By Dimithri Wijesinghe
We embarked on a coastal adventure courtesy of Asia Leisure Hotels on 18 and 19 March, which turned out to be the perfect remedy to beat the Monday blues.
The perfect seaside guide for the eclectic traveller, here’s what Asia Leisure had on offer during your picturesque ride along Sri Lanka’s breathtaking southern coast.
Breakfast at Taprobana Hotel, Wadduwa
A luxury beach resort conveniently located only 45 minutes from Colombo.
A roomy beachfront space, the hotel is certainly one of the older properties under Asia Leisure Hotels. Despite its rather impeccable upkeep, its long run around the block is evident.
However, the rooms were beautiful and each room was equipped with a private balcony. The spectacular view of the ocean causes everything else to melt away into oblivion.
The real star of the show was the overall vegetation that surrounded the property, with gorgeous flowery wines encompassing you everywhere you go.
Breakfast was a subdued affair, with all the basic expectations of a breakfast buffet laid out quite nicely for the guests. The meals were fresh and satisfactorily put together, however their offerings could have had more variety.
Tour at the Habitat Hotel, Kosgoda
Home to the famous sea turtles, the Habitat Hotel boasts a pristine beachfront and offers 26 deluxe rooms, all with oceanic views from anywhere in the room.
The hotel is proud if its specialised services offered to guests, particularly candle-lit dinners arranged on the sand, amidst the privacy of mangroves.
They also offer their guests the fantastic service of farm-to-table dining where guests could participate in harvesting vegetables from the hotel’s very own organic garden and then be part of the meal-prepping process.
The hotel also provides organised excursions and one can opt to visit the famous turtle hatchery nearby. If you’re lucky, you might even witness baby turtles making their way into the ocean.
Lunch at Shinagawa Beach Hotel, Balapitiya
Shinagawa offers two coveted suites, which are essentially front-row seats to the Indian Ocean.
One highlight at Shinagawa that one might not find in the other Asia Leisure properties is the endearingly named “tuna-boat”, which is an interesting take on outdoor dining, as guests are afforded the opportunity of dining in a seaworthy tuna boat that’s sunk into the soft sand.
The tuna boat, as its name suggests, serves the freshest of seafood dinners for the hotel’s patrons who wish to be a little adventurous.
Lunch at the hotel was acceptable, at best. Served from an al la carte menu, we were offered a nasi goring, which was more rice than anything, with a side of a single batter fried prawn and chicken kebab. While on a regular day this meal would not have disappointed us so much, the fact that the batter fried prawn was the very first of its kind that we did not enjoy, threw us off.
However, the dessert selection was interesting and the service was prompt.
Tea at the River House Hotel, Balapitiya
The River House Hotel truly stood out in the line up in our tour. With five uniquely designed, almost ridiculously spacious suites surrounded by 13 acres of plush tropical garden, the place is a literal heaven.
The hotel is absolutely gorgeous and arriving in the midst of a miniature rainstorm, it felt that much more magical to feel the cold wind while under the cover of the detailed rustic designs adorning the walls of this gem of a boutique hotel.
The place is, without a doubt, very special and offers “any place, any time” dining facilities, in-suite massages, and an espresso machine in every suite – you definitely won’t want for anything during your stay here.
The best part about the suites however, is the various aquatic facilities. While a couple of them come with breathtaking outdoor ayurvedic bath amenities, two suites feature double jacuzzis and one even has a plunge pool.
Dinner, overnight stay, and breakfast at Le Grand, Galle
Le Grand is the definition of a luxury hotel, offering chic grandeur in its breathtaking architecture, plush interiors, and lavish suites.
With a variety of suites, deluxe, and super deluxe rooms, the accommodations will leave you charmed.
Our overnight experience was in a super deluxe room, the difference between the deluxe being that the super deluxe comes with a bathtub. The rooms are gorgeously lit and feature all the modern amenities that one would deem necessary from a similar calibre hotel room.
The mornings are absolutely stunning at Le Grand and the breakfast is just as good. With a creative breakfast station offering pretty much any breakfast food you could crave, it’s a lively affair and an experience.
Lunch at Tamarind Hill Hotel, Galle
Repurposing an aristocratic manor house built on the banks of Gini Ganga over 250 years ago, Tamarind Hill comes with a stunning courtyard. This sumptuous, colonial style luxury boutique hotel is conveniently located within a mile of the ramparts of the Galle Fort.
Equipped with 10 Crayford rooms and two suites, the boutique hotel comes with exquisite luxury ayurvedic bath amenities, much like all the properties under Asia Leisure Hotels.
We were offered a Sri Lankan style lunch complete with delicious “moju” and all the necessities that go into the perfect plate of rice. The meal was a treat and the familiar southern flavours were fantastic.