Heritance Tea Factory – hotel w prawdziwej fabryce herbaty – rewitalizacja w zgodzie z zabytkiem
Heritance Tea Factory – a hotel in an authentic tea factory – revitalisation in harmony with the monument
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Upon the basis of the Tea Factory hotel in Sri Lanka the article shows how it is possible to create an exceptional tourist site and salvage a historical monument of vital importance to the local culture while respecting its original substance. The hotel belongs to the Heritance hotel chain owned and operated by one of the biggest Sri Lankan tour operators. The Heritance brand – name developed from the words ”Heritage” and “Inheritance” – welcomes guests to authentic and sustainable heritage destination sites and is dedicated to deliver an authentic and unique experience. The Tea Factory was established by a hotel industry tycoon and visionary Mr G. C. Wickremasinghe in the old tea factory at Hethersett Estate, Kandapola, Sri Lanka. The region has been known for decades for supplying the world with finest and best quality Ceylon tea – universally known trademark of the whole island. The adaptation of a huge steel industrial construction for a new hospitality function posed a big challenge to the architect Mr Nihel Bodhinayake. However all the specialists summoned to complete this task managed to conduct it with taking into consideration all the principles of conservation – maximum respect for the original matter, a distinction between the old and the new, the avoidance of glaring contrasts, and the preservation – albeit symbolic, in view of the introduced alterations – of the original industrial functions. Hotel The Tea Factory is the pride and joy not only of its owners – the Aitken Spence company – but also of the local community. As all Heritance Hotels and Resorts it is known for its dedication to sustainability. A core belief of this group of hotels is integrating sustainable policies and adopting best practices in environmental and social governance. This leads to enriching the lives of employees by providing a safe working and a better living environment. It also results in creating responsible citizens more cooperative and tolerable towards other communities as well as providing great economic benefits to the villagers. By turning an old and abandoned tea factory – once known for making teas of such quality that they were auctioned in London for 30 times the then average price – into a unique museum-like hotel, Mr G. C. Wickremasinghe and his staff managed to create a truly exceptional site, different from any network hotels built at present. Putting so much effort to save every remaining original part of machinery and of the building itself gave a splendid effect. Not only were there no alterations made to the façade and the exterior but also windows and woodwork are entirely the originals, as designed by British engineers. Many original items, photographs, sketches and documents are put on display all around the building. The original purpose of the site is addressed by organizing and running tea plantation as well as a small tea factory – equipped with old miniature machinery. Guests are welcome to pluck and make their own souvenir tea thus living the authentic experience of this vital Sri Lankan industry. The Tea Factory is a great example that demonstrates “how by cultivating local heritage and identity it is possible to play a prominent cultural role by enabling monuments to cease being an unwanted and costly burden and to obtain profits from their original character” as jury of the British Building Conservation Award stated. Converting the property into a hotel had prevented the disused factory from falling into dereliction and decay. Instead this exceptionally skillful revitalization and conservation project carried out in full accordance with the art of conservation and consideration for the historical monument guaranteed success. The hotel won multiple accolades and international awards, including 1996 South Asian Architectural Award, 2001 Asia Pacific Heritage Merit Award granted by UNESCO, 2010 Asia Pacific Property Awards for Best Construction & Design or 2012 PATA grand Awards for Heritage & Culture – to name only a few. The example of The Tea Factory hotel shows how skillful and adroit use of the assets of historical monuments can bring their owners not only deep satisfaction but also splendor and money. Old buildings can successfully serve completely new functions, very different to the ones they were designed for. However, it takes a real visionary and a person of an outstanding understanding of the issues of conservation and restoration to conduct such a project. How fortunate that the Hethersett Estate was lucky enough to become The Tea Factory…
- A blend of hospitality and eco – friendliness Tea Factory Heritance goes local: www.sundaytimes.lk/090830/Plus/plus_09.html
- Bodhinayake N., The “Tea Factory Hotel”, Kandapola, Nuwaraeliya, Sri Lanka The Project Goals And Objectives, dokument niepublikowany, niedatowany.
- Tea Plantation History of the British Empire era Tea Factory hotel in Kandapola Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka www.levantineheritage.com/factory.html
- The Tea Factory – The unique theme hotel, www.historyofceylontea.com
- The Tea Factory Kandapola, The Unique, Highest Located Hotel in Sri Lanka, dokument niepublikowany, niedatowany.
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