And now, Part II of Ali Morris interview to owner Reita Gadkari and architect Uday Dhar for SLEEPER Magazine, the UK leading magazine for hotel design, development and architecture, on giving life to OTP Hotel.
Read all about how this boutique hotel in Sri Lanka was conceived, with its tropical-inspired architectural design, the quirky barefoot luxury concept and unique look.
Hand painted tiles and relaxed cane furniture with bright cotton cushions pepper both the interior and exterior, while the Beach Shack, an outdoor bar with traditional terracotta tile roof, serves up fresh king coconut and delicately-spiced cocktails with an ocean view and live jazz on weekends.
In The Runcible Spoon a restaurant that takes its name from a line in Lear’s poem – local and international dishes are united by their emphasis on fresh, homegrown ingredients. “There are so many lovely indigenous foods in Sri Lanka,– ” enthuses Gadkari, who is particularly fond of the restaurant’s breakfast menu – the Kola Kenda, traditional Sri Lankan herb porridge, is a must. “We are trying each week to introduce our guests to a new local vegetable or fruit – one week it will be Jack fruit curry, the next it could be a salad made out of banana blossoms,” she continues. “We try to create modern dishes with authentic flavours.”
In The Runcible Spoon – a restaurant that takes its name from a line in Lear’s poem – local and international dishes are united by their emphasis on fresh, homegrown ingredients
Inside, Gadkari took the lead on the interior design commissioning 20 artists from all over the world, including local artisans, to create one-off, handmade furniture, as well as colourful textiles and artworks – as seen in the sumptuously appointed Edward Lear Drawing Room. “By working with local craftsmen it gives the place a unique look,” says Gadkari, who sought to create spaced that were decorative but also comfortable. “I wanted a clean space, where you can be barefoot and feel at home. I wanted wardrobes with slats, washable cotton, breathable mattresses, airy fabrics and mosquito nets. It’s not just about how things will look, but about how they will survive in the climate.”
In addition to a generous ocean-facing balcony or terrace, almost all the hotel’s guestrooms have an aspect at both the front and back allowing the sea breeze to naturally ventilate each space.
You need so little to have a good time there. Just a towel and a mat, some fresh mongoes, some coconuts, says R. Gardkari
With the Owl and the Pussycat up and running and now a member of SLH’s portfolio of independently minded properties, Gadkari is busy developing an extension to the hotel, as well as a series of ocean-facing bungalows on a secluded beach she owns 10kms along the coast. “You need so little to have a good time there,” she says of the island’s paradise shores. “Just a towel and a mat, some fresh mongoes, some coconuts. You can go and swim, come back, have a piece of freshly cooked red mullet, and there you are, you’ve just had a fantastic day.”
Thank you Ali for your fresh and honest recount of how OTP Hotel was brought to life! We are extremely proud of our home away from home, where we strive to host our guests with the highest attention to detail and warmest service. At Owl and the Pussycat we want you to live an unforgettable, modern Sri Lankan experience of art, music, culture, food, and fun. Will you join us?
We would love to hear (and read) your thoughts about the OTP Hotel concept and architectural design! Did you like the style? Comment and share!