DUBAI: Tri Lanka, an intimate eco resort on the shores of Koggala Lake in Sri Lanka, is co-owned by Lara Drummond, the developer of Quantum Yoga. As you might expect, then, it places great emphasis on wellness. From daily yoga classes conducted in the open-air yoga shala perched above a bamboo grove, to Ayurveda-inspired spa treatments, there is plenty to do — although the real healing secret of Tri Lanka is the tranquil, spiritual setting, which truly inspires the feeling of being at one with nature.
Which isn’t to say that visitors can’t get their adrenaline flowing. More active types can opt to take on the hiking and cycling trails around the resort — bicycles are provided for guests — and there’s also a parkour circuit around the lake. Those in search of insights into the local culture can take a private trip to Cinnamon island — where a local farmer will provide interesting insights into cinnamon plantations.
The resort itself, tucked into Koggala’s lakeshore, was designed to blend seamlessly and sustainably into its environment. The modernist open-plan Main House offers a stark counterpoint to the lush tropical foliage, a higgledy-piggledy mix of cinnamon, jackfruit, cashew, banana and coconut palms tumble down from the islands and mainland into the pristine waters of the lake. From this main resort hub, a short walk up a small hill takes you up to the eleven suites available at Tri Lanka.
While the design is unmistakably contemporary, the organic spiral structure and use of natural materials including local Jak wood, granite, pebbles, and cinnamon bark, ensure that the property is as sensitive and responsive to its natural surroundings as possible. The buildings’ living roofs are planted with creepers and indigenous plants, to help them blend still further into the landscape, and also to help regulate temperature. Even the bespoke soft furnishings are sourced from a local brand.
Accommodation options range from villas with private plunge pools to rooms in the signature water tower, but all are positioned to offer lake views. While the glass-walled library, where the indoors seem to meld with the outdoors, and the strikingly beautiful infinity pool get the most Instagram hits, the water tower is perhaps the property’s biggest design triumph — a dramatic elliptical structure that takes something essentially functional and infuses it with an aesthetic appeal through the use of natural cinnamon stick cladding. It houses three suites, and a dreamy sundowner spot on the top level.
Staying true to its environment-friendly ethos, the resort also minimizes energy usage, avoids plastics, and contributes to reversing habitat degradation with legacy planting.
In keeping with the resort’s overall ethos, the contemporary Sri Lankan food on offer here draws inspiration from local flavors and combines it with modern European techniques and presentation. The lavish breakfasts feature local fruit smoothies, delicious homemade granola with yoghurt ice cream and local dishes including red millet porridge. Lunches and dinners incorporate fresh, seasonal ingredients and creative use of local herbs — think inventive mini hoppers with different toppings, such as prawns and sambal.
Probably the best example of the kitchen’s creativity is Tri’s signature trail mix — a more-ish concoction of fried string hoppers and nuts tempered with spices and curry leaves — a bottle of which is provided in every room. It’s the perfect accompaniment for some quiet contemplation. And Tri Lanka is the perfect place for that.