Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
9:38 AM 29th July 2022

Harrison Leisure Looks To Future As 'Rising Star' With Michelin Aura Appointed

(L-R) Michael Harrison and Dillon Ariyaratne
(L-R) Michael Harrison and Dillon Ariyaratne
A rising star of the UK's hospitality industry has been appointed as the Group Operations Director of Harrison Leisure Ltd., the Bridlington-based hospitality group behind Salt on the Harbour, The Brunswick and The Old Floral Pavillion Leisure Complex.

Dillon Ariyaratne brings a wealth of high quality restaurant and hospitality experience to his new role including five-star hotels, Michelin star restaurants, exclusive golf clubs, five-star cruise ships and resort hotels.

A graduate of The Hague Hotel School and Oxford Brookes University with a Masters Degree in International Hospitality Management, Mr Ariyaratne joins Harrison Leisure at an exciting and important juncture, says Michael Harrison, founder and owner.

"Dillon is a rising star of the UK restaurant and hospitality scene and is just what the Harrison Leisure brand is looking for right now as we enter our latest phase of growth and development. He comes highly recommended as a professional, experienced, motivated, self-assured goal setter and achiever.

"This is very much a partnership between two like-minded people intent on excellent customer service, fantastic hospitality experiences and the drive to improve standards while also constantly looking to introduce new products and services."

Mr Ariyaratne said: "Joining Michael and his team at the Harrison Leisure group is a perfect fit for me as I have been looking to develop and progress my career with an award-winning hospitality group that not only has vision and ambition but also humility. This is a unique opportunity for me to help us become even closer to the communities of Bridlington and East Yorkshire while building our tourism business and creating new and exciting ventures."

(L-R) Michael Harrison and Dillon Ariyaratne
(L-R) Michael Harrison and Dillon Ariyaratne
The Harrison Leisure group has been born out of the hard work, endeavour and team ethos of Michael Harrison, who has lived and worked in Bridlington since moving north from Slough in 1984 with his family who are from a funfair background.

Starting out with a food kiosk and a couple of holiday rides Michael and his family gradually grew the business, taking on a small seafront amusement park, then The Old Floral Pavillion Leisure Complex on Royal Princes Parade as he developed bar, restaurant, ice cream parlour, children’s play area amusement arcade, fish and chip shop, restaurant and takeaway opportunities.

As well as various other smaller ventures in the East Yorkshire resort, the group now runs and owns The Old Floral Pavillion Leisure Complex, The Brunswick Hotel and Salt on the Harbour, the high quality seafood restaurant overlooking Bridlington harbour which opened last year after a £250,000 investment that included a full building refurbishment and jobs for 30 full- and part-time staff.

"I will be looking to help Michael and the Harrison Leisure team to fine tune and develop all parts of the group while also aiming to leverage new opportunities as they become available," added Mr Ariyaratne, who started his career with the Confifi Group in Sri Lanka as a management trainee, has held senior management positions in the UK at The Ambassadors Hotel, Audley's Wood, Burleigh Court Cotswolds, The Colonnade Hotel, Tewkesbury Park, the Hilton Group, as well as the five-star Manor House Hotel and Golf Club (which included the Michelin starred Bybrook Restaurant) where he was Catering & Beverages Operations Manager for five years, as well as a hospitality management consultant around the UK and as a hotel mystery guest.