Luxury beach resort and Yala National Park
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Relaxation | Spa | Wildlife
Sri Lanka’s southern coastline is one of the island’s treasures, a ribbon of palm-lined beaches and sweeping bays enclosed by forested crags. On its eastern fringes is Yala National Park, whose tropical forests, coastal wetlands and grassy plains are home to sloth bears, crocodiles, elephants and one of the highest concentrations of leopard in the world. The park’s entrance is just 4km away from this luxury, eco-conscious design hotel, which lies low among the dunes beside the Indian Ocean.
In keeping with the dual nature of the hotel, you can choose to stay in either a sea-facing beach villa, or safari-style in a luxury tent set back in the forest – both options provide the comforts of modernity in a gloriously wild setting. The palette is one of earthy, muted tones with occasional bright splashes of reds or greens. Every room has a private balcony or terrace, with deluxe rooms providing the most spectacular ocean views.
The remote location means fewer local restaurants to choose from, but the Jetwing has eating options covered. The Dining Room specialises in formal meals including incredible Sri Lankan curries; the Lounge provides tapas and ‘fun’ foods; and the bar serves snacks, salads and grills as well as liquid refreshments. For special evenings, choose a candlelit dinner on the triple-tiered deck, or order a grill and chilled drinks for a picnic by firelight among the dunes.
With the sea so close, a pool might seem an unnecessary indulgence, but with sea conditions subject to seasonal changes a ‘backup’ swimming option is essential. At Yala, the vast pool forms a major aesthetic feature. More relaxation is to be had in the hotel’s spa, while the resident naturalist will be happy to accompany you on safari trips into Yala National Park. Galle Fort, built by the Portuguese then fortified by the Dutch in the mid-17th century, is another diverting day trip.
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