I am highly satisfied with the hospitality, stay and sumptuous Indian food… mouth watering aloo bonda, daal makhni, badaam halwa, parantha, masala chai and what not! Non vegans have an extensive platter too!
Meenal, WED Tease
A close group of influential wedding planners flown down to Sri Lanka from Delhi, Ahmedabad and Mumbai to be a part of this FAM trip. The initiative was taken by Varun Madaan of Vivaah Makers and Kiran Sonawane of Onyx Hospitality Group who planned a comfortable itinerary that included property inspection, stay and food experience.
Varun shares his thought on planning this FAM trip.
I planned this trip with Onyx to explore the market with my colleagues who have been pitching other International destinations for weddings. I felt we were missing out Amari Galle which I find is an amazing destination – its like a home away from home and suffices to all requirements for Indian weddings. The idea was to create more awareness, let them experience the hospitality and the scrumptious food at this property. Kiran from Onyx beautifully executed the itinerary and took care of minutest details giving each one of us a memorable & enjoyable trip. I will always cherish the warmth and hospitality received.
Varun Madaan – Founder, Vivaah Makers
Given an early check-in and an exotic welcome; we were accommodated in OZO Colombo (ONYX Hospitality Group), a night stay in this cosy hotel with a beautiful ocean front. I was given a room on the 8th Floor and the view from the room was an hourly sky – just like a painted canvas.
(Lunch Presentation in Terracotta Clay at OZO Colombo)
Post Lunch at OZO Colombo, we all headed for site inspection at Shangri La, recently opened 5-star hotel in Colombo is a part of the larger One Galle Face development project at the same location.
We got to see the arrangements and preparations for one of the weddings on the day.
Outdoor sites, Bar, Restaurant at Shangri La, Colombo
We were offered Hi-Tea at the hotel and I grabbed some Samosas and Chicken Puff with tea. The team at Shangri La is very hospitable and pleasing who made us explore the entire property.
Post site visit, we all were at leisure and in the evening we hit the Casino Marina. Next day after breakfast, we left for Amari, Galle which is a 2 hours scenic drive through expressway. If you happen to drive from the airport its a fantastic 2 hours 30 minutes (approx.) expressway drive.
Kiran gives us an introduction about Onyx Group and its brand Amari.
ONYX Hospitality Group, one of Asia’s leading hotel management companies, has launched a brand-new Amari property in Sri Lanka’s historic southwest coastal city of Galle. It is my pleasure to host an amazing wedding planning team from my hometown to experience the first Amari resort in Sri Lanka by ONYX Hospitality Group. Amari is the centrepiece of the ONYX portfolio of brands and reflects the warmth and energy of an evolving modern Asia. Proud of its Asian roots, Amari creates memorable experiences that embody the spirit of local culture, as well as enhance the renowned traditions of Asian hospitality. Heading the team at Amari Galle is Hotel Manager Mr Puneet Dutta, along with an amazing F&B team supervised by Mr Indika Jayawardena – Director Food & Beverage joined by a very talented and experienced Chef Neeraj Kumar specialising in Indian Cuisines and Shrey Mehta Assistant Manager Food & Beverage. This exceptional F&B team at Amari supervises the Indian clientele with precision and dedication as its very close to their heart to administer the culture and style of executing a perfect Indian wedding at our beautiful property.
Perfected in timeless celebrations down through the generations, Amari has reigned as an exclusive wedding partner and caters to all the traditions around the world.
Kiran Sonawane – Area Director Sales & Marketing, Onyx Sri Lanka
We received the traditional welcome, checked-in at the hotel and headed for lunch.
Lunch was a stomach full of hot servings and a grand buffet – vegans relished paneer makhni, daal, variety salads, continental delicacies, etc. while non vegans savoured Fish and Chips, Mutton fry and other meat palette. Fresh Curd was fantastic after my meals and before I could indulge into succulent desserts.
Some managed Pool time 🙂 and some afternoon nap post lunch.
(Left pic is of few days back when Indian Cricket Team was staying at Amari Galle)
Evening was at leisure and well-spent at Galle Fort (beautiful dutch architecture). Night was happy trippy at BOMMU which is a roof top bar at Amari.
We were cheering over IPL, ordering choice of drinks, veg & non-veg snacks floating that were simply mouth watering, signature cocktails we tried and finally I held on Prosecco, my most loved!
