Day 1: Friday, February 4, 2022
Meet and assist on arrival at Airport – transfer from Airport to Colombo for accommodations. (Approx. 1 hour drive time)
Sri Lanka’s Capital Colombo, a port city, with a rich colonial heritage, on the Western coast is a potpourri of races, religions and cultures. Colombo displays the best the country has to offer as well as some things less wonderful. The city is a contrast itself, with mansions, lush gardens, fine dining options, shopping malls packed with expensive designer brands standing next to poor areas and lively street markets, a contrast you often experience in many developing countries.
Despite its small size just 37.31 km² Colombo offers a large selection of experiences ranging from taking a tuk tuk ride, a visit to Pettah market and eating Kottu to playing a round of golf and having high tea at one of the colonial style hotels overlooking the Indian Ocean.
Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo is delighted to welcome you to the enchanting capital of Sri Lanka – a precious jewel in the Indian Ocean, with a glittering cultural heritage and a long, proud history.
The hotel benefits from a prime location by the sea that is in the heart of the business district and a buzzing social hotspot. Shangri-La’s world-renowned Chi, The Spa presents 10 private rooms and a soothing selection of traditional Sri Lankan and Asian treatments and therapies is guaranteed to relieve any jet lag symptoms.
Beautifully appointed with a contemporary design and local Sri Lankan touches. All rooms look out over the Indian Ocean and Galle Face Green, presenting some of the nice views in the city.
Due to people possibly arriving at different times, dinner tonight is not included but can be taken at the hotel or you can enjoy room service at your leisure.
Overnight Stay at Shangri La Colombo – Premier Ocean View rooms.
Day 2: Saturday, February 5, 2022
Today we’ll meet after breakfast at our hotel, where you can enjoy some traditional dishes and coffee while listening to the sound of birds. We’ll enjoy the morning with a Colombo city tour exploring shopping and city sights with an optional visit for a spa treatment.
The throbbing metropolis, Colombo – located in the West – is not only the country’s commercial capital, but also the turbine that impels over 50% of the national GDP.
Drive along the clean streets edging the crystal white Racecourse the horse racing hub in 1893 & the World War II airstrip – done up today with lavish clothing, food & tea boutiques.
Then we’ll take a ride to Pettah & explore the Floating Market – an offbeat shopping experience. You’ll feel the buzz surrounding this area of Colombo which features parks, commercial complexes & even an F1 track!
Every designer boutique, top-notch cuisine outlet and even the ‘walk-over fish tank’, has transformed this colonial masterpiece into one of the trendiest shopping and hangout zones in Sri Lanka.
Have a chilled beer at the historic 17th Dutch Hospital complex while gazing through fancy windows showcasing the best fashion, jewelry & handicraft brands.
Smell the scent of incense while listening to the chiming bells of the Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple nearby.
Our welcome dinner is tonight at the Shangri La Colombo’s Shang Palace restaurant, the first round is on your hostess Jean.
Overnight Stay at Shangri La Colombo.
Day 3: Sunday, February 6, 2022
After breakfast at our hotel, we’ll check out and transfer from Colombo to Kandy (approx. 4 hours) visiting Matale spice gardens en route.
An agricultural zone in the Central Province, Matale is an important area of the island growing tea, rubber, vegetables and spices. Spearheading the Rebellion back in 1848, Matale today takes immense pride in its story woven around its spice culture.
We’ll stop at a spice garden where we will be most welcome and learn of the therapeutic values of spices while enjoying a refreshing cup of herbal tea! Spend some time people watching witnessing the colors, voices and fragrant smells.
Continue on to Kandy (approx 1 hour) and check into our accommodations and spend the rest of the day at leisure.
Our boutique hotel, the Kandy House is an ancestral manor house which was built in 1804 and boasts rich history and exquisite restoration.
In 1804, the last Chief Minister of the Kandyan Kingdom, Ratwatte Adigar, committed an act of “defiant decadence” as he dared to build himself a palatial villa using roof tiles which at that time were decreed only for royal residences.
200 years later, it was converted into a designer boutique hotel in Kandy retaining the charisma of the captivating original house while taking it to a high standard for 21st century guests.
Kandy is home to the The Temple of the Tooth Relic, one of the world’s most sacred places of worship for Buddhists. Situated amid green hills, lush tea plantations and rice paddies, Kandy is beautiful as well as charming due to its beautiful Sinhalese architecture and delicious cuisine.
Dinner tonight is not included, recommendations will be provided but you can take your meal right at our hotel, perhaps with a drink first by the pool.
Overnight Stay at The Kandy House – Deluxe rooms
Day 4: Monday, February 7, 2022
After breakfast at The Kandy House transfer from Kandy to Peradeniya where we’ll visit the Botanical gardens.
