Russell Leonard, the Resident Manager of Theva Residency Boutique Hotel, has a distinguished career in the hospitality sector spanning more than two decades. His journey began in 1983 at Hotel Ceysands, after which he moved to Kosgoda Beach as Front Office Manager, and then spent ten years in the Maldives. In 2010, he took the position of Resident Manager at Theva Residency upon his return to Sri Lanka. Russell is content with the hotel’s management and personnel, and he maintains a sociable relationship, letting them know that his doors are always open for conversation, whether it’s about business or personal matters.
In Kandy’s serene highlands, the Theva Residency promises solitude. There are four spacious deluxe rooms, seven superior rooms with balconies affording stunning views of the surrounding scenery, two luxury suites, a junior suite, and a penthouse offering a great view of the historic town. Furthermore, they also include an infinity pool, sauna/ steam room, and a lounge with a pool table and a TV.
The food at Theva Cuisine is anything but conventional, and even the simplest meal will be delivered with a special touch. Guests can indulge their passion for excellent cuisine as Russell and his team prepares a variety of award-winning dishes. Russells elaborates on the famous Theva Cuisine and its unique food concept, stating that Theva Cuisine is now open to non-resident tourists as well as in-house guests. The prohibition of all meat and meat-based items in the production of food for the guests is a unique feature of this establishment.
Russell notes that this move came about with proper care for the well-being of all their guests when asked what inspired him to come up with such a novel notion. In light of this, the team serves immune-boosting foods, fresh juices, and chemical-free veggies grown in their garden. This initiative, which was started by the hotel’s Managing Director, has gained a lot of traction among Kandy residents.
When asked if he arranges visits to ‘places of interest’ for his guests, Russell confirms that he does. The hotel arranges day trips to Nuwara Eliya, Dambulla, Sigiriya, Kandy’s Botanical Gardens, and Pinnawela’s Elephant Orphanage. They also provide city trips to the Tea Museum, the Temple of the Tooth Relic, the British War Cemetery, and other interesting locations. He also notes that Golf enthusiasts can be provided transport to the Victoria Golf Club for a calm game, while those seeking adventure can hike in the Hantana mountain range.
Inquiring about the hotel’s accolades and recognition, Russell proudly explains that they have been recognized by Trip Advisor multiple times and are members of their Hall of Fame. Theva Residency won the ‘Hotel of the Year’ title in the category of ‘Best Small Hotel in Sri Lanka’ in 2015. He goes on to say that in 2016, the hotel was also awarded the World Luxury Award for ‘Luxury Country Hotel.’ In addition, Theva Cuisine was named the champion in 2016 for its ambiance and romantic environment. He notes that they were named the ‘Best Honeymoon Hotel’ in Sri Lanka and Asia by the ‘Haute Grandeur Global Hotel’ award last year and Theva Cuisine was also named ‘Best Fusion Cuisine in Asia / Best Romantic Atmosphere’ in Sri Lanka, as well as ‘Best Scenic Setting’.
When asked if he contributes back to the community, Russell says that his staff and he actively participate in community services such as the Polgolla River cleaning project, where they cleaned the pond alongside the local villagers. They also support the Tea Projects Children’s Centre and provide alms to the local temple on Poya Day. The team recently assisted in the cleanup of the temple surroundings after floods washed away part of the temple and nearby homes.
Finally, the team at Theva Residency is working to develop a more comprehensive mindset, providing a space where people can enjoy their experience while exhibiting empathy towards nature, animals, and themselves. Russell aspires to provide his guests a greater emotional connection by creating a meaningful experience.