SPOTLIGHT ON Sanjiv Hulugalle – Sri Lankan Vice President & General Manager – Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection in Hawaii
anjiv talks about the resort’s $200M renovation and how the destination is the perfect vacation getaway to socially distance and unwind after a long hard year. They are gearing up for group business later in the year with innovative programs to make conferences and meetings successful.
What do you anticipate for the recovery in Hawaii and how have you coped with such an unpredictable market?We are seeing strong demand from guests on the mainland wanting to visit Hawaii. With the testing protocols becoming more clear, the state and Mauna Lani will come back better than ever. By nature, the resort lends itself well to social distancing: wide open spaces, private, oceanfront dining and beautiful views that can be enjoyed from your balcony.
During our closure this summer we have won numerous industry awards, including Conde Nast Travler’s Hot List and Travel+Leisure’s World’s Best. Most recently we were named to Travel+Leisure’s 500 Hotels. Through this coverage, so many new guests have learned about the resort and are excited to visit Hawaii island when the time is right. While we were only open for 7 weeks after our reimagination in the beginning of 2020, during our closure we were able to add in a robust fitness and tennis program, wellness experiences, as well as reopening one of Hawaii’s best restaurants to locals, CanoeHouse.
We anticipate group business returning later in the year, with programs set up to allow for private experiences and distance meetings. Attendees will be able to attend large conference events virtually by way of their guestroom TV, and incentive programs will take full advantage of wide open spaces and thoughtful experiences.
How have you made guests and staff feel safe at the resort?By nature, the state of Hawaii provides a haven to those seeking opportunities to be outside, explore nature and enjoy distance. Mauna Lani was designed as an indoor-outdoor retreat. From outdoor dining options and endless activities on our beach, guests feel comfortable and relaxed here, for perhaps the first time since the Pandemic started. Since reopening in November, our goal has been to provide the safest environment possible for our guests, Team Members and locals. In getting to Hawaii alone, guests traveling from the mainland and any other island must arrive with a negative Covid test taken within 72 hours of travel. The island of Hawaii administers a second, rapid test at the airport, so that gives travelers here peace of mind that they are visiting one of the safest destinations in the world. We are one of the first resorts to be Sharecare VERIFIED by Forbes, giving an extra level of confidence. In addition to safety protocols, experiences at Mauna Lani happen where open spaces and nature are abundant.
Your $200M renovation in 2020 is quite spectacular. Can you give us a snapshot of the brief?People have always loved the elegance of this resort – the simple, beautiful natural spaces, and incredible sense of place, all deeply rooted with history. And all of that remains after our renimagination. Designed by Meyer Davis, the interiors are now brighter and more refined, with ample hardwood, natural fabrics and textures. Furnished lanai balconies offer spectacular mountain and ocean views—each presenting an understated, natural décor, setting the tone for a soulful Hawaiian escape. The ultimate island getaway is reserved for those who reside within one of our five private Residences, each with their own private pool, dedicated service and exclusive dining options. Nestled on sacred shores lined with tropical gardens, secluded warm-water beaches and natural lava plains, Mauna Lani offers an unrivaled, authentic experience, raising the bar for luxury in Hawai’i.
Oceanfront guest rooms and suites set the stage for transformative experiences while activity at the resort buzzes from Surf Shack, the heart of Mauna Lani. Guests enjoy morning yoga and embark on sunrise canoe paddles from here, and come back later in the day to live, local music and sunset cocktails. Three pools and expansive lawns are perfect for picnics and stargazing. For dinner, private dining options include highlights from Hawaii’s fresh bounty from the laid-back, yet refined CanoeHouse with Executive Chef Matt Raso at the helm.
