Now that the Tamil Tigers have ceased their separatist movement, there's no better timing to visit Sri Lanka. The country has seen a boom in tourism, with more than 700 000 visitors are expected to visit in 2011. According to Nalaka Godahewa, the chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourism Board, the number of new hotel rooms will also rise by 30 000 by 2015.
What would probably appeal the most to you is how diverse of activities Sri Lanka offers to the visiting tourists : ranging from a tranquil retreat amongst the cool hills of the central highlands, to elephant sightings in the National Park, to a seaside escapade, Sri Lanka has everything you could ever ask for and more.
Here are just some of Sri Lanka's luxury checkpoints :
1. MACKWOODS'S LABOOKELLIE TEA ESTATE
Planted amidst a vast expanse of stunning, terraced hills ripe with rich fragrance of tea, feel free to tour around the famous tea plantation of Sri Lankan central highlands while enjoying your stay in this luxury resort. Opened to guests last year, the three luxury bungalows on the estate are just a few of the upscale plantation properties of the Mackwoods Group- including rubber, coconut, and palm oil.
Mackwoods'tea estate bosats facilities such as in-room massage, tea plantation and factory guided tour, five-star calibre meal, and of course their own brand of delicious tea.
Sri Lanka's jutting rock cliffs.
Mackwood's Tea Centre
The Entrance to Mackwood Estate
2. SIGIRIYA, POLONNARUWA, AND ANURADHAPURA
Sigiriya is an ancient rock fortress renowned for its grand fifth century frescoes. The town's proximity to the ancient capitals of Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura - home to several of the world's largest stupas, and a sacred bodhi tree grown from a sapling of the tree under which Buddha was said to have found enlightenment - makes it a favorite spot for tourist accommodations.
Ancient rock fortress of Sigiriya.
Big sleeping Buddha in Polonnaruwa.
The sacred bodhi tree of Anuradhapura.
3. VIL UYANA
One of the most stunning properties in Sri Lanka, Vil Uyana is built on a man-made private nature reserve. Each of the villas extends into the marsh and features plush open-plan bedrooms with a huge shower and tubs that resemble plunge pools. In the evenings, feel free to enjoy a free flow of cocktails in the "library," a porch built onto the marsh. Come mornings and early corocodiles will lurk just about the marshy water, looking for potential breakfast!
Built on a marshy man-made reserves.
Watch out for crocodiles!
4. MINNERIYA NATIONAL PARK
Take an open jeep safaris to see more than two dozen species of reptiles, 160 species of birds, and 24 species of mammals including leopards, and Asian elephants. The chances of seeing an elephant is as high as 100 percent here.
5. SEASIDE REEF VILLA
A seaside escapade is a very feasible option in Sri Lanka. There are several plush new boutique hotels and villas along Sri Lanka's south-western coast. One of them, the Reef Villa is owned by an Anglo-Irish couple. It offers prime real estate on the beach at Waduwwa, where king coconut trees permanently bend towards the ocean. The interior of this villa is adorned by various India and Sri Lanka antiquities, with fabolous outdoor shower and bath installed in each of the seven villas.
King coconut trees around the complex.
The mainhouse of reef villa.
Splendid beach at Waduwwa. Look out for elephant sighting along the beach!
Adapted from Newsweek and other sources. Luxury Stays in Sri Lanka. November 20th 2010 edition.
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