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Sri Lanka Travel News: All Eyes On Sri Lanka This Autumn...

WITH THE LAUNCH OF THE ISLAND’S FIRST CONTEMPORARY, SUSTAINABLE DESIGN HOTEL AND AN EXCEPTIONAL UNDISCOVERED WILDLIFE EXPERIENCE, WE REVEAL WHAT’S NEXT FOR SRI LANKA…

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Sri Lanka is going from strength to strength following a recent phase of boutique luxury hotel openings and new developments – from Colombo’s iconic Galle Face Hotel reopening its Classic Wing this September and the hotly anticipated launches of Anantara Tangalle and Tri Lanka – Sri Lanka’s first sustainable luxury design hotel, to an utterly magnificent and unique wildlife experience as yet undiscovered by most tourists.

After a 3 week fact-finding mission to Sri Lanka in May 2015 by Ampersand’s half Sri Lankan MD James Jayasundera and our Sri Lanka sales specialists, Catriona Deredes and Shalmali Rao Patterson, we reveal our new discoveries and our top recommended experiences:

THE HOT LIST:

INTRODUCING KUMANA MOBILE CAMP…FOR THOSE WISHING TO RELEASE THEIR INNER INDIANA JONES

Delving deeper into Sri Lanka’s spectacular natural wonders than ever before, we have discovered the ultimate wildlife experience in the form of a luxury mobile camp that journeys through the remote Kumana National Park, bookable purely on a private basis. Kumana Mobile Tented Camp was set up by a small team of conservationists together with the reserve’s former park warden who has worked in the park for over 40 years and is one of Sri Lanka’s leading ornithologists and an elephant whisperer. The guides know every inch of Kumana, allowing guests to escape the crowds and come face to face with the island’s most iconic wildlife including leopards, bears, elephants and exotic birdlife. The location for the film ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’, Kumana National Park is a hauntingly beautiful, boulder-strewn land filled with cultural relics, ancient Buddhist sites and archaeological ruins. Reached by looping around the better-known Yala National Park, Kumana is more remote, but the mobile camp boasts comfortable facilities including two-man tents with single or double pop-up beds, a large covered dining area and toilet and shower facilities set up prior to arrival.

HOW: Ampersand Travel offers the Kumana Mobile Tented Camp experience as a part of a 21-day ‘If Tarzan went to Sri Lanka’ itinerary from £3,650 per person, including international return flights from the UK, all accommodation on a B&B basis and a car and driver throughout.

Tri Lanka , Galle , Koggala Lake , Sri Lanka (3)

Kumana Mobile Tented Camp , Kumana , Sri Lanka (9)

SRI LANKA WELCOMES ITS FIRST CONTEMPORARY, SUSTAINABLE DESIGN HOTEL: TRI LANKA, KOGGALA – Launching November 2015

Further down the coast on the banks of Lake Koggala, the hotly anticipated luxury hotel Tri Lanka is set to be unveiled this November. Just 25 minutes from Galle and the surrounding beaches, it is inspired by sustainability with the environment at the heart of its design. Contemporary and artistic touches feature throughout the ten unique suites, which flank Sri Lanka’s finest lake. Living walls, green roofs, solar hot water, recycled wood and entirely local materials unify accommodations and landscape. Sequential spaces emanate from a central water tower that captures spectacular 360-degree views.

HOW: Ampersand Travel offers 7 nights half-board at Tri Lanka from £1,533 per person based on two sharing a Water Tower Room. This includes flights from the UK, private transfers and a privately guided sightseeing trip. Price valid for travel between 1 - 30 November 2015. 

Tri Lanka , Galle , Koggala Lake , Sri Lanka (6)

TEA TRAILS TO UNVEIL FIFTH BUNGALOW FOLLOWING EXTENSIVE MAKEOVER OF DUNKELD – Launching December 2015

This December, Sri Lanka’s most exclusive luxury property collection, Ceylon Tea Trails, will unveil the results of the hotly anticipated refurbishment of its 120-year old tea planter’s bungalow, Dunkeld. The swankiest of them all, Dunkeld will have its own private ‘owners cottage’ with a suspended hot tub. The new addition will give the all-inclusive Tea Trails a total of 25 rooms when it is completed.

