Amanwella, Sri Lanka
Hot off the press from Amanwella Resort on one of Sri Lanka’s most beautiful beaches.
A massed labyrinth of palm trees ascend from the sandy beach at Amanwella, a serene hideaway in Sri Lanka near the town of Tangelle. Amanwella’s 30 contemporary suites are constructed from stone, timber, and clay tiles of local origin. Each suite has its own private plunge pool and a minimalistic design. The extremely Instagram-worthy infinity pool overlooks the ocean and is strategically positioned to capture Sri Lanka’s most blissful sunsets. Surfing, scuba diving, fishing, and whale-watching are the popular activities from the resort, while outside of Amanwella guests can choose from a number of private excursions ranging from wildlife safaris to various hikes and cultural experiences. Jungle paths running through the resort offer guests an opportunity to stroll through the local village of Wella Wathura, and a tranquil spa awaits those looking for some serious R&R.
I fell in love with Sri Lanka for multiple reasons, but I was mainly excited about the many adventures it has to offer. Not many places boast such a diverse melting pot of cultures, landscapes, wildlife, and activities. Beautiful sandy beaches surround the island – bordered by lush coco palm jungles, rugged rainforests, and national parks. Sri Lanka is a wildlife lover’s paradise as it is home to Leopards, elephants, peacocks, birds, blue whales, and a wide array of other exotic creatures. In addition to the adventures and beauty of the island, there are also endless villages and cities to explore. Nightlife is abundant and fantastic dining is not hard to find. Amanwella is the perfect hideaway and home base to exploring it all.
We turned off of the main highway onto a small dirt road. We drove on this road past several local villager’s homes and then reached an inconspicuous little gate, which was the entrance to the resort. I love how the Aman Resorts never put on a big attention grabbing show with a massive sign and grand entrance. Instead, the properties blend in seamlessly with the local surroundings, making sure to not throw off the balance or harmony. Inspired by Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa, Amanwella flows effortlessly within its environment, keeping the experience as authentic as possible. The hue of the exterior walls perfectly matches the sand encompassing the resort and the minimalist architectural lines all transition harmoniously within the open airy spaces.
Our villa was impressive with a modern clean design, a large beautiful bathroom (which was almost the same size as the bedroom), magnificent beach views, a private deck, plunge pool, and entrance courtyard. Our room was stocked with the usual Aman Resort amenities: robes, slippers, a large fruit bowl and fridge full of beverages and snacks, which is offered to guests at no charge.
The dining experiences were nothing short of wonderful. My husband and I ate meals at the terrace restaurant as well as at the beach club, but the in-room dining in the privacy of our villa was my favorite. The Sri Lankan food I enjoyed was very similar to Indian food, but with more fresh crunchy veggies and more parts to each meal. When I ordered dinner, it was about 8 different bowls of various foods. I loved it!
Activities & Adventures
My husband and I spent our days enjoying the beach and going on excursions. We started with the Mulkirigala Rock Temple, which had us climbing 533 steps in order to reach the top. Sacred Gods and Buddha statues filled the interior caves of the temple, which were carved into the rock, and vibrant Kandy era paintings filled the walls. The view over the jungle below was astounding.
After the temple we went to a nearby pottery village where a local husband and wife invited us into their home to watch them make pottery. They had built their own kiln inside of their home and harvested the clay themselves.
What came next was yet another enchanting Aman experience. Our guide and driver took us along a dirt path in the jungle until we reached a flat grassy area. In the river flowing beside us we spotted a herd of water buffalo, who were keeping cool below the surface; only their eyes and noses above water. We got out of the car and heard some soothing flute music playing in the distance. We continued to follow the path on foot until we saw the magic Amanwella had worked up for us this time. A palapa sat in the middle of the field, facing the lake and the sunset. We were serenaded by the sounds of peacocks, crickets, and a beautiful flute (which may have been by accident because we could not figure out where the music was actually coming from.) A delectable spread of snacks and wine had been set out for us and we basked in our new found Sri Lankan heaven, while our guide and driver disappeared into the bushes somewhere to give us some privacy.
The next morning we woke up before the sun to head out on safari in Udawalawe National Park. We spotted elephants, water buffalo, peacocks, crocodiles, and more. Our guide from Amanwella set up a romantic picnic in the bush for our lunch and then we were to head back to the resort. On our way out of the park we were pretty ecstatic when we stumbled across a watering hole with hundreds of animals. A herd of elephants of all sizes splashed themselves with water to cool off. There were babies and mommas and even gigantic males all in this one location. We had hit the jackpot – and this became the highlight of my Sri Lanka trip.