I had the pleasure of visiting Anantara Kalutara in Sri Lanka which is a luxurious hotel in the middle of a forest but has a lagoon and the sea on each side of the property. I came here for a three-night stay and I tried to explore as much as possible while still enjoying some time in the sun with a book.
Anantara Kalutara Hotel is located only 1-1,5 hour drive from Colombo airport, which is the international airport in Sri Lanka. There are many flights from Europe, so if you are like me, traveling from Europe, it is very easy to get to. I flew direct from London – Colombo airport, where the hotel had arranged a driver to pick me up.
At the hotel, I was greeted by the reception manager who explained to me about the hotel while a welcoming ceremony of four dancers and two musicians were performing. I was really amazed by this welcoming gesture and I smiled as soon as the ceremony began and forgot my 14-hour journey.
The hotel has been built in steps and has been completed in early 2018. The resort has three restaurants, two pool areas, a beach, and a lagoon. In the lagoon, you can do water sports like kayaking, jet ski, and more. And the beach is sandy and with lots of palm trees.
Aqualina: Is the Italian restaurant located next to one of the pools. This restaurant is open for lunch and dinner.
Spicy Traders: Serving Sri Lankan / Indian food. This restaurant was my favourite. The food was super tasty and fresh.
Olu: Is the breakfast restaurant, serving a delicious buffet with almost everything you can imagine. From omelette and fresh fruit to local Sri Lankan fruits and Indian Dhal.
This restaurant is also open for lunch and dinner serving a mix of Western food and oriental dishes.
You eat a lot of amazing fish here because they get fresh fish from the sea every day! I can highly recommend the fish dishes and the Sri Lankan curry dishes.
The staff at the hotel is very welcoming and wants to make your stay memorable. They are service-minded, smiling, and helpful with anything you ask for.
The overall experience is, that you feel safe and welcoming and looked out for, which I highly appreciate.
If you do not only want to relax and tan by the pool the hotel offers many other activities:
Fitness: There is a gym with a private instructor who is ready to give guidance and help. Also, they have Pilates classes every day in the gym.
Yoga: You can ask the hotel to book a yoga teacher for you to do a private session.
One of the mornings I had a private yoga instructor for a sunrise yoga session at the beach. This was a truly beautiful experience and the teacher was a proper yogi.
Tuk tuk: Take a tuk tuk to town so you can explore the vibe of Kalutara.
Temple visit: 30 min. away in a tuk tuk from the hotel, there is a stunning holy temple, Kalutara Chaithya. It is that majestic white dome structure that stands tall at the Kalu river bank.
It was built in 1970 and is the oldest “hollow stupa” in Sri Lanka. The stupa is called Wata Da Ge Kalutara.
When you enter you need to take off your shoes and leave them at the entrance. The space is huge and you will see people of all ages walking, praying, lighting candles, touching the wood, and holding hands.
The energy of the temple is warm and welcoming and not stiff.
Spa: The is a beautiful spa with all the different treatments you can dream of. The spa is like a small, peaceful temple with individual treatment rooms. I had a 90-min. signature massage which is an Anantara signature blend of oils and that the therapist massages in a way to promote deep relaxation, whilst restring the flow of energy.
I am addicted to massages and find it the most luxurious thing in the world. And on top of that, my body was really in need of it after all those flights. My body was at peace afterwards. After my treatment, I went to the steam to boost the blood circulation that the massage kicked off.
Spice Spoon – cooking class: I had the fantastic experience of a cooking class session with one of the chefs at the Anantara.
We started with a tuk tuk ride to the local market where we bought most of the ingredients for the Sri Lankan dishes I had wished to make.
We bought fresh fish, herbs, and vegetables at our first stop. Our second stop was at the spice market where I saw how they make curry powder, chili powder and more. It was truly amazing to see this!! And especially because I love spices. I even bought some spices for me to bring to my home.
Then we went back to the Anantara Kalutara where they had set up a small outdoor kitchen where the chef explained how to cook. First, he would explain and show, and then I would do it. We made four different Sri Lankan dishes.
I can highly recommend this cooking class experience. If you ever get the chance, you have to take it.
The high season in Sri Lanka is from October – April. I came in late August just after the rain season, and the weather was amazing. Sunny but a little bit cloudy and between 27-31 Celsius degrees.
Sri Lanka is still an undiscovered place. There are not packed with tourists which I like. You feel the energy from the local people, which is very warm and welcoming.
In 2014, Sri Lanka was hit by the tsunami which killed about 50.000 people. Since then the country has struggled to get back on their feet.
Therefore, Sri Lanka is still a new place for tourists, but many hotels have opened the past three years and many more are in the timeline to open.
Anantara Kalutara is a wonderful hotel to stay at and very convenient when arriving or departing from Colombo.
Below are pictures from my stay.
// Our beautiful room
// The Spa entrance
// Spice Traders – serving Sri Lanka / Indian inspired food. This was my favourite place for dinner!
// Aqualina – the Italian feast
// Sunrise Yoga
// Temple Visit
// Visiting the food markets with our chef from Anantara Kalutara
// Need a tuk tuk ride?
// At the spice market
// Learning how to cook Sri Lankan food
// Et Voila, Sri Lankan home made feast is served! Spice Spoon cooking class was amazing!
// One of the two pool areas
// Beach at Anantara Kalutara
“Ayubowan” is the word used in Sri Lanka to greet someone. It means “May You Enjoy Long Life.” One is Generally greeted by joining two hands in prayer-like manner and saying “Ayubowan“. This phrase can be used any time of the day.
I hope you got inspired to Sri Lanka.
Ayubowan and Safe Travels