HOW: Ampersand Travel offers 7 nights full board at the new Dunkeld Tea Trails bungalow from £2,205 per person including flights and transfers.

TANGALLE IS TRENDING THIS AUTUMN AS IT WELCOMES THE LAUNCH OF ANANTARA – Launching October 2015

Launching this October on Sri Lanka’s south coast in the sleepy fishing village of Tangalle is the new Anantara Tangalle Peace Haven Resort. Set amidst a 42-acre coconut plantation the resort boasts a unique location; hidden on a rocky outcrop along a secluded stretch of golden coastline, it is a naturally exclusive and tranquil hideaway. With 152 rooms and pool villas, the new Anantara will unveil a Spa with Ayurvedic and reflexology treatments, wine cellar offering degustation menus, traditional high tea lounge and a children’s club. Take part in Spice Spoons Sri Lankan cooking classes, dine at a gourmet Italian restaurant set on an ocean facing cliff top and try the beach side Sri Lankan inspired teppanyaki. Discover the cultural sites by the provided bicycles and tuk-tuks, explore the stunning national parks or set out to sea on a whale watching adventure.

HOW: Ampersand Travel offers 7 nights on a B&B basis at Anantara Tangalle from £1,587 per person including flights from the UK and private transfers.

Anantara Tangalle , Tangalle , Sri Lanka (21)

ANI VILLAS INTRODUCE UNRIVALLED SERVICE IN THE LITTLE KNOWN TOWN OF DICKWELLA – Launched June 2015

Just opened and bringing unrivalled service to Sri Lanka’s south coast is the new Ani Villas Sri Lanka, catering to groups and families in Dickwella. Introducing the type of service usually only experienced by the rich and famous, they come fully staffed with private butlers, chefs, housekeepers, concierge and security. The sprawling 15 bedroom beachfront compound combines contemporary tropical architecture with bespoke furnishings and sits atop a bluff providing stunning panoramic ocean views. Including spas, a yoga pavilion and oversized oceanfront pools, eight-bed Villa Monara and seven-bed Villa Divia can be rented separately on request or as a Full Estate offering guests the ultimate in exclusive boutique luxury.

HOW: Ampersand Travel offers 7 nights full board at Ani Villas’ Villa Divia from £5,360 based on eight people travelling and including flights and private transfers. This price also includes premier spirits and house wines, spa treatments, international calls, daily laundry service, cooking classes and unlimited movie downloads.

Ani Villas Sri Lanka _01 Overview

TWIN A CITY STAY WITH A RURAL ESCAPE AT ROCK VILLA, BENTOTA

On the southwest coast of Sri Lanka, Ampersand now offers the charming Rock Villa, available as a boutique hotel or to rent in its entirety. Over 170 years old, it is set back from a beautiful beach in Bentota within two and a half acres of tropical gardens. It boasts six guest rooms and a stunning 50-foot pool overlooking the mangroves, which are dotted with hammocks. Head here for some relaxation after a few days exploring Colombo.

HOW: Ampersand Travel offers 7 nights at Rock Villa in a Standard Room from £900 per person based on two people sharing on a B&B basis and including return flights from the UK and private transfers.

Rock Villa , Bentota , Sri Lanka (3)

A NEW LOOK FOR COLOMBO’S ICONIC GALLE FACE HOTEL, GALLE – Launching September 2015

Located on the southern tip of Sri Lanka, the Galle Face Hotel’s Classic Wing is undergoing a complete refurbishment. Reopening this September, the results of the extensive restoration project will be unveiled, returning this iconic 1864 colonial property to its former glory. The hotel’s luxurious Regency Wing has remained open throughout the project and comprises 81 rooms including 12 suites all with breath-taking ocean views.

HOW: Ampersand Travel offers 7 nights B&B at the Galle Face Hotel from £1,314 per person based on two people sharing, Including return flights from London to Colombo and private transfers.

The Galle Face Hotel , Colombo , Sri Lanka (25)

HOW TO GET THERE?

