A Beachfront Resort Sets the Bar High

Basics

Now that long-divided Sri Lanka has achieved peace after a 30-year civil war (it ended in 2009), hotel developers are rushing in to capitalize on the country’s pristine Indian Ocean beaches and tropical jungles, stately Colonial-era architecture and Buddhist temples. While smaller luxury hotels are cropping up on the island nation, Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort, which opened in December 2015, is the country’s first full-blown waterfront resort: a sprawling but graceful compound of 152 rooms and villas, a spa, beach cabanas and infinity pools. Its third restaurant, Verele, opened in October, raising the chic factor considerably.

Location

The resort sits on a 21-acre former coconut plantation, just outside the fishing village of Tangalle on Sri Lanka’s southeastern coast. Several of the region’s main attractions, including the walled colonial city of Galle (home to elegant cafes, art galleries, and boutiques) and the temple complex at Wevurukannala (where a gold-painted, 160-foot-high Buddha statue looms above surrounding village rooftops), are within an hour-and-a-half drive of the property.

The Room