Escape into the wilderness
By Sanath Weerasuriya
Luxury living in harmony with wildlife is the concept behind Yala Village, the latest addition to Sri Lanka’s hospitality industry. If you see a wild boar at your door or spot a scorpion on your way to the restaurant or hear the sound of elephants trumpeting at the nearby tank or wild rabbits near the swimming pool consider it quite normal at this place. The theme of the Yala Village Hotel is, after all, - 'In harmony with wildlife'.

The Yala Village Hotel commenced operations on August 27. Located on the southern tip of Sri Lanka, approximately 260 km from Colombo, the BOI approved venture is a 200 million-rupee project. Its 40 well-appointed chalet type deluxe AC rooms with verandahs are scattered around the premises that stretch from the breathtaking southern beach tip to the lagoon.

According to the General Manager Marlon Mendis, the hotel when completed will be a 60-roomed project with one suite at a higher elevation. 'We hope to finish the remaining rooms and the suite by the end of November to absorb the winter flow,' he said. All rooms are equipped with electric kettle with tea and coffee, hair dryer, moveable emergency lamp, mini-fridge, satellite TV and IDD facilities.

A sprawling swimming pool, between the fine dining room and a three-storied lounge, overlooks the coast and surrounding jungle. Mr. Mendis, who has over 25 years of experience as a professional hotelier lays special emphasis on the Sri Lankan clientele. Eco-friendly the hotel certainly is, being the only one I have visited in Sri Lanka without any sound of music.

'We are very keen on this and there is no music or dancing whatsoever. Only a flutist is there at dinnertime to blend in with the night," says Mr. Mendis, explaining their intention of being in tune with nature.

The hotel offers a range of international cuisine with Chef Vijitha recommending the 'The Kapiringha', the hotel's specialty cocktail. Owners Julian A. Davis and M. Abeypala Perera (Chairman) believe that Yala Village will fill the void in quality tourist accommodation that existed around the famed national park of Yala.

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