If I had to summarize my stay at Anantara Kalutara in one phrase, it will have to be “home away from home.” Think of it as spending some time at your grandparents’ house in the countryside, assuming your grandparents are wealthy enough to afford a place like this!
The resort is one of the latest to open under the Anantara brand (opened in 2016), and has 141 luxury rooms, suites and pool villas, and 2 outdoor swimming pools. The resort is located between the Indian Ocean and the Kalu Ganga River in the area of Kalutara — around an hour away from the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo.
I continue to be impressed with Anantara and the amazing portfolio they are building around the world, and this resort was no different. Upon arrival you are greeted with a traditional Sri Lankan dancing group (see video below) that escorts you to the reception area where you are welcomed with a much needed cold towel and refreshing coconut water.
Anantara is a member of the DISCOVERY loyalty programme, which I highly recommend joining for free as it offers you discounts and other perks at 35 independent luxury hotel brands, including Anantara, in 76 countries.
And now onto the reasons that make this resort a great choice when visiting Sri Lanka:
1. Geoffrey Bawa: I honestly didn’t know who he is until I was on my way to Sri Lanka, but Geoffrey Bawa to Sri Lanka is what Gaudi is to Barcelona. He is the most renowned architect in Sri Lanka and was among the most influential Asian architects of his generation, and is viewed by many as the father of “tropical modernism” in architecture. Anantara Kalutara was one of the last places that Bawa designed before his death in 2003. If you look at some of his other work, Bawa’s touches are evident around the property and they are what gives it this “home away from home” touch.
2. Proximity to Airport: Being an hour away from Colombo which is only 4 hours away from Dubai, makes this resort an excellent long weekend destination for us, Gulf residents. The hotel can arrange wifi-equipped transportation for you from Colombo Airport but you can just as easily (and cheaper) grab a taxi from the airport or hire a tuktuk for the experience of it!
3. Surroundings: The hotel is located between a river and an ocean so that takes care of the views for you 🙂 The area of Kalutara itself is pretty quaint with some remarkable Buddhist temples. But if for some reason you want to spend your entire vacation at the resort, the area is surrounded with beautiful landscape.
4. Local Experiences: One of the main perks of joining the DISCOVERY loyalty programme is that it offers members “Local Experiences”, which are carefully selected and planned activities that are unique to each hotel and area under the loyalty program. Naturally, the Local Experiences offered by Anantara Kalutara include a visit to a tea plantation, but not just any one. The Handunugoda Low Country Tea Plantation is the largest in a coastal area in Sri Lanka since tea plantations are usually located at a higher altitude.
5. Breakfast: I loved the breakfast options they had at Anantara Kalutara, particularly all the fresh, colorful fruits and juices which were beautiful to look at and delicious to eat and drink. I also loved the traditional Sri Lankan food they served which was light and mildly spiced.