First developed as a pleasure garden under royalty and later harmonized by the British, the Royal Botanical Gardens of Peradeniya today is bundled with welcoming facilities located just 4 miles from Kandy. This garden is a flourishing national asset in the Wonder of Asia. We’ll walk into this 147 acre bliss of an experience, passing well-tended lawns, pavilions & an octagon conservatory to be greeted by the vast expanse of a magnificently landscaped lush green turf which will encourage you to take an exhilarating break. Towards the north of the entrance rests a cafeteria that one might come across before stepping into some of the highlights – the orchid house & giant Javan fig tree.
Return back to Kandy and spend the day exploring Kandy city sights enjoying a cultural show in the evening!
Last ruled by King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe – before it was brought under the British rule in 1815, Kandy – the World Heritage Site & last royal capital of Sri Lankan kings – crafts an array of culture, history and heritage in the minds of visitors across the globe.
Experience an ancient Kandyan legacy engraved around its crown jewel, the temple of the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha. A stroll across this small lakeside oasis – cradled among the misty hills – is bundled with latest and world class brands, bazaar, an arts & crafts center, as well as a gem museum & lapidary.
Walk in color with our guide as you glide through fresh fruits and vegetables in the Kandy market. Fine tune the evening by stepping to the beat of traditional music & drumming amplified by a cultural show enhancing the rich and vibrant culture of the Wonder of Asia, Sri Lanka.
Our local guide will suggest a magnificent dinner in town for us all to enjoy either before or after the performance, to be paid for that evening by each traveler. Note: You’ll find most meals quite affordable ranging from $10 USD pp.
Overnight Stay at The Kandy House – Deluxe rooms
Day 5: Tuesday, February 8, 2022
After breakfast at The Kandy House transfer from Kandy to Peradeniya railway station (20 minutes’ drive) and board the train to Nanu Oya. (a 2.40 hr ride) Enjoy the train ride watching the countryside pass by you and then meet our chauffer upon arrival and continue on to Hatton (1 hour drive) for accommodations.
Upon arrival we’ll check in to a luxury room at our Relais & Chateau Hotel and spend the rest of the day at leisure.
Ceylon Tea Trails Hotel is comprised of five restored historic tea planter residences, called Bungalows, perched at an altitude of 1250 meters in Sri Lanka’s panoramic Ceylon tea region. The luxury rooms and suites with period furnishings, gracious butler service, and gourmet cuisine create an ambiance that has made Tea Trails, the gold standard for luxury in Sri Lanka. This is the ideal setting for trekking, and biking against the break taking backdrop of mountains, lakes, winding roads, and waterfalls. If you prefer to unwind, observe life on a working tea estate, while being pampered by your butler, enjoy a spa treatment, croquet on the lawn, or sunbathe alongside the pool.
Enjoy the lush tea fields, and visit a century old factory, for the gentle education in the art of Ceylon Tea. Let’s meet at teatime around 4pm for a proper English tea.
Rates at Tea Trails are fully inclusive of all gourmet meals and drinks, including select top shelf spirits and wines. Even service charges, taxes and limited laundry are included.
We’ll meet up at the hotel’s restaurant for dinner around 7:30pm before retiring to our beautiful rooms for a calm nights rest.
Day 6: Wednesday, February 9, 2022
‘One cannot think well, love well and sleep well if one has not dined well’ – Virginia Woolf
The day at Tea Trails starts with that wonderful tradition of Bed Tea. Served by your butler as part of a gentle wake-up call, this must be the most civilised way to start the day. The butler will also draw your bath.
Then an early morning walk followed by an English or Sri Lankan breakfast. A unique aspect of Tea Trails’ cuisine is the use of fresh, home grown vegetables, herbs and teas from the surrounding estates. Basil, rosemary, thyme, tarragon, sage, parsley and mint inspire and enliven the chef’s menus every day.
Scrumptious afternoon cream teas in gardens curiously English and exotic at the same time. A four-course dinner that is at once contemporary with its garden-fresh ingredients married with choice wines, best shared in good company. Or a fabulously aromatic, authentic Sri Lankan rice and curry for lunch – a definite harbinger of the afternoon siesta.
Tea Trails is all about the time-honored planters’ traditions: Roaring fires and the comfort of a single malt whisky while the mists roll in or a stiff gin and tonic after a long day’s walk in the tea gardens, accompanied by the spicy flavors of Sri Lankan nibbles to stimulate the appetite. Those who wish can take dinner on their own, but most will likely meet up again tonight to share our day’s discoveries over a meal with wine.
Here at this very special and unique destination hotel you’ll find plenty to do. Walking the tea trails and discovering how they grow and produce tea, of course spa time and relaxation are de rigeur. You will not tire of this beautiful location miles from anywhere! Plus having your own butler will make you feel like the princess that you truly are!
Tea Trails – Luxury rooms
Day 7: Thursday, February 10, 2022
After breakfast at Tea Trail transfer from Hatton to Galle (approx. 5 hours’ drive time) stopping along the way for lunch. Upon arrival we’ll check into our accommodations spending the rest of the day at leisure.
