Sri Lanka is Asia’s next big destination. Yep, we’re calling it. The country hasn’t experienced the tourist boom that many of its neighbours have, which is good news. It means Sri Lankan resorts are on the cheaper side, and many of its natural and cultural attractions are well preserved. Although Australians and New Zealanders are required to obtain a Sri Lankan visa, the process is easy and relatively cheap.
Sri Lanka’s weather is ideal year-round. The South and North of the island experience their wet seasons at opposite times of the year, meaning there’s always a dry resort somewhere. Pack your board, because the surf is always pumping somewhere too.
Is this Sri Lanka’s best boutique resort? We’ll let you decide. Ulagalla has gone about creating an eco-conscious resort by incorporating 20 chalets into paddy fields and forests.
Glass walls give way to private plunge pools and decks stretching into the jungle. Four poster beds come standard and bicycles are given to each guest to explore the large property. The 58 acres is home to working paddy fields, organic vegetable plot and ornamental gardens, as well as a gym and spa.
Ulagalla’s restaurant and bar are housed in a 150-year-old, restored Sri Lankan mansion that was once home to the village chief. The food on offer is a mixed bag of international cuisine, focusing on local, organic produce. Ask nicely, and management will give you a tour of the glass roofed wine cellar.View on trivago
Anantara Tangalle Peace Haven
The Anantara brand has quickly become synonymous with luxury resorts, and their latest foray into Sri Lanka holds true to this. The resort is located on the southern coastline of Sri Lanka, amongst a coconut plantation.
Rooms and villas are decked out in clean whites and charcoals, offering ocean views. Villas go as far as having private pools and wine humidors.
One for the food lovers, Anantara Tangelle is home to a number of restaurants including Sri Lankan inspired Teppanyaki, Italian and Mediterranean. High tea is served daily in the lobby and guests can take part in cooking classes and a wine cellar degustation.View on trivago
Chena Huts Uga Escapes
Cabins at Chena Huts are spread over seven hectares of Yala National Park, the oldest park in Sri Lanka. Staying here means truly getting off the beaten track and experiencing nature. Hut interiors are reminiscent of a safari adventure, while the exterior design blends in seamlessly with the surrounding jungle.
The outdoor swimming pool is large to say the least. At 200 square metres, it even has its own bar, hidden behind a waterfall. Open-air hotel restaurant, Basses, is an intimate experience with a stellar wine list. ‘Destination dining’ is also available at various locations around the property.
Each morning and evening, guests are taken on a game drive with one of the park’s rangers. Use this opportunity to see leopards, water buffaloes and elephants roaming free.View on trivago
Jungle Beach Resort
Jungle Beach is a little off the main Sri Lankan tourist trail, but if you’re looking for some quiet seclusion, it’s worth the trek. Villas are tucked into the surrounding jungle, and offer guests total privacy. The resort stretches along 4 kilometres of isolated beach, which is ideal for a game of beach cricket.
One of the cheaper resorts in Sri Lanka (not that the average price is super high), Jungle Beach offers great value for money. Free WiFi, a freshwater pool, oceanside dining and a bar selling spiced Arak (among other drinks) are just a few of the perks.View on trivago
Avani Bentota offers the best of both Sri Lankan worlds – beach and safari. Every room comes with views of the Indian Ocean. The largest of these have living rooms, jacuzzis and balconies with large sunbeds.
Relax with yoga on the beach, or sign up for windsurfing and wakeboarding sessions. If the beach isn’t your thing, spend some time poolside. Visit Chatter’s Bar to smoke cigars and sip limited edition wines. Bentota is also known for its outstanding scuba diving locations – ask the hotel about packages.
It would be easy to spend all day at the resort, but that would mean missing out on exploring the nearby town of Bentota. Take some time to walk through the beachside village and check out the local craft markets.View on trivago