INTO THE BLUE
WORDS FRIYAN DRIVER
PHOTOGRAPHS VAIBHAV MEHTA
GREAT FROM India
GREAT FOR An active luxurious break
It’s difficult for a pool, with its confines and chlorine, to beat the never-ending expanse of a blue sea, but Cape Weligama Resort’s crescent-shaped infinity Moon Pool almost manages it Situated at the edge of a cliff, the hotel’s showstopper overlooks the Indian Ocean and is the perfect spot at which to indulge in some daydreaming and a whole lot of surfer stalking. A boutique hotel overlooking a palm-fringed southern coast, Cape Weligama Resort is the epitome of understated elegance. Boasting 39 villas and suites scattered across 12 acres of beautifully-manicured garden, the decor mimics the hues of the sea with pops of colour, knick-knacks and books artfully scattered around. That’s not even the best bit. With tubs large enough to sleep a family of four (and their cat), the mammoth bathrooms even come with a steam room for you to prune in. It’s easy to spend all day in this lap of blissful luxury, but don’t give in to that temptation as the Sports and Activities Centre organises a range of activities.
Try your hand at surfing or stand-up paddle boarding, but, if you haven’t got the time or the inclination, sign up for a more laidback guided body-boarding session with Varuna. He’ll guide you patiently, regardless of the number of times you slip off the board and will encourage the dishevelled mess that you are to try again. Soothe those achy muscles later at the Sanctuary Spa with a signature body massage, followed by a Ceylon sea-salt bath.For a more relaxed next day, sign up for the Handunugoda Tea Factory and Plantation tour. “This tea can only be picked by virgins,” your guide Joseph exclaims, pausing to enjoy the baffled expressions of visitors, before adding
Emperors!” The tour includes a short walk around the plantation, with monkeys curiously trailing you from treetops, and ends at a quaint 85-year-old colonial cottage where the tasting happens. It’s a mini tea party with cake that tastes like it was made by your granny. The highlight is the local Virgin White Tea, which, though pricey, is rich in antioxidants and the Suicide Blend: tea with a hint of brandy, for those who tend to believe it’s always 5pm somewhere.
Later, head to the bay to mingle with locals of the fishy variety – chances are you’ll spot green turtles, angelfish, Moray eels and parrotfish on the guided snorkelling tour. There are bigger fish to spot, too, the next day. Climb aboard the hotel’s 50ft luxury catamaran at Mirissa Harbour, cross your fingers, and set off for an early morning of whale-watching.
A sudden cry erupts from the opposite direction – someone’s probably seen a breaching. You hope to see a resident blue whale, perhaps you’ll see it dive down and flip its tail! On the way back, the boat will be anchored off at a quiet section of the harbour so you can swim, canoe and enjoy a hearty seafood meal.
It’s refreshing to note that while the hotel has the bells and whistles, it also lets you get your feet sandy and hair messy.