Sun, Sand and Sea – Amethyst Resort
Described as one of Sri Lanka’s most beautiful beaches and listed as one of the world’s top beaches, Pasikuda was my destination for the Wesak weekend. With economic development in full throttle in the East coast, I was looking forward to seeing the changes in this part of the country.
With good road surface and little traffic in the early hours of Saturday, we made it to the newest hotel on the Pasikuda strip- the Amethyst Resort. The usual hustle and bustle of ongoing construction was evident despite the religious weekend. Large pandols and decorations were evident in the Eastern province as were the numerous ‘dansalas’ along the way, vying for attention from motorists.
But we were impatient to get to the sun, sand and sea. Five hours later, we were at the Amethyst Resort. The long, cobbled driveway is imposing and very posh. As we alight from the vehicle, smiling staff greet us with the traditional Ayubowan and the Hindu greeting of aarthi, where a plate with a flame and vermillion is moved in a clockwise direction and saffron is daubed on our foreheads.
A quick check in and we are led down the path, over a bridge to our room. The bridge connects the rooms from the main area which is divided by a natural river. The Amethyst may be the only property along the Pasikuda stretch to have a river running through its property. Needless to say, this is a perfect selling point as any one of its 40 rooms will definitely have either the sea view or the river view. Young and chatty bellboy, Nilojan tells me I am lucky to have the only room with sea view and river front. He also informed me that I might see a crocodile on the banks of this river.
A quick lunch, and cat nap and we were ready to jump into the sea. And as always, not surprisingly, the water was warm, calm and simply heavenly. Added to the wonder of the evening was the overhanging ‘perigree moon’ which is also known as the ‘super moon’ and considered to be 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than other full Moons of 2012. Gazing at this moon whilst submerged in the sea was idyllic.
The next day, with a packed breakfast, we were off in a boat to a dive site. Twenty minutes into the deep sea and a very adept fisherman guided us to an old shipwreck from World War 2. Whilst I opted to bide my time in the boat, my partner jumped overboard to explore the wreck. One hour later, we were back in the Resort in time for lunch. Although the pool looked tempting in the baking heat of the East coast, we opted to take refuge in the cool and comfortable Barrel- the large Mediterranean-styled pub and Karaoke bar which apparently doubles into a conference room when needed. The Barrel was screening a movie that held the attention of a couple of children and the bar was ‘dry’ due to the Wesak observations.
That afternoon, we convinced another local fisherman to take us to the reef where we spent an exciting hour snorkeling and photographing the wonders of the ocean. The coral reefs, as always, hold a fascinating kaleidoscope of color and creation that surpasses all imagination.
If you have wanderlust for sun, sand and sea, Pasikuda is by far one of the best places to visit. The pristine clear waters and the miles of sand still remain clean despite the crowds of bathers from nearby towns. Some enterprising bathers have brought their own tents which they have set up on the beach to escape the scorching sun. Others, oblivious to the blazing heat, frolic in the waters whilst a boom box blasts the latest local tunes to add to the cacophony. But this is all a part of the enjoyment and the fun continues until late evening.
Back at Amethyst, we sit outside our room facing the sea. The indolent full moon hangs above us like an over ripened melon. The gentle ripple of the river can be heard above the occasional crash of a wayward wave that ruffles the stillness of the sea. The giant pool fondly referred to as the Kool Pool is lit with pinprick LED lights that glow like the stars shining up above. A fountain of colored lights set in the middle of the river offer a show for us visitors as we cross the bridge to the Taprobane Restaurant for our meals. We stop on the bridge hoping for a glimpse of that crocodile….
Before we go in for dinner we pause awhile on the Sunset Deck, overlooking the river, to take in the aura of the evening. It truly is a wonderful evening.
One of the best features about the Amethyst is the hospitality of its staff. From the courteous assistant F& B Manager Nilan Goonetilleke to his band of friendly and well trained staff, they are ever willing to help or offer a word of advice or information. Music provided by a calypso band wafted through the balmy evening.
The Amethyst is very child-friendly and designed with ramps to accommodate the differently abled. The rooms, equipped with modern amenities have an uncommon feature- an ipod player. Rod Stewart and Lionel Richie added a soothing ambiance to a perfect setting for a perfect weekend.