Beautiful Beaches. Stunning Location – Jungle Beach Resort
Nestled amongst the tropical mangroves of the Kuchchaveli beach, almost 4 kilometres past the popular Nilaweli strip, is a veritable haven called the Jungle Beach Resort.
Not even the harsh unrelenting sun or the strong katchaan winds could spoil the beauty of this Resort which is new to this stretch of beach that still remains unspoiled and undiscovered.
From the entrance which leads through shrub jungle to the reception made out of natural wood, I would never have guessed what an awesome place this is. The warm traditional welcome by the staff was just the beginning to an incredibly hospitable weekend.
Having refreshed ourselves on cold towels and iced fresh fruit juices, we were led through a long open wooden passage, built into the existing foliage that leads to a deck in the centre of the property. My first thought was, is this actually the East coast?
What is fascinating is the manner in which architect Dhani Rajapakse blends the natural foliage into the structure. The deck, it turns out, is the signature dining area which gives us a perfect view of the sea a couple of hundred yards away.
Our Jungle South Room No. 9 is a typical chalet facing the sea yet secluded by the mangroves. The en suite bathroom, posh in the inside with an open air shower blends perfectly with nature. The room has a well stocked mini bar, cable TV, a basket of fresh fruit, and an ipod player. In the closet are colourful flip flops to wear to the beach along with beach towels. A note, signed by the Manager, welcomes us to the Resort and wishes us a pleasant stay.
Despite the heat of the day, we decide to take a stroll along this endless beach. With many a blissful childhood holiday spent on these beaches, I was excited to be back. The decades of conflict have prevented visitors to this part of the country and the beaches remain untouched and are strewn with a million sea shells of every shape and size. I was like a child in a candy store as I sifted and sorted for my collection of memorabilia of trips to the coast. Needless to say, the seas are calm and irresistible. We dove in and spent the next couple of hours enjoying the solitude in these gin clear waters. Apart from an occasional fishing boat, there is absolutely no one around for miles.
Back at the chalet, the open air shower was perfect to wash away the sand and salt and we are ready for lunch. Having visited and experienced many such Resorts, I am amazed at the food served here. Eight dishes of the most delicious curries prepared by Chef Vichalya are mouthwateringly good and we sated our hunger unashamedly.
This heavenly property, the second in the Uga Resort chain, has 48 chalets located across 10 acres of heavily wooded foliage that offers complete privacy to the guests. The wind blowing through the trees is music to the ears. The bird life adds to its beauty in song and sight. A pool is situated off the bar and is designed to blend in with the décor.
Monty Ariyaratne, the affable Front Office Manager wants to show us something special. In the far corner of the property is the most secluded ‘jungle cluster’ of three chalets built into the natural foliage with a private pool set in the middle. Also in this setting are hammocks, lie-lows and natural boulders which add to the scenery. To give these guests complete privacy, the Resort offers personalized service which is ideal for a private party of up to 10 guests. Apparently, this same service is available at the other chalets as well. I make a mental note to reserve this for my next visit.
That night, sitting on the deck, the special lighting effects around us, a sky full of stars, it was simply surreal. Later on, we feasted sinfully on jumbo prawns and roasted lamb which was served by staff whose courteous and engaging manner made the meal that much better.
By the way, it is worthwhile engaging Martin, the friendly steward in conversation. His wealth of information of the surrounding areas and his charming personality adds colour to his commentary.
Unlike other beach front properties, the lush foliage offers shade throughout the day and the many nature trails gives us the chance to explore. Soon, sports such as snorkelling, skiing, sailing and scuba diving will be available to guests. A Spa, a gym and a music bar will be added along with the conference room which will be perfect for off-site corporate brainstorming sessions.
Thankfully, the Jungle Beach Resort does not adhere to strict mealtimes and instead, guests can decide when and where they want to dine and wine. The next morning, we rise early to watch and listen to the birds. An unusual sighting of the White Rumped Shama (Copsychus malabaricus) added to a perfect start to our day. We have our breakfast well past 10 am.
They say time flies when one is having fun and soon it is time to pack up and leave. As we reluctantly say our good byes to this Resort and its friendly in-house management, Roshan Dylan, the Resort Manager hands us a basket of cookies and bottled water to have on our long drive back home. This is another unique concept of the Resort as they bid farewell to another satisfied guest.
As we start the jeep, I silently promise to return. One can never get enough of places like this that makes a Sri Lankan destination worth the time and travel.