Sri Lanka’s raw beauty, rich culture, and ancient history stare you in the face every turn you make in the beautiful island nation. From local hospitality that makes you feel like you’re staying at a home away from home to tea plantations and temples, the country is easy on the eyes and heavy on the senses. The current hot destination teetering on the shores of the Indian Ocean, celebrated for its vibrant culinary scene, idyllic train rides, rolling hills, and peaceful beaches, the island is the perfect getaway for winters. From Sigiriya or Tangalle, embrace that old-world charm via these top luxury hotels in Sri Lanka.
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Singapore.
The ultra-luxe, minimalistic design of Aman shines through at Amanwella, the Aman Group’s beachside outpost in Sri Lanka. Each of its 30 suites boast of floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors and a private plunge pool, with tuk-tuks to take you up your hillside room. However, you might choose instead to spend the majority of your time at the 150-foot-long infinity pool that overlooks a vision of tall palm trees and the waves rolling onto the resort’s own beach. If you forgot to pack a book, the library’s selection should tide you over as you lounge your afternoon away.
Nestled on the Southern coast of Sri Lanka is the Anantara Peace Haven. The cliffside resort has sweeping views over the seemingly-endless Indian Ocean. Make yourself at home at one of the 152 guest rooms and villas with options of either direct beach access or the aforementioned panoramic views. The proximity to the sea also means that the restaurants here have dibs on the day’s freshest catch, with the chefs offering a multitude of options for you to gobble down some delectable seafood.
What was once a Dutch governer’s mansion 300 years ago is now Amangalla, one of Aman’s two offerings in Sri Lanka. Located within the Galle Fort, a World Heritage Site, the resort is a stately landmark that looks like a postcard out of a bygone era. The 31 guest rooms and suites have been carefully restored to its former glory, with the pinnacle being the one-bedroom, two-storey Garden House for those seeking more privacy. If you want to spot some whales, the best period to visit would be from November to March.
Now, if you wanted a view of the Galle Fort itself, the place to stay would be Le Grand Galle. From the outside looking in, this cliffside boutique hotel and its contemporary architecture and furnishings juxtapose well with the colonial town it overlooks. There are a myriad of activities at your disposal here: You could either embark on an hour-long river safari tour or snorkel and jet ski your way around the waters. After that, your king-sized bed in your comfortable, well-appointed room will be calling out for you to get under the covers.
The Sigiriya Rock Fortress is an iconic landmark of Sri Lanka, and if you have planned a stop to visit this imposing site, the best place to stay would be right under its shadow at Hotel Sigiriya. With a picture-perfect view from the hotel’s pool, you’ll feel reluctant to make the 5-minute walk to the base of the fortress just to get to the top, but we can assure you it’s worth it. The hotel only has 79 rooms, a small number in contrast to the thousands of visitors Sigiriya receives each day.
After being on the road in Sri Lanka for awhile, your body would be craving a much-needed detox. Enter the Santani Wellness Resort & Spa, where their holistic environment and treatments by way of Ayurveda would soothe your body and soul. The ‘less is more’ ethos is ever present at the resort that boasts a deliberately minimalistic architecture, and rooms do not have a television (although there is Wifi).