Tri Lanka: An holistic, healthy holiday in South Asia

Tri Lanka a resort in Sri Lanka. (Supplied)
Updated 02 January 2019

Tri Lanka: An holistic, healthy holiday in South Asia

  • Tri Lanka, an intimate eco resort on the shores of Koggala Lake in Sri Lanka
  • The resort is tucked into Koggala’s lakeshore and was designed to blend seamlessly and sustainably into its environment

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.


Design ‘dream team’ helps Saudi Arabia’s historic AlUla shape its future

The southern area of AlUla which is part of the project. Drawing inspiration from traditional Arabian architecture, the templates can be mixed and matched to enable residents to realize their dream property. (Photos/RCU)
Updated 5 min 38 sec ago

Design ‘dream team’ helps Saudi Arabia’s historic AlUla shape its future

  • The town is sharing its historic treasures with the world and giving residents a new feel to their homes
  • We would like to be a model not only for Saudi Arabia but also the world (on) how you can design new places, live with the environment, be sustainable and protect it, but also open it to the world

RIYADH: Isolated in the Kingdom’s northwestern desert, the small town of AlUla is not only sharing its historic treasures with the world but also giving residents a new design and feel to their homes.

As well as invigorating tourism, reviving the economy, generating jobs and sending youth abroad for scholarships, the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) is enhancing the lives of residents by designing their homes as part of a major urban regeneration project for the historic Saudi location.
The AlUla Design Studio (UDS), launched by RCU, is a new public service that aims to help locals shape the future development of their community.
“We’re driven by good design, good outcomes, by protecting our heritage, the environment, and by making sure that we create sustainable infrastructure,” Stephen Murray, chief of county zoning and planning at the RCU, told Arab News.
“We would like to be a model not only for Saudi Arabia but also the world (on) how you can design new places, live with the environment, be sustainable and protect it, but also open it to the world.”
Murray said that the commission wants to invite the entire world, including locals, to enjoy AlUla. “It’s not about just tourists from overseas, it’s about everyone.”

First Phase
The first phase of the scheme will concentrate on regeneration in AlUla South, focusing on the creation of more green spaces, including parks, playgrounds and playing fields, with the revitalized Wadi AlUla as a connecting natural thread.
“One of the things we’ve looked at, at the royal commission, is creating great places to live, creating neighborhoods, places where people enjoy and the community can grow together,” said Murray.
The RCU wants to promote AlUla town as a model of urban planning, regeneration and quality of life in the Kingdom, and the UDS initiative will provide residents of AlUla South with the chance to choose property styles that suit their locality.

We’re driven by good design, good outcomes, by protecting our heritage, the environment, and by making sure that we create sustainable infrastructure.

Stephen Murray, Chief of county zoning and planning at the RCU

The specialized architectural design studio will offer those looking to build residential or commercial properties a range of design templates.


Drawing inspiration from traditional Arabian architecture, such as shaded inner courtyards, open rooftops and natural light, the templates can be mixed and matched to enable residents to realize their dream property.
By integrating modern sustainable technologies and building materials, the designs take into account comfort and quality of life while embracing the colors of AlUla to harmonize with the area’s history, heritage, and environment.
“These houses are probably the most significant investment we ever make. Definitely, these are places where we laugh, where we share joy and fantastic family moments,” Murray said.
The designs also maximize the use of space on each plot of land, providing residents with homes meeting family needs and ensuring that all new buildings contribute to a more community-focused AlUla.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Launched by the RCU, the AlUla Design Studio (UDS) is a new public service that aims to help locals shape the future development of their community.

• As well as invigorating tourism, reviving the economy, generating jobs and sending youth abroad for scholarships, the RCU is enhancing the lives of residents by designing their homes as part of a major urban regeneration project for the historic Saudi location.

• The commission wants to invite the entire world, including locals, to enjoy AlUla.

• The RCU is invested in meeting the needs of city residents, who have offered positive feedback on the project.

Wider boulevards and shaded walking areas will also be created, leaving room for public green spaces.
“We see ourselves as a service, as part of Vision 2030 (through) building the community. The idea is there are things we would like (locals) to achieve,” he said, adding that the studio would like to build on the beautiful colors of AlUla.
Good housing and beautiful infrastructure not only enhances quality of living but, more importantly, builds the right facilities to complement and support the project, he said.
“We’re planning to nearly double the amount of private green spaces in this area from 48,000 meters square to 80,000.”
The RCU is invested in meeting the needs of city residents, who have offered positive feedback on the project.
“We got great support for the release of land, for improving space, for improving the facilities to support the people that live in these areas.
“People we talked to were interested in the fact that we were planning to ensure that they could go outside their home blocks (and) still have privacy, that we were encouraging them to use roof spaces and that we were encouraging shaded walkways,” said Murray.

Guidelines
The templates align with the new user-friendly architectural guidelines recently released for AlUla residents and landowners looking to build properties. The guidelines, which also emphasize sustainable building materials and integration with infrastructure, are available to download from the UDS website at http://uds.rcu.gov.sa.
Residents can get full details on how to kick-start the development of their new home or business by visiting the website and can appoint an architect via the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs’ Balady website as the first step in applying for a building permit.
Urban development of this kind is part of the RCU’s plan to improve quality of life for AlUla residents, driven by RCU Gov. Prince Badr bin Farhan.
The development will encompass upgrades to telecommunications and infrastructure, including the expansion of Prince Abdul Majeed bin Abdul Aziz Airport to handle 400,000 visitors annually; improvements to local services such as doubling the number of primary and intermediate schools; a new health care clinic; more urban green environments; plus new playgrounds and sports fields.