08 January 2012

Gallivanter's Guide 2011 Awards for Excellence Recognizes a Sri Lankan in Hoteliering


07th January 2012, www.island.lk

The Gallivanter’s Guide sets the benchmarks for the high end travelers.  It was established in 1991.  It is the most respected publication for the world’s top travelers, hoteliers and travel advisors.  The publication takes no advertising and employs no journalists.  The Editors, Middlehurst and Maslin personally do all the  reviews and this is restricted to only the best hotels and resorts in the world.

Gallivanter’s Guide 2011 Awards for Excellence is the 21st annual readers’ poll and is a guide to the world’s greatest hotels divided up by category. The list features annually in the January issue of Gallivanter’s Guide and is selected by readers who vote on the various categories.

Among the 18 categories adjudged are the Best City Hotel Worldwide, Best Leisure Resort Worldwide, Best Hotel Group Worldwide, Best European City Hotel, Best European Resort, Best Resort in India & The Indian Ocean, Best Hotel/Resort in Asia, Best City Hotel in North America, Best Resort in North America, Best Small Hotel/Resort Under 100 Rooms, Best Hotel/Resort Cuisine Worldwide. There are also awards for the Best General Manager Worldwide, Editor’s choice award and the best Airlines.

Four Seasons Hotels have received awards in 15 of the 18 categories and emerged as the leading Hotel chain in the world. In the category of the Best City Worldwide, the Best European City Hotel, the Best Hotel/Resort in Central and South America and the Best Hotel Hotel/Resort Cuisine Worldwide, Four Seasons emerged as number one. The Four Seasons Hotel in London at Park Lane received the Editor’s Choice Award Worldwide.

36-year old Sanjiv Hulugalle,General Manager of the Four Seasons Hotel Kuda Huraa in the Maldives has been adjudged third under the category the Best General Manager Worldwide. In the citation accompanying the award, the Editors state "Sanjiv Hulugalle enters the list for the first time; another exceptional GM who has looked after many of you personally."

Hulugalle worked as a ride attendant of the Big Dipper in an amusement park in Sydney to help fund his degree in Physical Education in the 1990s. From there he joined Four Seasons as a health club attendant. "Up to that point, I dreamed of running my own gym," Hulugalle recalls, "but I was soon fired up by the unique Four Seasons service culture: little things like how to bring a smile to a face with simple interactions and awareness."

Hulugalle maintains that team work is vital in building the correct ambience in a Hotel "For any hotel team to make its guests feel special, that team has to feel special first; Four Seasons does that. Now it’s my job to make sure that every single member of the team feels happy and appreciated, too."

Hulugalle’s formal education ran from Sri Lanka to India to Australia, and then a long journey to Kuda Huraa in the Maldives as General Manager.  He is inspired by the realization that learning never ends and that there is no substitute for hard work and attention to detail. "As long as there is a single guest on the island, my mind will be on the job," he admits. And if his team is anything to go by, they’ll be the happiest guests in the Maldives. Hulugalle leaves the Maldives to take up an appointment in Beijing at the end of January 2012.

From the time he joined Four Seasons in 1996, he has worked in the Hotel chain in Goa, Las Vegas, Toronto, Vancouver, Langkawi in Malaysia, and Damascus. He had also short spells in Sharm El Sheik, Amman, Prague and Great Exuma.

Hulugalle maintains that to sustain a high momentum in one’s work, a strong family life is essential. Hulugalle looks to his wife, Alice, and his two daughters, Catherine and Savannah, for his own extracurricular happiness, from cooking up a gourmet feast after a day spent fishing to playing golf with Alice in Colombo. "She has a handicap of six," he says proudly. "I’m not as good, but what I lack in skill I more than make up for in competitiveness!"

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