There is ‘plenty of fabulousness’ at Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle, says New York Times travel writer Sarah Gold, and “the first bells-and-whistles beach resort to open in southern Sri Lanka sets the bar high for other properties to follow”.

She raves that “for about the same cost of a room at a fancy American hotel, I splurged on a private villa with its own deck and small infinity pool, and a view from sliding glass doors across palm-shaded lawns”.

The fabulousness, she says, includes a 25-meter, chaise-lined swimming pool and 5,000-square-foot spa. There is also an alfresco lobby bar, a teaching kitchen for cooking classes, a surf shop, a gift boutique and a tennis court.

“Beachfront cabanas can be reserved for daytime lounging or private, torch-lit dining. Staff-driven golf carts and tuk-tuks can be summoned for transport around the resort — a boon in the midday heat.”

She is particularly impressed with the location, a 21-acre former coconut plantation just outside the fishing village of Tangalle on the southeastern coast.

“Several of the region’s main attractions, including the walled colonial city of Galle (home to elegant cafes, art galleries, and boutiques) and the temple complex at Wevurukannala (where a gold-painted, 160-foot-high Buddha statue looms above surrounding village rooftops), are within an hour-and-a-half drive of the property.”

She also points out that “now that long-divided Sri Lanka has achieved peace after a 30-year civil war (it ended in 2009), hotel developers are rushing in to capitalize on the country’s pristine Indian Ocean beaches and tropical jungles, stately Colonial-era architecture and Buddhist temples”.

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