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.
WHERE: Cape Weligama, Weligama, Sri Lanka
PRICE: From $508
CONTACT: +94 412 253 000