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Around 60 kilometres south of Colombo and bridging the Bentota River as it reaches the coast, Bentota was an early arrival on the resort scene because of its sweeping bays and lovely beaches. It also has a strong Bawa connection; over 60 years, from 1929, the bon vivant, artist and sculptor Bevis Bawa worked on his labour of love, a five-acre plot of beautiful landscaping and artful vistas with Japanese and English influences and a famously convivial house, which he called Brief Garden (as in a lawyer's brief; his advocate father bought the land after winning a case). His brother Geoffrey Bawa, the country's most famous architect, designed numerous villas including his own, 'Lunuganga' and hotels in the area combining vernacular styles, local materials and Modernism for the first time, putting Sri Lanka (and Asia) on the architectural map.

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To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.
Bill Bryson