Rediscovering My Love Affair with Sri Lanka – A Cocoon for Intimate Weddings

Written by weddingfables 31 Jul 2017
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Wedding panner extraordinaire and Creative Director at Rabbaz, Nancy Kohli was floored to have experienced the hospitality fit for the royals at Shangri-la's Hambantota, Resort & Spa

My second visit to Sri Lanka in June 2017 re-ignited my love for its irresistible blend of sunny tropical waves, magical realism, affair with virgin beaches, warmest people, friendliest wildlife and aromatic flavours. Exemplarily organised and planned by the graciously charming Aarti Thapa of www.weddingfables.com, this particular wedding planner’s #FamTrip2017 was indeed a rare indulgence. Especially because the south coast of Sri Lanka was beaming with warm-heartedness of an enchanting island called Hambantota, the picturesque home of spanking new Shangri-la's Hambantota, Resort & Spa. Finding such a rare gem in the jewel-shaped country of Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka, was actually metaphorically fetching! (more on that later)

Zip, Zap, Zoom Luxury of Sri Lankan Airlines

We started our Sri Lankan escapade from New Delhi with the highly reliable and pleasant travel experience of Sri Lankan airlines. From exploring the ample leg-space glory to relishing in-flight movies to rightfully adhering to 30 kgs of luggage allowance, the airline provides convenient connections to its global route network of 100 destinations in 47 countries – a stats that will befit the global wedding guests, the planner in me reckons. The moment we landed, we were graced by the energetic team of Haley Tours. Energetic because actively attending to our fancy of currency exchange to beverage refreshments at 12:00 pm at night was surely a reflection of how your wedding guests are in the most helpful hands. All gratitude to Rowan Asirwantham, General Manager, Hayley Tours for sending the best of his team to be our travel companions –Ravindra with his two assistants who were forbearing enough to cater to all of our new-city inquisitiveness and (un)timely ride requests.

We were then all ready to brace our 6-hour road journey to reach our idyllic destination - Shangri-la's Hambantota, Resort & Spa.

A New Level of Enchantment Discovered at Shangri-la's Hambantota, Resort & Spa

Yes, we reached there at 5:00 am in the morning; yes, we were greeted by the warm ‘Ayubuwan’ of Dinu Widanagamage, Events Executive and her staff members; yes, we were spoilt rotten with food choices from the minute we entered the humongous 58.8 hectares area; yes, the food choices in the room were addictively luxurious; but, it was all just a tease compared to the lifetime of memories our next three days had to offer.

Feel the resort with its flirty sea wind here

It's a fine relaxing place

The romance of the spa in all its freshness is something you can stay away from 

Finger-lickin’ Food Porn at Shangri-la's Hambantota, Resort & Spa

Backed with 2,000+ years of rich cultural heritage, one cannot deny that the food at Sri Lanka is to die for! But Shangri-la's Hambantota, Resort & Spa food was literally like dying, relishing the slice of heaven, and them coming back for more! Right from the stunning Sera, inspired by the famous hawker stalls of Southeast Asia to Ulpatha doubling as the resort's Golf Club House and the centre for sporting, social and recreational gatherings; our breakfast and lunch spread were uniquely Sri Lankan. I was slack-jawed at the discovery of hoppers, think crape-like waffles infused with coconut milk and spices and crisped into a bowl shape to hold fried eggs. And that is not yet the best part of them. What’s more? Have them plain, or with egg, or treat them like bread to soak into the juicy goodness of moistest and juiciest mutton stew or simply gobble them down as a hungover snack – it is indeed one of the most universally appealing palate-pampering dishes, which makes for a perfect pick-me-up snack for your wedding guests. 

If you thought lunches bowled me over, then you haven’t yet heard about Shangri-la's Hambantota, Resort & Spa’s fine dining Masterchef-quality dinner treats. From the placement of micro herbs to making us devour the choicest of wine varieties to floral decoration fit for a royal dinner to exquisite mouth-watering taste of each and every locally sourced ingredient; the two back-to-back dinners organised for us under the canopy of twinkling stars and against the backdrop of flirty beach waves, accompanied by cultural song and dance, were completely mesmerising.

