Described as a “customisable paradise”, Talalla Retreat in Sri Lanka is the perfect destination for beach lovers desiring sunrise surf and sunset salutations.
Sun-fuelled physical exertion combined with ocean-side relaxation makes Talalla an ideal escape for those in need of intense revitalisation.
Talalla Retreat is a beachside boutique resort situated on a truly magnificent and unspoilt stretch of white sand on Sri Lanka’s southernmost tip. Guests can create their own retreat experience from an extensive menu of yoga, surf and wellness options. And for those who dislike decision-making whilst on holiday, there are a number of pre-designed packages on offer too. With no minimum stay, it’s a flexible resting point for an injection of soul-enriching yoga and surf. You would be forgiven for not wishing to leave for a week, but there is so much to see and do nearby that I would recommend including a couple of days at Talalla to re-balance and re-charge within a multi-stop trip.
The resort’s principal yoga spot is a beautiful, airy pavilion overlooking the pool. Expect to catch glimpses of monkeys playing in the trees during your expert-guided yoga sequences. There are a couple of resident yogis who lead the twice daily classes, providing variety in teaching style even if you’re only staying for a few nights. A smaller shala closer to the beach is used more for private groups, and both are perfectly equipped with mats, bolsters, bricks and straps, so there is no need to bring anything other than yourself to class. The main drop-in sessions fill up fast, particularly in the morning, and there is no advance booking so try to arrive early to secure a prime spot.
Surf packages are all tailored around small group sizes and best suited to beginners and intermediates. If a week-long camp sounds a little intense then private lessons are available also. Talalla is in easy access to some of southern Sri Lanka’s best surf spots and the team at the resort have fantastic knowledge of the area, locating the less crowded beaches in this burgeoning surf haven. Any aching muscles from a day on the waves can be soothed on-site in the small spa zone, which is nestled within a quiet, wooded area within the resort. Again, pre-booking is essential as treatment slots will get snapped up quickly.
The resort is designed around low-rise buildings set within lush gardens ablaze with bright, wild, tropical flora. With accommodation and amenities spread out amongst sprawling lawns, there is a satisfying feeling of space and calm throughout. Even with a big surf group amongst the guests, it was never noisy or overcrowded. The only commotion comes from nature: birds chattering, monkeys playing and monitor lizards roaming in the midday sun. The villas embrace open-air living and therefore buzz with the sounds of the jungle, which can become raucous in the early hours of the morning, but what a delightful alarm call. Particularly when it’s stormy, you may feel like your room is alive with the uproarious sounds of nature!
We stayed in a ground floor deluxe room, which offers a little more privacy and shelter from the elements than first floor accommodation. All villas have stunning open air bathrooms providing powerful hot showers with views of coconut palms. The best rooms overlook Talalla beach but nearly all the villas have either a pool or sea view. The resort has a very comfortable and laid-back feel, offering a high standard of stay whilst remaining simple and unfussy.
Talalla caters incredibly well for every type of guest: it attracts everyone from solo travellers and groups, to couples and families. The atmosphere is very friendly, inclusive and perfectly suited for people who just want to enjoy some peace and quiet. Rooms are without Wi-Fi and TV, encouraging guests to fully switch off.
For lunch, I would recommend heading to one of the deceivingly primitive beach shacks that serve authentic Sri Lankan food: delicious curries and spiced rices using fresh coconut and succulent fruits. For a more luxurious evening, jump in a tuk tuk to the nearby Zephyr hotel and enjoy a thoroughly sumptuous and polished dining experience.
Talalla is a wonderfully tranquil beach, not yet swamped by tourists. Around three hours from the airport, it’s a good base for exploring the coastline, or as a gateway between the southern beach paradise and the more culture-centric beating heart of the country. The hotel arranges various day trips, including a nature park safari, but Sri Lanka is easy to explore independently too and I would thoroughly recommend venturing out and seeing as much as you can of this eternally vibrant and stunning country – you’re in for an absolute treat!