MIRISSA AND WELIGAMA, SRI LANKA

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Tucked out of town beyond Weligama on the south coast of Sri Lanka’s beach Mecca, Eraeliya enjoys a truly stunning perspective out onto the Indian Ocean and a privileged position on a pristine stretch of sand cradled in a bay of rugged coastline.

It’s definitely worth getting a room with a view, it costs a little more but there’s nothing better than waking up and looking out onto the waves. What’s more breakfast and dinner, should you choose to eat in, are served in front of your room.

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This is dreamy in the sunshine but if the heavens open, as they have a habit of doing, the lack of a restaurant is extremely impractical. That and a pool bar or somewhere casual to sit in the evening would make all the difference. A few other quibbles… The service is almost there. A couple of oversights served as a reminder that the team is pretty new but nothing so serious as to impact the stay.

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The breakfast and lunch menus are fine but lacking in local options, which I think, is a missed opportunity and the set dinner (I can’t attest to having tried it) but seemed extortionately priced at 3000 Rs. a head. The fundamentals of this hotel are spot on. Tweaks are all it would take to make it truly fantastic.

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What they have hit the nail on the head is the design. Every inch of this hotel exudes luxury. It is a healthy dose of grandeur that carries a reasonable price tag. The vaulted ceilings and chandelier of the villa’s lobby are matched by thoughtful room design that makes the most of local materials.

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There aren’t too many guest rooms here and, unsurprisingly, most are young couples keeping themselves to themselves. It’s the kind of place you could hide away for a honeymoon and spend indulgent days doing very little.

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Other than enjoying each other’s company, tourist attractions are pretty limited. Weligama isn’t particularly tourist-centric. You can find surf shacks dotted along the beach if that’s what floats your boat but otherwise you’ll struggle for amusement.

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Along the coast is Mirissa which has a little more to offer in the way of restaurants and, I’m guessing, in peak season, nightlife. In September the vibe was definitely more sedate but none the less pleasant.

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In the off-season the sea is really rather rough and the weather can be temperamental. We were lucky to have wonderful weather bar some storms in the evening and from Mirissa beach you are in a prime spot to watch the weather and the waves roll in. There are other advantages to travelling here in off-season; happy hours are everywhere and are seriously elongated (4 hour cocktail happy hour offering cocktails for £1.50).

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One stop on the beach worth a visit is Zephyr restaurant where we had the most spectacular salt and pepper cuttlefish you’re ever likely to find. They make a mean cocktail too but prices are higher than elsewhere on the stretch.

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Another beach bar that I couldn’t recommend enough is the Nissan hotel and bar for the simple reason that it served up one of my favourite meals of the trip – coconut roti with dhal and pol sambol. So, so simple but truly delicious, even more so with waves lapping around your ankles!

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