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SRI LANKA: Exploring the South in January

Who would've thought I'd find myself back in Sri Lanka, just a few months after my last visit in August? My friends and colleagues are probably tired of me constantly talking about how amazing the country is, but honestly, it really is (and I still stand by that). The food, the rich culture and history, the people... and not to mention the abundance of activities to tailor your holiday. I've always said it's a place I could explore endlessly, with each experience being unique. In August, my partner and I took a more 'couples holiday' approach, whereas this time, I was accompanied by a trusted girlfriend, which involved a lot more time on the road, exploring the country's diverse landscapes.


During this occasion, we were invited to experience Jetwing Hotels, which whisked us from the West to the East of the island. As one of Sri Lanka's premier luxury hotel families, the brand boasts an impressive array of hotels and villas scattered throughout the country. Each establishment exudes its own unique personality and style, seamlessly blending into its surroundings and reflecting the essence of the area.


Jetwing Saman Villas
Jetwing Saman Villas

1. Jetwing Saman Villas, Bentota

Whilst I'm a big advocate for visiting Sri Lanka, one piece of advice that I would give, would be to sort out the logistics of getting from A to B. There are a lot of long drives, and it's always best to 1) find a trusted driver and 2) plan your route ahead of time.


After getting off a long-haul flight that was due to arrive in the eve, my priority was to put my luggage away and just relax. Luckily, Jetwing Saman Villas provided exactly the peaceful retreat I needed.




First Impressions & Setting

Upon arrival at Jetwing Saman Villas, we were immediately enveloped in an aura of coastal elegance and tranquillity. Nestled amidst the verdant greenery of Bentota, this luxurious retreat captivates with its understated charm and breathtaking setting. The gentle murmur of the ocean serves as a soothing backdrop, while the lush tropical foliage creates a sense of seclusion and serenity.


Stepping into the villa's meticulously designed interiors, we were greeted with refreshing King Coconut water and a few treats to whet our appetite before dinner. Every detail, from the elegant furnishings to the panoramic views of the Indian Ocean, spoke of unparalleled luxury and refinement.


Rooms

The Deluxe Suite at Jetwing Saman Villas offers an exquisite blend of comfort and sophistication, with a prime location overlooking the azure waters. We were immediately struck by the spaciousness and elegance of the room, adorned with tasteful furnishings and subtle touches of luxury. The highlight, undoubtedly, was the private pool facing the ocean, and the rainfall shower bath.


Experiences

Though our time at the hotel was brief, we were fortunate to sample some of the myriad experiences Jetwing Saman has to offer. Beginning the morning with the iconic floating breakfast was a delightful indulgence, setting the tone for a day of culinary exploration. A private cooking lesson with the Head Chef allowed us to savour their interpretation of traditional Sri Lankan curry, immersing ourselves in the rich flavours of the region.


Following a sumptuous lunch, we ventured to the Sahana spa, where a selection of holistic and Ayurvedic treatments awaited, promising to soothe both body and soul. It's worth noting that Jetwing Saman is an adults-only retreat, ensuring a serene and tranquil atmosphere for guests seeking relaxation and rejuvenation.


Private Pool at Jetwing Saman Villas
Private Pool at Jetwing Saman Villas

2. Exploring Sri Lanka

As we journeyed from the West to the East, we decided to pause and explore more of Sri Lanka's inland treasures along the way. Our stop? The enchanting Ella area, famous for its verdant landscapes and breathtaking views.

We came across Ceylon Escapes, who expertly crafted a route for us, providing a private driver to guide us through the area. This seamless arrangement made our journey effortless, from hotel pickups to exploring all the must-see attractions. Our amiable driver, Shantha, not only navigated the roads but also shared fascinating insights into Sri Lanka's history, adding depth to our experience. Highly recommended for a truly enriching tour.



Where we visited

Galle Fort: This UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its well-preserved ramparts and cobblestone streets, offered a captivating journey through centuries of colonial history. As we wandered through its narrow alleys, flanked by colonial-era buildings and boutique shops, we were transported back in time, each corner revealing tales of the fort's storied past. From the iconic lighthouse to the bustling markets, Galle Fort exuded an irresistible allure that left an indelible mark on our travels.


