Arrival / Day #1
Our experience started when our friendly driver picked us up from our Ceylon Tea Trails Summerville Bungalow at 8:30am, and off we went on our 6-hour journey to Galle, which is located on the southern point of Sri Lanka.
For the first hour or two, the drive down the mountain was a bit windy. Navigating through all the slower tuk tuks, motorcycles, and other vehicles in Sri Lanka can give you the feeling that you are in a race car, zooming down a mountain. The ride through the hill country was breath-taking, however. We passed through stunning tea plantations and then followed along the side the gorgeous riverbanks until we reach the bottom of the mountain.
Once we got down to the main road our driver made a quick pit stop at a local fruit stand, which had an abundance of fresh coconuts. He quickly jumped out of our car and purchased two of them. The lovely lady working the stand cut them open for us so that we could enjoy them right then and there.
The temperature was creeping up on 90 degrees, and it was extremely humid outside, so this pit stop was perfection. The fresh coconut water tasted so good and was just what we needed at that time. When we were done with the water inside the coconut she chopped the nut in half so that we could enjoy the meat inside. Our driver showed us how to use a piece of the coconut as a spoon and scrap off the meat. This was a great little snack to hold us over until we arrived at Cape Weligama a few hours later.
The drive typically takes about six hours, however, our “expert race car driver” made it in five (including the pit stop). He was awesome and very attentive to our needs as far as taking pictures, or if we wanted him to slow down, speed up, or even pull over for a bathroom break. His mission was to make sure we were comfortable and happy. And that we were!
Since the resort is located on the southern point of Weligama Bay, you have to take a side road for two minutes off the main street to get there.
Once the beautiful wooden gates open up, you know you have arrived at a luxury resort - Sri Lanka's Hidden Gem - with all the gorgeous stone veneer work, the stone paved roads and manicured landscapes. When we got to the lobby/entrance area, we were greeted with cold towels and cinnamon flavored ice tea.
Our personal butler, Namal, was there to greet us as well. He quickly took our luggage off our hands and escorted us to their main dining area called the De Mauny Dining Pavilion, for some lunch.
He knew we hadn’t eaten since breakfast (besides the coconut break) and had just arrived after a 5-hour drive. It was like he read our mind. Lunch was just what we were craving at that moment.
The interior design of the main dining area was beautiful, with lots of vibrant colors of yellow, orange and purple.
All of the windows looked like these really neat wooden doors, which stretched from the floor to the ceiling.
We grabbed a table out on the patio area, which looked out over the bay. We could have chosen any of the tables, since there was not a bad seat in the restaurant. They all had spectacular views so we couldn't go wrong.
For lunch we started with a prawn caesar salad, which was followed by a seafood curry for our main dish.
The curry was a modern take on the traditional Sri Lankan curry dishes. It was very tasty.
For dessert we ordered a fresh fruit platter. The fruit in Sri Lanka is so fresh and has so much flavor. Back home in the States we don’t eat a ton of fruit, so it is always a treat and something I take advantage of whenever it’s on the menu.
After lunch, Namal was there to pick us up in the resort’s golf cart shuttle. He wanted to provide us with a quick tour of the grounds so that we could get our bearings and have a complete understanding of everything the property had to offer during our stay.
Immediately to the left of the main dinning area where we enjoyed lunch, Namal pointed out the bar and lounge area.
The bar was really cool. They had both indoor and outdoor lounge seating with views of the bay. This is another space where you would be hard-pressed to find a bad seat.
The next area we checked out was the Cove Pool. This had a great layout for families and kids. The space is very large and was equipped with lots of lounge chairs and cabanas surrounding the entire pool.
The pool was also the location of Kumbuk, a Sri Lankan village style restaurant where they serve authentic cuisine on selected nights of the week. Luckily, our visit fell on one of those days, so we would get to experience Kumbuk.
Namal took us to the main pool space called the Moon Pool, which featured a stunning crescent-shaped infinity pool. I have to tell you that the panoramic views are something else in this spot.
We could have our pick of a lounge chairs or choose one of the beautiful cabanas. This is a spectacular location to watch the sunset. I already knew the instant I laid eyes on this pool area that this was going to be my favorite spot during our stay…. absolutely postcard material!
Directly below the Moon Pool was another awesome bar and lounge setup - appropriately called the Moon Bar.
