Donald Wingell – a seasoned hotelier, who is well known as an industry leader with global experience in travel and tourism, was recently appointed as the General Manager of the newly refurbed Cinnamon Bentota Beach Hotel.
A twist of fate
The hospitality leader we know today, was initially meant to follow a path in engineering as a full-time student at Mysore University. It was through a true twist of fate that led him to a part-time job at a 3-star hotel in Mysore, taking Room Service orders, sparking his passion for hospitality. A few months later, destiny turned its key and Donald turned to a Hospitality Management degree from the Institute of Hotel Management in Bangalore.
The global hotelier
Donald has been attributed with many great achievements in the international hospitality industry. However, when asked what his most memorable moments were, Donald humbly recalls being awarded the Fairmont Hotels and Resorts “Leader of the Year” in 2005; handling the grand dinner operations at the APEC leader’s protocol dinner on November 14 2009 at which heads of state including (then US President) Barack Obama, (then US Secretary of State) Hillary Clinton and 20 other world leaders of the APEC economies were in attendance.
In addition, during his tenure at Shangri-La hotels, Donald was deployed in 2011 to manage the SAARC summit; and while he was at the Inter-Continental Hotels Group (IHG), he joined the Michelin Star Celebrity Chefs – Theo Randall, Ian Kittichai, Sam Leong, Vikas Khanna, Dean Brettsneider and Ross Lusted as part of the IHG’s Culinary Panel.
As a hotelier, Donald is a results and performance-oriented leader with a strong track record of consistent delivery throughout his career across various geographies, including Canada, India, Egypt, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, China and Sri Lanka.
Donald noted “bis vincit qui se vincit” (latin, meaning “He who conquers himself, conquers twice”).
The future of paradise island
Described as a consistent leader with a positive outlook on all matters, the Canadian national believes in driving results, with a strong desire to be the best in industry. When asked about the potential for Sri Lanka’s hospitality industry, Donald commented “With international travel slowly starting to commence, the country and industry has immense opportunities. Sri Lanka is a hidden treasure for varying types of travellers. Still in its infancy, Sri Lanka’s hospitality industry will undoubtedly grow rapidly in the coming years. As a destination, it has the potential for memories to be created from almost every aspect, whether food, artisans, wildlife, architecture, history, experiences, etc.”
The return of Cinnamon Bentota Beach
With a vision to make the newly refurbished Cinnamon Bentota Beach the best resort hotel in Sri Lanka, Donald aims to make this a reality with the right offering and services to make a mark in the international travel market.
An iconic location, the finest luxury accommodation, world-class dining, signature experiences and a curated stay from start to finish, Cinnamon Bentota Beach is setting a new benchmark for luxury and exclusivity in the tropical isle of Sri Lanka.