Mount Lavinia: Colonial Charm and Romance

Trip Start Aug 07, 2013
Trip End Aug 22, 2013

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Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Our penultimate night in Sri Lanka was spent at the Mount Lavinia hotel, famous for it's position overlooking the ocean and it's love story. An example of colonial architecture, it's often the first stop for tourists travelling straight in from Bandaranaike Airport just over an hour away by car (if traffic is kind). 

Originally built as a mansion residence for Sir Thomas Maitland, the hotel is named after Lavinia- his Sinhalese lover with whom he conducted a passionate love affair in secret given their different statuses- he a General in the military and she a dancer. Secret tunnels used by them to sneak in and out of the mansion are referenced everywhere, with art telling their story adorning corridors along with black and white photos of the last 100 years at the hotel charting its architectural changes.

We saved this stop for the end, choosing it as a final opportunity for luxury and indulgence after the Unawatuna 'holiday' after sight seeing. We're glad we did. Our first hour was spent just wandering round the place with it's substantial grounds and imposing buildings, not to mention the beach front location. Despite being so close to Colombo (4km) the sea couldn't be more different to Colombo's muddy, ferocious waves. Instead, gentle azure seas lap unspoilt and very quiet private beaches and coves. 

From our raised ground floor room, it was a 1 minute walk down to the gate with the private beach manned by a security guard. There was also a rooftop pool with spectacular views of Colombo in the distance, the Indian Ocean and the beaches heading south. 

Food was fantastic, with hoppers, fresh fruit, coconut water, string hoppers all on offer along with ALL breakfast items you could think of and endless mango yoghurt. Room service was indulgent and tasty and enjoyed on our private balcony soaking in the roar of the waves. It truly is a beautiful spot: atmospheric; charming; and tranquil. We could easily have enjoyed another night or two there, given the incredible seafood restaurants there were to sample and the pristine beach it's impossible to tire of.

Coco Spa is the on site spa, with a range of massages, skin and hair treatments offered. From Balinese massage, deep tissue and thai massage, the prices are in line with a mainstream spa catering for Western customers. $60 for a back, neck, shoulder and arm massage and a refreshing facial. The ladies who work there are friendly, efficient and the massages are arguably the best I've ever had! Preceded by fresh coconut and herbal tea, with ice water to hydrate after, it was well worth every cent for the weary traveller. Of course, being metres from the beach, the roar of the waves provide the best soundtrack.

A great place, truly beautiful and luxurious.

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