With direct flights available from London Heathrow to Colombo with SriLankan Airlines, Sri Lanka can be reached in just under 11 hours. 

CINNAMON AIR UNVEILS NEW ROUTES FROM COLOMBO

On arrival, Cinnamon Air, Sri Lanka’s domestic airline is offering travellers an easy way to navigate the island with a host of new routes transporting visitors between key cities and locations. This summer there will be a daily service between Colombo and Batticaloa, Bentota, Dickwella, Kandy, Koggala, Sigiriya, Trincomalee and Waters Edge among a number of other routes, starting from as little as US$172 one way from Colombo to Bentota.

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SAMPLE ITINERARIES:

IF TARZAN WENT TO SRI LANKA

KALPITIYA – WILPATTU NATIONAL PARK – PIDURANGALA - KNUCKLES MOUNTAIN RANGE – GAL OYA NATIONAL PARK – BANDARAWELA - KUMANA NATIONAL PARK – GALLE – SINHARAJA – BENTOTA

Start this magnificent 21-day discovery of Sri Lanka with a whale and dolphin-watching excursion in Kalpitiya before jetting off to Wilpattu for an afternoon game drive and a stay at the Wipattu Tree House. Drive to Pidurangala via Mihintale and Ritigala staying at Back of Beyond Kurulu Uyana before heading to Sigiriya to explore its Rock Fortress and Dambulla; Sri Lanka’s greatest cave temple complex. Make tracks into the famed Knuckles Mountain Range to spend two days trekking whilst staying at the Madukelle Tea and Eco Lodge and experiencing the Moonstone Expeditions Tented Camp one evening. After breakfast, drive to Gal Oya National Park for some exciting game drives and spend evenings relaxing at Gal Oya Lodge. Delve deeper into nature on the Vedah Walk marveling at the region’s rivers and waterfalls before taking a trip to Kumana National Park for an undiscovered mobile camp experience to uncover Sri Lanka’s iconic wildlife. Head to Galle for an afternoon of sightseeing staying at the new Tri Lanka, then travel back into the jungle to unearth the wonders of Sinharaja Rainforest and take one last excursion on a Mangrove Safari in Bentota before transferring back to the capital.

HOW: Ampersand Travel offers the 21-day ‘If Tarzan went to Sri Lanka’ itinerary from £3,650 per person, including international return flights from the UK, all accommodation on a B&B basis and a car and driver throughout.

Bar REEF Kalpitiya Sri Lanka 2  (1)

Madulkelle Eco Lodge , Knuckles Mountains , Sri Lanka (8)

AMPERSAND’S SIGNATURE SRI LANKA TOUR

SIGIRIYA – KANDY – BOGAWANTALAWA VALLEY – TANGALLE – GALLE - COLOMBO

Begin this quintessential tour of Sri Lanka in the Cultural Triangle visiting ancient cities and the fascinating cave temple complex; Dambulla and the sky-high citadel of Sigiriya. Continue on to the former capital city; Kandy, visiting the Pinnawela Elephant Orphange along the way before heading up to the stunning undulating hills of the mesmerising tea country, Bogawantalawa Valley – also known as the Golden Valley of Tea. Drive to the small fishing of Tangalle, taking in the palm fringed beaches before picking up the pace in Galle to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Galle Fort and the many other fascinating attractions this thriving port has to offer. Make a beeline for Colombo and spend the day wandering the city discovering its tree-lined boulevards before flying home.

HOW: Ampersand Travel offers this Signature Sri Lanka Tour for 17 days from £4,800 per person, including international return flights and private transfers. 

Sri Lanka -Dambulla Caves

For more information about these experiences or to start planning your tailor-made holiday to Sri Lanka, please get in touch with Ampersand’s Sri Lanka experts James Jayasundera, Catriona Deredes and Shalmali Rao Patterson:

info@ampersandtravel.com / 020 7819 9770 

More on Sri Lanka:

•     Catriona's 14 Favourite Travel Experiences in Sri Lanka

•     Catriona's Perfect 15-day Holiday to Sri Lanka