If you stay at one hotel this year…make it the Tri in Sri Lanka. Pronounced “tree” by the way.
I arrived weary after the Christmas slump. Once again, this hotel showed me that society’s obsession with sun, sea and sand is flawed. Tri is set on a peninsula at Lake Koggala, surrounded by water on three sides, this was healing and respite by nature. Innately organic and vegan too if you want it!
It’s an adventure through the jungle to arrive at this hotel which is extremely private and tucked away. Few had even heard of it!
Just eight lakeside suites and three in a converted water tower. The latter perhaps being less glamorous on the surface but from a unique architecture perspective you can’t beat it. I will never forget waking up and looking out across the lake, absolute silence bar birds and crickets. The water tower is great for groups too as it has three rooms with en suite bathrooms and on the roof there is a wonderful open air terrace we used as a family living room of sorts, with the best view I’ve ever seen! Each bedroom in the water tower is compact but extremely comfortable with en suite mega power showers.
So why was Tri so special?
It’s adults only so of course that will keep the noise down. But the resort is designed according to a Fibonacci sequence which means that walking around the resort feels like a pilgrimage. Guests speak in hushed tones. And as each lake villa is freestanding and fairly far apart, there is no need to see anyone if you don’t want to. Drinks and food can be delivered to rooms.
Dosha! Not dosas, dosha! Each of us are inclined towards one of three particular dosha based on Ayurveda. Doshas determine our proclivity to react and respond in particular ways, what we eat, all sorts! Guests are asked to fill out a questionnaire as soon as they arrive Mine is pita I found out. At Tri, everything you do can be fine tuned to balance your particular dosha. The food, and most importantly, the yoga.
This is the home of quantum yoga, a phenomenal yoga framework, designed specifically for different doshas. Lara Baumann, founder of Quantum yoga, set up this hotel with her husband Rob, and regularly has retreats here. She teaches a morning class for guests three times a week but I benefitted more from her private tuition. Even if you’re not a particular fan of yoga, it’s worth going just for the view from the yoga shala. Post yoga, I often went for a nap in the library underneath which is absolutely glorious. Or up to the roof terrace or the water tower for epic sundowners.
The food at Tri was quintessentially Sri Lankan but done in a very high end way. Sometimes locking yourself away in a hotel like this can mean missing out on cultural experiences but local cuisine was available here in abundance. Dinner and unusually, breakfast, was a six course affair! Always seasonal and always plant based. Food was varied using ingredients that we don’t often eat at home like jackfruit and okra. Did I mention the morning fruit plate was served with homemade ice cream?! For lunch I recommend a light bite by the pool to save space for dinner. Beetroot hoppers (Sri Lankan pancakes) were my absolute favourite.
The service lives up to expectations for a resort of this calibre.. The staff were so kind and ‘Queen of Everything’ Hemesha, a particular notable member of staff, spent hours with us to make sure our stay was just so. I had personalised massages in the spa, a turn in the salt cave, a wonderful morning or two cycling through local villages and rice paddies with two members of hotel staff. One to navigate and one to drive behind me in a tuk tuk with coconuts should I get thirsty! Boat trips around the lake and visits to cinnamon farms were possible should all the relaxation be too much. I left them for the other guests to experience while I revived myself. The manager, Oliver, was on hand to recommend wine for dinner.
For sun-worshippers, the Tri’s infinity pool leading to the lake, gleaming like a mirror beneath the lush canopy of trees, is an absolute must for an afternoon of tranquility.
Tri is just a two hour drive from Colombo airport. I pine for it, I will certainly be back. Sri Lanka is so so accessible, only ten hours from London. So if wanderlust has struck you and you are planning your travels for 2018, make it a visit to Tri.