This year, Sri Lanka celebrates 70 years of independence and it is currently top of our destinations to visit.
Today, Sri Lanka is an eclectic melting pot of different religions and traditions, drawing from the many cultures of the island’s colourful heritage. With a flurry of recent investments in cultural developments, better transport links and a host of luxury boutique properties, now has never been a better time to experience old and new Sri Lanka in luxury and style.
In 2018, Alex Wix, Wix Squared director, spent a month in Sri Lanka researching new product, experiences and getting to know some local experts, so as to offer guests a chance to really get under the skin of the country. Click here to view the highlights of Alex’s trip.
Also known as the ‘island of serendipity’, Sri Lanka is a tapestry of contrasts offering a gentle introduction to Asia. Its diverse landscapes range from rainforest and plains to highlands and sandy beaches and it is famed for its ancient Buddhist ruins, gemstones, spices and tea. Here are just some of the reasons to tempt guests to visit based on our first-hand experience:
New Places to Stay
Sri Lanka is positively heaving with new boutique villas which vary in size and style, some are self-catered whilst others come fully-staffed. New villas that Alex discovered on her travels include; Sinhagiri – a quirky new 2-bedroom house in Nuwara Eliya; The rebranded Tanamera Estate is a super high end three-bedroom villa on the Thalpe coastline, boasting a mere 200-metres of pure oceanfront; The Boundary House near Galle is the ultimate in privacy, a modern Sri Lankan house set amidst a bygone era. Plus Wix was the first operator to see Goatfell and eagerly awaits more hotel openings by Teardrop hotels and Resplendent Ceylon to name but a few.
Sri Lankan Cuisine
Sri Lankan cuisine combines flavours from around the world with seafood being a staple ingredient. Our guests can enjoy private home cooking classes, a seven course degustation dinner with host chefs, a walking and tasting tour of off-the-eaten-track eating spots or a new quirky bar crawl in Colombo with a resident to visit his favourite haunts and try a great Arak cocktail. For something a bit special visit a spice garden in Matal, experience a tea planter’s lunch with the owner in Kandy, sample a range of cinnamon infused tea/coffee with incredible 360 views or dine in Botanik, Sri Lanka’s first and only Michelin star restaurant which opened this year.
Spend time with one of our favourite wildlife specialists exploring Yala or Wilpattu National Park to track leopard and sloth bear from a tented camp. Private boats or helicopters to see blue whales around Mirissa can also be arranged, or take a boat out in Gal Oya National Park to see elephants swimming. Plus we know how to sidestep the queues and take our clients through a different gate to get into the parks.
Many properties offer ayurvedic treatments but for a complete wellness holiday, our favourite is the recently opened award winning Santani, located in a 48-acre former tea plantation within a pristine forest offering amazing food, wellness packages and we have first-hand knowledge of the best rooms with the best views. Wattura is another luxury spa hotel due to open in 2019, nestled amidst Waikkal beach and the Gin Oya estuary.
We have developed many activities to keep the little ones occupied. Enrol them in a junior ranger course in Yala National Park so they can learn to track animals, identify star constellations and learn bush survival techniques. Alternatively join art and craft classes on the ramparts of Galle Fort and learn to make a Kolam mask with a local artist. Teenagers can enjoy Segway rides through Colombo, surfing in Hikkaduwa or kayaking on Lake Koggala all with specialist guides.
Wix Squared is committed to operating sustainably in the destinations that they visit, working with and supporting their partners with their sustainable efforts. We give all our guests a welcome pack which includes, a handmade note book made by people in Jaffna from dead banana tree fibre and melted down cast-off sugar bags, a rice and carry bag up-cycled on the east coast, mini natural suncream and insect repellent in recyclable/refilling bottles.
Wix Squared knows Sri Lanka inside-out and can craft the perfect holiday tailored to guests’ individual desires and offering truly memorable experiences such as where best to enjoy sightseeing, wellness, food, cycling, trekking, surfing, wildlife and beaches to avoid the crowds. Here are a few recommendations:
- Avoiding Polonaruwa in favour of Anuradhapura to explore on bicycle which is less touristy.
- Instead of climbing Sigiriya, view it from the neighbouring rock (Pidurangala) which is more dramatic and challenging to climb and hence attracts less visitors.
- Near Galle, take a local boat through mangroves, then cycle through the countryside to a mud hut to learn to make roti and sample possibly the tastiest food in Sri Lanka.
- Meet the caretaker of the British Garrison Cemetery in Kandy who knows everything there is to know about each and every grave, the person/animal buried there and their family and political history.