Currently topping the must-visit list for many travellers in Asia is seductive Sri Lanka, a culture-rich island getaway that also boasts laidback beaches, romantic tea plantations, great golf and delicious dining. Boutique hotel experts Mr & Mrs Smith serve up three of the best Sri Lankan escapes for your holiday pleasure!
Best for tea treats: Ceylon Tea Trails, Hill Country, Sri Lanka
Style Peaceful plantation
Setting Sumptuous haute hill-station
For a taste of Sri Lanka’s elegant colonial past and a sip of its finest brews, head inland to Ceylon Tea Trails in the Hill Country. You can relive the Raj at this romantic retreat, where 20 rooms are split between a quartet of restored tea-planters’ villas set around a serene lake and verdant hillside tea fields. Like a vintage pocket of England, cottages are decked out with antique furniture, timbered ceilings, panelled libraries, claw-foot baths and bay windows. Each comes with intimate living and dining areas, a dedicated butler, an outdoor pool and pretty grounds (ideal for a game of croquet!).
All-inclusive rates cover a raft of gourmet meals and drinks, including a four-course dinner; almost anything goes, from roast chicken marinated in Yattawatta tea to a tastebud-blasting 12-dish curry banquet. Don’t miss a free tasting with the expert planter-in-residence, which takes in tea tours of Dilmah’s nearby Norwood Factory. Hiking or biking between the villas or round the lake is a must, plus don’t forget to enjoy a game of tennis on the clay court, ask for a picnic to go or just summon a masseur for in-room pampering.
SASSY SAVING: Take advantage of Smith’s exclusive offer and get 25% off all-inclusive stays at Ceylon Tea Trails if you book two nights or more between 1 May and 31 October 2013 (excluding August). As well as three gourmet meals daily, you’ll enjoy morning and afternoon tea, pre-dinner cocktails and canapés, soft and alcoholic drinks on tap (excluding premium spirits) and a tea experience with the resident planter.
Best for glam golf: Clingendael, Kandy, Sri Lanka
Style Dashing Dutch-colonial digs
Setting Panoramic scenes and golfing greens
For a Sri Lankan break that teams temple trips with teeing off, look no further than Clingendael boutique hotel near Kandy. Nestled beneath the ravishing Knuckles Ranges and ringed by lush lawns, this rural sanctuary offers just five romantic Dutch-colonial period rooms. You’ll rave about the panoramic views from the foliage-fringed pool and Jacuzzi, plus savour the tasty dining, but it’s the top-notch golf course a hop away that will wow.
The country’s best course, Victoria Golf & Country Resort, rates as one of the most scenic in the world and has a challenging par 73 championship course. Golf lessons are well-priced and a breeze to arrange, and there are buggies and caddies to ensure wild boar or pesky monkeys don’t get in the way of your game. Tennis, horse riding, cycling and trekking are also up for grabs, or take a day-trip to lakeside town Kandy (a 30-minute drive away) to see the famous Buddhist Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, Peradeniya Botanical Gardens and Tea Museum.
SASSY SAVING: Book the 3-Night Golfers’ Package for stays before 15 November 2013 and you’ll get a bonus round of 18 holes for two, return transport by Mini Moke from Clingendael to the golf course, and a four-course dinner for two at the hotel including a bottle of house wine.
Best for honeymoon highs: The Last House, Tangalle, Sri Lanka
Style Breezy Bawa beach pad
Setting Serene Seenimodera
For a romantic escape by the coast, our first choice is The Last House boutique hotel in Tangalle, nestled right by the beach on the country’s southern shores. Designed by legendary local architect Geoffrey Bawa to embrace the outdoors, this airy relaxed seaside stay was his ultimate commission. Expect antique-filled interiors with vibrant accessories spilling out into alfresco terraces and gardens. There are just six rooms, so come à deux or take over the whole hotel with your party.
When not lolling by the frangipani-flanked pool, chef Ananda’s lip-smacking food comes highly rated (standouts on the Asian-fusion menu include crab curry and mullet with dhal sauce). Dine outside on the pillared veranda overlooking the sea; alcohol isn’t served, but you can bring your own for free, and local beer and spirits can be bought locally. Nearby distractions include strolling down Tangalle’s beach, snapping photo-worthy fishing boats and visits to the Hoomaniya Blowhole, with a rock temple and marine turtle conservation project further afield.
SASSY SAVING: Stay three nights or more with the pampering Last Word in Luxury: Honeymoon Special offer from 16 April to 30 June 2013, and enjoy lunch for two, a 30-minute Indian head massage, afternoon tea and cake, and a candlelit beach dinner with butler. Stay four nights or more, and you’ll also get a special complimentary gift too.
To book a stylish Smith stay, visit www.mrandmrssmith.com or call the expert Travel Team on 800 905 326.