Perched on a hillside overlooking Sri Lanka’s Koggala lake, tranquil Tri hotel sits amid luminescent green rice paddies and a verdant jungle backdrop. This luxurious property has a cutting-edge design that sits seamlessly within its natural surroundings. Sustainability lies at the heart of Tri’s vision – with everything from recycled wood to woven banana leaves being used in its furnishings and fixtures. A 21m cantilevered infinity pool that protrudes into the lake is perhaps its most striking feature. Tri’s ideal location means that some of the country’s most popular southern beaches are under 15 minutes away and the historical town of Galle is less than half an hour’s drive.
2. The Wallawwa
This beautifully renovated country house hotel may just be 15 minutes away from Colombo Airport and 30 minutes away from downtown, but it seems worlds apart from any hustle and bustle. It was once the home of the head chieftan of Galle and also formed part of the RAF’s headquarters during WW2. Today, this colonial retreat boasts spacious suites, landscaped gardens and a wonderful spa. It’s an ideal, easy-to-get-to spot for a traveller’s first or last night in Sri Lanka.
Spread across 43 acres of wilderness in the heart of Kandy’s hillside tea plantations, Santani is a pioneering health retreat that focuses on “Wellness 2.0” – an individualistic and holistic approach to balancing the mind, body and spirit through ancient Ayurveda philosophies and a close connection to nature. A number of customised packages are on offer including stress relief, weight-loss, detox and even post-trauma recovery. The resort’s 16 ultra-modern villas stand on stilts to have as little impact on the environment as possible, and showcase cleverly designed natural ventilation systems which eliminate the need for air-conditioning.
4. Sun Aqua Pasikudah
Set on Sri Lanka’s east coast, Sun Aqua Pasikduah flanks one of the longest, most pristine stretches of shallow coastline in the country. It’s the only five-star boutique hotel in the region and its collection of double-storey villas and sprawling beach pavilions are surrounded by tropical gardens with bright pink hibiscus flowers and towering palm trees. A number of day trips, which take you to see crumbling ruins, fishing villages and temples can be arranged. The country’s east coast is a far cry from the country’s bustling southern seaside region, but its raw, untouched nature is very much part of its appeal.
5. Banyan’s Camp
This off-grid, eco-friendly lodge has recently set up camp near Lake Hambegamuwa and Udawalawe National Park with its hundreds of herds of elephants. There’s a low-key, palm-roofed main chalet that accommodates up to six guests while The Champagne Lodge, built from 22,000 recycled champagne and wine bottles and old Dutch roof tiles, sleeps two. Chefs whip up local specialities and all meals and drinks are included. Guests can also take part in a range of activities such as nature walks, bird watching, canoeing, safaris and go on day trips to see waterfalls or the Sigiriya rock fortress.
– TEXT BY TIFFANY ESLICK
PHOTOS: TRI FACEBOOK, SANTANI FACEBOOK, SUN AQUA PASIKUDAH FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.