By the time we pulled up to the gates of the Anantara Peace Haven in Tangalle, I was more than ready to step into this small slice of paradise. We had been travelling around Sri Lanka for close to a fortnight and had experienced some spectacular highs and very frustrating lows, but regardless of which end of the spectrum they sat, each day was exhausting! We wanted nothing more than to put our travel-weary feet up for some proper rest and relaxation, and we could not have chosen a more luxurious place for it. From the moment we were warmly welcomed through the gates by a traditional Sri Lankan folk song, we felt right at home in this stunning resort where nothing was too much trouble and we were greeted by smiles at every corner!
One of the newest additions to the Anantara family, this haven has been created in what used to be a coconut plantation only a short drive away from Tangalle town. This location on Sri Lanka’s southern coast is quite breathtaking and Anantara Peace Haven have used this to their advantage, ensuring all their 152 rooms and villas face out towards the Indian Ocean. The property also has all the usual facilities you would expect from a luxury resort, but at no point did it feel too big or impersonal. There was a lot to love here, but what really stuck with me was their commitment to ensuring their guests’ comfort while also respecting the natural surroundings. I think they struck the perfect balance so come take a peak inside this luxurious property and see if you would agree…
Checking In – Premier Ocean View
The check in process was a breeze as we had our own villa host on hand to walk us to our room, show us around, and talk us through handy information about the facilities and restaurants. What’s also great is that your villa host is only a watsapp message away at all times – ours was super efficient at making our dinner reservations, sending us reminders about activities we had booked, or just checking in to see how we were! Once all the formalities were done and dusted, we were able to unpack and fully make ourselves at home in the rather spacious room complete with its own balcony. It was all so idyllic, I found it very hard to prise myself away from our room and I frequently found myself on the balcony daybed, just daydreaming…
I really liked the style of our room (and the villa I got to have a sneak peak into) as everything was luxurious and sleek without feeling pretentious. From the huge bed and lush linens, to all the indoor and outdoor spaces to lounge or work, and the ample bathroom with his and hers sinks and separate bathtub, the room was comfortable and functional. There were plenty of little extras too such as providing a beach bag for every room, the most comfortable woven slippers, nightly turn down service, and reaffirming their commitment to the environment by using refillable toiletries. There was a distinctly local feel to the decor, which is in part due to the fact that all the furniture is inspired by classic Sri Lankan design and made by some of the best local craftsmen. Part of the Anantara brand ethos is to connect its guests to the indigenous and ground them in authentic luxury, and I think they have excelled with the Anantara Peace Haven!
Chilling Out – Plenty of Options for Relaxation
When we weren’t unwinding in our room, the place we were most likely to be found was at the pool, sunning ourselves or taking a very necessary cool-down dip. The waves at the beach can be a little rough so while it’s a stunning spot for a sunrise or sunset stroll, the team don’t recommend swimming in there. The pool suited us just fine though, particularly as the poolside service included sunscreen, water, oranges, as well as being super efficient in taking food and drink orders. A certain someone got the hang of raising the ‘green flag for service’ very quickly and he was never long without a beer in hand!
For those feeling more active, there is a very well-equipped gym and daily exercise sessions, all of which are complimentary to guests. After your workout (or just whenever) you could really pamper yourself with a treatment at the Anantara Spa; after taking a tour through the tranquil facilities I really regretted not having the time to book in one of their popular massages! Families are also properly catered for with a games room for the teens and a children’s creche onsite where parents can drop off their little ones and know they will be well cared for. But if you really wanted a few moments of calm and quiet, I would suggest heading up to the library where there are plenty of cosy chairs and books to help you whittle away the hours!
Dining In – Journeys, Il Mare, Verele
Anantara Peace Haven has three main restaurants which deliver Sri Lankan and International cuisines, Italian fine-dining, and pan-Asian specialising in Japanese teppanyaki, as well as private dining and wine matching options. There really is something to suit all tastes and as expected, the prices are on par with what we would expect to pay in London. Breakfast is served at Journeys everyday where the buffet options can are quite generous. There was always a selection of Western and Sri Lankan offerings (the hoppers are a must-order), plenty of pastries and fruit, and fresh juices made to order. Journeys’ buffet dinners which varied in theme each night, were also very popular and fulsome, however when we dined from the a la carte menu we felt our dishes were a bit hit and miss.
After two weeks of Sri Lankan cuisine, we decided it was acceptable to take a break and sample the Italian cuisine on offer at Il Mare. While the setting of the restaurant is spectacular, we were slightly less impressed with the food; the dishes were fine but given its billing as a fine-dining restaurant we felt a bit more finesse was needed to elevate the dishes to that level. We much preferred Verele where the Japanese and Asian-inspired menu was well executed, and the teppanyaki experience, though perhaps a little cheesy, was not only fun but really delicious. I also went on their Spice Spoons cooking experience which was one of the highlights of my whole trip to Sri Lanka!
Exploring the Grounds – Naturalist Walks
One morning I joined the resort’s resident Naturalist for a walk around the grounds to learn more about the flora, fauna, and local wildlife and was amazed by the variety of what we spotted. The resort has been designed to not only showcase its natural surroundings but to also minimise as much of the human impact as possible in these circumstances. We talked a lot about the way Sri Lankans use plants in their herbal remedies and farming methods, and I was inspired by the wide range of fruits, vegetables and herbs they have growing on the property. During our walk, I sampled a traditional herbal tea, nibbled on various herbs, went snake spotting, and even quenched my thirst with a coconut which had been cut straight off the tree only a few minutes beforehand! The resort even has its own rice paddy and there are plans for a small tea plantation too; I am excited to see how their plans for a more sustainable resort unfold in the coming years!
Have you ever ventured to Sri Lanka’s stunning southern coast?
Thank you to Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle for looking after us so well; we paid a media rate for our stay but as always, all opinions are mine and mine alone!
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