Summer 2019

12 “Ultimately, we specialise in delivering the finest Sri Lankan food right from the ground to the table, as one of the few restaurants in the country to offer both a wholly authentic and contemporary Sri Lankan gastronomic experience.” As we come to the end of the interview, Rasika offers more insight into the social aspects of the hotel and how he has cultivated a feeling of ‘community’. “One of the most obvious things we have done is to remove televisions in guest rooms, to encourage guests to come and experience Ravana Garden’s sustainable offerings such as the indulgent beach spa, library, sundowner bar, outdoor bath tubs, Madal fishing, picnics and nature walks. We truly believe this helps improve family bonds by spending time together and doing things together. Of course, TVs consume electricity as guests tend to keep it switched on whether they are watching it or not, so this is just another way that we are keeping Ravana Garden as eco- friendly and low energy as possible.” It is here that Rasika emphasises an important distinction between current top-tier luxury standards and sustainable luxury. “Our room sizes are not small, but they are not extravagant either. Crucially, we wanted to attain true sustainability, without sacrificing that unique, special quality of the property. As such, everything is at an equilibrium, in perfect balance. For instance, there are no air-conditioning units in the rooms, but there are plenty of open spaces for natural ventilation, as well as fans and humidifiers to reduce the internal temperature. We didn’t make rooms bigger to minimise the impact on the environment, however we consider the private gardens as an extension of the room itself – 50% of the room being indoor, 50% outdoor. As such we encourage guests to spend time in this outdoor space, and beyond, to make use of the many options available to them. There are outdoor cooking sessions with the chef, guests can picnic at Ussangoda Nature Reserve, a breakfast outing at Kalamatiya Bird Sanctuary, or experience an open safari to Ridiyagama.” Ravana Garden is undoubtedly luxurious, of that there can be no doubt, but the luxury elements are more natural, engrained into the very spirit of the property. Whilst more modern amenities are missing, the natural wonders more than make up for it. Indeed, their inclusion would certainly dilute the experience, watering down Ravana Garden’s utterly unique appeal. This is true sustainability. This is nature as nature should be, without over-the-top human interference. This is an integrated, subtle luxury, a potent and rare thing. In his closing comments, Rasika takes a moment to recognise those that have helped drive Ravana Garden to success. “There are many who had helped in numerous ways, family & friends, particularly my wife Dulangi - a tower of strength- held the fort when times were rough, and the going was tough. Last but not least the Ravana team on the ground, their dedication & determination is indeed