Earlier this month, I chose Sri Lanka as one of my five hottest honeymoon destinations for 2012. This is a great destination for a plain-and-simple beach honeymoon, or for a more adventurous trip that combines exploring with time in the cities and days on the beach. With a whole host of fabulous places to stay on the island, it can be difficult to know where to start (I know I’d have trouble deciding!), so when I heard that the lovely Sally and Alice, from the appropriately-named Sally and Alice Travel Co., were just back from a trip to the island, I asked them if they’d share some of their favourite accommodation finds with The Honeymoon Project. Happily, they obliged, and I think you’ll agree that what follows are some stunning properties.
If you’re interested in any of the hotels and resorts below, are looking to book a honeymoon to Sri Lanka, and/or need someone friendly to ask advice of, I really recommend giving Sally a call on 07904 958 194, emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org, and of course checking out their website here.
CENTRAL NORTH/CULTURAL TRIANGLE
Ulagalla Resort £££
The perfect place to kick off a Sri Lankan itinerary, with raised log-cabin chalets spread out around beautiful paddy fields, located two hours from Sigiriya Rock and close to many of Sir Lanka’s cultural sights. Bikes are provided with each chalet, so you can explore the extensive grounds and surrounding jungle, and most chalets come with a private plunge pool, plust a deck with loungers and umbrella. Ulagalla has a very relaxed feel – from meals being offered as and when you like and the small spa that offers, according to Sally and Alice, a heavenly Balinese massage that’s perfect for a good night’s sleep post-flight, to the “drop dead stunning” lounge bar and stylish open-sided restaurant, and the opportunity to dine by candlelight in the middle of an “island” in the paddy fields.
Kandy House ££
A beautiful old colonial style house with plenty of intimate corners and a riad-style courtyard, which has been immaculately styled and offers smart, effortless (yet relaxed) elegance. Though just twenty-minutes’ drive from Kandy itself and the famous Temple of the Tooth, you feel very much in the thick of nature here, walking through the jungle to get to the pool, which has gorgeous views over a rice paddy. There’s just nine rooms, so it’s incredibly intimate – the wonderful-looking Black Rajah suite has its own “secret garden”. You’re higher up here so it’s a bit cooler (welcome in the hottest months), but still warm enough for an early morning swim – perfect.
UP COUNTRY/TEA COUNTRY
Tea Trails £££
This Relais and Chateaux-accredited property is home to four different plantation bungalows, set in various positions by Castlereagh resevoir, in the heart of Tea Country. The smallest, Summerville, houses just four rooms and is run by Andrew Taylor, who comes from a tea dynasty and runs tea-factory tours; some of the suites open onto private gardens, and the lounge has a roaring fire that’s perfect for chillier evenings. On the opposite side of the lake is Castlereagh – which is most people’s favourite for its fabulous water views, and it has a great terrace that’s perfect for sundowners. Tientsin is thirty minutes up into the hills away from the lake and has a very classic English feel. The tiered gardens here are beautiful, with lots of hidden places to sit and relax, and Sally and Alice say that the pool here is probably their favourite. The landscape gardens at Norwood have an English country garden meets tropical feel with roses and huge bamboo trees on each side, and a large pool. This is the main place for food, which has a more European than Sri Lankan feel, so expect high tea and four-course dinners, and lots of old-fashioned touches throughout.
Amanwella, Tangalle £££
Sally and Alice say that the breathtakingly beautiful long palm-fringed beach at Amanwella was the best they saw in Sri Lanka. Being an Aman property, expect their usual minimalist style, with large, open-plan suites, high ceilings and a zen-like feel. The best rooms are the Ocean Suites (106 to 114 are the best), with their fabulous ocean views (even from the bathroom!). Sally and Alice recommend finishing the day by the infinity pool where you can soak up the dramatic sunset, after enjoying the constant supply of chilled water and home-made ice cream provided by the attentive staff. Situated a two-hour drive from Galle, this is undoubtedly a real treat, so best left towards later on in a Sri Lankan itinerary.
GALLE AND SURROUNDS:
Amangalla, Galle Fort £££
As this used to be the grande-dame of Galle, the New Oriental Hotel, and has retained its charm, history and colonial splendour, Amangalla doesn’t feel like a typical Aman propert. The Garden Bedrooms are the lowest room category but worth choosing for their garden views, and feel quieter and prettier than other rooms. The spa is excellent here, with lots of Ayurvedic treatments on offer. Sally and Alice particularly recommend Amangalla for older couples and anyone looking for a couple of days of being pampered in the spa and spending the mornings exploring Galle Fort with one of the hotel guides.
Frangipani Tree ££
Sally and Alice’s favourite cheap beach option, with a “very cool vibe”, great food and nice gardens, plus a pool and tennis court. With no in-room phones, TVs or DVD players, this is the perfect place to relax – the best rooms (there’s only ten) are those upstairs, which have huge windows facing the ocean. A big bonus has to be seeing the world-famous stilt fishermen (perfect for those honeymoon snaps!), though the sea here can be a bit rough. Most of the minimalist-decorated rooms come with outdoor space that’s perfect for relaxing.
Kahanda Kanda, Galle ££
Set fifteen-minutes’ drive inland from Galle itself, this small stylish boutique hotel is utterly charming, run by an eccentric owner, George Cooper, and his diligent team. There’s just seven rooms – Sally and Alice particularly recommend the Peacock Suite, which is really spacious with lovely views, two outdoor showers and a private garden. The lovely pool faces Koggala Lake, where you can do boat trips, there’s two open-sided salas with lots of comfy sofas and coffee table books on the area, and the food here is really excellent. This is a good substitute if you don’t have time to fit in Tea Country on your visit, surrounded as it is by a small tea plantation.
All photos courtesy of Sally and Alice Travel Co.You might also like: