Hotels

“We’re seeing an upswing in customers looking for unique and new places.” Karpaha Sands GM on his hotel and travel after COVID

Now that Sri Lanka’s borders are wholly open and with no restrictions, Travel Weekly felt it was a good time to catch up with Robert Claesson, the general manager of Sri Lanka’s most exciting 5-star boutique resort, Karpaha Sands.

See below what he has to say about what 2022 and beyond holds for this property the tourism industry in Sri Lanka.

Travel Weekly: Tell us about your role at Karpaha Sands.

Robert Claesson: I have been the general manager since September 2020. My role is to ensure every guest’s stay is unique.

TW: What are your key priorities for 2022 and beyond? 

RC: To continue to strive for excellent service at the resort and exceed guests’ expectations at every touchpoint.

This is something we pride ourselves on at Karpaha Sands and something we truly believe makes us different from other luxury resorts.

TW: What is the purpose and personality of the “Karpaha Sands”  brand and how do you, your staff and/or your guests live and breathe these values? 

RC: We are a very new property and we strive each day to make every guest who arrives, leave with the same smile they had when checking in.

Our staff are certainly our strength, it is them that makes the property stand out from other luxury boutique properties in Sri Lanka.

We are still very new in the industry but we like to do things very differently in our own very unique way which you will have to see for yourself.

TW: What are the biggest trends and opportunities in the industry at present? 

RC: I believe we’re seeing an upswing in customers looking for unique and new places that offer activities that are tailor-made for the guest. Offering bespoke experiences is something that makes Karpaha Sands both original and different to our competitors.

The other thing that we have seen post-COVID as a trend, is guests looking for destinations that are ‘open’ and Sri Lanka offers this as we have few restrictions for entry.

TW: What do you see as the biggest threat to the global travel industry right now?

RC: I would say the unrest in Europe, it will affect the industry as a whole.

TW: How do you think Karpaha Sands differentiates itself from other luxury boutique resorts in the market here in Sri Lanka? 

RC: Karpaha Sands is one of the only boutique resorts that can boast 15 kilometres of untouched, pristine beach on the East Coast. Another one of our USPs is that we hire and train staff from the local villages, ensuring we integrate seamlessly with the community.

TW: What is the one thing you’d like Australian travel agents to know about Karpaha Sands, Sri Lanka?

RC: We have designed the resort experience for both family and couples getaways. We have family suites that sleep up to six and dedicated children’s menus, play areas and a petting farm.

With connectivity now being easy from Australia, Sri Lanka has become a highly accessible destination and can compete with the likes of Bali and Thailand. However, we are still unspoilt and untouched by tourism.

TW: What keeps you up at night? 

RC: After a long day’s work, I always finish with a glass of wine. Nothing keeps me awake.

TW: How do you relax? 

RC: Watching movies, reading books helping out in the kitchen at the resort.

TW: Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about yourself or the Karpaha Sands resort? 

Coming from Sweden and having lived here for 11 years I can tell you that you will love this country, the food, the people and the climate.



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