The dawning of peace in Sri Lanka last year opened up the exciting potential for tourism in the east coast and the first visible sign of this is the opening of Chaaya Blu last week. Owned by John Keells Hotel Group and called Club Oceanic previously, the “retro-chic” four-star beach hotel was conceptualised by master architect Channa Daswatte and inspired by the James Bond movie, ‘Die Another Day’.
Speaking after the opening, Deputy Chairman of John Keells Holdings Ajit Gunewardene said: “This ‘70s property now revamped as a stylish retro-chic product will also set trends in modern resort interiors being outside the typical Sri Lankan resort design. However, despite the uniqueness of its design, what the hotel truly promotes is an exploration of its surroundings; from the scenic white beaches to the popular sites, flavours and culture of the locality.”
Here are some excerpts from their recent media release:
Daswatte says he wanted to have some retro-fun with the old building and went “slightly off the wall!” Given that Trincomalee’s landscape has fewer trees complimented by a sea that transforms from emerald to turquoise depending on the time of day, he created Chaaya Blu, “with a ring of the hip and to relive some of those lost teenage years, which was a very energetic period.” And so he brought in the cool easy relaxation that’s so du rigueur to unwind. Take in the mosaic walls in the foyer; the cool interiors of the white rooms with its white painted clay lamps and terra cotta tiles dipped in white paint for a touch of the Caribbean; polished cement beds with tie and dye and mosaic walls and Wetakeiya rugs and lots of denim complimenting the mid-century Scandinavian limed furniture. The design encompasses the unparalleled view of the sea from anywhere in the resort – from the bar, the restaurant, the combination of bleached wood decks that encircle the resort or the centralised spaces where wining and dining anywhere is mandatory. There’s even a beach bar built around a Banyan Tree which overlooks Swami Rock and a timber deck that stretches from the reception, all the way to the beach and out into the sea to create an infinite panorama of the sea.