Sojourning through Southern Sri Lankaby Jessica Wright
Unapologetically relaxed, this island nation surrounded by the warm Indian Ocean can seemingly do no wrong. Speckled with a range of experiences, including leopard-bountiful safaris and soft sandy beaches, Sri Lanka is fast becoming a well-loved destination. Idyllic photos of thick palms hanging over blue waters piqued my interest, but it was the two weeks slowly taking in its southern gems, such as Weligama, that won me over.
A few minutes down a private driveway that seems miles away from the tuk tuk-thick streets of Weligama, lays Cape Weligama. The hotel is an intimate collection of 39 retreat villas, set across 12 lush acres of land. Each villa is carefully designed with the most delicate of details, such as freestanding tubs and showers that double as steam rooms. The highlight are its villa rooms clustered together in sets of two or three around private gardens with semi-private pools just footsteps from the individual patios. With beaches on both sides and an infinity pool that will capture any traveler’s attention, Cape Weligama wows guests with elegance.
The run between Weligama and Mirissa Beach is famed for its incredible surf and seasonal whale watching. You’ll find plenty of surf camps offering opportunities for a go on a board, or book a lesson with Cape Weligama’s own activity center to get a personalized experience. Days are relaxing, and of course the warmth of the Indian Ocean is perfect for all sorts of water sports — snorkeling, paddle boarding, and swimming to name a few. For those looking to explore more of Sri Lanka’s history, a day trip to Galle Fort is in order. The place is easily explored on foot with plenty to see in terms of sights, such as the iconic clock tower and lighthouse. Along the way, be sure to stop at Unawatuna for a swing on the iconic rope swing.
Footsteps from the villas at Cape Weligama, two opportunities for unique dining exist. One offers a view up the endless blue coastline at their Ocean Grill (be sure to order the local curry). The other, an intimate dining experience of 12 seats, offers steak and seafood served in a beautiful space.
When it comes to leaving the hotel, Mirissa offers a fresh take on local ingredients. Local restaurants are on the rise, such as Shady Lane which focuses on healthy food — the avocado toast and fresh smoothie bowls are highlights. Another favorite, the famed Little Tuna serves understated sushi with fish sourced right from their oceanic backyard. You’ll see how well all of those fresh fish stands you pass on the road pair perfectly with Sri Lankan ingredients.