Udawalawe: We had the privilege of visiting the Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home, a sanctuary dedicated to caring for orphaned and injured elephants. Here, amidst the vast wilderness of the national park, we witnessed these majestic creatures up close, observing their playful antics and the dedicated efforts of the sanctuary staff. It was a heartwarming experience that deepened our appreciation for wildlife conservation and the vital role such sanctuaries play in protecting Sri Lanka's precious wildlife.

Buduruwagala: Nestled amidst the verdant forests of Sri Lanka's hinterlands, Buduruwagala revealed a treasure trove of archaeological marvels, with its towering rock faces adorned with intricately carved figures dating back to the 10th century. As we stood in awe before these ancient masterpieces, we were transported to a bygone era, where skilled artisans left their mark on the land, their legacy enduring through the ages.

Ella: We ventured on unforgettable expeditions, including a scenic hike to Little Adam's Peak, where panoramic vistas awaited atop its gentle summit. We also explored the historic Uva Halpewatte Tea Plantation, where lush green fields stretched as far as the eye could see, offering insight into Sri Lanka's rich tea heritage. Additionally, we marvelled at the architectural wonder of the Nine Arch Bridge, an iconic landmark nestled amidst the verdant hills, where we were captivated by its elegant arches and the rhythmic passage of trains traversing the scenic countryside. Our time in Ella was a perfect blend of natural beauty, cultural immersion, and exploration, leaving us with cherished memories of this enchanting hill station.

Our guide & driver from Ceylon Escapes
Our guide & driver from Ceylon Escapes

3. Jetwing Surf, Pottuvil

After a remarkable few days of exploration in Ella, it was time for us to unwind and return to the tranquil shores, a holiday essential for those hailing from the UK. Following a picturesque drive, we finally arrived at our next destination, Jetwing Surf.


First Impressions & Setting

Stepping into Jetwing Surf, we were immediately struck by its serene ambience and connection to the idyllic surroundings of Pottuvil. Situated along the picturesque coastline of this charming area, the resort effortlessly blended modern comforts with the laid-back coastal vibe.


The architecture harmonised with the natural beauty of the landscape, offering sweeping views of the sandy beaches and lush greenery. Welcomed with genuine hospitality and cool refreshments, we felt instantly at ease, knowing that our time at Jetwing Surf would be a delightful retreat in the heart of Pottuvil's coastal paradise.


Rooms

The cabana rooms at Jetwing Surf epitomise luxury and relaxation, offering a secluded oasis amidst the serene surroundings of Pottuvil. Tucked away amidst lush tropical gardens, each cabana exudes a sense of tranquillity and privacy, providing the perfect retreat after a day of exploring the coastline. The interiors are thoughtfully designed with modern amenities and comfortable furnishings, while large windows and private balconies offer panoramic views of the verdant gardens or shimmering pool. With the gentle sound of the waves in the distance and the refreshing sea breeze wafting through, the cabana rooms at Jetwing Surf provide a blissful sanctuary for guests seeking a tranquil beachfront escape.


Experiences

We had the unique opportunity to go on a lagoon safari, immersing ourselves in the natural beauty of the surrounding area. Led by our guide, we ventured through the tranquil waters of the nearby lagoon, discovering an array of indigenous bird species and fascinating wildlife along the way. The serene atmosphere and breathtaking scenery made for a truly unforgettable experience, allowing us to connect with nature in a way that felt both peaceful and exhilarating while watching the sunset.


In addition to the lagoon safari, we had the pleasure of joining the head chef on a visit to the local market, where we handpicked fresh ingredients for our evening meal. Navigating through bustling stalls filled with vibrant produce and aromatic spices, we gained insight into the rich culinary traditions of the region. With the guidance of the chef, we selected the finest ingredients, ensuring that our dinner would be a true reflection of the authentic flavours of Sri Lanka. This immersive culinary adventure added a special touch to our stay at Jetwing Surf, allowing us to savour the essence of the local culture through its vibrant and delicious cuisine.

View of Jetwing Surf
View of Jetwing Surf


Book your next stay with Jetwing Hotels - Sri Lanka by visiting: jetwinghotels.com

This stay was gently offered by the Jetwing Hotel group. All views and opinions here are as usual my own.

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