It was right after the Adam’s Peak, Sripada’s climb. On the day we were descending, we figured we had to pump life back into our bodies. Our minds were clear. Mine at least. So, we had booked one night at Heritance Ahungalla. Not that the climb was not suffice for soul searching, but the body needs some rehabilitation. This was the perfect place!
We arrived at dawn, the feeling felt familiar. It felt as if in my past life, I was here. Or maybe Geoffrey Bawa’s architecture has so many similarities that I have already picked up on them. The property is 34 years old, nearly as old as me, but has the heart and soul of a child. If you have been following my recent posts on hospitality in hotels, you would know how vital it is for me to be welcomed by name and not by sliding doors. Here, the general manager and the assisting manager stand by the entrance, welcoming guests, and saying goodbye to those who were leaving. It was 4pm when we reached, we were offered welcome juice and something sweet. The traditional way.
We were escorted to the room, but it took longer than usual. Only because my feet could not move. All I wanted to do was sleep but when I reached the room, I found a surprise spa voucher and I was booked in 30 minutes!
It’s such a wonderful feeling when you know you made the right decision when booking the perfect holiday hotel. You get a sense of accomplishment. It’s funny! You just keep repeating to yourself “scored on the hotel!” or “So glad we booked here” and the obvious one “I don’t want to leave here!” That night, I had the best sleep I ever had in 3 years. (Yes, 3 years is a long time, being a mom and working for yourself does leave you no time to breathe yet alone sleep well!)
During the evening, we had dinner by the beach and that night, they had a fire show which kept everyone entertained. In the day time, we lazed by the pool after breakfast, watching some kids enjoying their activities running around with their face painted. On the other side of the pool, the second one, couples, honeymooners and even singles just trying to catch up on life, on their affairs and maybe just taking a break from it all. It helps when the place is friendly. It helps when everyone working there is close to each other.
Love makes you see a place differently, just as you hold differently an object that belongs to someone you love. If you know one landscape well, you will look at all other landscapes differently. And if you learn to love one place, sometimes you can also learn to love another. Heritance Ahungalla in Sri Lanka left a place in my heart. Maybe it’s because it was my crash when I climbed 5,720 steps, 8km up to Adam’s Peak (and 5,720 back down) and left my memories there. Or, maybe it’s because I felt the warmth I always look for in a place I rest my head. Whatever the reason is, I know for a fact, I have left my mark there, and I know, the next time I visit Heritance Ahungalla, I will re-live my first adventure on a mountain.
Location Exactly 2.5 hours away from the airport. We had rented a car through iamsrilanka for the whole 4 day trip. It took us 7 hours though to reach the hotel from Sripada. 7 hours in the car. That is where the trip gets exhausting. But as long as you have great company, nothing else matters! The hotel is 10-15 minutes away from Bentota and the wonderful things around it. 1 hour away from Galle. Neighboring shops and the famous Amal Seafood place.
Family Friendly Definitely recommended for families with children. Every day, a new schedule is designed for children. Starting from 10am. Water activities, face painting and decorating masks. The atmosphere is beautiful for families. Rooms are equipped with cribs and family rooms are large enough to stay comfortable.
Couples Destination The beach. That is what I think of when this category comes to mind. The beach is beautiful. One of the longest stretch in Sri Lanka. An adult pool on the other end of the property for quiet moments. Even if you travel alone, this is a breathtaking place to unwind. I sat there for the longest time, the weather was not as strong as its known to be this time of the year.
Food Choice I particularly love Sri Lankan breakfast because it’s packed with fresh fruits, papayas, pineapples… They had a wide choice of cereal, danish pastries and hot dishes. The main restaurant is called Jute, it’s where the buffet is served, breakfast, lunch and dinner, and every night, they host a theme night! We had our dinner by the beach, a set menu choice of steak or fish with deserts.
Property & Rooms The whole resort is peaceful. A hotel that combines style and serenity and making the perfect getaway. It’s not so big and not so small, so human interaction is perfect. The place felt cozy, it felt familiar, it felt exactly what I was hoping for when we first booked. They work as a family and a team and you wont forget anyone’s face or name. Their pride and joy, their home, is this hotel. The room was the perfect size. A deluxe room facing the infinity pool and ocean. Free wifi throughout the whole property, tennis courts are available, fitness centers, shopping arcade, daily entertainments and the fabulous spa that just was the perfect start to the stay!
We never had the chance to try their excursion, but we promised next time, we would try the cycling tours and the hot air balloon rides!
Spa Highly recommended. The key to a perfect spa session is not the decor or the choice of specialty massages. Its the masseuse and their professionalism, it also helps that they are Balinese!
Entertainment From evening themed dinner, to children’s activity, open markets, water sports activities even water aerobics. You never need to leave!
Heritance Ahungalla had me at hello. When we checked out, I could see Mr.Refhan Razeen, the general manager, from far. He was by the entrance welcoming and wishing everyone well. A great man and his team make them one of a kind, when you know so much attention has been given to make sure each guest, by name, is being taken care of, then you would know, that this will be a personal and memorable stay. I left my heart there, and cannot wait to return. It will always be the place that gave me warmth after a long cold night climbing Adam’s Peak.
*Photos were taken by Teddy Habchy
You can also read the review in Arabic on Gheir.com Here