Cape Weligama: A world of wellness

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Spread across 12 acres, the Relais & Chateaux resort is home to just 39 suites and villas. (Tom Parker)
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Spread across 12 acres, the Relais & Chateaux resort is home to just 39 suites and villas. (Sebastian Posingis)
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Spread across 12 acres, the Relais & Chateaux resort is home to just 39 suites and villas. (Sebastian Posingis)
Updated 01 April 2019
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Cape Weligama: A world of wellness

  • From beachside lounging and watersports to whale-watching and spa treatments, this Sri Lankan resort offers an escape to remember

DUBAI: In the four-plus years since it has been open, the luxury resort of Cape Weligama has raked in numerous international awards and prestigious accolades. It’s not hard to see why — take the unparalleled location, perched at the edge of a headland right on the tip of the southern coast of Sri Lanka, to start with. Cape Weligama’s spectacular design, courtesy of renowned Thai architect Lek Bunnag, makes the most of the clifftop location to offer panoramic views from practically everywhere across the property.

It’s easy to slip into the island way of life here, albeit with a good measure of luxury cossetting thrown in. Meandering from lazy breakfast to pool to spa (the Sanctuary spa treatments, which incorporate local spices and Ceylon tea, can be enjoyed both in the soothing spa villa or in the luxury of your own accommodation) to dinner, with perhaps a nap and some beach time in between, is a perfectly acceptable way to pass the time, but there are plenty of activities if you want to keep busy too.

Snorkeling, surfing and diving lessons are available from the watersports center on the beach just steps from the resort (beaches in Sri Lanka are all public, but in this unspoiled corner of the island the beaches are not crowded). This is also a prime spot for some whale-watching, with very good chances of spotting the rare blue and humpback whales between November to April, when their journey across the oceans brings them closer to the shore. Indeed, a whale-watching tour in the hotel’s own luxury catamaran is not to be missed. On land, cycling trips into local villages are a great option, as is a day trip to nearby Galle Fort to take in all its historic charm.

With the waves of the Indian Ocean crashing at the foot of the cliff, and the sea and skies conjuring up an ever-changing palette of colors and moods, the colonial-meets-Thai-style Ocean Terrace is the perfect spot to take all your meals. Whether it’s freshly-caught local fish with curry sauce, regional specialties such as Jaffna-style goat curry or Far Eastern- and European-inspired dishes, the use of local produce gives everything on the menu a freshness of flavor and sense of place.

Alfresco breakfasts of traditional Sri Lankan delicacies — including the quintessential egg hoppers of course — are equally enjoyable whether taken on the expansive terrace, or on your own private garden deck.

The location is non-negotiable, however, when it comes to afternoon tea or cocktails. For these, you must visit the Cape Colony Club, where vintage décor, with the ceiling fans lazily whirring overhead barely competing with the balmy breezes, transports you back in time.

Spread across 12 acres, the Relais & Chateaux resort is home to just 39 suites and villas, making them some of the most spacious on the island. The ocean view villas, which go up to more than 300 square meters, are large enough to comfortably accommodate a family, with a roomy outdoor deck, apartment-sized bathrooms, and generous, luxuriously appointed bedrooms that are decorated to subtly pay homage to both an island-appropriate nautical theme, and incorporate hints of Thai design.

The terracotta-roofed villas are clustered in threes and fours in ‘wattas’ (gardens) around private infinity pools in lush landscaped grounds, with each watta named after iconic personalities with a Ceylon connection (including Marco Polo and Ibn Battuta).

With 15 pools spread across the property, including the child-friendly Cove Pool, retreating from the day’s exertions into a refreshing dip couldn’t be easier. But for the ultimate Instagram bragging rights, the Moon Pool (yes, that’s the one you’ve seen pictures of…), situated at the very edge of the promontory — making its infinity edge appear to blend seamlessly into the ocean — is truly breathtaking.

THE LOWDOWN

WHERE: Cape Weligama, Weligama, Sri Lanka

PRICE: From $508

CONTACT: +94 412 253 000

WEBSITE: www.resplendentceylon.com/capeweligama

 

 


‘Age-Old Cities’ exhibition in Riyadh museum breathes new life into ancient sites 

Updated 19 April 2019
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‘Age-Old Cities’ exhibition in Riyadh museum breathes new life into ancient sites 

  • National Museum in Riyadh hosts digital show that tells the story of Mosul, Palmyra, Aleppo and Leptis Magna

JEDDAH: An exhibition that uses digital technology to revive the region’s ancient sites and civilizations that have been destroyed or are under threat due to conflict and terrorism opened at the National Museum in Riyadh on April 18.

“Age-Old Cities” tells the story of four historically significant cities that have been devastated by violence: Mosul in Iraq, Palmyra and Aleppo in Syria, and Leptis Magna in Libya. 

Using stunning giant-screen projections, virtual reality, archival documents and images, and video testimonials from inhabitants of the affected sites, the immersive exhibition transports visitors back in time and presents the cities as they were in their prime. 

It charts their journey from the origins of their ancient civilizations to their modern-day state, and presents plans for their restoration and repair. 

The exhibition has been organized by the Ministry of Culture in collaboration with the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris. Riyadh is the first stop outside the French capital on the exhibition’s global tour. 

The exhibition follows last month’s unveiling of the Kingdom’s new cultural vision, which included the announcement of several initiatives, including a new residency scheme for international artists to practice in the Kingdom and the establishment of the Red Sea International Film Festival. 

Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al-Saud, minister of culture, said: “I am delighted to welcome the ‘Age-Old Cities’ exhibition to Riyadh. 

“It highlights the importance of heritage preservation, particularly here in the Middle East, and the vulnerability of some of our historic sites. 

“It must be the responsibility of governments to put an end to this damage and neglect, and to put heritage at the heart of action, investment, and policy.

“I will be encouraging my fellow members of government to attend this eye-opening exhibition in our National Museum, and hope to work in the future with partners, governments and experts to do what we can to secure our region’s heritage.”

The exhibition carries a significant message about the importance of preserving and protecting these precious but fragile sites — one which resonates strongly in the week when one of the world’s most-famous heritage sites, Paris’ Notre-Dame Cathedral, went up in flames.