PRICE: Punchy but doesn’t blow the budget
The Sri Lanka boutique hotel scene has gone from strength to strength in recent years and yet the far-flung East Coast has somehow been slow to catch on to this booming trend. But that has now all changed with the opening of Karpaha Sands with its 17 luxurious tents nestled amongst a coconut and palmyrah plantation on deserted Kalkudah beach. It’s so paradisiacal, pristine and perfect, you’d be forgiven, when watching the purple sun rise over the Bay of Bengal, for thinking you might just have caught a glimpse of Man Friday.
Intimate and chic, Karpaha Sands has been organically sculpted into its lush tropical environment. Thatched roofs, local ironstone and the khaki hues of the beautifully appointed air-conditioned tents blend seamlessly together to create a low-key footprint. Add to this a sensational beachfront infinity pool and 15km of uninterrupted beach and you’ll think you’ve washed up in cast-away heaven.
Design and creativity run through the sun-kissed pores of this luxurious rustic retreat. As you wander around the extensive grounds, you’ll notice various objet d’art that adorn plinths and walls, showcasing local and international artists. Inside the spacious tents, you’ll discover bespoke furniture, driftwood tables and furnishings from Bali and Thailand. The bathrooms are no less beautiful, with huge stone basins and outdoor showers.
Due to its remote location, Karpaha Sands is a place to hole up and take time out from the frenetic world. Fortunately, the food is divine, drawing most of its inspiration from local Tamil cuisine. You’ll also discover a range of Sinhala dishes, as well as decent Western food often with a French twist. Most ingredients are organic and the seafood is sourced from the very fishermen who haul in their nets on Kalkudah beach.
Karpaha Sands does not yet have an alcohol licence. Guests are encouraged to bring their own drinks especially spirits and wine from duty-free or more populated parts of the island. Local shops sell alcohol in Passikudah but the choice is very limited
On your doorstep
ot very much! Kalkuda beach’s arc of perfect sand is well down the road less travelled. The main beach of Passikudah is a 15min drive away and there you’ll find hotels, restaurants and watersports.