Curious about Sri Lanka? Family travel gurus Smith & Family let you know the gorgeous island nation’s best spots for kids
Blessed with tea-clad hills, gilded temples and miles of unspoilt coast, Sri Lanka makes a dreamy getaway for adventure-hungry families. Travel experts Mr & Mrs Smith have hand-picked five child-friendly boutique hotels just made for water babies, wildlife spotters and naptime specialists.
Cape Weligama – Weligama, Sri Lanka
Dotted village-style over a dramatic Indian Ocean headland, Cape Weligama’s butler-attended digs have bags of mod-Asian style. Children can happily roam around the flower-scented gardens and cool off in the villas’ intimate shared pools; grown-ups can savour the seductive thrills of Ceylonese spa treatments and an adults-only infinity pool. Aquatic adventures are also on the menu here: hop on a banana boat, snorkel the bay’s turquoise waters or test your scuba skills on submerged wrecks and neon marine life.
Smith extra: A romantic candlelit bath with Ceylon Sea Salts, infused with vetiver, lemongrass and ginger; and your choice of chilled drinks.
Maya – Tangalle, Sri Lanka
Tucked away in a rippling landscape of verdant rice paddies, this boutique hotel is a home away from home with just five colonial-chic suites. Play croquet or petanque on the lawn, cycle down foliage-flanked lanes bursting with wildlife or head to nearby Rekawa to watch turtles hatching on the sands by moonlight. Life in the hotel’s lush gardens is all about sedate pleasures: book into a yoga programme and spend afternoons swimming lazy laps around the midnight-blue pool.
Smith extra: One-night stays: a cocktail each; stays of two nights or more: dinner for two, plus a cocktail each.
Paradise Road The Villa Bentota – Bentota, Sri Lanka
Sleek and elegant, this 19th-century seaside retreat has been transformed into a sensational boutique hotel. Tots can make their own fun: swim in the shallow lawn-edged pool, sculpt sandcastles on the beach or play hide and seek amongst the mangrove palms. There’s a real sense of place and heritage here: Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa’s country home is nearby, and people-packed trains along the garden’s edge joyfully remind you of where you are.
Smith extra: A beach bag and scented candle from Paradise Road boutique.
The Wallawwa – Colombo, Sri Lanka
A short jaunt from the airport, this 200-year-old manor house is much more than a pre- or post-flight crash pad. This sensitive restoration has thought of all the little touches for a stress-free family stay. There are stacks of board games in the rooms, kids’ books in the library, and croquet, badminton and volleyball up for grabs outdoors. That’s not to say grown-ups aren’t well catered for too: indulge in a coconut wrap at the hotel’s Z spa before some well-earned lounging by the stone-lined pool.
Smith extra: A 10-minute head massage for two.
Ulagalla Resort – The Cultural Triangle, Sri Lanka
An open-air spa, private plunge pools and ravishing dining aren’t this hideaway’s only delights: this pampering resort plays host to a veritable menagerie of wild things. Look out for monkeys, giant squirrels, peacocks and even elephants in the gardens. For something a little more tame, kids can try their hand at horse riding in the grounds. A prettily tiled pool makes a welcoming setting for a family splash, where parents can happily doze off when the lifeguard is on duty.
Smith extra: A free activity for two (archery, kayaking or a nature walk).
Mr & Mrs Smith gets you the best rates, guaranteed, as well as a little something extra on arrival at every hotel. To book, call toll free at 800 905 326 or visit www.mrandmrssmith.com.