Not sure where to spend your next holiday? If you’ve been to other parts of the world and want to visit an exotic place where you can enjoy a relaxing and affordable vacation, Sri Lanka may be perfect for you.
Did you know that Sri Lanka has been named as a top travel destination for 2012? The National Geographic Travellers International Magazine listed the country in the second spot for best island destination.
And what does it have to offer to tourists, you may ask? A lot of nature’s assets and historical spots, some of which are still undiscovered.
Sri Lanka boasts of long stretches of beautiful beaches, waterfalls, rivers, wildlife and world heritage sites, all waiting for you.
It is without a doubt that tourism in Sri Lanka is booming. More investments are coming in and business is doing great.
But while the country already has its share of luxurious restaurants, hotels and resorts, more development projects are in the works. Soon, it will welcome the Tourism City in the Katana area, north of the capital Colombo.
This major project is a partnership between the country’s state investment promotion agency and a consortium led by Singapore’s Asian Resorts & Casinos. A US$3 billion project, the city will rise on a 200 acre site and will accommodate shopping malls, hotels featuring 2,500 rooms and other important facilities. Some 10,000 jobs are expected to be generated during and after the construction.
Chaaya Tranz probably sounds familiar since it is one of the hotels of the popular Chaaya Hotels chain.
Located in Hikkaduwa, Chaaya Tranz is named after the genre of music endemic to Hikkaduwa, which is trance music. Much like the music it is named after, the hotel aims to “transport the holidaymaker into an alternate state of consciousness” with it mosaic of colors and atmosphere that is perfect for relaxation and escape.
Hotel Lobby at Chaaya Tranz
Anyone who has visited at the Chaaya Tranza agrees that it offers a superb view, excellent amenities (i.e. a nice variety of restaurants including a pool restaurant), and comfortable well-appointed rooms. However, if you’re aiming for a family suite, make sure to book ahead since they only have 2 family suites available.
The hotel is also not beachside, so don’t expect to see the beach right at your doorstep. However, the distance is not that bad so that a stay at the hotel will still ensure that you get your perfect beach holiday getaway.
Downsides to the hotel that tourists usually mention include the sub par service, although many guests are happy enough with what they get. However, if you are used to really excellent service, then you might agree with guests who find the service at this hotel lacking. Another thing that guests seem to find irritating at the Chaaya Tranz are the endless bills you have to sign. Each time you order something, be it a drink or a light snack, you’ll have to sign for it since they don’t seem to have an automated/computerized system for keeping track of such things yet.
If it’s a good location, good rooms, and an excellent view you want though, Chaaya Tranz will surely please.
Image via ChaayaHotels
Bentota is one of the popular destinations in southern Sri Lanka if you’re looking for a great time near the water. The reason for this is that it is bordered by the Indian Ocean, a tropical lagoon, and the river Bentota, making for countless water-related activities. It also doesn’t hurt that the location boasts of s good number of 5 star hotels and luxury accommodations.
One of the favorites accommodations of vacationers looking for some luxurious pampering at Bentota is the Saman Villas. Having the distinction of being the first boutique resort to open in Sri Lanka it is known for being one of the best boutique hotels in the country. In fact, it has been awarded the ‘Best Boutique Hotel in Sri Lanka’ for three consecutive years at the Travel & Tourism Awards and been inducted in the ‘Hall of Fame’. Today it continues to offer a unique and beautiful escape to its guests.
Tranquil atmosphere at the Saman Villas.
One of the best things about Saman Villas is its location, located in the outskirts of Bentota guests are always sure that they will have the most tranquil of stays. The luxe accommodations (26 luxury suites and 1 duplex villa) is also, according to many, not the main draw of the place with their Sahana Spa offering a good number of beauty treatments, massages, and Ayurveda treatments that will guarantee your total relaxation.
The Saman Villas is also pretty complete when it comes to amenities with everything you might want during a vacation, from an infinity pool to a gym. Even better, couples looking for the perfect destination wedding location would be happy to know that the Samsn Villas offer wedding packages that will mean a romantic, and more importantly worry-free , wedding.