This space seemed very hip. It had cool patio furniture scattered throughout the lawn, so you could have your choice as to which amazing view you wanted to see.
They also had cabanas available on the lower level. This space had a giant screen for movie nights and for screening special sporting events.
Right next door to the Moon Bar was a fitness room with brand new equipment. This was one of the best gyms we had seen on our trip. It had everything you could want or need in a fitness center: all the necessary machines, free-weights and all the cardio machines (i.e. elliptical, bicycle, treadmill, etc...).
Located right off the gym was a little lookout point, which Namal said was a great place to enjoy a glass of wine and tp capture the amazing sight of the waves crashing to the shore.
The property had several other spaces located throughout the grounds. There was another restaurant and bar located on the cliff’s edge. It was called Misaki, and it was a Japanese Teppanyaki restaurant with seating for 12. They also had the Taylor Living Pavilion, which served a Ceylon Afternoon Cream Tea, snacks throughout the day, and the resort's signature pre-dinner canapés and aperitifs. These two spaces are opened during the peak seasons and when they are at full capacity. This makes perfect sense since the venue has 39 rooms and with full capacity all of the spaces would definitely need to be opened. We came during the off-season, however.
Next it was time to check out our private villa, which the resort called a "residence." The residences on the property were set within eight stone-ringed wattas (which is the Sinhalese word for “garden”). Each watta had two to three freestanding residences plus a gorgeous 15 meter private infinity pool.
Once you enter the grounds of your private residence, you definitely get the feeling and ambiance of a boutique hotel thanks to all the privacy and the surrounding gardens and pool area.
Each villa was given a unique name as opposed to number. Ours was called Robert Knox. As we walked in, we immediately noticed the infinity pool. The pool is typically shared with one other villa. However, since we came during off-season, it was all ours during our stay.
There was a beautiful open patio area right in front of our residence. It had great views of the gorgeous bay.
Inside the villa was gorgeous. There was a large bedroom with sliding floor-to-ceiling doors that opened up to the ocean. We also had a huge walk-in closet with enough space to live for a year. (No joke - it was enormous).
The bathroom was beautiful. Like all the other spaces, it was quite large as well.
My favorite part of the residence was that the shower was also a steam room and sauna. The idea behind this was that the resort did not have an actual spa area. However, they do the spa treatments in your own private villa.
After our tour, Namal went over all the activities and things that could be done during our stay. He told us about the popular dolphin/whale watching, paddle boarding, surfing, fishing, in-room spa treatment, tours of the downtown area of Galle, and about the day-trip to the national parks of Uda Walawe and Yala. At these parks you could potentially see elephants, sloth bears, crocodiles, and even Sri Lanka's famous leopards.
After reviewing just a few of the many excursions that could be arranged during our stay, Namal wanted to review our food requirements since we told the resort that we wanted a "pescatarian" menu. It was fantastic to see the attention to detail in terms of wanting to confirm that they had it noted correctly and most importantly understood exactly what it meant so that everyone was on the same page from the very beginning.
The other thing that was really cool was that we had ordered a certain sauvignon blanc for lunch. When we took a look in our fridge, there it was getting chilled for us. I just loved the little details like that. It was obvious that the staff is really paying attention to the guests and delivering exactly what they want.
For the remainder of the afternoon we wanted go cruising around the property on our own. We wound up at the main infinity pool area, the Moon Pool, in one of the cabanas at sunset. This was definitely the hot spot to be for the sunset.
At each pool area, there were servers standing by to take food or drink orders. We checked out the menu and saw that they had a curry mojito, which sounded very interesting, so we ordered two. If you come to this resort, I highly recommend that you order one or two of these tasty cocktails and sit back in one of the cabanas and just enjoy the view.
On the way to dinner, we had to make a quick pit stop to check out the bar for a pre-dinner cocktail. The bar itself was quite cool. There was probably as much tea on display as there was liquor. This makes sense when you consider that this is the sister resort of Ceylon Tea Trails.
The bar turned out to be another great spot to watch the sunset. As you can see, this property has many picturesque locations spread throughout the grounds where guests can sit back and enjoy the sites.
We took a look at the dinner menu while at the bar and noticed that they didn’t have any traditional Sri Lankan food on it. We asked the bartender about it and he quickly told us that he would fetch a chef. The chef came out to greet us and told us that it was absolutely no problem at all. He would prepare some traditional Sri Lankan food for us.
