A scenic 90 km drive from Colombo to the south west of Sri Lanka will get you to the seaside resort town of Bentota. In addition to the golden sand beaches and best dive sites the island nation has to offer, Bentota is also the home to some of the most heroic beach resorts in Sri Lanka.
Located on the golden mile of the Bentota beach and sitting on a headland overlooking the Indian Ocean was our hotel – the Taj Bentota Resort and Spa. On reaching the hotel, we were warmly greeted “Ayubowan” by everyone that was around and welcomed in the resort.
The European themed interiors of the lobby with the wooden ceilings seemed to make a seamless connect with an imposing vantage of the Indian Ocean. We sipped on Ceylon ice tea and admired a picture perfect postcard view.
On the way to our room, we passed by a beautiful open to air atrium laced with a lush green garden and cascading Koi ponds. Absolutely unique and magnificent; we stopped to marvel while the kids were trying to find a way to feed the fishes.
Checked in in to our room. In addition to chic interiors and an impressive layout, our room had an exquisite sit out area opening to the sea and overlooking the tropical gardens of the hotel. Talk about a backdrop for an afternoon tea!
Soon we were at the resort pool. The pool area is just spectacular. While the the hotel itself is set on a large headland, the pool area is at a further elevation; at-least two floors higher than the beach and this makes for extraordinary vantage views of the lush tropical hotel gardens and the beautiful sea, from every corner. A drink by the pool chairs while you gaze at the Indian ocean and you would understand the sheer lack of pace here. It is hauntingly relaxing.
One corner of the pool is laced with mini stone elephants that sprinkle water from their trunks; adding a dash of playfulness to the relaxing ambience
Lunched at the PALMS; a multi cuisine restaurant adjacent to the pool.
Our next stop was the beach. The resort has direct access to a golden sandy beach. With perfect waves it is ideal for surfing and safe for sea swimming, especially for the kids. Surf lessons were underway and we could see the children looking at the surfers and processing some permutations like tiny bots. After a couple of minutes of silence, we were provided with an elaborate schedule for the next two days. Talk about role reversals!
Sipped on some fresh coconut water and watched the children play at the beach for rest of the evening.
We had reserved a spot at the in-resort seafood restaurant called the SHACK. Rated as one of the top seafood restaurants, the Shack is simply brilliant. The chef curates gastronomic masterpieces from the freshest ingredients that are chosen by you from the display counter. The finale, a crème brulee, was exceptional.
Live music coupled with a soft spray of the sea brought in by a gentle breeze, the ambience of the restaurant is exceptional. At the beginning of dusk, as the sun dips and the nighttime illumination comes into play is perhaps the best time to get here.
The following morning things got pretty intense; the children had spotted a monitor lizard in the lawns and the wife was freaking out. They quickly ran with their camera to get a picture of the little guy.
We hit the beach early and after spending some time creating sand castles, we commenced with the surf lessons. The instructors were pretty good. In the next ten minutes the kids were leaping and balancing the board perfectly.
This day, I could relate to the phrase “Life is a lot like surfing”, the entire was day was dedicated to it.
In the evening we visited the Induruwa Sea Turtle Conservation Centre. We saw different turtle species viz. Olive Ridley, Leatherback, Loggerhead, Hawksbill, Green and the Albino sea turtle. We were explained the life cycle of the turtles, the current challenges facing their existence and the rescue and rehabilitation operations of the conservation centre; it was very informative, especially for the children. We saw turtle eggs, a video of their hatching and newborn baby turtles in a massive water tank. We concluded the tour with the kids releasing baby turtles in the ocean. It was fantastic.
After dining at a popular local joint, we got back to our hotel. As per our guide at the conservation centre, at night-time many turtles would swim ashore at our hotel beach. So we grabbed on to a searchlight and hit the beach. We could not find any turtles but saw tons of crabs that ran into the sea as we turned our searchlight towards them. With absolutely clear starlit skies coupled with the rhythmic sound of the waves hitting the rocks, the beach at night was spectacular. There was a private dining tent set up on the beach by a hotel, it looked like a must do here. For us, it was a long shot on this trip, given the schedule charted by our children.
With kids bust playing pingpong at the table next to the swimming pool, we went to TEASE – a lively bar with tropical décor. They have both inside and outside seating overlooking the SHACK and the beach. At the bar, they serve exquisite cocktails, authentic shisha, an elaborate collection of fine wines and an impressive food menu.
The hotel also houses an incredible Asian restaurant called the Oriental Pavilion. It is rated as one o the best Chinese restaurants in Sri Lanka.
The following day our surf lessons continued and I had mastered the art of falling off the board. The children, after their runs, used to look back in anticipation and at the epiphany moment burst into a hysterical laughter. The wife had joined in the fun as well. My instructor very subtly conveyed to me that it was much easier for the children and looks like your wife has surfed before. Ah, fun fun, well in my defence, it’s the things that you do to make your children laugh.
With a unique setting on a large headland along the Golden Mile of the Bentota beach, exquisite dining options, modern rooms, a state of art spa and most importantly the legendary Taj hospitality, a stay at the Taj Bentota is a wholesome family experience and most naturally, it becomes one of favourites in Sri Lanka.
Thank you for the memories Taj Bentota