“Where trade winds carried legendary explorers like Marco Polo, Ibn Battuta and Fa-Hsien past Sri Lanka’s soaring southern cliffs on some of history’s most celebrated nautical journeys, Cape Weligama has become the most celebrated among Sri Lankan Beach Resorts.” Resplendent Ceylon
Nestled on a cliff top, Cape Weligama is a stunning, scenic property draped in coconut palms with breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean below, the epitome of luxury travel in Sri Lanka. Set across twelve tropical acres, that was once a jungle playground for the local children, the five-star hotel offers a selection of luxurious suites and villas, an onsite spa and high calibre dining with a local twist.
Part of the Resplendent Ceylon family of luxury boutique resort hotels, the multi award winning Cape Weligama along with sister properties Ceylon Tea Trails and Wild Coast Tented Lodge, are members of the Relais & Châteaux portfolio that offers guests the epitome of accommodation, facilities and an unprecedented level of service. Although the land was purchased by Dilmah Tea group founded by Merrill J Fernando (Resplendent Ceylon is the Dilmah Tea hospitality arm) many years ago the site was not developed until the opening of the Southern Expressway. The area become more accessible and therefore increased in popularity with international tourists travelling from the airport in Colombo. The hotel opened in September 2014, the second resort after the original Ceylon Tea Trails that is located on the family’s tea plantation.
The property offers guests the ultimate indulgent stay whilst retaining its natural environment and embracing the local culture. There are fourteen pools, two of which are communal, the cove pool (family pool) and the crescent shaped cliff-edge infinity moon pool (adults only) that offers spectacular views. The dramatic coastline and rugged seas make for picturesque viewing from the hotel’s elevated position, a selection of partially hidden spots along the promontory are perfect for sunset drinks and intimate private dining experiences.
To the west of the property steps lead down to a sheltered expanse of public beach on the resort’s boundary, while on the east side there’s another small public beach area and access to Borderlands water sports centre where various water based activities can be booked. Weligama is is renowned for its surfing and lessons can be arranged along with scuba diving, snorkelling, SUP and Sea Kayaking Guided Tours. Biking tours are also available upon request. The well-equipped fitness centre is located under the moon pool, group or private hatha yoga sessions can also be arranged (in villa yoga is also available). The hotel’s location is well suited for excursions and we booked our private driver Pradeep for a visit to Galle Fort and Unawatuna and by tuk tuk to see nearby Weligama and Mirissa Bay during our trip.
Designed by celebrated Thai architect Lek Bunnag, the resort offers a selection of thirty-nine rooms. Twenty standalone villas, named after various explorers, sit in their own lush watta (Sinhalese for garden) scattered across the headland on one side of the property. A further sixteen suites are housed in two-storey buildings clustered around the cove pool on the opposite side of the resort with the restaurant, bar, small retail shop and moon pool situated centrally inbetween.
We stayed in a palatial and sumptuous Ocean View Villa that had its own flower-filled garden and outdoor private veranda with seating. There was a seperate bedroom with an enormous, comfortable bed, dining and lounge areas, entrance lobby with walk-in wardrobe and spacious bathroom with shower come steam room, a freestanding stone bath fully stocked with aromatic Ophir toiletries.
It was tastefully decorated in elegant neutrals tones and dark wood furniture that was perfectly complemented by pops of earthy orange and aquamarine accents. Our salt water infinity pool was shared with two other villas but as they were unoccupied we had exclusive use. Additional amenities include a large flat-screen TV with cable TV and movie channels, Illy espresso machine, tea making facilities, minibar and Sonos sound system with speakers in different areas.
Dining options include the open-fronted Ocean Terrace, a boldly coloured purple venue that offers alfresco dining with an ocean view and the 12-seated Tableau, for the more intimate chef to table experience. The more relaxed Cape Club bar and lounge offers an extensive selections of cocktails, wines, spirits and local Lion beer on tap as well as a dedicated gin bar and stunning sunset views. The more casual Surf Bar adjacent to the moon pool offers cocktails and sundowners and there’s also a small bar at the cove pool.
The food is top-notch with a wide selection of international dishes as well as the more traditional Sri Lankan cuisine, a separate comprehensive vegetarian menu is also available and specific dietary requirements can be accomodated. Dishes are fresh and seasonal with ingredients and spices sourced from local suppliers and fresh seafood caught daily. The portions were plentiful from breakfast through to dinner, in fact the multi course breakfast designed to order and served to your table was impressive and included three regional Sri Lankan options sampled by the other half along with fresh coconut water. The European options included fresh smoothies and juices, pastries, eggs cooked to order, granola, porridge, french toast and so much more.
As we were half board we got to sample the dinner menu and we were impressed with the choice and quality of the dishes. Light bites are served at Cape Club such as burgers, including a very tasty veggie burger, calamari, sandwiches and fish and chips. Ocean Terrace is the place for more refined flame-lit atmospheric dining, expect mountains of fresh seafood and traditional creamy curries served with roti and spicy sides. The other half was in his element with all the fish from platters of sashimi, clay pot steamed tuna to the catch of the day and a rather beautifully presented lamb shank.
Try a local experience, Pola (Sinhalese for market), a Sri Lankan dinner experience with delights such as for koththu roti, fragrant curries and accompaniments served traditional style on banana leaves and eaten with your fingers. In a nod to the famed Ceylon tea heritage, high tea is served daily in the Cape Club accompanied by a menu showcasing a range of Dilmah teas.
The small Sanctuary Spa, housed in a standalone villa, offering a range of signature treatments and experiences that are also available in your room with prior booking. Native Sri Lankan ingredients such as tea and cinnamon are used in the essential oils, scrubs and lotions. We both enjoyed Balinese massages from the very skillful Maria who hails from one of our favourite places, Ubud in Bali. Those seeking a a traditional Ayurveda Taster experience can visit neighbouring Barberyn Beach Ayurveda Resort that can be arranged by reception.
Experience world-class accommodation and service at Cape Weligama, I thoroughly enjoyed our three-night stay at this full-service stunning resort and I would highly recommend it if you are looking for a luxurious and indulgent stay in the Southern Province. Want to blow the budget? Book the Cape Pool Villa, a duplex with its own private infinity pool and panoramic views of the coastline, the ultimate romantic escape.
The Nitty Gritty
Location: Abimanagama Road, 81700 Weligama, Sri Lanka
Telephone: +94 41 225 3000
Check-out: 12 noon
Stunning cliff top location with breathtaking views
Elegant and luxurious accommodation
Selection and quality of cuisine
Accommodating and friendly staff
Flexible check-out subject to availability
The Not so Good…..
Sometimes over attentive service at times (restaurant)
Steam room issues
The views in this post are all my own based on my experience. Unless otherwise stated all photos © Jo Brett 2018. All rights reserved. Additional two photos used with courtesy of resplendentceylon.com/capeweligama
We travelled from Abu Dhabi to Colombo with Etihad Airways. We used the very reliable, friendly and reasonable priced Pradeep Nirukshan of Weligama Surf Tours for our airport transfers, tours and tuk tuk rides – visit his website www.weligamasurftours.com/