Sri Lanka is a country of many names,Taprobane, Serendib or Ceylan, from which emanates a history, a singular melting pot, some protected cultural remains, and an innocence and a strength to live that only spirituality can bring. We are heading towards the cultural triangle, to the north, where the former capitals of Ceylan, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya unveiling unique archaeological scenes, protected by the UNESCO. Huge monasteries overlooking rice paddies, colossal statues sculpted in granite, admirable murals known as the “Demoiselles”, in the heart of this priceless past, two hotels share the Buddhist triangle, Vil Uyana and Ulagalla. Initially created for lovers by the young Sri Lankan designer, the hotel Vil Unyana clearly inspires to romanticism. Lotus ponds, thatched roofs cabanas, pillows on the ground… In a park larger than 20 hectares, Ulagalla focuses on spaces and ecology, generating its own solar energy and controlling its carbon footprint. No set times for the meals, we follow our biological clock, no motorised vehicle but bikes and buggies to connect the comfortable and aesthetically modern cottages on stilts. Before going to Kandy, we visit the moving Gold Temple of Dambulla, Buddhist sanctuary containing dozens of images and statues of Budha. Kandy surprises by it animation, the flows of tuk-tuk, its colonial building, its hills and their tropical scents, and the temple of Buddha’s tooth, the most venerated temple on the island. Really quickly, we found ourselves outside of the city, in the tea plantations in the middle of the island. At the Hatton train station, the decor is truly enchanting. Small Anglican chapel, colourful Hindu temples, here all the communities have lived next to each other for more than two centuries. At this refreshing height, we discover the bungalows of the former planter from the British times, converted in a remarkable Relais & Châteaux, Tea Trails. At the Norwood Bungalow, a local expert in tea growing tells us with passion, the precious secret of the making of the word best teas. Later at Summerville Bungalow, time has stopped in the 90s, in front of the lake perfectly shaped. When the sun sets, the vigorous fire crackles, whilst the Chef prepares some tasty meals delicately spiced. Then we go down south and can’t resist the temptations to stay at the two Aman hôtels of the island. The Amanwella in Tangalle is a cascade of small sober geometrical buildings, created in tribute to the architect Geoffrey Bawa, the local equivalent of“Le Corbusier”. Amanwella lives in harmony with the environment with its contemporary suites facing the Ocean, its beach dotted with coconut trees, its turquoise but stormy sea and its fishing boats. At the entrance of the ramparts of Galle, the Amangalla is a teak nest and proudly evokes the elegance of the colonial times : waiters dressed in white, large open verandas, floor tile of origin, canopy beds, chandeliers and antique fans. In one day, the activities vary a lot : at dawn boat trips to whale watch, then an initiation to the local cuisine in the middle of the rice paddies. The journey finishes at Colombo where we wander on the busy roads of the ancient fort leading to the harbour, where a lot of profitable business happen. Precious stones, canella, tea and elephants are sold around Chatham Street and York Street, these avenues bordered by colonial facades and which are currently being restored. It is impossible to count all the hotels being built, the opening of trendy bars and the international brands shops. Last but not least : a drink at the Harbour Room, the bar of the Grand Oriental Hotel, a legendary hotel which hosted, at the start of the 20th century, all the celebrities of the international literature world including Anton Tchekhov.
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