South Sri Lanka’s hotspot buzzes again after a shiny upgrade with the addition of two treetop stilted suites and PALM HAUS, a brand new 4-bedroom villa with epic paddy views and slick modernist aesthetic the PALM community have come to know and love. As we get ready to open the doors to our newest addition to the PALM Collective, PALM HAUS, we also take a look at why Sri Lanka’s surfer-favoured south coast is now tipped to be the hottest ticket for empty waves, sun-kissed beaches and serene tropical landscapes.
PALM has become a boutique hotel icon and guests will be pleased to know they can now get their very own private villa version, just a short stroll through the swaying coconut trees. Minimalist to the max, PALM HAUS features zen-full symmetry and clean-cut lines. Pops of pink and glossy emerald greens are set off by polished concrete floors, exposed concrete walls and floor-to-ceiling glass that seamlessly link indoors and out.
The large open-plan living and dining area with sliding glass doors and wrap around terrace leave little between you and sweeping views over emerald green rice paddies and tea plantations. Tactile furnishings in wood and rattan are masterfully designed with traditional touches to offset the modern minimalism. Of the four bedrooms, the Master Bedroom is the one you’ll fight over for its stunning ensuite bathroom with rainfall shower and custom made, oversized terrazzo bathtub. Bathrooms all feature rainfall showers, custom made rough terrazzo floors, individually dyed and handmade terrazzo sinks, brushed gold taps and huge round backlit mirrors.
Quietly camouflaged in their coconut palm surroundings, you’d be forgiven for thinking these large floating suites were just a trick of the light at first glance. Swaying trees shimmer in the reflection of the huge windows, encased in sleek black steel and polished concrete seemingly floating amongst the canopy. Built on stilts, wrapped around a palm tree to mimic the restaurant pavilion, these 2-room suites feature spacious living and bedroom areas connected by a long porch with sweeping views over the jungle and paddies. Open-fronted bedrooms and living rooms let nature in, allowing you to laze in bed as monkeys swing through the trees at eye-level. Large indoor/outdoor bathrooms are finished in smooth polished concrete and open out from wall-to-wall sliding wooden windows letting dappled sunlight flood over the two rainfall showers within.
Owners Laurie Spencer and Miriam Haniffa had a “build it and they will come” attitude and PALM has quickly evolved into an insiders’ hot spot, with both islanders and travelers gathering for lazy poolside king coconuts and small plates by day and punchy Arrack Sours (best when sipped in a swinging chair in the double story open-air pavilion) and King Crab curries by night. “The aim was to create an intimate yet spacious environment at the intersection of food, architecture, design and people. A place that draws in the local crowd and international globetrotters alike.” said Miriam.
With local chef Pathum Nisansala at the helm the menu has also been reworked, keeping its Sri Lankan provenance but mixing it up with some experimental palette twists that shine a light on the incredible variety of produce this small island has to offer. Almost everything on the menu is locally sourced. Fish is delivered daily, caught the night before by local fishermen.
Ahangama is quickly becoming the place to be for travel insiders, attracting cool creatives looking for a laid-back boho lifestyle in a still fairly undiscovered enclave. Once a ramshackle fishing village, visitors have recently discovered its gorgeous beaches, secret coves, hip little cafes, bars, and a vibrant surfing and yoga scene. It keeps its charm as an authentic town with a local working life. “A lot of artists, photographers, and illustrators have made Ahangama their home and set up all sorts of innovative and sustainable brands from jewelry to clothing and it's become this wonderfully creative little enclave.” says Laurie.
Travellers’ confidence in Sri Lanka as a viable destination has risen significantly as several countries including the UK have eased their travel advisories. Given the improved socioeconomic stability and a favourable currency exchange rate, the country is a perfect holiday destination for travellers seeking serene landscapes and sun-kissed beaches.