Next morning post breakfast, we explored the property and then was taken through the presentation in one of the IDEA rooms.
It was an interesting session with quality questions put across by the wedding planners: (I have jot down few points)
Vimal Roy Bhola, Rudra Events & Wedding Planner : Out of 172 rooms, if we take 120 rooms which is not a buy-out what is the possibility of shutting down the pool?
Amari : In this case, 70% of the area will be cordoned and dedicated.
Vimal Roy Bhola, Rudra Events & Wedding Planner : Ratio of King to Twin? And Roll away beds?
Amari : 70 King, 77 Twin and 35 Extra beds
Dhaval Chandarana, WEDgurus : Do you work on bottle basis for alcohol consumption and how about beverages for drinks?
Amari : Yes! We can work on bottle basis with an additional 30.29% tax chargeable. We charge $15 per person for 24X7 beverage supplies which can be included for alcohol consumption as well. If anything specific, this will be as per final requirement and discussion.
Darshan Shroff, Momente Wedding Planners : Shoulder months? Months at peak?
Amari : Shoulder – 15th July to 31st Aug; Low season – April until 15th July; High season – Nov to March; Peak – 22nd Dec to 10th Jan.
Keyur Patel, Prasang Events : Cost of Travel from Colombo to Galle?
Amari : INR 2000 return on coach basis. If by car, it can cost around $185 per car.
Puneet Dutta tells us about this destination and growing tourism.
The country has faced three decades of civil war, which finally ended in 2009, and this has left the young tourism industry to find its way in this ever evolving business. Investors now see the potential in ‘The Gold mine’ and lately a lot of infrastructure is developing around the tourism sector. There is visa on arrival and easy flights from Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad arriving into the main Bandaranaike International Airport. If you looking for an alternate international destination, Amari Galle is a great bet!
Sri Lanka becomes the most ideal place to host an Indian wedding, reasons very simple — We are so similar in culture, traditions and values. Our teams understand what it means to the family to host a wedding and work towards ensuring an unforgettable event. Language is not an issue here, people speak good english.
Natural beauty of Sri Lanka is mind blowing and they call it God’s own country’ for a reason. Amari Galle has direct access to the beach and all 172 rooms and suites, encompassing a balcony or a private terrace provide a direct sea views – None of your guests will complain about the view from the room.
We have a very talented team of Indian chefs who will customise every menu. Enough banqueting space options in Amari Galle to ensure no location for an event is ever repeated.
The Management team understands how important flexibility is to a wedding and our assurance that we will throw out “The Policy” book out of the window….
We were delighted to host you all and with your in depth knowledge on the event business, I am very sure that we will be able to develop great opportunities and it only becomes better from here…
For all those who love smoking….We now have SHEESHA in Amari Galle<
Puneet Dutta – Hotel Manager, Amari Galle
During the discussion, King Coconut was most fulfilling … I simply loved its presentation!
Lunch was kept at the Presidential Suite to give us the experience of the room. The buffet was set in the living room.
(I must mention… Srilankan Housewife Soup and Roast Paan (paav) is a staple and I sincerely relished to begin with)
I finally managed to meet the Indian Sous Chef Neeraj who made us drool over Indian, Continental, Srilankan, South Indian and possible non-vegan delicacies and delectable desserts over two days.
Chef Neeraj Kumar has spent almost 15 years in the hotel industry and has worked with brands like Taj Group, Aamby Valley, Hyatt International, and such. He moved in 2017 to Srilanka to work with Onyx Hospitality Group for Amari as an Indian speciality chef.
Indian food is only cooked in Amari in Galle so far. At Ahara, an all day dining has a set buffet of 25 dishes. The specialities that are highly appreciated are Butter Chicken, Idli-Sambhar, Biryani, Dal Makhni/Bukhara, Chicken Tikka, Malai Tikka, Aloo Bonda and Palak Paneer if I have to mention specifically. I source all ingredients from India.. for instance I use Aashirwad for wheat flour, India Gate for Rice and possible hand made masalas.
In-house I even make Paneer and some Indian “desi” desserts like desi ghee Badaam Halwa, Gulaab Jamun, Ras Malai and some more that are feasible. We have done around 22 Srilankan weddings till now and I am given special order to add Indian menu specials like Biryani, Butter Chicken, Dal Makhni and Palak Paneer. We recently hosted Indian cricket team 🙂 The fitness coach Mr. Basu was highly impressed and each one from the team relished the food. We have also done a sit down of 120 pax for one of the Pakistani weddings.
