morning yoga, all day refreshments and cocktails by candlelight.

Bojunhala offers Indi Appa, Pol Sambol and Mud Crab Jaffna Curry. The Gimanhala lounge is the perfect spot for guests to enjoy an afternoon tea, Champagne at sunset or a nightcap by candlelight under the stars.

Ulpatha is the perfect place to unwind after a game of golf with a fine selection of malt whiskies and other beverages and snacks. For those wanting to unwind after dinner, there is also a pool table and selection of cocktails.

The Daily News also spoke to Hambantota Resort and Spa, Director of Food and Beverages, Marc Schroer who certainly was excited about the potential of F&B

“At the moment the business is really doing well, at the end of the summer period we will have guests from Europe coming in. The Loyalty Program is ‘The Table’, ‘The Table’ by Golden Circle. ‘The Table’ is actually the F&B part, so you can earn points while staying at the hotel and also by dining. When you dine you reach certain levels – Gold, Jade and Diamond. When you reach Diamond you have more benefits and discounts. ‘The Table’ is for us to showcase what we can do as F&B. So you can really experience what our F&B can deliver. It is very exciting and I have been here for six months, and I love it and the people are super friendly and helpful and it is a great challenge and big project,” said Schroer .

Shangri La dining loyalty program

  •  Members can now earn Golden Circle Award Points by dining and drinking at the more than 500 restaurants and bars found in Shangri La.
  •  Instant Dining Rewards allows members to earn and redeem Golden circle award points on the spot.
  •  Jade and Diamond level members receive bonus earnings and more value on redemptions for dinging transactions
  •  Members receive Golden Circle Award Points on all qualifying transactions, including discounts.

FEATURES OF THE RESORT -

H All 300 luxury rooms and suites offer magnificent views of either the bountiful Indian Ocean, manicured golf lawns, the sparkling lagoon or the beautiful landscaped tropical gardens.

HAll guest rooms feature polished wooden floors that lead to balconies offering ocean vista or views of the resorts lush golf lawns and gardens. Hand-woven rugs and ocean blue colored panels complement the modern luxury style and spacious bathrooms with stone clad bathtubs and rain showers.

HEach of the 21 suites ranging in size from 96- 240 square meters provides the ultimate in privacy. They come equipped with expansive balconies which have been thoughtfully designed for relaxation. All guests can stay connected with free Wi-Fi.

HThe possibilities of Shangri La Hambantota does not end here. The CHI Ayurveda Spa is a place of personal peace, enchantment and well-being. Guests can enjoy a harmonious experience and can harness the benefits of 100 percent natural products through private consultations with nutritionists and Ayurveda doctors. There are twelve indoor and outdoor treatment rooms which are a haven for stress relieving massages, facials and body treatments.

HGuest can also access the swimming pools, including the sunset pool and Freeform pool that blend with the resort’s scenic landscape of flora and leafy surrounds. With pleasant temperatures most months of the year, outdoor experiences along nature trails are ideal. The resort has many recreational pursuits – beach volleyball, mountain biking, flying Trapeze, Bocce ball and golf.

HYoung guests 4 – 12 years of age can access the ‘Cool Zone’ that offer kids many opportunities to be kids!

HShangri La’s 18 hole golf course is the only one of its kind in the country. Set amidst a vast coconut palm plantation, it offers spectacular views and challenges for both causal and seasoned players. 


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