Trends are predicting travelers will migrate to more open, natural spaces. How can guests at your resort tap into a sense of wellbeing and reconnection with the outdoors?Mauna Lani offers guests unparalleled opportunities to connect outdoors with Hawaii’s natural and cultural treasures. The land itself is sacred, nestled on 32 oceanfront acres called Kalāhuipua‘a. This raw and potent paradise is at the piko (center) of Hawaii’s five great volcanoes, and the point where volcanic plains meet the shimmering sea. Mauna Lani sits within Kalāhuipua‘a, a sacred realm whose astonishing natural beauty is equaled only by its primal, magnetic power. To walk this storied coastline, breathe the salt air, and swim in the crystalline waters is to feel the same mana—spiritual energy—that first drew people here centuries ago. This is where ancient Hawaiians mastered the art of aquaculture and where King Kamehameha came to recuperate and work in the fishponds.
EU funded SEDR Project launches Policy Brief to strengthen alternative dispute resolution in Sri Lanka
The Supporting Effective Dispute Resolution (SEDR) project, funded by the European Union and implemented by the British Council in partnership with The Asia Foundation, launched a Policy Brief titled ‘Strengthening A Just Alternative’ to strengthen community-based alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms in the country.
The launch event, held at the British Council Library in Colombo, was attended by several distinguished dignitaries, including Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, Minister of Justice, Ms. Beatrice Bussi, (Interim) Head of Development Cooperation of the European Union to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Priyanath Perera, Secretary of the Mediation Boards Commission, Hon. Justice Yapa, Chairperson of the Mediation Boards Commission, and Commissioners of the Mediation Boards Commission.
Speaking at the event, Ms. Beatrice Bussi stated that “The importance of mediation in Sri Lanka is twofold, as it ensure an easy and economic access to justice to citizens, while it provides the opportunity to reduce the burden on the Sri Lankan court system. I want to praise the model of Sri Lankan community mediation boards, for its effectiveness and for the value it delivers to communities in addressing local disputes preventing their escalation”.
Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe stated ” One of the main tasks of the Ministry is to ensure the necessary legal, policy, and institutional framework is set up for efficient resolution of disputes. Alternative dispute resolution, including mediation, play a major role in this regard. There are different opinions regarding the effectiveness of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, especially mediation among the community and stakeholders. In the meantime, the Ministry has initiated a number of reforms to improve dispute resolution processes in Sri Lanka. Accordingly, the Ministry highlights the importance of surveys of this nature to facilitate evidence-based decision-making regarding alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. As such the Ministry would like to congratulate the SEDR project on this successful initiative.”
The Policy Brief is based on the findings of a Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices (KAP) survey commissioned by SEDR and conducted by the Centre for Poverty Analysis (CEPA) in 2022. The survey aimed to assess knowledge, attitudes and practices of various community-based alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, including mediation boards. The survey covered six districts in the country, targeting 1,712 households of all three main ethnic groups.
COYLE urges government to engage business leaders in policy-making process for fair, sustainable, and economically sound decisions
The Chamber of Young Lankan Entrepreneurs (COYLE) held its 24th Anniversary Celebrations on 10th March 2023, at Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo. The event was attended by the chief guest, Prime Minister, Dinesh Gunawardena; the guest of honour, U. S. Ambassador, Julie Chung; former President of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena; Chief of the Defense Staff, General Shavendra Silva; cabinet and state ministers; parliamentarians; commanders of the Sri Lanka Armed Forces; government officials, and business leaders.
The Chamber of Young Lankan Entrepreneurs (COYLE) comprises more than 116 prominent individuals who serve as Chairmen and Controlling Shareholders of some of the most influential companies in Sri Lanka.
It has over 500 member organizations and is affiliated with nearly 50 business chambers in the country. The organization is managed and controlled by young entrepreneurs but also boasts a number of senior and respected business leaders who joined the organization during its formative years to help shape COYLE into what it is today.
The Chamber actively promotes entrepreneurship, the development of rural communities, and thought leadership. In adherence to the organization’s strongly held principles and as a mandatory service to the community, COYLE engages in countless CSR initiatives through its member companies around the country. The Chamber provides leadership, learning, and development for its members and stakeholders, and over the years, it has grown into a vehicle for business growth in Sri Lanka via its many local and global networks.
