Why bother with Sri Lanka ?
It’s nearby, easy to get to, inexpensive, has great food, people and nature. No visa hassles either, what’s not to like?
It’s only 4.5 hours away from Dubai and unlike the Seychelles, Phuket and the Maldives (also similar distance) it’s MUCH cheaper to fly to, scheduled flights, sensible times with Emirates and FlyDubai (times a bit less sensible)
The food is fabulous, it caters to all tastes and budgets and the range of restaurants would please even the fussiest of eaters. Families and children are especially well catered for too. DoinDubai’s favourite and must try eaterie is the magnificent Ministry of Crab at the Old Dutch Hospital Site in Columbo. Why? Because the food is tasty, wholesome, simple, fresh and incredibly cheap for what you get, so around Dhs 90 for huge, sweet fleshed crabs, dressed with spicy Japanese or Sri Lankan style pepper with rice, a Morning Glory type spinach and chilled local beer in a gorgeous, historically modern setting. I booked my table before we left Dubai, scroll down to end of the post to find out how.
The standards of accommodation are high, very high in places, we stayed at the Cool Kahanda Kanda resort near Galle in the South West. Think of colonial Zen type open lobbies surrounded by verdant natural flowers and plants with furnishings out of Homes and Garden, a gorgeously large pool and rooms (mini suites) called Peacock, Heleconia and Tea. Scroll down to the end of the post to read more about the Kahanda Kanda an award winning boutique hotel. An easy ride (about 20 mins or so) to the nearby Fort city of Galle for culture, canons and more haute cuisine. The Amangalla is uber expensive but again gorgeously atmospheric. Try eating dinner at the Fort Printers restaurant which had a film poster retrospective exhibition when we dined there on sublime prawn curry and rice.
And chill in UnaWatuna, a Hippyish beach front with a relaxed vibe, but if you want a more upmarket barefoot lunch go to Talpe Beach house, run by ex Dubaians and savour authentic Italian food in front of even more authentic sunsets. A small but perfectly formed place to spend a long afternoon. Scroll down to the end of the post to read more about UnaWatuna.
And don’t limit your shopping to souvenirs…go to Odels, the Selfridges or Galleries Lafayette of Columbo! Christmas time was perfect to discover all the Sri Lankan fusion designers on the ground floor, and a cute section for animal accessories as well! I liked Cotton Collection too for simple well, yes cotton tops and t shirts. We stayed at the Cinnamon Grand in Columbo and while the rooms were fine, service was superb, and Christmas time in the busy lobby with free mulled wine and warm mince pies was more than festive. Next time we go, there will be a Shangri La and a Hyatt Regency too. But for now go for a drink to the SkyView bar at the Kingsbury hotel, a short walk from the Dutch Hospital and defy not feeling you’re in a major metropolitan city, just feeling safer, happier and fuller.
The Kahanda Kahanda Hotel: Is around a 2 and half hour drive away from Columbo, get the hotel to pick you up. It’s rural, peaceful and very stylish. 8 suites in all dotted around a green hilltop resort, 20 mins or so drive away from town, 30 mins from Galle Fort. I know exactly what the rooms are like and which ones you should book, do drop me a comment and ask away! Check out the gorgeous website here: www.kahandakanda.com. Chinthana is who to book through on this email and do give my name as a reference email@example.com
The Cinnamon Grand Hotel: Is very centrally located, very well priced, has a large pool and a great selection of restaurants, Chutneys, an emporium of food from all over South India was DoinDubai’s favourite. The lobby is a vry happening place with a great patisserie and gem of a jewellery store Amarpali. Your contact there is Dilmini at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out their website for the pool views and great restaurants;Cinnamon Grand Hotel.
UnaWatuna and Talpe Beach. Thalpe Beach is a private villa that serves excellent meals in a seafront location, it has a relaxed but smart feel, the food is good, cappucino’s authentic and the place is run by ex Dubaians ! 1042 Matara Road Talpebeach.com and your contact is Connie Geiger, say you’re from DoinDubai.
The Ministry of Crab: Has crabs of all sizes but they run out fast ! book your table a few days before, it’s in the area of the Old Dutch Hospital, Colombo 01. Tel: 234CRAB (2342722) E: email@example.com and say Monica sent you from DoinDubai. TOP TIP have a drink at the Skybar at the Kingsbury hotel a short walk away first. Check out the amazing website www.ministryofcrab.com UPDATED POST with FABULOUS OFFER FROM THE COOL KAHANDA KANDA RESORT As a Thank You for our write up on the resort, Kahanda Kanda are offering all DoinDubai subscribers the following:
- A free Spa Treatment each
- A free Sri Lankan Cookery Class
- A free Bottle of Wine
- AND a Room (read suite) Upgrade if available at the time of checking in.
Send in an inquiry here, it goes straight to the hotel.
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Big THANK YOU ~! Monica.