Sri Lanka is undergoing a tourism renaissance at the moment and it is becoming a hot destination since recovering from 30 years of civil war. This gorgeous nation, a tear drop shaped island south of India, boasts lush jungles, pristine beaches, beautiful temples, abundant wildlife and remarkably friendly people.
Several superb boutique hotels have opened in Sri Lanka and in the capital of Colombo there is an emerging culinary scene. Let’s take a look at some of the best luxury travel experiences in Sri Lanka.
The capital city offers the best array of fine dining in the country. Sri Lankan cooking is wonderful, but there is no eating out tradition and locals often eat at home or at the cheap local cafes. Most of the independent restaurants can be found in Colombo, so it is a great place to start for the foodie. Other great spots are Kandy, Galle and Negombo.
Colombo is also home to several elegant luxury hotels, so here are some ideas to get you started on planning your getaway.
The Gallery Café
This elegant and atmospheric café offers art as well as fine food, as it displays a collection of local artists and designers on its walls. It serves the very best authentic Sri Lankan food made with the freshest local ingredients – such as black pork curry and lemon grass and ginger chicken.
Located just outside of the small main tourist district in Colombo you will find the Casa Colombo, which offers visitors a distinct design and a lovely relaxed atmosphere. This 12-suite colonial building has glitzy style with a pink pool, glass sun loungers and strip of neon lighting under the bed frames. Each suite offers rainforest showers, 15 foot high ceilings and free Wi-Fi.
Known as one of the most exclusive restaurants in Sri Lanka, the Curry Leaf offers excellently prepared Sri Lankan cuisine and is one of the best places to experience the culinary delights of this nation.
A gorgeous bar, café and restaurant within a beautiful glass chamber, Zaza offers a selection of traditional Ceylon tea in the day time and then transforms into a chic tapas restaurant at night with a range of international and local dishes. Later in the evening, the glass cube lights up and it becomes one of the hottest bars in the city.
This elegant hotel was featured in the Top 10 Lux City Hotels by Ampersand Travel. It is a historic house that used to be home to two prime ministers as well as the president of Sri Lanka.
Elsewhere in Sri Lanka
During your visit you should absolutely head outside of the capital and experience the natural beauty and laid back charm of Sri Lanka. Here are some of the best recommendations:
Ammangalla Hotel, Galle
The UNESCO World Heritage City of Galle is a white washed walled fort city with great views of the bright blue ocean and it is home to this stunning 17th century building. The Amangalla has antique and period furnishings, so your room will be appointed with a freestanding bathtub and a four poster bed. Relax on the terrace and enjoy the views while dining on a tasty curry.
Yala National Park
Take a guided safari tour through this lush park and you could possibly spot elephants, deer, peacocks, monitor lizards and if you are lucky – the rare leopard. Companies such as Kulu Safaris offer luxury camping in the national park, with open bush barbeques for dinner and breakfast served on tables in the river while the cool water soothes your feet.
Cape Weligama is a luxurious collection of private villas perched over the Indian Ocean, designed by famous Asian architect Lek Bunnag. TRULY offers a special getaway package in a butler-attended contemporary villa which includes a five course candle-lit dinner at a local restaurant, in-room spa treatments and expert-led expeditions to the attractions.
Raja and the Whales Tour Company
In the town of Mirissa on the South Coast you will meet Raja, who is passionate about offering excellent eco-friendly whale watching tours while working to protect these beautiful creatures.
Ceylon Tea Trails
Sri Lanka is known for its fantastic tradition of tea growing and visiting the tea plantations is a must during your trip. TRULY offers a package for a trip along the tea trails for two, which includes six nights in a suite for two people at the tea plantation as well as a five course candle-lit dinner.
Hunas Falls by Amaya
Located an hour’s drive from Kandy, Hunas Falls is a luxurious 31 room resort. Its 28 deluxe rooms and 3 special suites offer dazzling views of the misty waterfalls and scenery of the Hun Assgiriya mountain ranges.