Conceived by the Fernando family, Sri Lankan tea producers, Resplendent Ceylon collection of small luxury resorts offer the discerning traveler a remarkable circuit across Sri Lanka while contributing towards local communities & the environment through the MJF Foundation and the Dilmah Conservation.
We land in Colombo early and wind our way east through rolling green hills, arriving at Ceylon Tea Trails just as the first fat drops of delicious monsoon rain begin to fall. Home is Norwood Bungalow, built in 1890 and one of the five bungalows that make up Dilmah-owned Resplendent Ceylon Tea Trails. Norwood nods to time-honored planters’ traditions; roaring fires and whiskey while the mists roll in across the valley.
At the Resplendent Ceylon and Dilmah Conservation research station, we learn about the Sri Lankan leopards that roam pockets of forest along Dunkeld Ridge. This autumn, Resplendent Ceylon launches the Giving Getaways program, where guests can partner on conservation initiatives and philanthropic work, such as offsetting carbon emissions through the reforesting program and helping create a conservation corridor for the leopards.
A short seaplane ride takes us to Wild Coast Tented Lodge, a wildlife lodge on Sri Lanka’s southeast shoreline. Nestled between jungle and pristine beach on the fringes of the renowned Yala National Park, Wild Coast is pure heaven. At night, we sit under a million stars, listening to the sounds of the jungle; by day, we explore Yala National Park, sighting wild elephants and langur monkeys.
Each of Wild Coast’s 28 cocoon tents has a watering hole brimming with wildlife and it’s not uncommon for elephants to stop by for a drink. The rooms are gorgeous, with giant four-poster beds and freestanding copper bathtubs to soak in after long game drives. And in Resplendent Ceylon style, gray water is recycled from guest rooms and public areas for use in landscaping, a solar plant meets 40% of energy needs, and the property is almost plastic-free.
Perched on a spectacular clifftop site overlooking the Laccadive Sea, Cape Welligama is our final stop in Sri Lanka. With panoramic views and spacious villas clustered around private pools, Cape Welligama is pure indulgence and relaxation with culinary excellence thrown in for good measure. The Sri Lankan breakfast hoppers are not to be missed. We explore golden sand beaches, the vibrant Mirissa fish markets, and a day of whale-watching at sea. With so much beauty and diversity in one relatively small island, it’s easy to understand why Sri Lanka is known as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean.