To follow on from the sneak peak into my trip, I thought I would highlight some of the great resorts and hotels that we uncovered along the way, and give you a little taste of what’s on offer at this incredible destination.
More than just the necessary gateway to your Sri Lankan adventures, Colombo is emerging as a destination in it’s own right. With it’s port having been a key link between trading in the East and West for centuries, there is a strong colonial influence that remains intact, and combined with the current contemporary influence that is starting to trickle in, you will find a stunning blend of colonial heritage and cosmopolitan lifestyle.
Where to stay:
Galle Face Hotel (Heritage)
An iconic Colombo landmark, the Galle Face Hotel dates back to 1864, and has been loving refurbished to it’s former glory. Located on the waterfront, if you’re looking for a truly grand and historic experience, the Galle Fort Hotel is sure to impress.
Uga Residence (Boutique)
If finding calm in the heart of bustling Colombo is more your style, then Uga Residence is your home away from home. The property is a restored Victorian townhouse, which once welcomed British governors, Indian maharajas, European nobility and the cream of the colonial Ceylon society, and is ranked as one of the best boutique hotels in the city.
Elegant, contemporary and comfortable, this property is beautifully understated, oozing with the warmth and genuine hospitality that Sri Lanka is all about.
While the Galle area itself stretches from it’s beaches, to the contrasting lush jungle further inland, we chose to concentrate our short visit to the Galle Fort area, a UNESCO site and the oldest living city in Sri Lanka.
Built back in the early 1500’s, Galle Fort was the hub of Sri Lanka’s trade, and is an incredible fusion of European and Arabic cultural and architectural influences.
Step back in time and wander the narrow, cobble stoned streets of Galle Fort, and uncover stunning colonial architecture, galleries, museums, markets, restaurants and more! You can even catch a game of cricket at Galle International Stadium, which is said to be one of the most picturesque cricket grounds in the world.
Where to stay:
Once a fading landmark in Galle Fort, the New Oriental Hotel, It has been restored & turned into the best of both worlds. A hotel that’s at once top-shelf luxe boutique and yet an authentic Sri Lankan cultural experience.
The hotel reeks of its surroundings & though the rooms are indeed luxurious, their contemporary décor is visibly colonial-inspired.
From the pool deck and library to the understated spa, and the elegant colonial dining room, this property is another great choice for an immersive Galle Fort experience.
Fort Bazaar (Boutique)
I fell in love with this stunning boutique property ‘Fort Bazaar’, which is fresh and contemporary, with chic understated interiors.
With a vibrant bar, restaurant, spa and pool (coming soon), it’s the perfect oasis in the heart of Fort Galle to explore the many sights and beaches.
The Galle Fort Hotel (Historic & Boutique)
The Galle Fort Hotel is another boutique beauty, and a UNESCO recognised site, that is the perfect balance between history and luxury. It’s a restored 18th century Dutch villa that has been RAF headquarters, a post office and a merchants mansion.
Today it’s 14 suites each have their own distinct style, and the grounds offer a little sanctuary, perfect to relax in their courtyard with a good book, or chill poolside under the 400 year old pillars.
One for clients looking for something a little more iconic and traditional, with the comforts you’d expect from a luxury boutique property 🌿
Sri Lanka’s Southern Coast
Easily accessible whether you are travelling west from Yala or south from Galle, the Southern Coast has palm fringed beaches, small bays, friendly laid-back locals, and cultural highlights, plus it is a lot less developed than coastal regions closer to Colombo, making it a true wonder and a must visit on any Sri Lankan journey.
Where to stay:
Cape Weligama (Laid back, Beach luxe!)
Cape Weligama on Sri Lanka’s Southern Coast is the sister property to Ceylon Tea Trails, and is a benchmark for luxury Sri Lankan beachfront resorts.
Perched on a cliff top with views of the palm fringed coastline, the property has a range of suites & villas to choose from. Some with their own plunge pools, and larger suites for families. Cape Weligama also boasts a crescent-shaped infinity pool with panoramic views across the Indian Ocean, as well as a variety of international dining venues.
What makes this property stand out though are the beautiful people who welcome you with their big hearts & bigger smiles. You are more than a guest, you are their family and they will go to great lengths to look after you 💕
Amanwella (Contemporary, beach luxury)
While we didn’t stay in Tangelle on our trip, we called in for a visit to Amanwella, a contemporary seaside resort near the fishing village of Tangalle in southern Sri Lanka, on route to Yala National Park.