The past year was an exceptionally challenging one for all parties in the Sri Lankan economy. Remarking on this, the Outgoing Chairman of COYLE, Mr. Dimuth Chankama Silva, stated during his address, “This year was the greatest test of our mettle. Even diamonds are born out of pressure. This year gave us the opportunity to shine through pressures from all directions. I believe we shone. We are here alive and kicking, our businesses are growing, we are conquering international markets and territories, and COYLE has grown in leaps and bounds.”
A notable emphasis was given to the introduction of the COYLE theme for the year 2023/24, EVOLUTION: #Resilience, #Agility, and #Transformation. The incoming Chairman, Mr. Rasith Wickramasingha, stated, “Evolution is to upscale capability, enhance skills and increase creativity, innovate at a time of chaos, and re-imagine a new business environment. Evolution requires change: change in mindset, attitude, self-awareness, and acumen of the surrounding environment as well as culture.”
He went on to note that in today’s environment, every five years constitutes a generational gap and emphasized the need for COYLE to evolve as a chamber in order to be relevant and sustainable for the future. He further mentioned that decades of ill-conceived, politically driven policies based on the advocacy of a few, rather than consultative decision-making with recognized business chambers, have led to the current crisis. Elaborating on this point, Mr. Rasith Wickramasingha said, “Policy formulation should be done based on sound economic principles and business acumen. Businesses rely on stable policies so that they may plan ahead. Ad hoc policies which bring no economic benefit have led to losses in the private sector and leakage of foreign exchange from the country.”
He emphasized that it is heartbreaking to see that the individuals who strive continuously for the betterment of the country and persistently do the right thing get penalized while those engaging in unethical practices to avoid taxation are rarely held accountable. COYLE hopes for more genuine dialogue from policymakers regarding these issues and affirms that the organization’s globally exposed and experienced members could be a great value addition to any actions taken to revive the economy. What sets COYLE apart from the rest is that its members are made up of business owners and decision-makers who are passionate about doing something good for the country, who are genuinely aligned with this cause, and willing to embrace the future without diluting our national and cultural heritage.
The 24th Anniversary Celebration of COYLE closely reflected in its overarching tone the state of the country following the Easter Bombings, the pandemic, and the economic and political crisis. The event also honored and recognized the Chamber’s numerous members who weathered the storm by building resilience, being agile, and transforming their businesses. It also highlighted the many CSR initiatives undertaken by COYLE member organizations, many of which were carried out quietly, purely as a service to the country.
These initiatives focus on communities most affected by the calamities of the past years and were chosen regardless of race, religion, or creed. With a host of esteemed and influential guests attending the celebrations, COYLE made this event a platform to convey a strong message calling for sociopolitical change in the country. COYLE believes that the hardline decisions taken by President Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Governor of the Central Bank, Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe, were tough but necessary considering the state of affairs. The Chamber also notes that as a result of these decisions, gradual change for the better is apparent in the economy. Considering the massive pool of collective experience, expertise, and connections held by COYLE, it is capable of providing significant value and insight for economic reform. Hence, COYLE urges the government to actively engage and work together with the Chamber to expedite economic revival.
Once again, AIA Ran for their Lives – proud sponsor for the 3rd consecutive year
AIA Insurance was humbled to be a part of Run For Their Lives 2023, in raising funds for the Apeksha Cancer Hospital. The charity run aligns with AIA’s brand purpose of helping people live healthier, longer, better lives with focus on the prevention and management of Non-Communicable Diseases in Sri Lanka. The company will continue its commitment to fight NCDs and actively engage in creating awareness on leading NCDs in the country.
With AIA’s goal of making a positive impact on one billion lives by 2030, participants at RFTL were encouraged to make a pledge for a healthy habit that could help prevent illness and remain healthy in the long run. The participants also took part in a real-time survey that measured their unhealthy habits and recommended healthy lifestyle habits. Participants were also instantly rewarded for taking part in the wellness games and the free BMI sessions organised by one of AIA’s wellness partner Vida Medical Clinic.
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