My husband and I are coming up on one year of marriage at the end of May. Instead of jetting off on a luxe honeymoon, we opted to take a roadtrip up the pacific coast of California right after the wedding. It made perfect sense, seeing that we wanted to recoup some of the funds we spent on our destination wedding in Colorado. So we decided to take our honeymoon during February of 2015. If you live in the U.K., you can understand how cold and gloomy this time of year is, so it was the perfect option for us! We’re both lovers of adventure & luxury travel, so having a combination of both elements was extremely important to us! I looked at many options to handle the booking details. We even considered going the DIY route. However, we knew we wanted a first class experience, which included avoiding the stresses of self-handling all the small details. Upon seeing many positive reviews, and after several conversations with a sales rep, we moved forward with Barefoot Traveller. With them, we planned our luxe-adventure honeymoon to Sri Lanka, and the Maldives.
TIP: When searching for the company you want to work with, be very clear about your honeymoon objectives. Tell them what type of accommodation you want desire (4, 5+ stars, etc), and list required amenities. Also, if luxury is something you’re looking for, then do not use words like “budget.” What might provide more favourable outcomes, is saying you’d like to spend “xxxxx” amount, and leave it there. Companies will bend over backwards to find you the best accommodation for the amount you want to spend. They will treat it like a bespoke experience, instead of trying to put you into their standard tour properties.
We flew into Colombo, were met by our driver (Jai) at the airport. After a speedy welcome, we immediately began our journey towards Kandy. We were very grateful for the air conditioned car in the humid heat. Along the way, we stopped at the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. I was quite torn. Despite the expansive size of the orphanage, and their insured safety, it was very difficult to see these beautiful creatures in captivity. I imagined them wild, and free to roam within a land where poachers had no place.
We then headed towards our hotel which meant another three hours by car. Once we arrived, we were quite impressed at the view over the hills of Kandy. Amaya Hills hotel is embedded deep into the hills of Kandy. The property is surrounded by lush vegetation, beautiful flora, and home to the most glorious sunsets. We checked into our rooms that night, and were pleasantly surprised to find full honeymoon courtesies. A lovely celebration cake, fruits, flowers, and other goodies!
The breakfast views are lovely! If you choose to sit outside, you will be treated to the same stunning views over the hills of Kandy that we had in our room. The air is fresh, the vegetation lush, and the sounds of the busy city of Kandy cannot be heard. You truly feel semi-secluded!
We spent the next two days being quite adventurous, and exploring various cities and towns. Hiking to the top of Sigiriya was the highlight of our trip. It’s not for the faint of heart though. Pace yourself, and enjoy the view at the top of this rock fortress (370 meters above sea level)!
TIP: Sigiriya is 3 hours north of Kandy, and the views at the top are well worth the effort of the drive. After seeing photos of this beautiful World Unesco site several months into the planning of our journey, I specifically requested that this site be added to our itinerary.
Some of the most stunning Sri Lankan scenery can be found on the cusp of Nuwara Eliya. Lush waterfalls, steep drops, and tea plantations as far as the eye can see. After two days in Kandy, we headed to the area hailed as “The Little England” of Sri Lanka. We arrived at Stafford Bungalows (nestled in a secluded area of Stafford Estates), and were greeted warmly by staff in the courtyard, and draped with the most fragrant smelling garland. The property has gorgeous grounds, tennis courts, and only a handful of rooms. It is “boutique” accommodation in all senses of the word. The staff caters to any need you may have, and are unabashedly generous.
TIP: The journey to get to Stafford Bungalows is not an easy trek. Once you’re about 3-5 miles away, all pavement vanishes, and rocks and potholes appear in it’s place. Any SUV should be able to handle the challenges with ease. However, management says that the local government has promised to handle the problem sometime soon.
After two nights at the lovely Stafford Bungalows, we headed west for a one night stay on the coast, in Negombo. We stayed at Jetwing Blue, right on the beach. Ohh how we wished we had an additional night or two at this lovely property. The rooms were decorated in cool and neutral tones, with a very calming, minimalistic feel; perfect for our Indian Ocean view! Again, we were treated to lovely cakes, fruits, and flowers as honeymoon courtesies.
We immediately settled in, and went to spend sometime on the beach, and also lounged by their stunning pool. That evening we enjoyed a fantastic meal feeling the light ocean breeze, and the listening to the sound of crashing waves. It was served buffet style by incredible chefs. The seafood options were of course delightful, and I was spoilt for choice. We also enjoyed watching the hotel entertainment wow us with their fire dancing skills!
TIP: If you want an uninterrupted beach view at dinner time, be sure to make a reservation in advance, as these tables are often the first to go.
We headed for the airport that morning wishing we’d spent at least a few more days in Sri Lanka. As we reflected on our journey, we realised that you need those extra few days for making up for lost time traveling by car from city to city. although we love our beach time, adventure, and activities that challenge our fitness are important to us. So, our itinerary was actually the perfect mix of adventure and luxury. Next time, we’ll just add on an extra day of two! For now, we prepare ourselves for 5 days of pure bliss in the Maldives….
Want to read more about experiences in Sri Lanka? Please pop over to my husband and I’s travel, food, and lifestyle blog. Here you can find several posts about our explorations and our non-formulaic take on destination travel, food, and events!
What are your honeymoon plans? Are you taking a mini-moon, or planning a honeymoon to an Asian country? Feel free to comment and share below!