Photo via SamanVilla
The Waterfalls Homestay in Ella cannot be described as luxurious, but this 3-bedroom bed and breakfast establishment more than makes up for it in the view.
Nestled in a quiet village, surrounded by lush nature, the view at the Waterfalls Homestay will surely take your breath away with a clear view of the nearby waterfall right from the main veranda. The surrounding view is equally beautiful from all sides of the wrap-around patio as the place is located right in the middle of hill country.
This photo of Waterfalls Homestay is courtesy of TripAdvisor
The house itself also contributes to the very quaint atmosphere, with its rustic mismatch painted look outside and clean comfy feel inside. It especially look beautiful at night, lighted up like a gem amidst the tranquil nature that surrounds it.
This photo of Waterfalls Homestay is courtesy of TripAdvisor
Room rates are more than affordable with the Jungle Room rented out for only 3500 Sri Lankan Rupees (USD 29) per night, the Verandah Room for LKR 4000 (USD 33.5), and the Studio Room for LKR 5000 (for triple occupancy) and LKR 4000 (for double occupancy). With such reasonable rates you cannot expect first class amenities, however they do provide indoor and outdoor dining, Ayurvedic massage services, wi-fi connection, satellite TV, board games, and a very good book and DVD selection. You can say that with such services and amenities, they know their target market and it is people who want a laid back and quiet atmosphere where they can enjoy nature without too much pomp.
If you plan on taking a tour of Ella and going for a hike, there’s no better place to stay than the Waterfalls Homestay. However, families with young children are advised that this place is not the safest location for active children.
The Temple of Tooth in Kandy is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area, but if you want see the temple and the other sights around Kandy you would need a nice restful place to stay. Two places I have previously mentioned worth looking into are Helga’s Folly and the Kandy House. However, if you are the type who wants something simpler and quieter, yet still really beautiful and near enough the popular tourist spots in Kandy, then you might want to try The Richmond House Kandy.
The Richmond House Kandy
The Richmond House is a good-sized bed and breakfast inn that makes the most out of Kandy’s geographical features as the Hill Country Capital of Sri Lanka. It is nestled on the side of a hill, which may discourage those who want everything to be easily accessible once they step out of their hotel. However, its relative inaccessibility is more than a fair trade off considering the stunning views afforded by its location. It’s also not that inaccessible either since a short tuktuk ride up and down the hill will take you anywhere you want to go in Kandy.
Sunset at the Richmond House
Aside from the picture perfect views, The Richmond House is best known for its beautiful rooms, especially the suite room on the top floor with its four-poster bed, full-length balcony, and separate patio with sun loungers. Each of the 8 rooms in The Richmond House are also equipped with its own A/C unit, 32-inch flat screen TV, hot/cold water, bathtub, en-suite telephone, and private balcony with a wonderful view.
Room rates for The Richmond House range from USD 55 to USD 110 per night.
Photos via TheRichmondHouseKandy
A visit to Sri Lanka is not all about posh hotels and nice beach resorts. If you are there to soak up some culture and history, it’s just a good a place to go to as any.
One site that you shouldn’t miss if you like going to religious sites is the Temple of the Tooth. The Temple of the Tooth is one of the holiest shrines in the Buddhist world. It is named thus for the Sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha, which is housed in the temple and kept in a golden box that is put on display for tourists and devotees.
Temple of Tooth
A visit to the Temple of the Tooth is not all about the single relic though with building itself and the rest of the complex all a throwback in time. You’ll surely appreciate the unique architecture and the history of the place, actually all being part of the Royal Palace in Kandy, the last royal residence of the Kingdom of Kandy in Sri Lanka. Of course, the palace is no longer inhabited by royalty, but a peek at the Temple of the Tooth and the adjacent National Museum of Kandy (also located in the palace complex) will still give you glimpses to the luxurious world of old.
Stepping out of the temple, you will still find yourself with plenty of place to go and see in Kandy, with Kandy itself being a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You won’t be hard pressed to find luxurious places to stay such as the grand Kandy House or the more eccentric Helga’s Folly.
Photo via HelloTravel