Sri Lanka is one of the most pinnacle countries that comes to mind when we dream of our next trip to a place where we can immerse ourselves in exotic wonder. This country is enriched with a culture that spans thousands of years and embedded within that is a deep connection to spirituality and the environment; from natural wildlife, tea and cinnamon plantations, and lush palm trees taller than the eye can see. Nestled in this paradise is a sustainable hotel with a core message and way of operating that jives with AMARA’s own modus operandi in living a clean lifestyle on both a spiritual and physical level- Tri Lanka.
Robert Drummond is the designer and owner of Tri Lanka, who worked closely with architects to build this dream into a reality over two and half years ago. By chance, I met with Robert and he spoke so authentically about his desire to commit to a sustainable design. He also creatively built his vision from living on the land in a mud hut for years before committing to manifesting his dreamy design. Tri Lanka is owned by a beautiful humble human who brings minimalist design, sensory experiences in nature and travel moments that are eco-chic in the most spectacular way possible. In Robert’s own words, his manifesto behind Tri Lanka is as follows:
“Create more, consume less; embrace every opportunity to learn and improve; be innovative and committed; inspire others to positive change; always look to nature – that is our philosophy”
Tri- Lanka’s eco-philosophy is where sustainability meets luxury. By offering us new ideas and ways to be conscious of how we travel and integrating those aspects into our daily lives back home in order to continue a pattern of mindfulness and care for the environment. For travelers interested in visiting destinations where a focus on being eco and spiritually friendly is present and a common practice, Tri Lanka is one of loveliest eco boutique properties to explore.
Sustainability is not only part of the building process. Since the beginning, avoiding plastic consumption in every possible way to reduce the use of plastic and single-use materials in the daily runnings of the hotel is the mandate. Two of the largest world polluters are completely absent and replaced with long-term eco solutions. Plastic straws and plastic bottles have never been used and creative solutions are consumed continually. Bamboo trees on the property are the clever solution for straws in drinks and a delight to enjoy any cool beverage. Drinkable water is produced on the property by a water filtration system, as well as reusable glass bottles. The result- fresh tasty elixirs in cute, eco-friendly glasses and straws.
Building Tri Lanka practices principles of sustainability in real terms. All building materials are Sri Lankan and every possible measure was taken to source local materials to build with and avoid importing from other countries in order to minimize impact. Recycled jack wood from jackfruit trees is sourced for all windows, door frames, wooden cupboards, and all structural wood. The gorgeous blue wall panels in the poolside lounge area is all recycled wood with tints of various aqua blues that one would think have been painted, yet these pastels are from found wood that has been stripped down.
Tri Lanka is a full sensory experience; harmony in nature, minimalist geometry and symmetry culminate together throughout the property. Here, one truly feels transported into surroundings of calm and peacefulness. At Tri Lanka, you are among the presence of a myriad of plants, trees, animals, and over 51 species of birds that live in harmony and freely on this land. Peppered along the property are natural herbs; you can pluck a piece of lemongrass or rub down a piece of cinnamon wood which is some of the freshest cinnamon you will ever encounter. Walking around the property in the presence of cashew, mango and jackfruit trees, coconut and tea all inhabit this lush green ecosystem - a tasty paradise.
The golden ratio was the code in which all decisions and planning were based on. No trees were disturbed in the building of any of the 11 spaces where guests can stay. On top of every villa is a green roof to invite the species that may have been slightly disrupted in the building of the properties back into the landscape. Living walls, green roofs, 100 percent recycled wood and entirely local materials unify accommodations with the extraordinary landscape.
Although staying on Tea Plantations is a familiar landscape on one's journey through Sri Lanka, Tri Lanka is a unique location in that it offers guests the experience of staying on an old cinnamon plantation. Considering Sri Lanka exports 90 percent of the world's cinnamon, staying on a repurposed cinnamon plantation offers guests a different perspective of the local history. The cinnamon trees are ever present while the older cinnamon wood is repurposed into the design on the external surface of all the buildings.
During my stay, I was able to enjoy the water towers in which the entire surface is cinnamon sticks and I loved the symmetry and circular designs of the external building and within the room itself. Outside the round tower building, fractions of light stream through the 360-degree panoramic view from your room. Cinnamon sticks frame the outside structure, green leafy vines peak through and this creates the most playful light coming through the windows in the room with views of both sunrise and sunset. The rooftop patio offers windy breezes, dreamy sunsets and gorgeous landscapes to savour.
The famous IG pool may draw you into Tri Lanka initially, certainly, these travel photos inspired my journey to visit. Yet as you immerse yourself further into this landscape, the quiet secluded inland spot with the largest lake in Sri Lanka whisks you away to an unforgettable space of ease and tranquility.
The beautiful pool of symmetry and grace is by far one of the best pools I have ever swam in. The soft reflection of the single palm tree is a famous photo that is spread all over Instagram accounts of influencers and travelers of leisure. Yet diving into this pool is where the real magic and sensory experience can be found. Divided into four gradual levels of depth mirroring the landscape beside the pool, you can swim into the deep eight-foot depth. Every detail is complimentary, the tile gives this natural feeling, unlike any other pool. Plus the deep end in night gradually fades into darkness with varying degrees of light. The palm trees strong presence perfectly reflects into the pool waters. This pool has one of the only imported materials, a special tile made in Bali called Sukumbi, a Balinese cement tile, which was selected for the natural feeling it gives in texture, light, and sensation when swimming.
For vagabonds and worldly travelers looking saturate their mind, body, and spirit in natural beauty, I highly recommend visiting. You’ll have the best experience there during offseason on the Southern Coast, during June or July as this is when the property is the least crowded and room prices are lowest. This is the monsoon season in Sri Lanka however aside from some showers and winds, it’s a lovely and peaceful time to visit. Take a chance, see the world and the beauty it is covered with.