Last year, blushing bride-to-be Fiona Kerr, editor of Brides Magazine’s annual Honeymoon Guide faced a huge dilemma. Where to go on her own honeymoon?
Here’s part one of her honeymoon story.
A trip to remember – the honeymoon part 1: Sri Lanka
Editing Brides Honeymoon Guide means I spend much of my days looking at pictures of ridiculously-perfect white sand beaches, tropical villas that are bigger than my entire flat in London and dreamy resorts in every far-flung corner of the earth. It takes all the willpower in the world, and the lack of money in my bank account, to stop me running for Heathrow on a daily basis.
There is one time, however, you have every excuse to go crazy and splash the cash on that dream trip, and that’s your honeymoon. But how do you decide where to go for this ‘once in a lifetime trip’? The answer is it’s not easy – in the end it comes down to a question of when you’re going, how much or little you want to do, the b-word (budget) and a lot of advice from experts, like the well-traveled experts at Scott Dunn. And maybe a bit of compromise – my husband Peter would have had me camping on a walking vacation if he had had his way.
So we decided to mix a bit of action-adventure on an amazing Himalayan experience with Shakti Ladakh, with a more conventional week by the beach in Sri Lanka for our September honeymoon.
First stop after our flight touches down in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, is Amanwella – near the fishing town of Tangalle on the southeast coast of the island. Our Scott Dunn Sri Lanka expert Susie Reynolds had recommended this and our second stop Kahanda Kanda as two of her favorite hotels on the whole island so we knew to expect great things, and we weren’t disappointed.
A traditional tuk tuk replaces the ubiquitous lux-resort golf buggy to ‘put-put’ us up the hill to our huge glass-door-sided pool villa, one of just 30 that hug the hillside overlooking the perfect golden crescent of Silent Beach.
It was the just after the end of the summer monsoon season so it feel like we almost have the place to ourselves. We would alternate between being served mini-treats by the pool, wandering in the surf on the beach, tucking into amazing (and so it should be, you could see the fishing boats that probably caught it pulled up on the beach just along the bay) seafood at the Beach Club restaurant or working our way through the range of Sri Lankan curries in the main restaurant (and yes, even for breakfast).
Being naturally itchy-footed, one day we’re tempted out of the relaxing confines of the resort, taking a tuk tuk to see local sights – the blowhole at Kudawella, the giant golden Wewurukannala Buddha statue and climbed the 562 steps to the top of the impressive rock temple of Mulkirigala.
From beach to jungle, as we move after four nights back west along the south coast to the boutique hotel Kahanda Kanda, tucked away in the jungle outside the colonial port town of Galle. It’s more like staying in the home of a stylish friend than a hotel (well if you are lucky enough to have friends with homes on tropical islands), with five suites individually decorated by the owner and interior designer George Cooper. Ours is called Tamarind and has a huge terrace looking out over the jungle where we lay on our daybed reading between peacock-spotting as they fly from tree to tree.
A huge lounge area seems to be just ours for playing scrabble and browsing the selection of travel books and magazines, and a path leads across one of the ornamental lotus ponds to a restaurant pavilion, which overlooks the lounger-lined infinity pool. It would have been easy just to hide away here for both of the days we were staying but it seems a shame to miss out on Galle so we hop in a tuk tuk to go exploring.
The walled Fort part of town has a peaceful faded grandeur and we wander the streets past peeling mansions and popping in and out of antique shops and boutiques selling jewelry and teas. I could have filled a spare suitcase with the homewares of the hotel’s sister boutique ‘KK – The Collection’ but am dragged away by Pete for tea and brownies in the luxe Galle Fort Hotel.
Back at our tea-plantation home, we just about have time for a massive Sri Lankan curry feast before climbing into our four-poster for the last time. Sri Lankan traffic and roads (I’d been warned getting around can be painfully slow) mean a 3am start to catch our flight to Delhi before our second Ladakhi leg of our honeymoon could begin…
You can read more about Fiona Kerr’s honeymoon in the July/August 2012 issue of Brides, out 28 May. Follow Fiona on twitter at @FiTravels.
For more information on our luxury honeymoons to Sri Lanka call our specialists on 020 8682 5075.