About an hour south of Colombo, not far from where Sri Lanka’s most famous architect, Geoffrey Bawa built his countryside home, Anantara Kalutara has finally opened its doors.
One of Bawa's last completed projects, the blueprint for the hotel was commissioned over two decades ago, but work on the property stalled following war, Bawa’s death in 2003 and damage caused by the 2004 tsunami.
Now, under the guidance of Channa Daswatte – one of Bawa’s former employees - of local firm MICD Associates, the resort features a lofty main building, which houses the lobby and restaurants, with open airways to encourage a smooth breeze, in honour of Bawa’s aversion to air conditioned spaces; and a series of simple Dutch colonial-style buildings defined by courtyards and terracotta gable roofs.
Located on the Kalu Ganga estuary, on the western shores of the country, 141 guest rooms are assembled amidst thickly vegetated gardens, walkways and lotus ponds that linking the beachside pool, spa and three restaurants, add a sense of calm throughout.
And with an interior that makes frequent, respectful nods to traditional Sri Lankan motifs, this idyllic complex is definitely something that Bawa would be proud of.