Since Sri Lankan food takes a considerable amount of prep time, we thought it was going to be out of the question. However, we were pleasantly surprised to hear that they were so willing to accommodate us on such short notice. While we were enjoying our beverages, the bartender brought us over a delicious appetizer: chickpea cakes with a curry dipping sauce.
After our appetizer and drinks we headed over to the main dining area for dinner. Again, you can choose to sit inside or outside. We decided to sit outside so that we could enjoy the sounds of the crashing waves and nice ocean breezes.
Our waiter took our drink order and let us know that our Sri Lankan dinner was almost ready. When our food arrived, it felt as if it kept coming and coming and coming.... Server after server continued to deliver more and more dishes to our table. This meal was as good as any we had had in Sri Lanka. The service was like clock-work: as soon as we finished a dish, a new one would arrive.
Since we love our dishes spicy, they had asked us what level of heat we would like. We said 8 on a scale of 1-10. The amount of spice was great, and I requested some additional chili peppers on the side so that I could dial up the heat level even more. By the end of the meal we were both so full that we decided to skip dessert.
There was one more thing to do before leaving the restaurant. We talked to our waiter about the Sri Lankan breakfast and requested the hoppers and typical Sri Lankan side dishes like chutneys, curries, chilies and rice.
We got up at around 7am, brewed some coffee with the lovely automatic Italian espresso machine in our room, and sat out on our gorgeous patio overlooking the water. This was such a great setting and the perfect place to open up a good book, or like I did, to get some work done of the laptop. Not a bad office, I must say. I could definitely get used to this view each morning.
After we finished our espressos and work emails, we made our way to the fitness center for our daily ritual of exercise. This gym was one of the best we had experienced thus far on our journey, and we had visited five countries and over 16 different venues.
Once our workout was complete, we walked over to the main restaurant for breakfast.
Since we ordered breakfast the previous evening, our waiter was already notified and our meal was on its way to our table as we sat down. This was the first time I had hoppers, and I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed them. Hoppers are a popular street food in Sri Lanka. They are made from rice flower and coconut milk and resemble a crepe shaped like a bowl. We had egg hoppers, which meant an egg was prepared in the middle of the bowl.
We were also served my favorite spicy chilies, several different chutneys, as well as a few curries and rice noodles. Everything was so good!
You can say we did another number on our stomachs. I thought last night’s dinner was a lot of food, but this breakfast was equally filling and delicious. I wanted to curl up in one of the cabanas and take a nap at this point, but that wasn’t on the agenda at that time.
For the afternoon we had scheduled to have a driver take us to the downtown area of Galle. This is where the Galle Fort is located alongside a bunch of restaurants, shops and other cool sites.
On our drive down, we kept noticing the stilt fishermen who were balancing on these thin poles. Our driver decided to pull over so we could get a closer look. Since this is an iconic attraction, giving a tip to the fishermen in exchange for pictures is the proper etiquette. A few bucks for some amazing shots of the fisherman up close is well worth it.
Up next, our driver pointed out an herbal garden and asked whether we wanted to make a quick stop to check it out. There was a guide who showed us around the garden and educated us on all the different herbs they were growing and the remedies and healing power that some possessed. For example, they had a natural hair removal cream, herbal energy drinks and anti-wrinkle cream. We didn’t buy anything, but it was a nice little tour along our way.
Once we made it to downtown Galle, our driver dropped us off and showed us where he would wait for us.
The streets of Galle were very cool,and there were a ton of shops and little restaurants to explore.
We found a nice little store called Barefoot where we purchased quite a few gifts to take back home. This was a great shop with high quality Sri Lankan goods. We liked it so much that we went to their flagship store when we got back to Colombo.
The weather was very hot and humid as we were walking the streets. I was looking to duck into every shop with AC so that I could cool down. After walking through the town for a few hours, we located a bunch of great restaurants in an area called the Dutch Hospital. The Dutch Hospital is one of the oldest buildings in the Galle Fort area. It dates all the way back to the Dutch colonial era in Sri Lanka. The building has since been renovated into a beautiful little mall with restaurants and shops. We picked an attractive restaurant called Sugar Bistro and Wine Bar, which was much cooler than outside and, most importantly, served ice cold beverages. This was just what I needed to cool down from the humidity.
