A Langkawian falls in love with a green hotel - sorry, no - it is not one of ours - it is in Sri Lanka. Why we write about? Some of the hotels and resorts in Langkawi could use it as an example . . .
Have I Finally Found the Truly Perfect Hotel?

By Paul Penders

On the last day of my visit to Sri Lanka, I was met with a most wonderful surprise: a hotel of real quality that ‘walks its talk’ – the Jetwing Beach Hotel in Negombo.

My work has me traveling quite often. In over 40 years of travel, I may have stayed in perhaps a thousand hotels all over the world. Each hotel has its own specialty, character or uniqueness, and the experience can very good but it also can quite bad! I have learned that even if it is part of a big chain -- like for example, Hilton Hotels – that does not always guarantee a pleasant stay. Same goes for a huge price tag as well. I have also stayed in numerous small family hotels and most of them gave me a wonderful experience for an affordable price. However, out of them all, this one is the closest to a perfect hotel.

Truly attractive images, right? But what exceptional things are behind these images that make for an unforgettable experience?

Many hotels offer the same warm ambiance as the images above. What is there behind these wonderful scenes? What makes a stay at Jetwing  Beach in Sri Lanka a truly unforgettable experience? Something you certainly do not want to miss?  (Also unforgettably -- for a very affordable price).

Service and atmosphere?
Let me start by saying that the hotel interior throughout is filled with beautiful modern art everywhere. In the rooms, reception hall and dining rooms, the walls and floors are great colors: uplifting passionate-red, natural green and cooling blue tones.

The managing director came out especially to greet me, to ask me whether all was fine and it made me immediately feel at home. Believe it or not, that wonderful atmosphere even makes even the food taste better, let me assure you :-)

The people in all the departments I noticed seemingly were happy and fulfilled with their work. Their service was impeccable -- and always, always with a great smile.

Guiding Principles? CSR?
Let me explain, but before I do, let me tell you I do not get paid for writing this! I do not get any commission nor will I get a better price when I stay there next time! This blog is just written from the heart – and inspired by a company that does things better. A lot better, as a matter of fact. That is the reason why I dedicate this blog to this hotel -- and in hopes that more hotels will follow their same guiding principles:

- Vision & Values….
passion, humility, integrity and tenacity

- Mission….
a family of people committed to legendary and innovative service

- Environmental Policies….
conserve natural resources by minimizing negative impact through implementing routine actions, sustainable management and education…. protect and enhance ecosystems…. conserve energy and water …. minimize pollution by reducing the use of harmful substances…. make all efforts to mitigate and adapt climate change….. reduce, re-use and recycle waste …. comply with environmental legislation … employ local people … purchase local products and services  …. always seek to achieve a safe and sustainable environment for the community, future generations and for ourselves.

If the above is not enough, let me explain that this company gives a true example of corporate social responsibility (CSR). They practice what they preach -- they are fully committed to health and eco-consciousness, to biodiversity, and their environmental and social responsibilities. They are giving a great education to their staff and their families, and to their neighborhood. I could go on and on with an impressive list of details about what the above implies but that is too long to describe in a short blog.
Ingredients and standards?

It is all about health and eco-consciousness at Jetwing Beach. All the food is clearly marked, heart-healthy and with healthy alternatives provided at the buffets. Whenever possible, the hotel serves organically grown vegetables from their own garden. Low calorie alternatives such as mono-saturated margarines and mono-saturated oils are used for cooking. Meats of protected species are not served. All kitchen staff is trained to identify specimens such as immature and egg-bearing lobsters that are illegal to purchase. The hotel is HACCP certified in food safety standards.

Quality and taste of the food?
The food -- some of the best and freshest I have tasted in a long time. The buffet is “grande” (enormous) and the chefs have carefully considered all the best qualities when preparing the food. To give just one small example of superior quality: the jam at breakfast contains delicious full-sized fruits prepared with a minimum of sugar. The coffee, too, is very tasty and made from local coffee beans.

Green initiatives?
Now, I could go on and on…. About their landscaping and beach maintenance programs that are performed by their own people,  about their conservation education and biodiversity conservation efforts, their social responsibility and involvement in community development, and their other CSR programs… This hotel is in the process of obtaining ISO certification for environmental management (ISO14001). Their future direction is very clear: to maintain and expand their green initiatives.

Regional Specialties?
The local coffee is great but for tea lovers, this is paradise. Most of the teas they serve are organically grown and especially brewed individually for you. A special brochure is available which explains the relationship between tea and health and how tea has been used medicinally as far back as the reign of the Chinese emperor Shen Nung some 5000 years ago. These specialty teas may take slightly longer than usual to prepare but the wait is really worth it.

I am so enormously impressed with this wonderful hotel that we intend to send our employees to Jetwing Beach Hotel once we reach our set revenue goals for 2012.  Budgeting has become a huge thing in these difficult economic times but I feel that several things we follow here in the Paul Penders company apply to what this hotel does so impressively. Our people do not go out to force distributors to make more sales but instead try to assist, educate and act in a way to form warm long-term friendships rather than cold ‘business relationships.’

I have never before been in a hotel quite like this one – though I have stayed at many multi-star hotels -- Westins, Four Seasons, Hiltons, etc. This is the place to be -- and again for a very affordable price.  Sri Lanka - here we come!!  Congratulations to the people of this impressive hotel -- and may many others in the travel industries follow your excellent initiatives and practices! Bravo Jetwing Beach Hotel!

Please check out www.jetwinghotels.com/jetwingbeach/

The hotel is 15 minutes drive from Colombo airport and a taxi is made available by the hotel for only a few USD.