Scenes from the wildlife safari: The lion fools around with his buddy

Shangri-la's Hambantota, Resort & Spa: A Property with a Large Heart

Championing in size and recreational overdose, it is unarguably one of the largest resorts in Sri Lanka. It is a perfect wedding getaway where guests can relish in the lap of 300 spacious rooms luxury, including 21 suites, all surrounded by stunning tropical gardens. Home to an 18-hole golf course, two expansive spas and an artisan village that celebrates local arts and crafts, the resort is an escape into the tranquillity, far away from the hustle-bustle of the city life.

With the natural beauty surrounding the area, a wedding at Shangri-La’s Hambantota Golf Resort & Spa is the ideal place to tie the knot. In addition to the main ballroom, the resort boasts five conference rooms that are excellent for conventions and meetings. The resort also offers themed weddings inspired by amazing destinations. Families are given a warm welcome at the resort with a range of services designed especially for them. The Cool Zone Kids Club is open every day and there are plenty of other activities to keep younger guests happy with a 7m high trapeze, a drone flying area, outdoor water park, childrens' pool and childcare facilities.

Who wouldn't want to get married here

Maestros of Dream-Like Magic of Shangri-la's Hambantota, Resort & Spa

This scenic escapade wouldn’t have been possible without the efforts of our gracious host, ChandimaWickremasinghe, Director Sales, Shangri-La Hambantota, Resort and spa. The beauty of your hotel doesn’t quite lie in the vastness of its space, colonial architecture, beach-facing rooms or free-form lagoon pool, but in the infectious smile and cooperative spirit of your 24*7 staff availability. The sense of being home away from home was only possible because of you and your remarkable staff!

The Kingsbury Hotel, Colombo is Designed to Create a Lullaby of Splendour

Dripping in the imperialistic vibe that gives you pure vintage feels; our next two days were spent at The Kingsbury Hotel, Colombo. Embracing us with modern warmth and classic design elements, the rooms and suites of the hotel feature the latest amenities, including rich Frette linen and BVLGARI cosmetics. Basically, of all things contemporary, exuberant and luxurious!

Here, I would also like to show my heartfelt appreciation to Rowan Asirwantham, General Manager, Hayley Tours, for being our trusted partner on every step of our voyage. We, Indian wedding planners, cannot wait to amalgamate our synergies together and immortalise big, fat Indian wedding with apt amount of Sri Lankan magic.

At the scene of a wedding during our travel

Indian Wedding Can be Celebrated in a Grand Way at Sri Lanka

Twice bitten by the awe-inspiring beauty of this wonderland called Sri Lanka, I can safely say that Indian weddings can not only just be executed, but celebrated in a grand way here. An ocean-surrounded city, Sri Lanka has an irresistible magic spell where people across different cultures, traditions, age groups and social strata can relish so many activities. Track down yourfavourite beach. Mediate in a 2,000-year-old Buddha temple. Exchange greetings with warm and accompanying people of mellow village. Marvel at the joy of elephants feasting on grassy shores. Shop your heart out for those quirky souvenirs. Dance your way to the live singing of jazz clubs. Wander past colonial gems. Sri Lanka might be small but it packs a powerful punch. Sri Lanka is in the midst of a building boom, and is a constant reminder of the amounts of gems this country has to offer. Sri Lanka, yourrich aquamarine-hued sky and seas truly bewitched me, yet again.  

Last, but I’m afraid, never the least, million kisses and zillion hugs to ARATI THAPA– the brain and heart behind WeddingFables – for organising this 5-day momentous trip, which is truly etched in our memories forever. The way you thoughtfully planned each and every well-spaced itinerary detail and arranged for meaningful meetings with various eminent honchos of Sri Lankan wedding fraternity; you were the real reason behind the grand success of our #FamTrip2017. Thank YOU! Big LOVE always!

Stay happy and keep travelling :) says author of this article Nancy Kohli

 

 

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