A land of mystical temples, fascinating wildlife, stunning beaches, delicious food and a warm welcome: Sri Lanka ticks all the tropical holiday boxes. Our reader Catherine reports back from a magnificent twin-centre holiday on the ‘Teardrop Island’ (and makes us want to go!)
Who did you go away with?
My Dad, his wife and my little sister.
Where did you stay?
Five nights at the Sorowwa Resort and Spa in Habarana, central Sri Lanka, and five nights at the Serene Pavillions on the Sri Lankan coast, just south of Colombo.
What did you think of your accommodation?
The Sorowwa Resort and Spa is situated by a lake in the Sri Lankan countryside, with monkeys, elephants and kingfisher to be spotted from your balcony. The rooms are large and spotless and the hotel is ideally placed for visiting all the nearby sites of interest. You’ll need transport to do this though as the hotel itself is rather remote.
The Serene Pavillions in Wadduwa is the pinnacle of luxury! Set in beautiful landscaped gardens next to the Indian Ocean are twelve luxurious and spacious pavilions, each with a private sundeck, pool and personal butler to wait on your every need 24 hours a day. You can eat in your pavilion or at the Pavillions Restaurant, which offers spectacular views over the beach and out to sea. The quality of the food and service is matchless.
What was the weather like?
The weather can be unpredictable in Sri Lanka because of the monsoons, but whilst we were there it was really hot and humid with some cloud but very little rain.
Where was the best place you ate out?
The food at the Serene Pavillions was wonderful, but I think for me the best place we ate out at was a roadside café near the ancient town of Polonnaruwa, where we ate traditional ‘rice and curry’ followed by an avocado and sugar smoothie!
Travelling cross country by bus, taking in the dramatic scenery, with regular stops to buy coconuts or fresh curd from roadside stalls and have a chat with the lovely, local people.
Any hidden gems you’d like to share with our readers?
The east coast of the island has seen little tourism of late due to the civil war, which only ended last year. However, this part of the island is beautiful, with perfect white beaches and sparkling turquoise seas. And best of all, there are very few tourists, so you get the pristine Indian Ocean shores to yourself. We took a day trip to Trincomolee and visited the Nilaveli Beach Hotel which overlooks a pristine white sand beach and has fantastic fresh seafood served in its beach bar overlooking the ocean and Pigeon Island, where you can take a boat and go snorkeling around the multi-hued reef. The rooms and restaurant are also fantastic and will cost you half what you would pay on the more popular (and less beautiful) southern coast of the island.
Would you go back and if so, would you stay at the same hotel?
I would love to go back to Sri Lanka and while Serene Pavillions was the height of luxury, I think I would rather stay at the Nilaveli Beach Hotel on the east coast where the beaches are more spectacular and the prices lower.
The long-haul experts at Hays Travel can put together tailor-made, multi-centre holidays like Catherine’s to suit individual requirements. They also have a great selection of deals to Sri Lanka. Be Travel Savvy readers can spend 13 nights bed and breafast at the prestigious Taj Exotica hotel in Bentota from £959 each*, including scheduled flights and private transfers. This is based on travelling from London on 20th November but other dates, durations and departure airports are available for a supplement. Please call 0800 408 4131 or click here for more information.
*Price correct at time of blogging but subject to availability and change.