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- 19 May 2011
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SRI LANKA, the Future Hong Kong of the Indian Subcontinent


The city of Colombo, Sri Lanka

According to Magda Vandenbussche-Knop, freelance International real estate consultant…

I recently returned from a trip to Sri Lanka and was absolutely taken by the country, the people and its opportunities. Although there are no major brands on the market yet, it’s a question of time before they will settle. The government is planning on making Sri Lanka a major luxury destination. In June 2009, Bloomberg predicted that Sri Lanka would become the Hong Kong of the Indian subcontinent and I must say that the country is on track. Last year the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) was up by 100% and tourist arrivals in 2010 increased with 47%, compared to 2009.

Sri Lanka is known as “the island of gems”. I must admit that I couldn’t resist the beautiful blue sapphires. The magnificent blue stone in the engagement ring of Kate Middleton, now Princess Catherine, has it’s origin in the Ratnapura area.

Luxury boutique hotels are to be found at the beaches, south of Colombo, while in the main city the major hotels are all updating their rooms. A newcomer is “Casa Colombo” (, a quiet luxury escape in a busy city. All rooms are design masterpieces. The hotel is also the host of one of the best Ayurveda spas, Spa Ceylon, and is on the Condé Nast Hotlist. Colombo is buzzing with excitement. Restaurants and clubs are opening. One of the nicest restaurants is “The Gallery Café”, located in trendy “Paradise Road”. The building used to house the offices of Sri Lanka’s renowned architect Geoffrey Bawa.


Inspired by the ‘Indian Melon’ shell, found on a beach, an innovative Sri Lankan property designed by Belgian architect Geert Deviaene

The Sri Lanka Tourist Development Authority recently gave the green light for major tourist developments. One of the most important ones is the Kalpitiya Dutch Bay development. Many hotels, one of them being a 7 star palace will rise up, as well as a marina, a sea plane harbour, a golf court, an underwater tourist visitor’s centre and a luxury beachfront development. The company, Havicus Sri Lanka real estate development (, has several developments around the country. All located in a prime beachfront area. The villas are all built with keeping in mind that real luxury is nothing more than excellence and perfection. Some of the villas are real masterpieces of architecture. Word is around that Sting already owns a property on the pristine beaches of the east coast and that Julia Roberts is searching.

Although, today Sri Lanka has no major luxury brand representation, visiting the country is already a luxury experience. Soon, in a few years, all this will change. Let’s just hope that the island will remain the gem of the Indian Ocean.


Magda Vandenbussche-Knop is a real estate professional with a special interest for international transactions. She likes to combine real estate with her love for travel and luxury. A perfect combination for finding exclusive properties in unique locations.