We are all prepared and will be catering the upcoming Indian weddings scheduled in Oct, Nov and March (hosts are from Mumbai and Delhi).
Indian Sous Chef Neeraj Kumar, Amari Galle
(Chef Neeraj shares moments with Indian Cricket Team)
We truly had an awesome time eating and experiencing lavish buffet presentation set at different venues in the property! (reviews below)
Evening was scheduled to meet local vendors and suppliers over Hi-Tea (we had amazing pakodas)
The night was a total relaxation with dinner buffet set beach side, chilling with colleagues and watching IPL.
Next Day we departed for yet another destination – Anantara Kalutara Resort !
Reviews by Wedding Planners who were a part of this FAM Trip
Keyur Patel, Managing Director – Prasang Events : Sri Lanka with diverse landscapes is booming as a destination for Indian weddings. Amari in Galle is an excellent property and its build up is done considering all the requirements and facilities that is surely attracting Indian weddings and MICE. Venues and views, water and sand, flavour and food… everything is up to the mark and apt for Indian wedding.
Sachin Bagaria, Founder – The Wedding Soul : We had a wonderful experience staying at Amari Galle. The rooms were very quirky and colourful and the vibes of the place are very positive. We had an exceptionally good Indian delicacies right from Mumbai Street Food to South Indian, Punjabi to Srilankan… everything was lip smacking. The hospitality was very warm and cordial.
Dhaval Chandarana & Ankit Bafna, Founders – WEDgurus : Amari in Galle is a perfect location and a very lively hotel. All the rooms have ocean-front and pool facing view. There is a provision of wash and change at Voyager Lounge in case of any waiting time. The venue options are fantastic as you get a mix of beach, pool, banquet and rooftop which serves best in a wedding. The food is excellent and the overall ambience is superb for an Indian wedding.
Darshan Shroff, Founder – Momente Wedding Planners : Thank you very much for hosting us at Amari Galle. It is a fabulous property with great rooms and excellent food. Having a management team which is Indian is a huge plus. Chef Neeraj made the most delicious Indian (& international) food, and we loved it. The hospitality extended by Puneet, Kiran and the team was exceptional. The beachfront venue has tremendous scope for hosting Indian weddings. It has an excellent beach, pool and garden spaces. The Welcome Lounge is quite unique in itself. The rooms and the inventory is just perfect for hosting a good sized Indian wedding.
Jignesh Shah, Partner – Horizon WIE : Hotel has amazing and welcoming vibes. Nicely located in Galle area. Little far from city life and close to Galle fort area. I believe any hotel team can make or break any event. And team at Amari Galle are eager to serve you with smile. There might be better looking property or big resort but it cannot be better in term of experience and hospitality.
It is thoughtfully made and perfect place for weddings & event. It has all right mix of ingredients ( beach, open terrace, pool party, big ballroom & mind blowing food) which make Amari Galle ideal place for destination wedding.
Hemal Solanki, Director – Mercury Integrated : Galle has always been considered as one of the most picturesque parts of Sri Lanka. The opening of the Amari has helped Galle to be seen as a celebration destination. The staff is warm and eager to please. The variety of food is diverse. We were delighted to taste some amazing Indian cuisine. A big plus for the hotel looking to attract Indian weddings and celebrations. Perfectly sized with 172 rooms and multiple venues, with a pool in the heart of the hotel and its very own private beach and bay, the Amari is a perfect place to plan your next celebration!
Rohit Saini & Vimal Roy Bhola, Founders – Rudra Events & Wedding Planner : Amari Galle is an appropriate location when it comes to international weddings. With limited flight options, the groups land in early morning hours and cuts-off early check-in concerns in general. Local attractions are close-by to the property. The vibes are very positive and lively. The venue choices within the property are good enough for eg. – beautiful beachfront that can host 250-300 gathering at the beach, banquet hall and courtyard area we feel is perfect for sundowner events, Rooftop gives a 360 degree panorama view that can be great for sundowner, champagne brunch too can be hosted at Rooftop. There is no language barrier from sales to ground staff and they understand Indian culture which makes an immense difference when it comes to other international destinations. The lifeline of the property is the FOOD!
We feel Srilanka can become a next hot wedding destination if hotels take a step forward in attracting more weddings, tourism supports improvise, incentives are given to host weddings and taxation which is currently very high can be worked out.
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