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By Jody McCutcheon
In a place where land meets water and sugar meets spice, the idea of sustainable luxury seems apropos. The elegant, earthy Tri Lanka resort inhabits Sri Lanka’s cinnamon heartland, nestled on the bucolic shores of Koggala Lake, the country’s largest natural body of fresh water.
Created by award-winning eco-architect Raefer Wallis of A00 Architects, Tri Lanka opened in December 2015, and caters to those seeking adventures of both mind and body. Start with a layout inspired by the Golden Ratio, and you’ll begin to understand that the resort represents an intersection of breathtaking nature and creative intelligence.
Eight fully detached suites spiral out from the central point of a hilltop water tower, with another three suites housed atop the water tower, or Main House. This Main House offers multi-level living spaces, including a lounge, sunbathing terraces and a 360-degree rooftop viewing deck. Indoor and outdoor dining areas occupy the lower level. The other eight suites also variously include private gardens, lakeside terraces, private pools and sunrise views.
If you’re feeling social, you can leave your own personal slice of heaven and enjoy a swim in the 21m, cantilevered infinity pool in the common area, or enjoy any of the sumptuous dining experiences Tri Lanka offers. Gourmet meals are made from produce selected from the property’s edible gardens as well as from locally sourced organic foods, especially raw and foraged, with minimal use of meat. With the coast being only a couple kilometres away, you’ll enjoy fresh seafood aplenty, delicately spiced with a light Indian touch.
Apart from fueling the body, Tri Lanka offers plenty of activities to occupy the mind and spirit, too. Do a morning meditation or yoga session in the treetop yogashala, or relax with an array of Ayurvedic and other holistic treatments in the stunning spa. As blissful as the hotel is, it would be a shame not to spend a day soaking up local culture at one of the area’s many museums, galleries, temples, tea plantations, boutiques and restaurants.
If you’d rather stay put and expand your mind, visit the resort’s glass-walled library. There, surrounded by beautiful natural scenery, you can read about art, architecture, religion, Sri Lankan history, culture and wildlife. And what’s a lakeside resort without refreshing activities like beach walks, swimming, kayaking, canoeing and even surfing? Whether you plan to relax or be active, Tri Lanka offers an exquisite combination of pleasure and mind-body fitness.
Tri Lanka also strives to co-exist with the land, emphasizing sustainability, favouring creation over consumption. The first hint of this philosophy comes from your silent, minimally invasive boat ride across Koggala Lake as you first approach the resort in its electric boat. A reduced carbon footprint is achieved through close monitoring of water usage and electricity consumption. Rainwater channels, water gardens and swales minimize erosion and harvest rainwater for landscaping and gardens, while solar photovoltaic panels and arrays harvest sunlight. The use of energy-efficient appliances and LED lighting further minimizes energy use. Furthermore, LED lighting treads lightly on the surrounding biotic community.
Need more examples of eco-gentleness? Tri Lanka is (rather incredibly!) totally free of plastic and chemicals. The pools use ionizing filters, eliminating the need for chlorine or other pollutants in the water. Building materials are locally sourced, including the suites’ wooden accents fashioned from local, recycled Jak wood; pebble-wash finish from on-site construction sand; and granite flooring, pathways and shower walls from nearby quarries.
The resort places a premium on indigenous flora and fauna. A commitment to reversing habitat degradation helps preserve forested land, while native creepers and other local plants comprise living walls and green roofs.
But don’t take my word for it – visit Sri Lanka’s cinnamon heartlands to experience the pleasure yourself, and feel no eco-guilt in doing so. Apart from your total comfort, the only other thing Tri Lanka is completely concerned with is caring for the environment it is situated in.