From the beginning
Michael Davies & Charlie Austin met on the cricket pitch at Bryanston School, England, in 1995. Once school days were over, they stayed in regular contact, although Michael followed his father’s footsteps and moved to Hong Kong whereas Charlie migrated to Sri Lanka and set up Red Dot Tours.
Fate brought them back together in 2001 after an unscheduled stopover for Michael in Colombo. Deciding to stay a few days, he explored the south coast and fell in love with the charm of Galle Fort and its collection of historic, beautiful, yet often dilapidated houses. On impulse he bought 41 Lighthouse Street, which after being lovingly restored has become one of the most sought after villa rentals in the Fort. It was during this renovation that Michael and Charlie identified the need for small, yet luxurious and stylish places to stay and thus set about starting Teardrop Hotels in 2005.
Another ex Bryanstonian cricketer and close friend of Michael’s , Henry Fitch, was working in the hotel industry in London but it wasn’t hard to persuade him to join them out on the teardrop isle in 2007. Together, Michael, Charlie, Henry and Legal Director, Viraj Premasinghe, were firm in their belief that the small hotel model offered the best guest experience. Thanks to Sri Lanka’s history, architecture, natural charm and beautiful people, the group were excited by the opportunity to convert wonderful properties into interesting small hotels.
Around this time, renowned cricketer Kumar Sangakkara introduced the group to a stunning heritage home with bags of potential, just 15 minutes from the airport. Not only was the property unique but the location was ideal, and the highly acclaimed and award winning Wallawwa became the first Teardrop Hotel, opening its doors at the end of 2008.
The added involvement of Matt Mason, Sam and Lisa Lindner and Rakesh Patel, all Hong Kong residents with a passion for Sri Lanka, strengthened the Teardrop Hotels’ team and brought a renewed vision to the group as it fast becomes South Asia’s most exciting small hotel company.
In January 2016, the second hotel opened in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Galle Fort. The stylishly designed and much anticipated Fort Bazaar is an exciting addition to Teardrop Hotels’ collection, offering outstanding service and fantastic dining options with Group Executive Chef, Neal Giles, at the helm.
Ensuring the very best of Sri Lanka is within reach of discerning travellers has become even more of a reality with the addition of three renovated tea bungalows opening in 2016. Goatfell, Pekoe House and Nine Skies are rarely found vintage managers’ bungalows strategically located along the tea country route, near Kandy, Nuwara Eliya and Ella, within working tea plantations.