When you think about Sri Lanka, you’re maybe thinking of steaming cups of Ceylon tea or scenic train rides through the country’s lush interior. True enough, this island nation offers plenty of natural wonders and the colourful local culture is incredibly charming. But did you know that Sri Lanka is also a rising luxury travel destination? As it turns out, Sri Lanka is a worthy destination for travellers looking to indulge in the finer things in life. Join us for a behind-the-scenes look at the unexpected luxury in Sri Lanka.
Dreamy Balloon Rides
Imagine hitching a hot air balloon ride over the jewel-shaped island of Sri Lanka. You might have seen pictures of this dreamy spectacle popping up on your Instagram feed – and no wonder. The rainbow hued balloons floating over the island are as beautiful a sight as you could ever imagine.
Sun Rise Ballooning offers balloon rides starting from Kandalama and Sigiriya depending on the wind. From high above, you can spot elephants and smiling locals waiving to you from down below. Naturally, the exiting and incredibly scenic ride is concluded with a champagne celebration.
When planning your trip, do take into account that the ballooning season in Sri Lanka spans from November to April.
Sun Rise Ballooning
Tel: +94 773522013
All-inclusive Bliss in Ani Villas
Since the country is attracting more and more travellers looking for luxury experiences, you’ll find an ample selection of high-end villas in Sri Lanka. To experience the highest level of luxury in Sri Lanka, hang your hat at Ani Villas. This 15-bedroom private estate is the closest thing you’ll ever get to ruling over your own private resort.
Our team stayed in Ani Villas and was blown away by the inclusions: full-board gourmet menu, spa treatments, water sports… and more. If you’re looking for the epitome of luxury in Sri Lanka – or anywhere on the planet for that matter – Ani Villas is more than ready to oblige.
Location: Dickwella, Sri Lanka
Healing Spa Heaven
Sri Lanka is the cradle of Ayurvedic healing. Ayurvedic medicine or Ayurdeva is one of the oldest forms of medicine in the world. Originating from India some 3000 years ago, the Ayurvedic traditions are alive and well in the motherland as well as in neighbouring Sri Lanka.
Luxury in Sri Lanka doesn’t get much more relaxing than enjoying authentic Ayurvedic treatments in one of the country’s luxury spas. The Anantara Spa in Tangelle offers indulgent spa treatments, including Ayurvedic treatments and reflexology in a sunning beachfront setting.
Location: Goyambokka Estate, Tangalle
Tel: +94 47 767 0700
Barefoot Gourmet Dining
Before actually visiting Sri Lanka, most travellers are unaware of the fact that Sri Lanka is a foodie’s paradise. We dare you not to fall in love with the stir-fried kottu roti, hearty dhal curry and sweet watalappam.
If you’re looking to make an impression, resorts like Jetwing Beach in Negombo and Vivanta by Taj in Bentota offer romantic dining experiences where you and your significant other can enjoy barefoot fine-dining right on the beach in absolute privacy.
Then again, what could be more luxurious than enjoying treats prepared by your own personal chef? Many villas in Sri Lanka are staffed with a chef ready to delight you with local and international cuisine.
Gems to Swoon for
Not only is Sri Lanka shaped like a jewel – below its beautiful surface, the island harbours abundant gem deposits. As a result, Sri Lanka is also one of the best places on earth to shop for exquisite, sparkling jewellery.
You’ll find plenty of jewellery and gem stone shops lining the streets of Colombo and Galle and just perusing through their glimmering selection is an event onto itself. Just be careful about going only by the seller’s word and overpaying for something that might turn out to be a piece of cut glass.
In Kandy, Tiesh by Lakmini Jewelry welcomes guests in with a documentary about the glimmering world of gems and then introduces you to their stunning collection of gem stone wonders. Better bring the cheque book – these jewels are impossible to resist.
Tiesh by Lakmini Jewelry
Location: 676 Peradeniya Road, Kandy
Tel: +94 81 2 387045
Tea Fit for Royalty
Tea might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of luxury, but that’s only if you’ve never heard of the rare Virgin White Tea.
Virgin White Tea used to be harvested by young virgins using silky gloves. This meant the tea was never touched by human hands and the Chinese Emperor was the only person allowed to drink the tea. Today, the tea is harvested by workers using delicate gloves, so the tea is still left untouched – though no one is concerned about the harvesters’ virtue anymore. To this day, Virgin White Tea remains one the most expensive tea varieties in the world.
Handunugoda Tea Estate, also known as the Virgin White Tea Plantation, is the most acclaimed tea plantation is southern Sri Lanka and allows visitors to tour the plantation free of charge. After the tour is over, settle down by the owner’s bungalow with a pot of fine tea and savour the moment. After all, it’s not every day that you get to enjoy royal luxury in Sri Lanka – literally.