The island nation of Sri Lanka is fast becoming a regular destination on the international 5 star luxury scene, now ranked 63rd globally on the World Economic Forum’s 2015 Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index. Increased safety and security, as well as a Government focus on prioritising tourism and travel, has opened the gates to international travellers.
Capitalising on this momentum, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts last week welcomed the newest member of their ever-expanding family, the Shangri-La Hambantota Resort and Spa.
The three hundred room, one hundred and forty-five acre resort sits on a former coconut plantation along the southern coastline of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka’s President, Maithripala Sirisena, officiated at the launch, joined by guests from Colombo and the local community to mark the opening on the “pearl of the Indian Ocean”.
Sri Lanka’s rich and colourful heritage awaits guests along with a wealth of wildlife, including exotic birds in some of the nearby national parks. The resort’s Indian Ocean, coastal locale will enhance guests’ sense of wanderlust, allowing for leisurely exploration of secluded beaches, fishing villages and historic temples.
The sheer size of the resort is impressive – among its facilities is a challenging par-70 golf course designed by globetrotting gold course architect Rodney Wright, who’s previous iterations include the Bali Golf & Country Club in Nusa Dua, among others. For those more inclined to laze about there’s three saltwater pools choose from, including the Sunset and Freeform pools.
Active adventure seekers can take part in a wealth of outdoor experiences, including beach volleyball, nature walks, mountain biking and running trails.
The resort also features a selection of four restaurants and bars, allowing guests to experience a culinary adventure without venturing off the property. Among the offerings are Bojunhala for international buffet and Sri Lankan specialities or Sera for hawker-style stalls featuring flavourful cuisines of Southeast Asia. Ulpatha or ‘Watering Hole’ is home to one of the finest selection of malt whiskies, while Gimanhala prepares fresh drinks after morning yoga, all day refreshments and cocktails by candlelight.
Shangri-La is offering early birds a variety of opening packages, including an all-inclusive offer for two, priced at US$247 per night, valid until 22 December 2016. Room rates start at US$216, single or double occupancy, and include breakfast. The resort can be reached by air from Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport and Hambantota’s Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport, which is 35 kilometres away, or by car via a 240-kilometre coastal road.
Shangri-La also plans to open the Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo, sometime in the next year.