When you dream of paradise, chances are that the visions you conjure aren’t so different to the emerald green jungles of Sri-Lanka and the gold sand beaches and turquoise waters of the Maldives. Our luxury two-week travel itinerary to Sri Lanka and the Maldives takes you on an incredible adventure that combines ultimate luxury and relaxation with cultural discoveries and historical tours. Your journey begins from the moment you touch down in Bandaranaike International Airport , nearby the country’s capital, Colombo. From the moment you arrive, you will be welcomed by the famously hospitable Sri Lankan locals who will be happy to guide you to your car transfer. From the airport, you will embark on a three and a half hour journey through the capital and down to the southern coast of the country. As you drive through the bustling capital, take in the sights and sounds of the city and towns as they whizz past you and prepare yourself to enter true paradise.
Located on a peaceful and serene palm-fringed crescent of the coastline nearby the town of Tangalle, Amanwella is a spectacular resort and your home for the next four nights. The resort sits on the sun-soaked shores of the Indian Ocean and is designed in line with the the Tropical Modernist movement, a contemporary blend of modernity and tradition and a tribute to the resort’s spectacular natural surroundings.
Sprawling over 800 metres of beach land, the Amanwella has only 27 suites, bestowing you with peace, privacy and the special sense that you have the whole place to yourself. At check-in, you will be treated to a refreshing welcome drink before one of the friendly and attentive team guide you to your suite. Be prepared to be washed over by a sense of calm exuding from the simple yet beautiful design of the rooms. Featuring predominantly natural materials and a neutral colour palette, the suites are uncluttered, sleek and wholly enamouring. Sliding doors open up to a splendid bathroom with a deep free-standing bathtub perfect for candle-lit midnight soaks as well as a monsoon shower and luxury amenities.
The heart of the resort is the calming lounge at which you can enjoy meals and drinks in a serene and tranquil environment. Sink into the comfortable loungers and enjoy the open space and pleasant shade, a nice respite from the sunshine outdoors. The perfect pre-dinner destination, play a game of cards, order a coffee or cocktail and simply relax in your stunning surroundings.
While it may be tempting to spend your days here luxuriating in your suite, the resort has so much more to offer than what sits in the confines of your villa. Start your mornings enjoying a fresh coffee in your lush private courtyard and to really wake yourself up, take a revitalising dip in your own plunge pool. As well as the facilities on the resort itself (including the much-instagrammed 150 foot infinity pool that faces out to sea), the Amanwella offers a huge range of activities and experiences for you to enjoy and really make the most out of your stay here. While the choices for dining are mostly restricted to the resort’s beach and poolside restaurants, (there is little on offer in this beautifully remote area of the country), the resort serves delicious international Asian fusion dishes including locally caught seafood which is simply delicious. For all those foodies and fans of Sri-Lankan cuisine, the resort also organises cooking classes for you to pick up traditional skills to bring home and recreate long after your vacation is over.
From the moment you arrived at Amanwella, there’s no doubt that you’ll have been itching to get out to sea. While you must absolutely spend one of your afternoons with a good book, lazily resting on the sun beds and bathing in that glorious Sri Lankan sunshine, the waters here offer many adventures that can be arranged through the resort. The area offers some of the best spots for snorkelling and surfing and all equipment and guidance can be organised by the team at the resort. Depending on what time of the year you are visiting, you may be lucky enough to witness some natural wonders. Between December and April, the resort can organise for you to be taken out farther to sea for the chance to spot blue whales, sperm whales and spinner dolphins on their annual migration. Animal spotting isn’t limited to just those in the ocean however. Close by the Amanwella, the Yala and Udawalawe national parks are waiting to be explored and here, you will meet leopards and elephants as well as the colourful Bundala Bird Sanctuary.
Sri Lanka is a country bursting with culture, tradition and colour and it’s important that you leave the borders of the resort and really get to experience this. For an authentic experience, the resort will arrange a tuk-tuk tour to take you to the nearby villages and temples. While it can be a bit of a bumpy ride, and you may get caught behind a herd of cows being taken through the villages, there is nothing quite like this to take in the sights, sounds and smells and really get a sense of village life here. One of the villages nearby is the village of Palapotta, famous for its pottery traditions. For those with artsy inclinations, the master potter in the village organises workshops from his home where you can learn important terracotta skills to create your own pieces.
