Our Journey

Our past enriches our present, from our humble beginnings to our big leap forward in the journey to be the trendsetter in the hospitality industry in the region.

Key Milestones
  • 2002 – After nearly 2 decades of ethnic conflict in the country, Sri Lanka signed a CFA (cease fire agreement) with the LTTE. Many parts of the country hitherto inaccessible were finally open to exploration.
  • 2003 – John Keells Holdings purchased a 60.5% controlling share of Asian Hotels and with it, two leading 5 star hotels in Colombo, the former Oberoi and Trans Asia. Many other properties were acquired including one in the Maldives.
  • 2004 – The Cinnamon name was born, housing the collective of hotels, including a second tier series named Chaaya. The CFA was debunked and the country was once again at war. This lead Cinnamon to aim beyond, becoming an international brand that could travel, taking Sri Lankan hospitality beyond the island.
  • 2005 – Cinnamon is recognized as an indigenous hospitality brand in Asia. The official launch of Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts takes place with the re-launch of Cinnamon Grand Colombo, the flagship city hotel.
  • 2006 – The second-tier brand Chaaya is launched with the re-launch of the first flagship resort – Chaaya Village Habarana.
  • 2007 to 2010 – Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts saw many foreign investors expressing interest. With the dawn of peace in 2009, new avenues began to open up in the world of travel with Cinnamon at its helm. The Sri Lankan market once again became the primary focus of the group.
  • 2011 – As tourism grew by a staggering 40%, international hotel chains began to invest in a stake of the Sri Lankan travel arena. Cinnamon invests Rs. 5.4 billion to develop travel and tourism in the country, with a continued focus on owning the Sri Lankan brand.
  • 2012 – Cinnamon’s investment in brand planning lead to a thorough analysis of the travel sector, the Cinnamon identity and the group’s collective offering. The results called for a consolidated approach, merging the Cinnamon and Chaaya brands under the Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts umbrella.
  • 2014 – The Cinnamon brand is redefined, giving it new purpose under the ‘inspired living’ credo and a vibrant new way of expressing the brand story. Cinnamon goes beyond a holiday brand or lifestyle company, evolving into an inspired way of life.
  • 2014 – The Cinnamon Group invested in a 1 billion USD project – ‘Cinnamon Life’ introducing the first-ever integrated resort in Sri Lanka which is scheduled to open in mid-2022
  • 2014 – South Asia’s first lean luxury hotel, Cinnamon Red Colombo was launched
  • 2015 – The Cinnamon Group is re-launched under the Inspired Living banner as a vibrant lifestyle brand offering the most unique travel experiences in South Asia. Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts, Cinnamon Air and the latest development in the group – Cinnamon Life, an all-encompassing lifestyle space, come under the Cinnamon mother brand, further strengthening its position as the leader in lifestyle and hospitality.
  • 2018 – The Cinnamon Group initiated and managed South Asia’s first West-End theatre – ‘The Sound of Music’ and ‘MAMMA MIA’
  • 2019 – Two refurbished properties, Cinnamon Bentota Beach and Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa Maldives were introduced to the portfolio including the group’s latest addition of the 15th resort, Cinnamon Velifushi Maldives