NITN: Supriyo Hazra takes you on a merry-go-round of some of Sri Lanka’s luxury properties spanning its iconic beaches, hills, rocks, tea plantations and plains.
As the monsoon set over the Indian subcontinent and the fear about COVID-19 doused down, I found it to be the perfect time to visit Sri Lanka and enjoy a few days of holidaying after three years of virus-led anxiety. Despite the Island Nation remaining in news for the wrong reason for the past several months, once you reach the country, it is perhaps the magnificent sea and the relaxing mountains of Nuwara Eliya that will take over your senses. NITIN-IBNS picks some luxury properties where you can relax and recharge yourself.
Galle Face Hotel: History meets elegance
When I landed in Colombo early in the morning on an assignment to cover the tourist attractions of Sri Lanka, I was directly transported to the Galle Face Hotel, located in a prime location in the capital city. Checking in at four in the morning I was unable to realise the grandeur of the property. I woke up a bit late in the morning, too tired from the jet lag of two flights and a long layover (I was flying from Kolkata to Colombo via Chennai). But waking up I realised the magnificence of the iconic hotel.
Built in 1864, the hotel is one of the luxurious properties located in the east of Suez. The hotel is a testimony to both Sri Lanka’s colonial past and its independent present.
From strolling on the beach located close to the hotel to enjoying dinner in the evening with the wind whizzing past you, the elegance of the property will leave you overwhelmed. One thing that sets this hotel apart from other new properties is its historic past and this is reflected in every corner of the inn.
No matter where you visit inside the hotel, you will find a touch of elegance oozing through its ancient structure. The touch of modern and classical finishes makes the rooms an epitome of grace. After a day-long tour in Colombo, you will find every moment of your stay inside the room as enlivening.
The Veranda Restaurant is the main dining venue where you can choose your platter from a wide variety of dishes which the menu offers. If you even want to binge on some Indian food, then the kitchen is ready to serve you dishes from the neighbouring nation as well. The hotel also offers other foods which include Continental and even Mughlai dishes. The Travellers Bar provides you the best site in the hotel to enjoy your evening cocktail.
As the hotel is located in the heart of the city, hence you can easily find yourself in the best position to go for sightseeing and even shopping.
Speaking to NITN, Daniel Garu, General Manager, Galle Face Hotel: “The Galle Face Hotel is special because it opened in 1864. It has a deep history. It has a lot of stories to tell you. The hotel also provides excellent five-star facilities to its visitors. The hotel is also located in a beautiful location which is so close to the ocean and people can easily visit the tourist spots from here.”
Jetwing Lake: Leisure paradise of Dambulla
After spending some splendid time in Colombo, it was time to move forward and cherish the beauty of nature around Dambulla. Jetwing Lake was my next hotel, and unlike Colombo, this time it was located away from the hustle and bustle of the city life. Located amid nature, the hotel provides you the best time to spend some quality time amid lush green trees.
What makes the location of the hotel special is its presence in the island’s famed cultural triangle. Dambulla not only offers easy access to the ancient kingdoms of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, but also is a short distance away from the legendary Sigiriya Rock Fortress. So, travellers can easily choose to stay in this hotel if they plan to visit all these iconic venues.
One key factor to stay in the hotel is surely the beautifully decorated and designed rooms. Among the various room categories, you may choose Deluxe Room, Super Deluxe Room or a Suite.
The cosy beds and the silence of nature which you will surely feel in the night is transcendental.
Just like the earlier property, here too you can select your favourite dishes from the wide variety of foods offered in the menu card. However, it was the dessert section which remained my personal favourite. No matter what you choose to eat in the main course, always try to savour the ice-cream at the end to give your dinner a perfect finish.
Jetwing Andrews: Romance in the hills
It was time for me to bid adieu to the plains and move to the beautiful hilly destination of Sri Lanka-Nuwara Eliya. In this land of hills and tea plantations, I stayed in the gorgeous Jetwing St. Andrew’s. A walk tour of Sri Lanka’s “Little England” is highly recommended to savour its lush green hills, tea plantations and the British era buildings with colonial and Tudor architecture.
The stay in this property will also make you walk down the path of time and reach the pages of the colonial history of the country. There is a touch of elegance and an old world charm in every corner of the hotel.
The fireplace, the lobby and even the decorations within the room perfectly blend the beauty of the colonial era with modernity. You can choose a ‘Superior Room’, ‘Deluxe Room’, ‘Suite’ or a ‘Gem Suite’ to stay in this heritage property.
During my stay, I really enjoyed my dinner and breakfast in this beautiful property and it offers a plethora of dishes to choose from the menu. However, it was the unique way of beautifully decorated presentation of food in this hotel by the Chef and his team which will make your evening quite unique.
Upul Leukebandara, General Manager – Jetwing St. Andrew’s, said: “We always try to provide a Sri Lankan touch of hospitality to our customers. It is one of the key features of our hotel.”
Speaking about Sri Lanka as a tourist venue, he said: “Sri Lanka has wide biodiversity which makes it so much special. Within a small period of time you can travel from the coast to a hilly destination like Nuwara Eliya. It is indeed a special feature of this country.”
Ekho Surf: Beach, Fun and Luxury
Before I left Sri Lanka, my final destination was Bentota and Galle. I stayed in Bentota for a day before leaving for my home. Just like a good dessert ends your meal with a smile on your face, Ekho Surf, the property where I stayed in Bentota, was like that scoop of Vanilla ice cream which leaves you with a happy heart. For more than a week I travelled through various corners of the country and finally, I needed to relax and this hotel provided me with the perfect venue to calm down my nerves.
The first thing that I loved about the hotel was its location just by the sea and the way it was decorated with soothing shades of light. Once you enter the lobby, you will see a dominance of green and yellow, which will give you a perfect tropical vibe that suits the mood of the resort town.
I bet you will love the room which you choose, be it Superior or Deluxe. The cosy bed, decorated interior, and the presence of a swimming pool just outside the room, promises to provide the much needed luxury and comfort. The stylishly designed 26 deluxe rooms, 71 superior rooms and the views of what is known to be the longest stretch of beach on the southwest coast will transfer the guest to a sublime state of serenity and tropical bliss.
EkhoSurf’s main restaurant L’héritage offers travellers breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Food lovers can choose between an international buffet and an À la carte menu to quench their gastronomical pleasure.
Apart from the beach experience, you can easily visit the main attraction of the region, Galle Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, by taking a car or a taxi from the hotel. After spending a beautiful evening on the beach, you can relax at Ekho Surf with a sundowner or just sit back and think about the fun days you spent in Sri Lanka and take back memories of the Island Nation forever.