Clinging to hillside where a jungly coconut plantation tumbles down to meet the crashing turquoise sea, all-suite beach resort Amanwella is unadulterated, island-paradise bliss.
At the postcard-perfect southern tip of the island in the sleepy fishing town of Tangalle, Amanwella is an hour-and-45-minute drive from sister-property Amangalla in Galle (read that review here). With a dramatic landscape that boasts verdant jungle growing all the way to the sandy beach, it’s a tough sight to tear your eyes away from. This is a true getaway, and you’re likely to stay ensconced within the resort grounds, but it’s also possible to visit nearby pottery-making villages and the stunning Mulgirigala Rock Temple.
An all-suite resort, each of Amanwella’s 27 rooms are spacious, contemporary beach abodes displaying Aman’s minimalist leanings. Clean white spaces are accented by dark wooden features, such as tabletops and tropical-inspired sliding doors that run the length of the suite’s sea-facing floor-to-ceiling glass windows and doors, to shield guests inside from the sun’s morning rays. Layered up the hillside amid a coconut grove, the suites all show off ocean views, but the lower collection of rooms vaunt more direct views. The long, suite-length ocean-facing terrace is an ideal spot for meditation and languid al-fresco dining, while the back of the suite includes a good-sized personal plunge pool should the urge for a spontaneous dip arise. Inside, the bathroom is a vast space with a large free-standing tub, separate rain shower, twin sinks and even a toilet with an ocean view, thanks to a sliding wooden door.
The style all around is unabashedly simple and contemporary, never taking away from the incredible natural surroundings. As the gaze wanders, your eye continually follows lines intended to direct your attention to breathtaking natural wonders. Outside, the buildings’ natural colors blend with the sandy beach and rocky outcroppings. The resort is incredible, but is also savvy enough to know that the location is the real star here, and allow for it to keep the spotlight.
In addition to in-room dining – which is a constant temptation given each room’s supreme comforts and views, Amanwella also features the Restaurant, located just above the resort’s pool with outdoor seating and sweeping views, and indoor seating next to a grassy courtyard. Stroll up for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner with a Mediterranean and Asian focus, made with flavorful, fresh ingredients. And don’t leave your appetite behind – upon ordering a “simple” wrap one afternoon, I was presented with a sizeable meal, more than I wanted to eat, but so delicious I couldn’t leave a bite behind.
There is also the Beach Club, situated – just as one might expect – on the beach mere steps from the waves. Simple, rustic and inherently romantic, be sure to make a reservation in advance for an evening meal here. Showing the freshest, most delicious menu items from the sea, your seafood catch of the day is grilled up on a coconut charcoal barbecue, and paired with crisp Asian and Mediterranean salads.
You’re unlikely to find a sunset as saturated and dramatic as the ones in Tangalle, so make sure you’re set up for a tropical cocktail at the bar or pool as the daily event takes place. Oranges blend to pinks in the sky behind starkly silhouetted palm trees in an unforgettable psychedelic display.
The fantastic 47-meter-long infinity pool is an experience in itself. Clinging to the hillside, meters above the beach, swimming to th edge to watch the waves below, or the sun set in the horizon, is unforgettable. And of of course, there’s the Indian Ocean on your doorstep. Head past the Beach Club and you’ll discover a coconut palm grove peppered with comfy loungers and staff more than willing to to keep your flutes filled with chilled champagne – it’s hot out there after all!
As with any Aman resort, the spa is a hit for anyone with a taste for being pampered, and is the place to try out Ayurveda treatments which originated in neighboring southern India. If yoga is more your thing, a yoga platform situated on the beach under the shade of rustling palms will definitely elicit an exceptional “om”. If you just can’t tear yourself away from the resort’s grounds, try a simple morning village walk in the surrounding area (look out for giant squirrels!), which may even be to the serene soundtrack of Buddhist chanting wafting over from a nearby temple. If you’re feeling adventurous, the resort can arrange surfing excursions (the waves here are primo, after all) and day trips to national parks.
Where: Boddhi Mawatha, Wella Wathuara, Godellawela, Tangalle, Sri Lanka
Call: +94 47 224 1333
Rates: Suites from appx. $625
*images © Amanwella