Perched on Sri Lanka’s southwest coast, Galle wears its history on its sleeve. Windswept beaches and nodding palms surround its colonial-era showpiece, a 16th-century Portuguese-built fort, while the rest of the city is trimmed with Dutch-style houses, quirky shops, whitewashed mansions, and heritage museums.
With foundations dating back over three centuries, the Galle Fort Hotel property was originally a Dutch mansion and warehouse, and as such the 18th century doors and windows on the building’s façade are perhaps the best examples of their kind within the Fort.
A regency top floor was added during the British era when the house was refashioned for the Maccan Markars, a renowned family of gem merchants. Along with a grand Palladian colonnade, a ceremonial entrance arch was installed, which, to this day, never fails to take guests’ breathe away.
Rescued from neglect and decay, and lovingly and painstakingly restored in 2003; the property retains its historical value and authenticity while also boasting some modern creature comforts.
In 2007 UNESCO awarded the hotel the Asia Pacific Heritage Award of Distinction, calling it “a masterpiece of cultural heritage and conservation”.
The restoration work on the property laid a marker for how every other building in the Fort should be restored, and continues to be its most splendid example today, one of the best historic hotels in Galle.
Dinner is not included tonight but there are so many places to discover in Galle, we’ll decide as a group and enjoy a meal together in town.
Overnight Stay at Galle Fort Hotel -Terrace Suite
Day 8: Friday, February 11, 2022
After breakfast at Galle Fort Hotel spend the day exploring with an afternoon tour of Galle’s city sights.
The epic Southern capital, Galle is the intersection where classic Dutch architecture meets a tropical setting creating a vividly picturesque atmosphere. Walk the Dutch-haunted streets listening to the creaks of wooden saloon doors and observe how European architecture mingles with South Asian traditions. Its original ramparts and bastions showcase evidence of a heritage preserved for more than 3 1/2 centuries.
Walk clockwise within the fort to observe the ‘old gate’ which carries the British coat of arms. Flanking the old gate is the Zwart bastion – the oldest of all – as well as the lighthouse standing 18 feet tall in all its glory next to the Point Utretcht Bastion.
Hop into the Dutch Hospital Shopping Complex to be mesmerized by an array of souvenir selections.
Dinner will be at our hotel tonight, to be paid for by each guest. However, anyone wishing to go out should feel free!
Overnight Stay at Galle Fort Hotel -Terrace Suite
Day 9: Saturday, February 12, 2022
After breakfast at Galle Fort Hotel, we’ll spend the day at leisure with a vehicle available for clients use, perhaps for some last-minute shopping or sightseeing.
Tonight, we’ll enjoy an extravagant dinner (included) at Amangalla, the first round is on Jean.
Furnished with period chairs and tables, crisp white linen and antique silverware, the high-ceilinged Dining Room rests at one end of Amangalla’s magnificent Great Hall, or Zaal, as it was known in Dutch times. Soaring fin de siècle ceilings, overhead fans and chandeliers, and the veranda facing the tree-lined street create the perfect setting for exquisite Sri Lankan and international cuisine. A jazz pianist plays nightly. A fitting place to salute new friendships formed, with promises to meet again, someday soon.
Sri Lanka’s iconic landmark, The Galle Face Hotel, is situated in the heart of Colombo, along the seafront and facing the famous Galle Face Green. One of the oldest hotels east of the Suez, The Galle Face Hotel embraces its rich history and legendary traditions, utilizing them to create engaging, immersive experiences that resonate with old and new generations of travelers alike.
No visit to Sri Lanka is complete without staying at this majestic hotel, built in 1864 and recently restored back to its former glory.
Overnight Stay at Galle Fort Hotel -Terrace Suite
Day 10: Sunday, February 13, 2022
After breakfast at Galle Fort Hotel, transfer from Galle to Colombo (approx. 2.30hrs) where we’ll partake in a guided Colombo city tour in WW2 Jeeps. The Colombo city tour in an open-air jeep will give you unobstructed 360-degree visibility which is great for taking photographs and filming while sightseeing. Photographs and video clips of the tour will be given to the guest free of charge.
If required, we’ll be able to squeeze in a tiny bit more last-minute shopping in town.
Our last hoorah tonight (not included) will be at the Ministry of Crab to sample Sri Lanka’s legendary lagoon crab. Voted one of Asia’s top 50 restaurants. We’ll finish up in time to transfer from Colombo to the Airport for your late-night flight.
Sad when all good things have to come to an end!
Transfer from Colombo to Airport for International departure flight accordingly.
If you require another night in Colombo for your International flight connection rooms at the Galle Face Hotel are available – Superior Rooms run approximately $160 USD.
GG2P always reserves the right to alter the itinerary based on weather or availability as well as exciting opportunities that might crop up!
NOTE -> Not to worry – Vegetarians will be well fed in all cafés and restaurants as well as those allergic to seafood or gluten. Options are plentiful.