How did you get the idea for Eden Villas?
Soon after arriving in Sri Lanka in 1998, my wife and I invested in a house located within the historic Galle Fort—a UNESCO World Heritage site—and, over the next 24 months, restored it to its original form. Friends came to stay, and, having also invested, asked us to do the same for them. Eden Villas grew organically from those early days.
Travel is a saturated market what in your mind does Eden Villas offer that wasn't already available?
It’s not what, it’s how. Our guests’ wellbeing is our driving force. Relaxation and wellbeing are driven from within, and when we are feeling balanced there are so many benefits—from boosting our immune system to cultivating inner happiness. We want our guests to reconnect with themselves and have a remarkable experience.
Give us a sense of the tourism market in Sri Lanka at the moment?
As our guests start to travel, we believe they will be even more experience-driven, seeking out things that give real meaning to the effort of travel. We are adapting our service to cater to those who are able to stay longer, as people become more accustomed to remote working.
When you first quit your job beyond having spent time in Sri Lanka on holiday why did you decide to return? And what has kept you there?
When here on holiday in 1998 my wife, who spent some of her formative years growing up in Fiji, had a deep connection with the fauna and flora of Sri Lanka. The lush and bountiful tropical scenery touched her heart and if truth be told, after that, it was only a matter of ‘when’ we moved here. In 1998, in search for a better quality of life for our family, we made the decision to apply for residence and, continuing to find that quality, have stayed on.
The luxury market has changed dramatically in the past few years what is luxury to you? A space that effortlessly invites, and maintains, inner calm. This can only be achieved if everything—the architecture and landscape, the service and cuisine, and the wellbeing of the employees is in harmony.
How do you ensure you balance luxury with authenticity?
We all have different benchmarks of what constitutes as “luxury.” To remain authentic, we ensure that our service is, at its root, grown from a place of kindness.
What are your plans for the future what cities can we expect to see from Eden Villas in the coming year?
Wellbeing is about balance, and if I thought that being in multiple cities and countries would contribute positively to mine then I’d consider expansion. Today, I am focused on Sri Lanka.
What are some of the innovations in technology that are helping you and your business through Covid-19?
For Eden Villas to get through Covid-19 we are more reliant on the freedom to travel, airlines flying at reasonable prices and limited periods of quarantine on arrival and return. Once this happens, our guests will enjoy a paperless experience as they communicate with their villa concierge on their handheld device. Every aspect of their stay, from arrival and departure details, wellness treatments, booking a restaurant ,or a day outing to visit an ancient site or safari park can be done by communicating with their dedicated concierge via our new App.