Spend your mornings taking in the spectacular surroundings, your afternoons on exciting adventures, and your evenings simply relaxing. There is no better way to wind-down at the Amanwella than to take full advantage of their excellent spa treatments all organised in the privacy of your own suite. A speciality of the resort, the Abhyanga massage is a warm-oil Ayurvedic treatment that is said to have detoxifying effects on the body. Enjoy sunset cocktails, boardgames and simply sitting back and luxuriating in the pure beauty of your surroundings before dozing off in your cloud-like king-sized bed.
Your time at Amanwella may be over but you have many adventures still ahead of you. Wake up early and enjoy a final breakfast of fresh fruit at the pavilion restaurant before setting off on your journey to Galle. Travelling west-bound along the southern coast of the country, the journey is two hours long but along the way, you will stop to witness one of the most iconic settings of Sri Lanka, a Ceylon tea plantation. These plantations cover the hillsides of the south coast and are truly magical places to visit. From the women picking the tea leaves, to the drying of the tea leaves, here you will watch the entire hand-made process and learn about the country’s 150-year old tea industry. From the moment you step into the plantation, you will be struck by the delicate and delightfully intoxicating smell of the tea. After a tasting, you’ll have a chance to purchase tea to bring home with you before getting back on the road to Galle.
Situated in the heart of the historic Galle Fort, Amangalla is a haven of luxury amidst the hustle and bustle of the town, and your home for the next two nights in Galle. The hotel is housed in a 17th century building and epitomises the sophistication and charm of Dutch-Colonial style in the country. Featuring 31 rooms and suites, the spectacular building is nestled among 200 year old gardens bursting with tropical trees and flowers and is the perfect location for exploring the city as well and discovering the area’s countryside and coastal treasures.
After checking in, the wonderful team will take you to settle in your suite. Paying homage to the colonial history and legacy of the fort, the spacious rooms at Amangalla are carefully designed with wooden antique pieces and natural materials and will make you feel as though you have taken a step back in time. The hotel offers a range of different rooms located in the different wings of the building, all of which have been individually designed and offer equally stunning views of the surrounding area. The rooms are spacious and welcoming and most offer a balcony perfect for enjoying a morning coffee or sunset cocktail. Expect luxurious four poster beds and grand free-standing bath-tubs to sink into after days of exploring on foot.
Celebrate your arrival in Galle with a sophisticated afternoon tea on the verandah of the hotel, enjoying the cool dusk air and soft sun rays shining down on you. Afternoon tea is a truly expecial experience here and treated as a daily ritual. The friendly staff will come out with pots of freshly brewed tea & coffee as well as delicious and warm homemade scones served with tangy strawberry jam. Bring a backgammon board and a good book and spend a couple of hours enjoying a slower pace of life.
Once you are settled into your room, it’s time to take in your immediate surroundings. Take a stroll around the maze like building, exploring the different wings, before stepping out to explore the ramparts and intertwining paths around Church street. There is a real sense of heritage here so take it all in and don’t be afraid to ask the friendly and knowledgeable staff any questions you may have about the fort or its history. All guests are welcome to take a complimentary tour of the fort and we definitely recommend that you do so.
Before dinner, explore your surroundings in the beautifully soft sunset light and join locals and visitors alike taking part in a centuries old ritual of the daily passeggiata along the ramparts as you walk from the lighthouse towards and around the temple.
Unlike the quiet and secluded region of Tangalle, the city of Galle exudes a real buzz and character that emanates from its rich and varied history. Once a very important trading post, the town retains many remnants of its past from the Dutch-colonial buildings that line its streets to the fortified quarter that dates back to the sixteenth century. Today, the city displays a bohemian identity that many will find surprising for a small town in Sri Lanka. With trendy cafés and restaurants, artisanal boutiques and luxury accommodation, Galle is quickly becoming one of the hotspots still under the radar in the country. Art aficionados will be pleasantly surprised by the presence of several contemporary art galleries in the town showcasing incredible local talent.
The hotel can arrange for a tuk-tuk to take you into the centre of Galle from which you can begin a walking tour to discover the area. Explore gem houses, boutiques, spice markets and all that this vibrant city has to offer. The rich history of Galle has naturally led to the establishment of many museums which cherish and showcase pride in the city's cultures and traditions.
One museum that is of particular interest is the Historical Mansion Museum. Housed in a restored Dutch House in the Galle Fort, this treasure trove is the private collection of Abdul Gaffar, a local resident, and is a dream for all history lovers. The museum is brimming with colonial artefacts and tradition comes to life with presentations of local crafts such as gem cutting and lace embroidery.
