So you want to indulge in some serious beach downtime but want something a bit more special? This experience combines an idyllic island lagoon in the Maldives with the unique culture, colonial history, and jaw-dropping beaches of Sri Lanka. Trust us, this is once in a lifetime trip (and it makes the perfect honeymoon too).
The emerald isle(s)
This journey will take you from Sri Lanka to the Maldives, creating the perfect mix of colonial history and barefoot beach luxury neatly wrapped into one of the most idyllic trips the Indian Ocean can offer. First stop is Sri Lanka, famed for its natural beauty, colonial history (and of course, its tea production). Chauffeured by your own driver throughout, this adventure begins with three nights at the Cultural Triangle. Hole up at the sun-drenched Vil Uyana; a peaceful retreat within a sprawling nature reserve and paddy fields. By day, visit some of Sri Lanka’s oldest historic monuments (think ancient wall paintings, climbing immense historical rocks, and rebuilding history in a UNESCO World Heritage site) before unwinding in your private plunge pool to catch some essential holiday sun.
From the Cultural Triangle we’ll take you further inland to the immaculate rolling hills of Sri Lankan tea country, staying in the old tea plantation houses of the Tea Trails. Carpeted in rich tea plantations, this is one of the island highlights, with its sense of home in the aged bungalows and croquet lawns left from the country’s Colonial era – you’ll never want to leave. But leave you must, as there’s more of this incredible island yet to be explored.Read more
Track down Yala’s wildlife
Next, head south-east for a luxury mobile tent safari like no other. This is not the traditional African safari but for some, something better. With the highest density of leopards in the world, you’ll see these spotted beauties roaming alongside elephants, sambar, spotted and barking deer, water buffalo, abundant (and we mean abundant) birdlife, butterfly swarms, iguanas, mongooses, fishing cats, wild boar, monkeys and crocodiles. Shall we go on? You may even get to meet the rare sloth bear as you park up for sunset quietly watching the night shift of wildlife arrive as the sun goes down. Add camping amongst some of the most extraordinary scenery on the planet and dining under the stars, and you’ll be left with memories you won’t easily forget.
For some history, head to Galle, one of the oldest European fortified towns in Asia and somewhat of a historical mixing pot. You’ll be staying at the Amangalla, based inside the walls of the original Dutch fort, and the perfect place from which to explore this colonial gem. Head down the narrow streets on foot, get lost amongst the old houses of the fort, and take a peek inside St Aloysius Cathedral. Spend some serious relaxation time in Sri Lanka’s finest spa, before watching the sunset over the fort from the top floor lounge. The perfect end to the ultimate beach escape.
How else to end your journey but by taking a short one hour flight and quick sea plane or speed boat adventure to a private tropical island in the heart of the Maldives? Your tropical bolt-hole Cocoa Island is as chic and luxurious as you can get. This is a truly unique resort where you can enjoy treatments whilst watching manta rays and tropical fish through the windows. Your individual dhoni boat style villa sits on stilts over the clear waters of the lagoon, with endless views stretching out from the private infinity pool over the Indian Ocean, and of the powder white beaches nearby.