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

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

 

 


Photographers reveal Egypt’s hidden gems in show for a good cause

This is the group’s fourth charitable exhibition. (Supplied)
Updated 11 min 2 sec ago

Photographers reveal Egypt’s hidden gems in show for a good cause

  • Cairo Saturday Walks are a group of photographers who go on adventures every week to take pictures across the city
  • The team is now exhibiting its work for charity at a gallery in the city

DUBAI: The Cairo Saturday Walks team, a group of photographers who go on adventures every week to take pictures across the city, are now exhibiting their work for charity at a gallery in the city.

The exhibition brought together more than 50 local, international, professional and amateur photographers who are displaying their work in the Maadi district until Nov. 22.

The youngest participant is 13 and the oldest is 60. (Supplied)

All proceeds from the gallery will go to the restoration of a public facility in one of the underserved areas that the group has walked in and photographed during the past, according to the founder of Cairo Saturday Walks Karim El-Hayawan.

This is the group’s fourth charitable exhibition.

El-Hayawan described the practice as an “organic experience,” during which photographers discover the city’s hidden gems.

The group is displaying its work in the Maadi district until Nov. 22. (Supplied)

What started off as a one-man weekly walk is now a practice shared by 500 photographers.

El-Hayawan’s journey began after he took a basic introductory course in photography. “I did not have time during the week to work on my photography assignments. I used to go out every Saturday to take pictures and I used to post on my account. Then a lot of people started asking me ‘Where are these places? Where do you go? We want to join,’ although (these places) exist 10-15 minutes from anywhere in Cairo, but people did not notice them or had forgotten them,” he told Arab News.

The photographers walk around and discover the city’s hidden gems. (Supplied)

The group has a library of more than 15,000 pictures accessible on Instagram through #cairosaturdaywalks.

“We ask people who join us to share their pictures on that hashtag, with the intention of having a long-term documentation of Cairo,” El-Hayawan said. “Everyone takes pictures from his/her own perspective. It is extremely neutral; everyone takes pictures of whatever they want.”

In two to three years, people can go back to this documentation and see that Cairo looked this way at this time,” he said.

All proceeds from the gallery will go to the restoration of a public facility in one of the underserved areas that the group has walked in and photographed during the past. (Supplied)

A typical Saturday for the photographers starts off at a cafe. “We meet in the morning at a coffee shop and we take a little bus that we rent every Saturday and we just hit the road to somewhere random and we get lost. We call them to pick us up from wherever we reach at the end of the day. The idea is that it has no structure and I really aimed at that from the very beginning,” El-Hayawan said.

What started off as a one-man weekly walk is now a practice shared by 500 photographers. (Supplied)

The youngest participant is 13 and the oldest is 60, but El-Hayawan said that anyone can join the walk and share their pictures.

“I found out about Cairo Saturday Walks from Instagram. The spirit of people I walk with is just amazing. Also, the fact that I am Egyptian yet I still get amazed by Cairo’s streets is what pushes me to explore more every week,” Yara Wael, a 17-year-old photographer, told Arab News.