Anantara Kalutara Resort in Sri Lanka is just that
Committed to Sri Lanka’s west coast? Having flown into Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo, take a drive an hour away to find sheer luxury in a yet to be built-up part of the coast…
Tucked away in an untouched area of Sri Lanka, you’ll find this new expansive resort that promises to take you away from the hustle and bustle of the world. What it lacks in location, it makes up for in space and self-sufficiency.
A ten-minute tuk tuk ride from Sri Lanka’s Western province city Kalutara, the resort is close to sights such as Kalutara Vihara, the 1960s Buddhist temple which stands as the only in the world that is hollow, and the epic Richmond Castle, built at the turn of the century by wealthy philanthropost Padikara Mudali Nanayakkara Rajawasala. And, considering that this Anantara resort is based around the designs of Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa who was originally commissioned to build the site in 1995 – and who was the force behind ‘tropical modernism’ – architecture buffs will be in their element. Plus, all materials used were sourced locally rather than shipped in which is a plus for promoting the country as well as enjoying it.
Although the hotel is built between a lagoon and beach, the choppy waters make it impossible to swim there so if you’re feeling adventurous and fancy taking a proper dip in the ocean, take a tuk to Kalutara South train station and hop on a 20-minute train to the (very local and not yet touristy) coastal town of Bentota. A second or third class train ticket will set you back approximately 30p and also makes for a super cute souvenir. Try to stand near the open doors for views that will blow your mind.
Boasting villas with plunge pools, indoor jacuzzi baths and outdoor showers (as well as complete privacy), parties of two, four and six should definitely take advantage of the facilities here if you can. (It might be time to round-up your WhatsApp group…) And, considering the hotel only opened in October 2016, you can expect everything to still be shiny and new. Terracotta hues and deep, dark wood act as the colour scheme of the entire hotel so you can enjoy a mix of tropical interiors inspired by the country’s historic colonialism.
Possibly the largest buffet breakfast we’ve ever seen, the hotel offers everything you could want or need, from baked beans and sausages to traditional curry breakfasts’ of dhal and mushroom fried rice. Make sure to order at least one egg hoppers while you’re there; it’s a fried egg embedded into a rice flour and coconut milk crêpe. For dinner, you can continue your curry spree, or order a pizza at the Italian restaurant or sample pan-Asian cuisine at Spice Traders – where you can also take a cooking course.
With two large pools and watersports activities on offer, as well as arts and crafts classes and a daily cinema screening complete with popcorn and beer, the 141-room resort is as family-friendly as they come. Oh, and gym and yoga-bunnies have all the facilities and space they’ll need, too.
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For complete holiday relaxation, Balinese masseuses have got you. The spa has a range of treatments, including an aloe vera after sun soother which Brits abroad will almost definitely need considering how strong the sun is here. And, don’t worry, after your treatment is over (sob), you’ll get treated to some traditional Sri Lankan herbal tea, that is delicious and good for your circulation, in the lotus pond courtyard.
Sunset views from the Sundowners Upper Deck [pictured]. Trust us on this.
While you’re there…
Make sure to go on a river safari alongside the Kalu Ganga river which the hotel’s lagoon quite literally joins within minutes. You’ll feel like Indiana Jones as you sail in-between the jungle that is home to wildlife including families of purple-faced langur monkeys, Asian water monitor lizard, grey-headed fish eagles and even *shudder* crocodiles. You will spend most of the journey with your jaw to the floor FYI.
Nightly rates start from £163 for a Deluxe Poolside Room on a bed & breakfast basis, kalutara.anantara.com