Amanwella is a romantic retreat on a secluded stretch of sand, with a palm-fringed beachfront setting. Ideal for lazy days and chilling in the sun.
Kahanda Kanda – Boutique
Set amidst the palm fringed jungle and tea plantations of southern Sri Lanka, Kahanda Kanda is a hidden gem where culture, wellness and luxury combine. They boast 10 luxury villas (3 with private pools), featuring beautiful art and antiques.
This property is a sanctuary where guests can indulge in serenity, privacy and personalised five-star service, and yet be central enough to explore the surrounding beaches and attractions.
Yala National Park
YALA is among the oldest and best known of Sri Lanka ‘s National Parks, and it is an ideal place to spot the “big four” of Sri Lankan wildlife, the elephants, the sloth bear, the illusive leopard and the wild buffalo. Yala is also situated along a stunning coast line, with coral reefs and sandy beaches.
What better way to experience the national park than by going on ‘Safari!’
Where to stay:
Chena Huts by Uga Escapes (Safari Lodge)
Chena Huts by Uga Escapes, located in Yala National park, is a luxury Sri Lankan safari experience, that offers a unique beachfront location, only minutes from Leopard & Elephant territory.
Chena Huts offer an all inclusive experience, that provides you with a beautifully appointed villa (with a private plunge pool), all meals, top shelf spirits, 2 x daily game drives, nature walks and more!
It’s a fantastic addition to your Sri Lankan itinerary If you’re looking to immerse yourself in the national park & experience some of the country’s best nature & wildlife experiences.
While there is much more to Sri Lanka’s Hill country than we got to experience in our short time, the beauty of the region took my breath away. Think tea plantations, misty mountain walks, fire place snuggles, river rafting, Buddha’s tooth and more!
Notable locations would include Kandy, Ella, Adam’s Peak, Nuwara Eliya and more!
Sadly, I’ll need to go back to experience more of this incredible part of the country, but for now, I did get to indulge in one of the regions best known locations….
Ceylon Tea Trails
Ceylon Tea Trails is a selection of restored colonial era tea planters bungalows, set high in Hill Country, amongst Sri Lanka’s oldest tea plantations.
Each bungalow offers period furnishings, gracious butler service & gourmet cuisine, and it’s ‘make yourself at home’ philosophy is what sets this experience apart from the rest. It’s not just another hotel on your journey, it truly feels like you’re visiting family or old friends.
With plenty to do (or nothing at all), it’s the perfect addition to any itinerary, and to immerse yourself in Sri Lanka’s hill country, enjoying high tea by the lake, strolling through the tea plantations, and sipping your gin & tonic where a noble Raj once sat is a noteworthy experience.
Anuradhapura – The Cultural Triangle
Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle is a treasure chest of some of the island’s, if not the world’s, finest ancient monuments and encompasses the world heritage sites of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, Dambulla & Kandy, so If you are a traveller that appreciates culture, heritage and the ancient history, then this is the place to experience while in Sri Lanka.
Where to stay:
Ulagalla by Uga Escapes (Eco Resort)
A boutique eco resort, with individual private pool villas, set amongst 58 acres of lush greenery. You are given your own bikes which you ride to the 150yr old manor house, where the main restaurant, pool and spa are situated.
You can then head out on daily excursions hosted by the property or with some of the local tour guides. The property is great for keen bird watchers and nature enthusiasts!
With Ulagalla conveniently located between Anuradhapura, Sigiriya and Dambulla, it becomes an ideal location to explore these ancient cities, wildlife and many other attractions of Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle.
So, there you have it. A glimpse into our journey and a selection of the properties that we were able to experience along the way. There were some more that we also checked out, but i didn’t want to bombard you (too much), so I’ll save those for next time.
If you are interested in planning your own trip to Sri Lanka, please get in touch as I now have some fabulous insight to the destination, including tips and contacts to get you around safely, and to ensure that you are able to make the most of your time, while experiencing all that you can, based on your personal interests.
I have access to exclusive rates and amenities, and with personal contacts on the ground in Sri Lanka I will be able to flag you as a VIP, ensuring your stay at each property is made a little extra special.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for stopping by. I hope that I have inspired you to look at Sri Lanka as one of your next travel destinations.