Our adventure started as we stepped off the plane in Colombo to be warmly greeted by our Tour guide and driver. With amazing people, culture and local cuisine I was fascinated at what was to come next.
Avani Kalutara was the first hotel stop of the trip, however before this we drove through the bustling city of Columbo with it’s busy shops, traditional restaurants, parliament buildings and lush green scenery.
The hotel’s welcome was outstanding. We we welcomed with a traditional candle ceremony followed by a private hosted dinner featuring exotic cocktails and the chefs prepared us an amazing dinner featuring Roti and Hoppers. It was certainly a night to remember! Avani Kalutara is a combination of contemporary décor and a calm sense of nature and boasts the unique feature of one having one side of the hotel overlooking the ocean and the other the lagoon.
The city of Galle not only has fascinating history, including the UNESCO listed Dutch Fort, army camps and churches, but also radiates a real sense of a calm. With a relaxed atmosphere, trendy coffee shops and boutiques, I can’t wait to go back and explore this city more. Located on the beach front Jetwing lighthouse we had a beautiful welcome with homemade iced tea, flower garland and candle ceremony. After a quick visit of the facilities and got the opportunity to view the two themed suites before we had a fantastic lunch consisting of seafood and traditional curry looking out at the spectacular ocean views.
Next stop, the Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle which I was very excited to visit! I have been lucky enough to stay in many of the Anantara hotels before and was very keen to check out this hotel. We were welcomed with cultural singing, drums and fresh coconut water and straight away we all relaxed. I would highly recommend this hotel for it’s outstanding level of service, five-star standard accommodation and range of facilities. Set within 21 acres of a former coconut plantation this stunning hotel boasts four restaurants, multiple pools, a wine cellar, kids club and a fantastic spa. Private cookery classes are also available if you want to try your hand at making some traditional dishes. What more could you want? Next we took the opportunity for a quick dip in the pool before getting ready for our Italian dinner that evening. Every course of the meal was like a work of art and the staff were so attentive and thoughtful throughout the evening.
We were up bright and early the next morning and back onto our mini-bus. Our great tour guide had fantastic local knowledge – it is well worth getting a tour guide if you want to explore a few different places. The next hotel we visited was the Dickwella Resort & Spa. This hotel is small, relaxed with a rustic interior. I thought this resort would be ideal for families as duplex rooms are available and they have some great evening entertainment options. As I spent more and more time in this wonderful country, I couldn’t help falling more and more in love with Sri Lanka. Next we headed to Cape Weligama, an all villa property offering exclusive luxury, built into the hillside with lots of hidden areas to relax and enjoy the hospitality offered. We experienced amazing attention to detail during our lunch there – homemade fruit juices and an extensive menu coupled with an awe-inspiring oceanview backdrop that simply took my breath away.
The Blue Water Hotel & Spa Wadduwa was our home for the night. We stayed in one of the Club suites which offers amazing sea views from the balcony. The bonus from upgrading to the Club suite is that you can take advantage of the executive lounge which includes complimentary tea and coffee and canapes in the afternoon. The restaurant provides buffet selection to suit many dietary requirements and after our meal we got to sample the evening entertainment – a culture show with amazing colourful costumes, fire dances and drums.
On our last night in Sri Lanka we stayed at Mount Lavinia hotel, this colonial hotel was built 212 years ago and has great character and historical feel. The room’s décor is traditional and so grand that it felt like we were stepping back in time. With a range of restaurants to choose from and cliffside views what’s not to love!
Our whole group were filled with excitement for our next destination – the Maldives. With just over an hour’s flight time between Sri Lanka and the Maldives, this makes for the perfect twin centre holiday.
We arrived in the Maldives and our speedboat transfer was waiting for us at Male airport. Our first evening was to be spent at Oblu by Atmosphere at Helengeli. We were greeted with a warm welcome from the Italian General Manager and a glass of bubbly. This colourful vibrant island has a trendy and relaxed feel. We were whisked off in golf buggies to experience an exciting surprise at the Lagoon villas. The villas have private plunge pools and spectacular views of the Indian ocean – this is a memory I will never forget.
My favourite island during our visit to the Maldives had to be Baros Maldives, the sheer elegance and beauty is second to none. With an intimate feel and 75 exquisite villas including extra touches such as wine chillers, yoga mats and dedicated villa hosts, all your holiday dreams can come true. We all enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime experience at their restaurant with a four-course lunch with wine pairing – it was absolutely outstanding.
We travelled to the last island on the trip by speedboat. The Kuramathi Resort is exclusive to the Kuoni group and is a perfect choice for the traveller wanting a variety of facilities and activities to choose from. There are two sides to the island offering different themes and many villa options including garden villa, beach villa, luxury pool villa and two-bedroom beach houses which are perfect for families or groups of friends.
With nine a la carte restaurants to choose from you would never run out of places to eat on this island.
My much-loved memory of Kuramathi was the sunset cruise – a truly spectacular end to a truly exceptional trip.