A year ago when I had this idea to start a "hotel blog", I wrote down a wishlist of places to visit. Number one on that list was Cape Weligama. So, many months and emails later, here I am, at Cape Weligama and I'm miserable. Why? Because the day before I had decided to consume some very dodgy street food in my quest to discover the real Sri Lanka. Checked in (quickly, I was in a rush), and whisked off in a buggy to my villa, I was straight to the bathroom.
Feeling sorry for myself, fever and other nasty side effects starting to take their toll, I felt a little like "why me". And then it dawned, if there's one place where you have to stay in bed all day, it should be Cape Weligama. With prompt butler service, nourishing food and a private pool, it was just the spot to recover.
First impressions of Cape Weligama are understated. Thai architect Lek Bunnang has designed the residences to be nestled in tropical landscaping on the sloping cliff of Weligama. Clusters of two to three villas share a pool, while all views point to the ocean where the famous moon shaped infinity pool lies.
Terracotta tiled villas house contemporary styled rooms that draw on the local aesthetic using bamboo, wood and stone to create a peaceful sanctuary. It's the right mix of old meets new.
The bathrooms are huge, maybe ridiculously so. Walk in wardrobe, steam and shower room, double sinks and a giant tub will have you prepping and preening for hours. They're not air conditioned, but fans are dotted around to keep air flowing. A massage table is also on hand in case you get the urge for some in-room pampering.
The bedroom is on the other side of the entrance where the sitting area opens up to the patio. More lounging, dining and sunbathing can be done on the verandah, with the Premier Residence (our pick for a two person stay) totaling a whopping 176sqm. Luxurious, yes. Over the top, no.
The food, as with Tea Trails, shows Resplendent Ceylon's (the parent company) commitment to the best in dining. Breakfast started with a local fruit plate and pastries (try the almond, tastes like it's straight out of Paris) followed by your choice of eggs, Sri Lankan breakfast (order the night before) or healthy options. Buffalo curd with palm treacle, a local delicacy became a new favourite. Similar to Greek yoghurt, it was smooth and creamy, with a hint of tart. Dressed with palm treacle (you can find this goodness in their local shops for take home pleasure), it was heavenly.
Lunch gives you the classics of locally caught white fish and chips, burgers and salads with the option of curry and rice. Poolside, it was just right.
Dinner in the restaurant has a cool vibe, with dark blue walls, high ceilings and lamps flickering as the sun goes down. A Sri Lankan curry feast was on offer, bursting with spices and home made naans. It's a festive night for everyone, with the waves crashing gently in the background.
When you're not at the crescent-shaped moon pool, there's activities local and further afield. Kayaking through fragrant cinnamon lagoons, whale watching and surfing is right on Cape Weligama's doorstep. Alternatively, ask your butler to arrange a day tour north to Uda Walawe to see Elephants, Crocodiles and Leopards at the national parks. Cape Weligama may be hidden, but by no means isolated. A quick 20 minute drive west and you're in the middle of Fort Galle.
Despite being ill, Cape Weligama wasn't lost on me. I utilised our charming butler, Indekah, perhaps a little too frequently. More towels, more asprin, it wasn't a problem. A 10pm request to source some left over scones from that day's high tea didn't phase him either.
As irony would have it, my food poisoning was clearing up in time for my driver pick-up to leave. Exiting the large gate, which is a blink a you'll miss it private entrance, meandering through the little laneways back to the main road, I felt like I was leaving the Garden of Eden. You could make it your base to explore the south of Sri Lanka or you could never leave your room and recover from whatever life has thrown at you. Either way, there's plenty to do, or not do. Your choice.
FEEL: Spice-toned luxury
ROOM PICK: Premier Residence.
WIFI: Yes, complimentary.
RATES: From US$710 per room per night on a full board basis including: accommodation on a double-occupancy basis, daily breakfast plus lunch and dinner (excluding Misaki restaurant); house wines, spirits & beers; laundry, all taxes & service charges plus one activity per day.
IN-ROOM: Bath tub, reading material, walk in wardrobe, international electrical outlets, bath tub, steam room/shower, Flat screen with cable TV (movie channels included)
GETTING THERE: The Sri Lankan railway runs every few hours from Colombo to Weligama (4 hours). Drivers are available from Ceylon Tours (3 hours). See our getting around Sri Lanka article: http://bit.ly/ibwsrilanka
I stayed as a guest courtesy of Cape Weligama.