For the family looking to earn bragging rights, as well as enjoy some over-the-top pampering on their next vacation, it may be time to give Sri Lanka a serious look. Not only are you likely to be the first on your block to visit this exotic destination, but this year a brand new beachfront family villa at Meda Gedaram Dikwella just opened this spring.
The seven-bedroom private villa on Sri Lanka’s south coast, which can sleep up to10 adults and eight children, offers direct access through your private garden onto a secluded beach on the Indian Ocean.
The property features tailored activities for children, from cooking classes, beach sand castle competitions and hermit crab racing, as well as more high-adrenaline fun, like braving a water flume and playing lawn cricket, beach volleyball and family games.
Meanwhile, parents relax on cushy sun beds, enjoy yoga sessions in their private shala — where they can also relax with a pampering massage — enjoy traditional Sri Lankan tea in a picturesque garden hut and doze in a hammock set between palm trees.
In addition to split-level, twin-tiered pools, the villa comes with an outdoor Jacuzzi, a cinema room for family movie night and a kids’ TV room that comes complete with a viewing window so parents can keep a discrete eye on what the kids are up to.
A private chef and a personalized staff are also on hand to whip up meals and take care of whatever else your family needs.
People influenced by first impressions — and most of us are — will likely be wowed by the villa entrance, set within traditional antique temple doors. The hallway is flanked on the left by a majestic curved teak staircase and opens onto a hand-finished tiled floor.
The décor walks the line between palatial and informal, with architecture and interior design elements that mix British luxury from auction houses in the U.K. and individually sourced, handmade local craftsmanship.
A generous-sized living room, furnished with authentic pieces, offers several relaxed seating areas, allowing families to be together without being on top of each other.
The cinema room can be converted to an eighth bedroom for larger family groups, and Mom and Dad get the royal treatment in an ocean-facing master suite with an en suite and an adjoining twin room that can be closed off for older kids who want privacy.
There are two more master bedrooms with canopied, king-sized, four-poster beds, both with en suite bathrooms. All of the master bedrooms open out to an oversized teak balcony with outdoor seating overlooking the ocean.
A fourth twin bedroom with an en suite bathroom has its own romantic Juliette balcony facing the jungle, and a triple-tiered bunk-bed room, also with its own bathroom, sleeps six for kids who want a sleepover atmosphere.
Finally, a romantic garden suite with king-sized bed, offers a lush tropical garden setting and the villa’s best ocean view. The villa offers 24-hour security and free Wi-Fi throughout.
The English speaking private chef serves a wide selection of menus from local Sri Lankan curries to vegan meals, freshly made Italian pasta, Sri Lankan market food and can entertain and educate the kids with live cooking demonstrations and lessons. Meanwhile, the designated
Breakfast of Kings is served in the living area at the antique walnut dining table.
Off-property activities range from visiting ancient temples and tea plantations, participating in local festivals, exploring the UNESCO historic Galle Fort, taking a safari at one of the island nature reserves or going body surfing.
Meda Gedara Dikwella is three hours by car from Colombo International Airport, and about an hour from Hiriketiya, a popular surfing area with relaxed beachside bars and historic Galle Fort.
Prices start at $875 for seven bedrooms in low season, not counting a 7.5 percent service charge. The best time to visit is from December to April and July to September, although temperatures remain fairly constant year-round. Visit the site for more info and reservations at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An interesting and accidental beneficial side effect of recent travel bans is that large swaths of the world affected by over-tourism are beginning to heal themselves. Major cities from Los Angeles to London and Beijing are reporting their best air quality in years with less nitrogen dioxide and carbon dioxide emitted by cars and industry. The canals in Venice are so clear, schools of fish and even a dolphin were easily spotted by locals — all of this and more taking place before Earth Day’s 50th anniversary in April.
By Hainan Airlines
When you want to get away without getting behind the wheel, Amtrak has news for you — and budget-friendly news, at that. Enjoy the ride this summer to your next destinations from the comfort of a private Roomette room on Amtrak with a two-for-one deal on select one-way routes.
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