Welcome to the first in our series of “If I could I would go to …” series, helping us dream about where we might travel to when borders open and travel returns to (almost) normal. We might want to go to places we have never been to before, or revisit places we fell in love with. For our first piece, I am dreaming about visiting Sri Lanka and staying at one of the magnificent Resplendent Ceylon properties. This award winning trio of boutique resorts are spread around this hypnotically beautiful country – with Tea Trails located at Hatton, Cape Weligama at Weligama, Galle, and Wild Coast Tented Lodge at Yala. All are very different, but equally appealing, and are the only Sri Lankan properties in the Relais & Chateaux portfolio.Conceived by the Fernando family, founders of Dilmah Ceylon Tea, Resplendent Ceylon’s collection of small, luxury resorts offer the discerning traveller a remarkable circuit across Sri Lanka, with a range of authentic experiences.
Wild Coast Tented Lodge
Wild Coast Tented Lodge is adjacent to a rugged beach, its shore leading to the Indian Ocean. The property is in Yala National Park which is known for its population of leopards, elephants, bears and migrant birds, as well as historic archaeological sites dating back hundreds of years. The unique design sees the man-made structures blending seamlessly into the surrounding landscape, thanks to the use of carefully selected natural materials. The 28 tents take on the shape and colour of the rocks and boulders that lay scattered nearby, and the open-air Ten Tuskers bar and Dining Pavilion wrap around the resort’s swimming pool. When we go, we will go on safari to spot leopard, marvel at the elephants and see if we can spot some birds. We’ll go on a guided bush walk to learn the art of bushcraft, and spend plenty of time simply enjoying the pool, the spa, and the gourmet cuisine.
What is not to love about a place that delivers the most incredible views from a promontory overlooking the ocean. Cape Weligama, 30 minutes from Galle, offers 39 private retreats that were designed by Lek Bunnag – one of the most respected architects in Asia. We will sleep in late, or rise for early morning walks on the beach. We’ll join a hosted walk around Galle Fort, sign on for a private whale watching tour, visit a cinnamon estate, or just enjoy the gamut of adventure offerings at the property.
We would go hiking or biking, or both to marvel at the breathtaking backdrop of mountains, lakes, winding roads and waterfalls. We’d sit with a cuppa watching life on a working tea estate. We’d have a massage, maybe play croquet, or laze in or by the gorgeous pool. We might even visit a 100-year-old tea factory to learn about tea.
Which resort would you visit? We would visit all three, and hopefully, we will get there.