Air Lanka fly non-stop to Colombo, so it was only a matter of hours after leaving London that I was being whisked south along the new and empty coastal highway to the Aditya Hotel. This exclusive boutique property is perfectly located between the surfing village of Hikkaduwa and the UNESCO protected fortress town of Galle, and has only twelve incredibly spacious rooms that are modern in style but with delightful local touches and great attention to detail. You are even given a choice of pillows! I wasn’t immediately convinced by the cold water Jacuzzi, but I soon changed my mind after exploring Galle in the heat of the day. It was fantastic, as was the private dinner on the beach - a speciality at Aditya - by way of celebrating a few successful waves in the surf at Hikkaduwa.
I then headed east a further two hours along the coast road to Tangalle and the Amanresort of Amanwella. More isolated than Aditya, the accent here is on serious relaxation and enjoying one of the world’s finest beaches, a beautiful crescent of sand shelving deep into the Indian Ocean with coconut palms forming natural shade. The ideal opportunity therefore to catch up on some reading and to swim in the bathtub-warm water…all in the name of research of course! The staff were wonderful, nothing was too much trouble, as were the rooms, although I do think they missed a trick by putting the private pools at the back rather than at the front so that one could enjoy the expansive ocean views.
Now fully revitalised, I returned to Galle and The Fortress Resort & Spa. A larger hotel than the previous two, but this did not in any way compromise the standard of service and cuisine. Indeed, the meals here were one of the highlights of my week, as was watching the turtles popping out of the water for air in front of the hotel and somehow avoiding being dashed on the rocks by the waves.
The journey home, back along the highway to Colombo for the direct flight to London, was just as easy. All three hotels were outstanding, with their own individual qualities, but the overriding memory of my time in Sri Lanka remains the genuine warmth and hospitality of the Sri Lankan people. It adds a unique and very special ingredient to any vacation in the ‘teardrop island’.