This Sri Lankan retreat has everything a family could possibly need
Words Dani Wilson
Overlooking the pristine southern coast of stunning Sri Lanka, Shangri-La’s Hambantota Resort & Spa is located along the ancient Spice Route in a city steeped in rich history.
Hambantota is known for its natural beauty and wildlife, and allows visitors to explore Asia’s most fascinating nature sanctuaries, including the Yala, Udawalawe, Lunugamvehera and Bundala National Parks.
The luxury resort spans 58.8 hectares, making it the largest resort in Sri Lanka, and boasts 300 spacious rooms, including 21 suites, all surrounded by stunning tropical gardens. It is home to an 18-hole golf course, an expansive spa and an artisan village that celebrates local arts and crafts.
Once we arrived, the children were blown away by the variety of activities on offer; as parents we were impressed with the incredible manicured grounds. The huge swimming pool boasts a waterfall, and there is also a baby water park area and a kids pool with two large water slides: we loved this area because the water was shallow enough for my smallest to stand in. Twice daily the circus school allowed children to climb a 7m high trapeze. The staff were very cautious of safety and were extremely hands-on and supportive while assisting the kids, and it was an incredible activity for them to try!
The kids club also kept the little ones entertained every afternoon which was a perfect way for them to take few hours out of the sun. The staff were very patient, kind and friendly. Daily activities included arts and crafts, sports and a soft play area. As the hotel is less than a year old all the facilities and equipment were new.
GOLF AND SPA
On the opposite side of the kids area was the CHI spa which has talented therapists and wonderful outdoor relaxing area. If you book the family package the hotels offers free 90 minute massages which was ideal for a little R&R time.
Also on this side of the hotel was a 30 metre sunset pool where most guests without children relaxed and enjoyed the stunning views of the beach. I personally loved the food tuk tuks, which roamed around offering drinks and desserts to guests.
For golf lovers, the resort is home to Sri Lanka’s premier 18-hole golf course which is set amid a vast coconut palm plantation, and offers absolutely spectacular views. The beautifully landscaped par-70 course takes you on a memorable golf experience through three landscaped zones, each with its own unique character.
Guests need not worry about tiring of the food there are so many different options to choose from: our children loved the all-day dining and I have to high five the hotel as every day they offered a kids buffet on children’s character plates at a height where the children could serve themselves -and they all loved the independence this offered.
An hour’s drive from the hotel was a wonderful Elephant Safari tour at the Udawalawe National Park, which lies on the boundary of Sabaragamuwa and Uva Provinces. Tours take a total of 5 hours; you can choose to visit for the morning or the afternoon.
We all came away agreeing that the Shangri La Hambantota was a perfect family destination: we managed to relax and the children were constantly entertained. The staff were really friendly and the service was fantastic.
Guests can fly into Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport, which is 35km away from the resort, or Emirates flies direct to Bandaranaike Intl Airport in Colombo, and then it’s roughly a 3-hour drive to the resort.
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