Surrounded by swaying coconut palms and sculpted into a hill that tumbles down to a golden-sand beach, Amanwella wows first of all with a beautiful location. But it is the simplicity of its streamlined design, the expanse of terraced grounds, and the style of the guest suites that draw praise as the ultimate expression of luxury.
As we trailed Sri Lanka’s southern coast on our way from the Yala National Park to Galle we did not miss the opportunity to stay at Amanwella. After all, this beachfront resort is managed by Aman, which we count among our favourite hotel brands.
This modern-looking property represents a singular vision from the Australian architect Kerry Hill, who looked to the celebrated Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa for inspiration. He found it in sharp angles and almost-monumental proportions, so prevalent in the architecture of the past century.
In a stark contrast to the resort’s organic setting — where wild palms sway in the wind and waves crash on the wide beach below — the lines of architecture exude strong modernist influences. The sheets of glass on the facades of the buildings reflect the tropical sky and brilliant sun on the outside — and ensure great views from inside. Thus, the bar and the restaurant above the Amanwella’s main swimming pool provide a beautiful venue for afternoon cocktails, and breakfasts in particular, which quickly became our favourite meal time.
Spread out amid a mature palm grove, Amanwella’s contemporary suites enjoy a secluded jungle setting, and some benefit from beautiful views towards the sea.
The pleasant interiors of the guest rooms continue the quasi-modernist style. Set in sand-and-teak tones and finished with pared-down furniture, they feel exclusive and inviting. Thanks to the floor-to-ceiling sliding doors, the open-plan bedroom and bathroom spill onto a spacious balcony in front and an enclosure at the back, filled with a plunge pool.
The private vibe of our suite made it our preferred place to hang out, but this atmosphere is present in the entire resort. With only twenty-seven rooms spread across a wide area, it never feels crowded here. This is fundamental to the Aman experience, and Amanwella does it well.
Beyond the resort
Taking a stroll on one of the prettiest beaches we’ve seen in this part of Sri Lanka is a pleasure on its own — even better if there is a good destination on the far end. The club, on the other side of the bay, provides an alternative venue for chilling out and it’s a good place for a light lunch. It’s just one more thing that makes Amanwella great as a relaxed beach retreat destination.
That said, there is much to explore outside of the resort’s luxury bubble. With the location near the remote town of Tangalle, the hotel is not far from a couple of National Parks. Safari drives can be easily organised and the experienced guides can track elephants, crocodiles and birdlife — and at the Yala park, guests can hope to spot the elusive leopard. Then out in the sea, between December and March there is a chance to see blue whales, sperm whales and spinner dolphins.
Barefoot Luxury, Beach, Boutique Hotel, Honeymoon, Luxury, Modern Design, Private Villa, Quiet, Relaxing, Resort, Romance, Spa, Tropical,
Number of rooms & suites: 30
Rate per night: From £537
*The rate is only approximate and is based on our own independent research, at the time of writing. We cannot guarantee the rate in any way.
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