“Tintagel is an extension of me,” says Udayshanth Fernando, the designer and creator of â€„Tintagel – an unique private hotel situated in the heart of Colombo. Having opened in 2007, Tintagel – Colombo revolutionised the boutique hotel arena in Sri Lanka. The aim of Udayshanth Fernando of Paradise Road fame was to create an unique, eclectic hotel that would compare with the best boutique hotels internationally.
By Udeshi Amarasinghe
Photography by Menaka Aravinda | Mahesh Bandara
Having been in the political limelight as the Colombo home of the Bandaranaike family, Tintagel has a distinctive history, aura and character that sets it apart from any other house in Colombo. Sensitive to the importance of the architecture of the building Fernando refrained from making any major structural changes to the façade. “My main aim was not to change the look or the feel of the house. I complemented the front yard with a fountain flanked by Louvre vases with topiary bushes. I wanted the welcome to be grand and I have achieved this!”, says Fernando. Though the 1920s exterior has been preserved the interior is an interesting mix of ancient and modern, which encompasses objet d’art from all over the world. The attention given to each and every detail is apparent through the hand picked furniture, upholstery, carpets, black lacquer tabletops, lamps, chandeliers and colours used that personify everything that is Udayshanth Fernando – Paradise Road.
On arrival to the premises, guests are greeted by a doorman clad in a Paradise Road, diagonally striped black and white batik sarong and an aroma that is unique to Tintagel – Colombo. The carpets are striking in black and beige stripes designed by Fernando. Tintagel houses a selection from the private collection of Udayshanth Fernando’s Art. “The beds are definitely the most comfortable in the country. I imported feather top mattresses and pillows and the comforters and bed linen are 400 count Egyptian cotton. I designed every detail in the bedroom. We have our own signature soaps and amenities in all the bathrooms. By looking into every little detail, Tintagel – Colombo ensures maximum comfort to its guests. This is what a discerning traveller wants and appreciates”, explains Fernando.
The kitchen is modern and equipped to cater to requirements of both in-house guests and casual diners. The kitchen has been seasoned over the last 1½ years and can cater for private weddings, engagements and chic formal dinners. Tintagel – Colombo has made it easy for patrons to organise functions, as it takes care of every detail right down to the flowers.
Tintagel – Colombo provides ample choices for entertaining. People can enjoy afternoon tea or High Tea in The Court Yard. Private dinners can be hosted in The Court Yard or The Private Dining Room. “We control the number of reservations we take, as we are sensitive to the privacy of our in house guests. I don’t think I will ever let any area in the hotel get over crowded, because then it would destroy the ambience of the space”, says Fernando. Today the Restaurant has many walk in diners that enjoy their evenings and usually come back again.
Fernando explains that the best reward for his and his team’s hard work is when guests return. The clientele of Tintagel – Colombo includes the Chairman of Hyatt, Worldwide – Tom Pritzker who has made Tintagel his address in Colombo. Royalty from Saudi Arabia, film stars, entrepreneurs and international journalists have stayed at the hotel. The response to Tintagel – Colombo has been reasonable considering the global crisis and the problems in Sri Lanka in the recent past. The hotel is getting known and the restaurants are becoming more and more popular. “Tintagel has become the address to stay in Colombo for the discerning traveller. I take pride in showing the potential of Sri Lanka to travellers from around the world as it is my aim to prove to the world that Sri Lanka also has taste and timeless style”, says Fernando convinced in his own words.
Udayshanth Fernando is a self made man who strives for perfection and success, ensuring that what he invests is from whatever he has earned himself. “Debt will affect my creativity. I cut my coat according to my cloth. It took me two years and eight months to create Tintagel – Colombo and my next project Paradise Road, The Villa – Bentota will also take time”, says Fernando.
His focus, perseverance and hard work has not gone unnoticed, Tintagel – Colombo was the only hotel from Sri Lanka selected to the Conde Nast Traveller’s Hot List for 2009. “The Conde Nast Traveller is the foremost guide for travel and leisure in the world. Tintagel – Colombo was described in its British issue when we first opened, as ‘Colombo has never had it so chic’. Although there were not too many features on Sri Lanka in 2008, it was wonderful when the war was about to finish for the magazine to select my hotel for the Hot List. I consider this a major pat on my back.” states Fernando proudly. He further adds that, “this is not only a credit for myself, I feel it is also a credit for my country. Through this Sri Lanka has been identified as a destination for 2009.”
Udayshanth is optimistic that discerning travellers will arrive on our shores with the end of the war in our country. Explaining further, “This will happen automatically, we have so much to offer. Sri Lanka is a magnetic, untouched and beautiful country. To have received this accolade I have reaped what I sowed.”
Photo Caption – Library, Udayshanth Fernando, Designer and Creator of Tintagel Colombo, Lobby, Private Dining Room, Bar