Elephants, peacocks, golf resorts and infinity pools: ‘a luxury vacation in Sri Lanka has something for everyone’


Outlook Traveller writer Sumeet Keswani’s recent visit to Sri Lanka as a guest of the Shangri-La hotel chain had many standout moments, including mouth-watering encounters with our renowned marine cuisine.

He says: “There are some holidays I remember for the sheer indulgence they allowed my otherwise frugal soul. Then there are those that remain etched in the mind for their bounty of natural sights and sounds. And then there is Sri Lanka, a potent mix of both.”

The recently opened Shangri-La in the heart of Colombo is a towering 32-stories over 10 acres on the coastline, overlooking the Indian Ocean and the Galle Face greens.


A first stop was the hotel’s Shang Palace restaurant, which offers authentic regional Chinese cuisine from the provinces of Sichuan, Dongbei and Canton.

Named after a Chinese dynasty, Shang Palace serves regional cuisine from the provinces of Sichuan, Dongbei and Canton, with architecture inspired by traditional siheyuan houses.

Says Sumeet: “While the meat lovers on the table enjoyed king prawns, wok-fried crab, kung pao chicken and Peking duck cooked in a guest-facing oven and carved by the table, I hogged on the veggies— marinated cucumber with garlic and sesame dressing, vegetarian dumplings, mapo tofu and more.”


Next stop Shangri-La’s Hambantota Golf Resort & Spa, “soaked in an earthly sentiment, reflected in its bamboo-mat wall hangings and omnipresent elephant sculptures made of recycled material”.

The resort is also close to Udawalawe National Park, “when big herds with multiple calves strolled past our vehicle within touching distance without raising so much of a trunk, I tossed all my tusker presumptions out of the proverbial window”.

Concludes Sumeet: “Maybe Milton was right: the mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven. It often does. But paradise is never entirely lost. Not in Sri Lanka.”

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