After we cooled down and enjoyed some ice-cold beverages, we decided that it was time to head back.
The drive to and from the hotel was very nice as we were driving right alongside the ocean and could snap a lot of great pictures along the way.
Once we arrived back at Cape Weligama, we wanted to set up shop at the other pool (Cove Pool) for the rest of day. Like I mentioned earlier, this pool area was enormous and was equipped with tables and chairs, chaise lounges and cabanas.
There are so many areas to choose from at the Cove Pool that, even at full capacity, I don’t think this area would feel crowded. And then, of course, there were also terrific views of the bay.
There were even a few cabanas out near the point. This was where we sat. I referred to them as the “secret cabanas” because you couldn't see them at first glance. The Cove was another area where we didn't have a hard time finding a great setup with a wonderful view.
For dinner, since it was the Sri Lankan Cuisine night at Kumbuk, you could either dine at the regular restaurant or you could opt for the traditional Sri Lankan food which was being served next to the Cove Pool area. This was an easy decision for us. I mean... we were in Sri Lanka after all.
This meal was simply fantastic! I wish I could eat like that every day. It was a buffet setup where all of the dishes were prepared and served in these beautiful red and blue pots. They had everything: fish curries, vegetable curries, daal, brown and white rice, roti, chutneys, chilies... you name it.
They also had a live station where they were making a chibati-like appetizer filled with potatoes and veggies. These were amazing, so I went back for seconds (and thirds)!
Last but not least, they had a dessert stand with an assortment of gelatos to satisfy your sweet tooth. Everything was so incredibly good. I really recommend this experience if your visit falls on a night when they offer this cuisine!
We got up extra early this morning because we had whale and dolphin watching on the agenda. We brewed up a few quick espresso shots and jogged down to the fitness center to get our workout session in before it was time to depart.
Once we finished our cardio, we quickly washed up and changed. Namal picked us up to escort us to the lobby where our driver was waiting for us.
When we got to the fishing pier, it was quite a sight to see. This is where all the buying and selling of freshly caught seafood takes place. Wow! This was a hustling and bustling place.
We were somewhat surprised to find that our boat was rather large. We guessed that we would be on the tour with other visitors so it seemed to make sense... until we found out that we had the boat all to ourselves. I mean, this thing was enormous for just the two us and the crew.
Nonetheless, off we went to locate some dolphins and whales.
It took a good 45 minutes to make it out to where we needed to be to have a good chance at a sighting or two. We were not alone. There were about 10 other boats out there as well. All the boats were the same size, but the others had a ton of people on them. Ours was the only uncrowded one.
Once we got to the spot, we located a bunch of dolphins and a friendly whale who allowed all 10 boats to follow him on his journey for quite some time.
Since it was just us on the boat, we were able to move all around with ease, enjoying both the top deck and the bottom deck. We also had the luxury of letting the crew know when we had seen enough dolphins and whales for the day and wanted to head back. With a big group, that wouldn’t have been a possibility. We stayed out for a good two hours and enjoyed our time on the water. The ride both ways was very enjoyable. The weather was great, with the sun out, the fresh ocean breeze in your face and the beautiful Sri Lankan landscape on the horizon. We had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed having the boat all to ourselves.
Once we returned to Cape Weligama, we decided to enjoy some lunch before our scheduled spa treatment. We started with their fresh garden salad topped with seared tuna and grapefruit, which was served with a house vinaigrette.
For the main course, we had their grilled fish of the day, which was a sea-bass. It was plated with veggies, a mango relish and polenta.
The food was nice and light and very fresh….just what we needed after stuffing our faces to the brim with Sri Lankan specialties for our last two meals.
After lunch we decided to hang out by Moon Bar, a space we hadn't enjoyed yet.
This turned out to be another superb area to sit back and enjoy a great book, sip an afternoon beverage, or simply relax and take a nap while listening to the ocean waves crash into the shore down below.
Before we knew it, it was time for our in-room massage. Since we were having our massage together, they had prepared for us to enjoy our treatment in another villa that they had set up for two treatments simultaneously. We knew we wanted to enjoy the steam and sauna prior to our treatment, so we arrived about 30 minutes early to allow for enough time. Once we started walking from the Moon Bar, Namal was right there to pick us up in the buggy to take us to our massage. The customer service was exceptional; they were one step ahead of us at all times.
