Shangri-La Hambantota Golf Resort & Spa, Ambalantota, Sri Lanka
Overlooking the pristine southern coast, the Shangri-La Hambantota, a member of the luxurious, global Shangri-La hotel group is set in an old coconut plantation, along the ancient Sri Lankan Spice Route. It’s an area steeped in rich history and natural beauty, including Udawalawe, Lunugamvehera and Bundala national parks – all perfect for seeing the local wildlife.
This huge, 300 room and suite, 53-hectare resort is a juggernaut in comparison to the small five, six suite escapist properties in the hills of Sri Lanka. But yet it comes across intimate, with a distinct sense of place and inside-out and outside-in interior architecture, perfectly appointed with local materials and furnishings – teak, coir and other masterpieces of Ceylonese craftmanship.
The same, local theming continued in our Premier Ocean Suite, that offered spacious accommodation with a separate living area, bedroom and balcony overlooking the beach and ocean. Others face the gardens, or the Shangri-La Hambantota golf course, just in case you prefer green to blue. We were told that we were in an adult-only zone, not that there were too many kids about mind you. However, it is said that during the Sri Lankan school holidays, families can dominate the resort. We also noted an adult-only pool, one of three at the Shangri-La Hambantota. So if you’re not family-friendly, make sure to ask for a room in this zone.
Service was attentive for the most part and the team reflect the laid-back vibe of the resort. They briefed us on the inside track … a bike ride to the local temple; where the trampoline was to get us out of ‘London mode’; what time was best to catch the sunset and walk the beach; and never to swim, despite how inviting the sea looks, as it can get rather rough.
They also talked up their CHI spa quite regularly. We’re not surprised as to why. We enjoyed Ayurvedic signature treatments in one of its twelve treatment rooms, in a private outdoor cabana. This ensured that we truly experienced the escapism that the Shangri-La Hambantota has become well known for.
Right on time
While you’re Out There
Get out. You can’t play and sip an Arnold Palmer all day. Especially when three mind-blowing national parks await you. You’d be foolish just sticking to its manicured lawns when wild jungles away you just outside the hotel.