Grand Hyatt Colombo, owned by Sri Lanka’s biggest insurance and pension funds, is set to open in the December season next year targeting high-end business, official and leisure travellers to Sri Lanka.

The project promoters, Sino Lanka Hotels and Spa Private Ltd., said Colombo’s city hotel market has seen healthy growth during last five years, with average annual occupancy above 70%.

“Even with the expected additions (currently ongoing projects), Colombo will experience a significant shortage of hotel rooms,” said a statement from Sino Lanka, a subsidiary of Canwill Holdings, whose main shareholders are Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation (SLIC), Litro Gas and the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF).

“The estimated shortage of room capacity by 2026 is around 12,500 rooms unless new projects are started within the next five years.”

The project was taken over from the troubled Ceylinco Group under which it was known as the Ceylinco Celestial Tower.

Sino Lanka Hotels and Spa Private Ltd., said the $240 million Grand Hyatt Colombo property consists of 1.1 million square feet built-up area spread across 49 levels with 397 rooms, 61 suites and 100 serviced apartments, ranging from 1 to 3 bedrooms.

The hotel will have 10 restaurants, including 3 restaurants located at the 43/44 levels with spectacular views of the city and the Indian Ocean, it said.