Once we arrived at the residence where our massages were taking place, we were greeted by two lovely massage therapists. They kindly welcomed us and had us take a seat where they provided us with a nice cold towel and welcome drinks. We filled out a little questionnaire which explained the massage treatment we were going to receive. It also went into detail about possible areas to avoid and areas to focus attention on. After the questionnaire and welcome drinks, we had a good 25 minutes to enjoy the steam and sauna.
The massage itself was terrific. We both agreed that it was one of the best we had received on our travels. The attention to detail and thoroughness of the treatment was excellent. I didn’t want it to end. I always know Jamie is enjoying her massage when the relaxing music that is playing in the background is coupled with an extra noise (aka snoring).
After our incredibly relaxing massage, Namal was right there waiting for us to take us wherever we wanted to go next. We decided to go back to our own villa and enjoy our beautiful private patio and infinity pool before it was time for dinner.
Since it was our last night and we ate a “relatively smaller lunch,” we opted for the Sri Lankan dinner like we had on our first night.
Round two was just as great as the first night. We did quite well this time and ate until we hit our max. We both had to pass on dessert, as there was just no way we could find the room.
Since we got up so early for the whale watching, we called it an early evening and headed back to our villa after dinner.
Day #4 / Departure
We started the day a little later than usual because this was our departure day, and, honestly, we felt like sleeping in a little. We got up at 8am instead of our typical 7am. We brewed a few shots of espresso and headed out to our patio to enjoy our caffeine fix and the spectacular view.
After our relaxing lazy morning, we needed to get over to the gym for our final workout before it was time to depart. When we got back from our cardio session, we got all packed and ready to go. Namal allowed for us to get a late checkout, which was great and let us take our time.
We headed over to the breakfast area to get a little something to hold us over before we made the two-hour trek back to Colombo. For our final breakfast, we lightened it up and went for the fruit platter, freshly-squeezed juice and an egg white omelet.
As we were eating breakfast, Namal came over to our table to let us know that all our luggage had successfully made it to the lobby and that our driver was ready whenever we were. This was yet another display of fantastic customer service.
As we headed over to the lobby, Namal was waiting to escort us on the golf cart. The entire team who catered to us during our stay was there at the front to see us off and thank us for visiting their venue. A very nice touch indeed!
Final Thoughts on Sri Lanka's Hidden Gem…
Our short visit to Cape Weligama was terrific. I would highly recommend looking into their Tea and Sea package, which is what we did. This allows for you to experience the incredible Hill Country around the Ceylon Tea Trails as well as getting the luxurious seaside experience of Cape Weligama.
This is such an incredible package as both resorts complement each other so well, and you literally do not have to think about any of the details because the staff at both venues take 100% care of you, including providing all transportation while you are in Sri Lanka.
If I had visited Sri Lanka and only experienced one of these venues, I would have really missed out on seeing a fuller perspective of what the country has to offer. The bottom line is you get to see two incredible venues in Sri Lanka and experience two completely different landscapes (all with the same level of over-the-top exceptional customer service). Again, this was a 100% no brainer for us, and I really hope you consider taking advantage of this package as well.
Cape Weligama is the perfect vacation/honeymoon destination. With 39 rooms, sitting on 12 beautifully-manicured acres, even if the property was at capacity there is no way it would feel crowded. There are just too many options as to where you would like relax for the day.
The other fantastic thing about this property is the physical location. It is situated on the point of the bay, which allows for incredible panoramic views no matter where you are on the property.
The only thing we didn’t get to do at Weligama was to try the few additional restaurants and bar areas (Misaki and the Taylor Living Pavilion). This was due to the time of year of our visit. (But it makes for a great excuse for a return visit).
As far as “things to do,” your options are wide open. Just like the Tea Trails property, this is another venue where you can choose to simply relax and just enjoy the beautiful grounds and phenomenal service, or you can be extremely active and fill your days with many activities like whale watching, surfing, fishing, day tours, etc....
If you are looking to truly experience Sri Lanka and dive into the culture and all that it has to offer, then I can’t recommend the Tea and Sea experience enough. If fact, I cannot wait to make a return trip. These two resorts were among our favorites on our entire journey (and as I mentioned, we visited five countries and over 16 venues on this trip).
Goodbye for now Sri Lanka…can’t wait to come back and see you soon!