Southern Coast

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Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort

Contemporary, family-friendly, romantic

Tangalle Goyambokka Estate 94-47-767-0700 www.tangalle.anantara.com

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At a Glance

Set on 21 acres of a former coconut plantation, the oceanfront Anantara was one of the country’s first, resort-style international luxury hotels.

Indagare Loves

  • Daily high tea accompanied by traditional live music on the open-air, second-floor lounge pavilion with views of the ocean
  • The 82-foot, two-tier infinity pool
  • The contemporary Italian restaurant led by Venice- and Turin-based chefs, which boasts ingredients of equally authentic provenance

Review

Opened in early 2016, Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort brings high-end hospitality to Sri Lanka’s South Coast, which has long been a land of rough-and-tumble backpacker and surfer retreats (as well as the rare luxe boutique stay, Amanwella). With curves of golden sand edged by wavy blue-green seas, this region is poised for a renaissance and has been likened to the next Goa, Phuket or Bali.

Set on a long stretch of sand flanked by jagged outcroppings of rock and tide pools, the hotel comprises 120 rooms contained in five three-story stucco buildings topped with red-tiled, pagoda-like roofs. All rooms and suites offer a balcony or terrace and Indian Ocean views, while 32 one- and two-bedroom villa bungalows dot the periphery of the property (most face the water).

Accommodations are designed with a tasteful mix of general Asian influence and Sri Lankan tradition, featuring exposed wood-beamed ceilings, Dutch colonial-inspired teak furniture and panels of hand-loomed cotton fabrics crafted by local artisans. Warm earth tones complement the rooms’ jewel-colored accents, with gorgeous blues and greens that take their cues from the nearby ocean (visible through sliding-glass doors). There are also large panels of glass separating the stone-lined bathrooms from the main living area, each with a drop-down shade for privacy.

Golf carts and tuk-tuks driven by the hotel’s attentive butlers ferry guests between their rooms and the resort’s central public spaces, which include the two-tier pool, its adjacent bar and muslin-hung cabana daybeds facing the water. Elsewhere on the property, a kids club with a full schedule of daily activities is nicely removed from the serene and spacious eight-room spa. There, Zen-style décor gives a nod to local Buddhist culture, and treatments are inspired by Asian practice. The spa has an Ayurvedic doctor on staff and therapists work with such Sri Lankan materials as black tea, lime and coconut (there are Western modalities, too). Anantara also offers complimentary sunrise yoga and meditation, plus other gratis fitness and wellness programing throughout the day.

For meals, guests have options of the all-day eatery (which spins the globe nightly to feature different cuisines at dinner) or Il Mare for upscale Italian fare. This elegant waterfront restaurant features dishes like lobster spaghetti and tuna tartar that reimagine local seafood in high Italophile style.

Like most beaches on Sri Lanka’s south coast, Anantara’s is more suited for sunning than for swimming, as the currents and surf can be quite rough (guests may cool off in the hotel’s large pools instead). A public but uncrowded beach adjacent to the property is protected, however, and offers calmer waters for swimming. For those looking to explore the surrounding area, the resort has carefully curated several guided cultural excursions including visits to nearby national parks.

Although the property only opened in 2016, service runs smoothly despite a few weak spots (the in-room check in, led by a butler with an iPad, can be slow, and the upon-arrival foot bath may not be to everyone’s liking).

Who Should Stay

With its kids’ club, diverse food offerings and resort amenities, the Anantara is a great choice for families; the decadent spa, gorgeous setting and focus on all things luxurious will tempt couples in search of a romantic getaway, too.

Ideal Length of Stay

A two-or three-night stay at Anantara is ideal, though guests should consider longer visits if they are interested in exploring locations further afield.

Getting There

A daily commercial flight on a Cinnamon Air seaplane brings guests from the airport in Colombo to a lagoon landing in the South Coast town of Dickwella, which is a 10-minute drive from the resort. Depending on other passengers, the seaplane may make stops along the way, so the trip can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours. Direct flights can also be chartered on Cinnamon Air, and an increasing number of scheduled flights are coming into the new airport in Hambantota, which is a 90-minute drive away from Anantara. The drive to the resort from Colombo, while on good roads, takes at least 3.5 hours, and can be longer in traffic.

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