While the city is bursting with exciting places to discover, you mustn’t check out of the Amangalla without taking full advantage of the spectacular facilities within the walls. After a busy day in Galle, come back to the resort and take a leisurely dip in the swimming pool nestled in the mature gardens of the resort. The spa is here a real treasure and you must indulge in a treatment or two. Walk through the candle lit corridors, spend some time in the cryotherapy chamber, steam room and sauna, and finally let the therapist knead away all of your worries with one of their speciality Ayurvedic massages.
It’s a bittersweet farewell when the time comes to say goodbye to the magical south coast of Sri Lanka. A truly unforgettable experience, the itinerary has taken you on a journey that has introduced you to the mesmerising serenity of Tangalle and the exciting renaissance of Galle. From heavenly beach days to historical tours, you have experienced both sides of the region and it’s time to set off to discover a new kind of beach destination, The Maldives. Head back towards Colombo and board your flight to the remarkable Baros Island.
The Maldives is world-renowned as one of the most beautiful destinations in the world and chances are that you’ve seen hundreds of photographs of the twinkling gold-sand beaches and azure crystal-like waters. Despite this, nothing can quite prepare you for the breathtaking experience of seeing this for the first time in person. From Colombo, you will fly into Male where the Baros team will be waiting with a speed boat to whisk you off to your island home. The trip is only 25 minutes and as you approach Baros, you will spot the iconic sea-bound villas ahead of you. The staff here at this Madlivian owned resort are the ultimate hosts and are at your beck and call to fulfil any wishes that you may have. Upon disembarking the speedboat, you will be taken to your suite, a haven of absolute tranquility.
Nestled on the beach amongst the greenery of the natural jungle and palm trees around you, you will feel as though this villa is your slice of paradise on your private island. The Baros Villas are designed with elegance, simplicity and ultimate comfort in mind and offer private and direct beach access right in front of your bedroom. In the mornings, your wooden sundeck will be awash with Maldivian sun rays and the soft sound of the ocean right by you will quickly tempt you out of bed early to enjoy a morning stroll along the coast line.
The sunsets that you will experience on Baros are like none other you will have ever seen and the resort has the perfect vantage points from which you can sit, have a drink and soak it all in. The verandah at The Light House Lounge is one such spot where you can sit from late afternoon to early evening, watching the endless sea ahead of you as the sun dips behind the horizon.
Your time on Baros Island is all about rest, relaxation and ultimate pleasure. Spend your mornings enjoying a fresh coffee as you look out to paradise ahead of you before discussing with your dedicated suite host what activities are on offer for the day. For the adventurous among you, the Maldives is known as one of the world’s most spectacular scuba diving destinations and the resort offers all of the equipment, guides and training perfect for whatever level of experience you have. Day and night snorkelling is the perfect way to leisurely enjoy the warm crystal clear waters surrounding you and an afternoon of kayaking around the resort is a great workout while catching some rays.
Everywhere you look on the island, you'll feel as though you are looking at a postcard. The sights around Baros Island are truly breathtaking and during your stay, you will never get bored of them. For a romantic and private relaxing afternoon, take the boat out to the spit where the water is shallow and warm and there is a lounger and pavilion filled with cushions for you to relax on. An idyllic photo opportunity, it will take some self-control to not take some snaps to send back to family and friends. Afterwards, pick up a glass bottom canoe and paddle around the island spotting turtles and fish frolicking beneath you.
As well as activities on offer within the resort, Baros has an extensive choice of excursions for you to embark on if you’d like to head further out to sea. From setting sail on a traditional Maldivian boat to dolphin cruises to spot the playful creatures frolicking about at sea, the resort will have an answer for any kind of experience you would like to have on the island.
Being on a secluded and remote island means that your dining options are limited to that which is on offer at the resort but luckily the food and drink here is just perfect. With multiple restaurants onsite, there is a diverse range of cuisines and flavours on offer and a combination of buffet and a la carte style dining. From the more casual Lime Restaurant and the Cayenne Grill, preparing delicious spreads of food including freshly caught seafood right infront of you, to the sophisticated French fine dining of The Light House, you will have a diverse choice of meals throughout your stay here. For something truly special, the resort can also organise private dining experiences at particularly special spots on the island or even on a sunset dinner cruise.
It’s been two weeks of total escape and it’s difficult to accept that it’s now time to go back to reality. After a final breakfast, stroll along the coastline or perhaps a last ocean swim, it’s time to pack your bags, say goodbye to your villa and the staff, and take the speedboat back to Male. As you watch Baros shrink into the distance, remember the tranquility and joy that you have felt on this trip and hold onto that until you embark on your next unforgettable adventure.