Your Hampshire and Dorset Wedding - July/August 2022 (Issue 93)

There were countless reasons why Sri Lanka was my number one bucket list destination – with the tropical island pipping New Zealand, the Maldives and Vietnam to the top spot – but the one that stood out to me is the fact it is a Buddhist country, with a culture based on peace and family. While the unstable social climate was garnering news coverage at the time of my trip, there is not one point during my stay that I felt any unrest. From the second the tropical heat hit me as I arrived, to the moment I stepped back on the plane with a heavy heart upon my departure, I felt totally secure. MEMORABLE EXPERIENCES The flight time may be long, however, it was comfortable, and oh boy, does Sri Lanka make up for the time spent in the air. Upon arrival at the airport, we were whisked away at a rate of knots towards our destination of Cinnamon Bentota Beach hotel. My advice? Save the jet lag slumber for a little while longer, as you’d be mistaken to not fully immerse yourself in the changing landscape you’ll experience on the journey there. The hustle and bustle of Colombo is an assault to the senses – albeit an exciting one. Arriving in the morning, we watched as parents took their children to school on TukTuks and workers started their day. However, soon enough, the city rolled away and we were treated to the lush green landscape Sri Lanka is so famous for. Arriving at the Cinnamon Beach Hotel was an altogether memorable experience. A luxurious property nestled in the mesmerising Indian Ocean along the southern coast of Sri Lanka, it has a heritage dating back to the 60’s and was designed by one of Asia’s most influential architects, Geoffrey Bawa. It is the ultimate tropical destination perfect for an art and architecture enthusiast or a lover of exquisite oceans. A GASTRONOMIC DELIGHT While tired and hungry from our journey, these emotions were soon replaced with appreciation of the traditional welcome we received. Heading into the hotel we were given a quick tour of the awe-inspiring grounds and facilities, and it was straight down to breakfast. With many restaurants on site, Ottimo and Zest are used as a buffet option for all three meals, suffice to say, there’s something for everyone. However, when in Rome and all that – we immediately tucked into curry for breakfast, a habit we all continued throughout the stay. If you’re looking for something ala carte, the beachside Sea-MeatsSpice Seafood restaurant is the place to be. With the Head Chef looking after the menu, be prepared for a gastronomical sensation, before retiring to the plush sofas for a sundowner with the sand between your toes. The Fuze bar is perfect for a nightcap, and with dramatic ceilings and art aplenty, it oozes luxury. Other highlights for fellow foodies included high tea looking out over the ocean, plus the authentic Sri Lankan cooking lesson and Chef’s Table Experience and dinner – all of which are able to be booked directly through the hotel. If you’re looking for a special honeymoon treat – I’d recommend all of the above! Travel goals An island country nestled in South Asia, Sri Lanka has always been a bucket-list destination for Louise Prance, with her recent trip living up to her expectations and then some… 96