More jewels in the crown for the Grand

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Barnes Hall

From the quiet country home of the region’s governor 195 years ago, the Grand has grown into an iconic landmark of the hill country which serves as a home away from home for British civil servants, planters, military top brass and visitors from all parts of the world. Sir Edward Barnes would never have imagined that his tranquil abode would evolve into the iconic landmark it is today. 

In each decade, and, in recent times, in each year, the Grand Hotel has offered something new to its patrons. From specialty restaurants and sprawling lawns to verdant hedges and cosy lounges, the Grand is constantly enhancing its guest experience through significant additions.

This year was no exception. In fact, it has been a year where multiple changes have been made with the discerning and sophisticated international and domestic traveller in mind. A world-class spa, pool, sauna and gym now combine to invite guests to the Mindfulness Studio, where, after a dip in the temperature-controlled pool following a rejuvenating spa treatment, you are invited to unwind and enjoy tranquillity. A healthy avocado burger, Portobello Mushroom fajita or spinach and banana blossom enchilada, washed down with a crisp bubbly glass of champagne, are some of the food and beverage options that you can pamper yourself with at this one-of-a-kind hideout. 

Since 1891, the Grand Hotel has been a cosy rendezvous for travellers, British planters and hunters. It is a stately abode where traditional food and wine is assured and served with style and finesse fit for royalty. In those pioneering years, the chef’s bill of fare featured steak and kidney pie, Haggis and Welsh cawl among other British favourites and of course the fresh game the trigger-happy hunters would bring home. The Head Chef would be called upon to inspect the trophies of the beaming hunters and would scrutinise the fresh game laid on the back of their horses, most often striking a bargain of providing game roast for the marksman, on the house.

The reputation for delicious food, good wine and gregarious parties at the Grand has stood the test of time, with the iconic property today serving discerning diners specialty cuisine from all parts of the world. The contribution from food and drink to the revenue of the hotel averages around 46%, making it one of the most diverse culinary teams in the country.

Not satisfied with the many laurels and accolades the hotel has received for its food, the directors found it fit to convert the old basement kitchen into an ultra-modern, super functional Culinary Studio, where an environment conducive for research, innovation and culinary mastery is created, making it more akin to a research and development facility than a kitchen.

With seven restaurants, two bars and 12 food and beverage offerings, the Grand Culinary and Service team is constantly looking at ways to create and maintain the edge in their art of providing superior dining experiences. This is where the all-new culinary facility comes into play. Here is a unique environment where the function of the main production kitchen is fused with a food and drink lab and restaurant, all rolled into a gastronomy hub, with the objective of turning out exquisite dishes in line with the latest international culinary trends. 

The Grand Hotel team receives culinary intelligence from all parts of the world, with world-renowned chefs flown in for two-week stints to share their knowledge and expertise. 

Once the day’s work is done, the younger chefs and apprentices can be seen trying out certain dishes and presentation techniques under the watchful eyes of the Executive Chef and his team of master craftsman, thus maintaining that crucial edge in culinary intelligence which has been the hallmark of the Grand Hotel.

The new layout also facilitates the observation and learning of visitors through a modern and functional kitchen. Many young adults, hotel school students and trainees from other institutes visit the kitchen to gain a glimpse of the state-of-the-art, ISO 22000 certified kitchen and its skilled practitioners at work.

With heritage and luxury resting as the cornerstones of the Grand experience, this new food production facility is called upon to research, test and create cuisine that will complement the other key elements of the hotel. 

The pool, spa, sauna and gym introduced in 2018 as the Mindfulness Studio have opened a whole new dimension to the hotel’s guest experience. The temperature-controlled indoor pool with a sky-lit roof and roman bath-styled interior is as close as you will get to ultimate tranquillity. With the Grand Spa’s well-trained Balinese therapist complementing the ambience, the Mindfulness Studio is designed to pamper both body and soul.

There are several carefully engineered culinary concoctions specially composed to complement the ambience of the Mindfulness Studio, which has today become a venue where guests can relax rather than just being a run-of-the-mill pool. 

The rest of the hotel too offers generous spaces to lounge and relax, and the acclaimed garden, with its colourful lines of flowers and artfully manicured hedges, is designed to create a mood of tranquillity in the midst of history and luxury. The type of food and drink offered to a guest in this frame of mind needs to be thoughtfully designed and made with precision, and this is where the fully-equipped dispense bar and state-of-the-art Culinary Studio will come into play.

This holiday season, you will be checking into a Christmas Palace at the Grand Hotel, where the Christmas spirit starts as early as 30 November and unfolds an array of activities and experiences fit for royalty. The little princesses and princes are not forgotten. They will be able to enjoy activities such as a kiddies party, cooking session with a chef and movie times along with other interesting distractions.

All these add to the colourful garden and grounds as well as the many new attractions the city of Nuwara Eliya has to offer, making this perhaps the best time of year to holiday at the Grand Hotel Nuwara Eliya.

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