Angel Beach Club, Talpe
Renowned for the quality of its cocktails, courtesy of in-house mixologist Jay, the Angel mixes international standards of luxury with a distinctly Sri Lankan flavour. Both a hotel and a beach club, Angel boasts refreshing pools, a distinctly upbeat soundtrack courtesy of its DJs and tapas dishes to keep you fuelled all day. If you’d like to stay in the hotel – and why wouldn’t you? – there’s a choice of ten rooms and one suite. You may never want to leave.
Sugar Beach, Talpe
Perhaps the place for Sunday brunch in Sri Lanka, Sugar Beach brings together international cuisine with chic decor and a buzzy atmosphere. As you’d guess by the name, the beach is one of the key attractions, alongside the club’s extensive cocktail list. The house’s own ‘Sugar 75’ cocktail – made from gin, lime and sparkling wine – is a particular favourite. Guests can dine both inside and outside, something especially worth doing on Sundays when chill-out and soul dj's play mellow tunes to the cool (but relaxed) crowd.
Honey Beach Club, Kingsbury Hotel Colombo
Outdoor, casual and wonderfully atmospheric, the Honey Beach Club provides a respite from the endless buzz of the capital, Colombo. Located at off Galle Face Green at The Kingsbury, you can chill out by the hotel’s magnificent outdoor pool and laze away the day in the sun. Cocktails are a particularly strong point while international finger food – burgers, pizzas, sandwiches – while things gear up every Friday and Saturday afternoon at 5pm when the DJs start to spin.
Santani Wellness Retreat & Spa, Arantenna Estate
A stunning combination of architecture, world-class facilities and location make Santani the ideal place to unwind with purpose.
Boasting Sri Lanka’s first hydrotherapy facility, the 48-acre property treats both mind and body with a range of treatments (Ayurveda, detox, stress-reduction) that bring together both eastern and western philosophies. As Santani says: “Created by and for successful, worldly professionals, Santani is about seeking and finding inspiration, knowledge and encouragement to balance external demands with inner fulfilment.”
Dunkeld Tea Factory
Opened in 1867, the Dunkeld Tea Factory provides two exclusive experiences ideal for the traveller a little more from their excursion. The first is a private tea tasting course with resident tea planter Bernard Holsinger. During the session, Bernard will take you through the tastes and characteristics of different Ceylon teas, helping you understand, identify and appreciate each one. If you want a more indulgent experience, the four-course ‘tea planter’s lunch’ takes place above Dunkeld Bungalow, and references the midday picnics of the colonial-era tea magnates.
Surfing and windsurfing at Arugam Bay
It may not be California, but Sri Lanka boasts some of the best surfing spots in the world. And most notable of all is Arugam Bay. Situated on the south-east side of Sri Lanka, the bay receives the same Antarctic winter swells that hit Indonesia in the middle of the year.
Be aware, Arugam is mainly for experienced boarders: there’s a beach break in front of the Stardust Hotel, which can be fun for body surfing, but that’s about it. If you fancy flexing your surfing muscles, we’d recommend visiting between May and November.