Five reasons why I didn’t want to leave Anantara Kalutara Resort
Updated: Dec 1, 2018
An extempore trip last weekend to Anantara Kalutara Resort, situated on a naturally exclusive setting, where the Kalu Ganga meets the Indian Ocean, turned out to be just what I needed after a full week of work.
And here are the reasons I didn’t want to come back home.
Design that whispers historic tributes and modernism
The minute you walk in, you’re enveloped in the distinctive feel of the place, which I came to find out, later, was originally inspired by Geoffrey Bawa, who is said to have been commissioned on the property in 1995 by a former pioneer in Sri Lanka Tourism. The project was later taken on by Channa Daswatte with a brief to capitalise on the ocean and river views. And the brief was followed well, making it the only resort in Sri Lanka that claims 360-degree ocean and lagoon views.
With its strikingly simple appearance, the main building has a Dutch colonial style feel; a soaring gable roof of terracotta half-round clays is what your eyes will see when you look up. The Bawa ideals of non air-conditioned spaces that open onto beautiful waterscapes, with only the essential spaces enclosed and tucked away out of necessity, seem to have been upheld even to this day.
A creative nod to Sri Lankan design is depicted in the large Batik wall hangings behind the reception area and set the tone for the colours of the space. Polished cement floors and terracotta coloured walls with colonial inspired Sri Lankan furniture completed the picture.
Rooms thought of with utmost care
You know how you sometimes wish you lived in a hotel most of your life? This dream became all the more poignant at Anantara Kalutara, and how can anyone be faulted for feeling thus, when there is everything from charmingly placed nightlights, a swivel TV mount that complements your laziness, his and hers sinks, standalone bathtub and rain shower to large private outdoor balcony/terrace and luxury amenities including a Nespresso machine and even a wine humidor, at your behest.
The property also upholds environmental, social and cultural conservation; the reusable glass water bottles in the rooms were a pleasant surprise.
You get to pick out of 141 rooms, suites and pool villas, and each of it opens out into sweeping views of either garden, ocean or lagoon.
A charming blend of hospitality and privacy
Maybe it’s just me, but I find forced conversation about your likes and dislikes and general chatter about the weather quite niggling to endure while on holiday. Anantara Kalutara steered clear of this in every way possible and the staff seemed to be just the right amount of ‘friendly’ and ‘polite’, nodding with pleasant ‘hellos’ when you passed by; coming to your aid only if you asked for anything. This, undoubtedly, accentuated the sense of welcome seclusion even when you were in a property housing many other guests.
Their first annual Oktoberfest
Yes it did rain and yes the property’s first ever Oktoberfest did have to be moved from their original setting of poolside to their Ballroom, but this didn’t seem to dampen anyone’s mood. While revellers - young and old, local and foreign - enjoyed the iconic German beer festival which featured authentic Bavarian dishes like Schweinebraten (Roasted pork knuckle), Würstl (sausages), Leberkase (meat-loaf), Brezn (pretzels) and Käsespätzle (cheese noodles) accompanied by some refreshing local draft beer, the sombre weather was all forgotten!
The rain also managed to bring out the greenery surrounding the place. What could otherwise have been termed a negative in a beach holiday, didn’t really seem to concern the guests who occupied themselves in their rooms and terraces overlooking the garden, pool, ocean or lagoon; or in the restaurants and lobby areas which are more than welcoming.
Food from Sri Lanka and beyond
Whether it’s contemporary batik motifs as a backdrop to your meal of delicious breakfast buffets, delightful afternoon tea, comfort foods or lunch and dinner at their international all-day dining restaurant ‘Olu’ or the resort’s Italian restaurant Acquolina (meaning ‘mouthwatering) which serves up lunch and dinner featuring classic recipes; or their Asian fine-dining space Spice Traders offering time-honoured recipes showcasing the finest Thai, Indian and Chinese specialties or late afternoon and evening bar pleasures at their sophisticated Upper Deck, the Resort truly does offer variety to suit any mood.
Or if you’re one for staying holed up in your room your entire stay, they offer a great in-room dining selection, from early morning pick-ups to late night snacks. Western, Asian and speciality Sri Lankan dishes are some of which you can select from.
Dining by Design is another unique tailored concept where guests can choose the perfect time, tastes and place for an unforgettable experience. It offers a selection of connoisseur menus and a personal chef, with the option to dine in total privacy beside the lagoon, on the beach or amidst tropical gardens.
Would I go again? You tell me.