Geoffrey Manning Bawa was one of the most influential Asian architects of the last century, and the Sri Lankan quickly became known for integrating a sensitivity for the local environment with progressive structural design. This had an important impact on global design, and pioneered what is known today as ‘tropical modernism’.
It’s hardly surprising, then, that much of the architecture in Sri Lanka is an ode to his movement. Amanwella, derived from the Sanskrit word for peace and the Sinhalese word for beach, is an exceptional example of Bawa’s legacy. The resort takes design inspiration from the revered Sri Lankan figure, with all suites open on two sides, leading to private plunge pools and large terraces overlooking the sea.
Situated near the southern coastal market town of Dikwella, 22 kilometres east of Matara, the resort has uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean. The area is known for its beaches, which are protected by reefs and sandbars, making it perfect for swimming. It’s also home to Sri Lanka’s largest Buddha statue, towering overhead at 160 feet tall.
Each villa is built to be its own private retreat within the resort. Incorporating privacy without compromising on view, they offer your own space oasis. A large private pool, as well as outdoor living and dining area, allows you to experience Sri Lanka as it should be done – in the sunshine. An extra personal touch comes in the form of a private chef, housekeeper and concierge.
The star of every hotel like this is the pool. Amanwella doesn’t disappoint, with one that Instagrammers’ dreams are made of – complete with tall palm trees framing the sea beyond. And it’s easy to upload those travel snaps straight away. There’s free WiFi in public areas, with USB sticks and micro-sims available for in-suite access. You can even borrow a pre-loaded iPod if you fancy some music while idly trawl the web. Our advice? Log off and surf the waves instead.
A smart itinerary to hit the key points
Ceylon tea plantations cover the local hillside, and Amanwella offers guests the chance to learn about the much-loved brew with a special guide.
Create your very own handcrafted terracotta dish, with the help of the local artisans. Master potter B. Karunasena invites people into his home workshop to learn the craft.
The ocean offers the ideal outdoor playground, with brilliant surf, snorkelling, and the chance to spot blue whales during the annual migration.