I was in the Southwest of Sri Lanka, traveling along the coastal road. I explored the area around Hikkaduwa and visited the historical city of Galle while I spent one night in the Hikka Tranz by Cinnamon Hotel.
I had a long day walking around the fortification of Galle, a UNESCO World heritage site, which has been a fort around a unique old town standing across the ocean. There was a watchtower standing by the gate to the city. The city’s alleys were lively and electric, filled by the noise of children playing football. The older men were sitting by the shops chatting or hanging around or praying inside the mosque. I saw a large group of women who were coming out of a Muslim cultural centre after a gathering or talk. There were also a large crowd of locals and tourists walking along the coastline.
Galle, like many other cities in Sri Lanka is a multi-faith city, with a 300 hundred year old magnificent mosque called Meeran Jumma Masjid, several churches including All Saint’s church built in 1871 and the 17th century Dutch Reformed Church, and Shri Sudharmalaya Buddhist Temple built in 1889. The Lighthouse built in 1848 is another important landmark of Galle, it’s the oldest lighthouse in Sri Lanka.
We had to travel about 45 miles from Galle by the expressway to reach my hotel. I arrived in the evening at the Cinnamon Bey Beruwala. I was greeted with a white cloth to cool me down, followed by a refreshing tropical drink. It was nice to experience another stylish Cinnamon Hotel. As I sat in the large reception area while my check-in was being processed, I could quickly feel the sense of luxury prevalent in this hotel. I was escorted to my Superior room, which comprised a private balcony overlooking the swimming pool. The bed was decorated with leaves, a welcome note and a small elephant towel sculpture.
It was a dark night and very quiet outside. I stood in the balcony listening to the waves of the ocean and feeling the silent breeze. The smooth lights around the resort created a pretty reflection on the palm trees and the blue of the pool.
The vibrant decor throughout the hotel is influenced by Arabic and Turkish motifs featured in frames, artworks and mosaics, inspired from the Muslim settlers who landed on the Island around the 7th century. I walked down to the open-air lounge leading to a large swimming pool. It was a grand space landscaped with green plants, a little pool with a fountain complemented a dinning and bar area. From there it is only a short walk to reach the beach to sit and watch the ocean as the waves hit the shore and fade away.
I entered the Bufe, a large and high ceiling buffet restaurant, lined up with a variety of delicious Sri Lankan and international dishes. There is so much to choose from – the buffet plus the option of getting Shawarma and BBQ kebabs from cooking stands, with delicious salads and desserts in a separate room.
There are also the Fire restaurant and the Raw seafood bar-restaurant plus Mezze, a Lebanese terrace restaurant, which offers many choices from the tapas menu. My favourite restaurant is Rock Salt, which is an innovative and unique concept where you choose your ingredients and cook your own meal on a hot stone at your table. I was offered a chef’s hat while the table was prepared for my cooking experience. I prepared slices of local fish and vegetables on a stone heated to 400-degree C: great care is needed! I used the olive oil and a variety of spices to complement my dish. It was a very satisfactory experience indeed. My night was made by another surprise, as I was served a nicely decorated dessert in a clear glass balloon.
In the morning, I strolled around the resort and I found myself in a tropical garden landscaped by palm trees facing the ocean. In a quiet corner surrounded by walls covered with tropical green leaves and flowers, there was a gym and a beautiful complex equipped with six rooms for SPA treatments plus sauna and steam rooms. The Azmaara Spa Company manages the facilities and provides professional staff to pamper you and make your holiday a memorable rejuvenation. The resort has also badminton and volleyball courts for more sporty guests.
The Cinnamon Bey Beruwala with 200 Superior, Deluxe rooms and suites combined with a warm and charming atmosphere is designed for your joy, wellbeing and health: it’s an opulent experience beyond one’s imagination. The hotel provides an exclusive area for those guests who wish to have more privacy. The 28 deluxe rooms are located in the Deluxe Wing with a dedicated swimming pool, restaurant and bar. The hotel has also the Kutlama banquet ballroom, a vast hall in which to hold events, conferences, exhibitions and weddings.
If you wish to leap into an adventure, there are plenty of opportunities from a variety of water sports, surfing and Scuba diving to nature trails and Safari trips. Alternatively, you can visit the nearby Mask Museum, Tsunami memorials and museums. You can always get advice from the staff in the hotel, who are happy to organize excursions and activities for guests.
I enjoyed my visit to Beruwala Harbour, one of the main fishing hubs on the western coast of Sri Lanka, where hundreds of colourful fishing boats are anchored. It was an intriguing sight to watch workers who returned from sailing, unloading their catch after another day of fishing. It was a strong smelling place filled with a variety of fresh and dried fish. The visitors need to pay a fee to enter the harbour area.
There are a number of churches, mosques and temples in Beruwala. I visited Saint Lazarus Roman Catholic Church built on 1926 located near the harbour. I was also thrilled to visit Ketchimale Mosque and Masjid ul Abrar, the oldest mosques in Sri Lanka. Masjid ul Abrar believed to have been built in 920 AD by early Muslim settlers. The white Ketchimale Mosque built in 1024 AD stands magnificently monumental like a gem marvelled on a rock by the ocean overlooking Beruwala Harbour. it is recognised by local people for its miracles and has the reputation of being a holy shrine not only for Muslims but also with Christians and Buddhists.
One of the most incredible temples in Beruwala is the Buddhist temple of Bentota Kande Viharaya built in 1734 on the top of a hill. The giant 48m-height statue of a sitting Buddha is a major landmark in the region. There are several other smaller temples behind the statue where devotees gather to offer their donations and bless their fruits.
The Cinnamon Bey Beruwala located in Moragolla, Beruwala, only 35 Miles away from Colombo, is an ideal place to relax and enjoy your holiday with many opportunities to explore all the nearby attractions.
Sri Lankan Airlines flight from London Heathrow Airport to Colombo.
For more information about Sri Lanka, visit Official UK Travel Guide for the Sril Lanka.
To view more about the Cinnamon Bey Beruwala and book your next stay, visit Cinnamon Hotels.
To see more of Reza’s images of the hotel and Sri Lanka, go to www.amirinia.com/sri-lanka
Silver Travel Advisor recommends Tropical Sky for trips to Sri Lanka.
Images © Mohammed Reza Amirinia