The Weekend Australian - Travel - - TRAVEL & INDULGENCE -

Anantara’s sec­ond re­sort in Sri Lanka has a stel­lar pedi­gree. It was de­signed by leg­endary ar­chi­tect Ge­of­frey Bawa and is tucked away on the rugged south­west coast less than 90 min­utes from Colombo and just over an hour from the World Her­itage-listed Galle Fort.

The Anantara Ka­lu­tara Re­sort fea­tures 141 gue­strooms, suites and pool vil­las pro­vid­ing trop­i­cal views; sit­u­ated be­tween the ocean and Kalu Ganga River, the property of­fers coastal, river and la­goon frontage and ac­com­mo­da­tion out­looks vary ac­cord­ingly.

The main re­sort build­ing is Dutch colo­nial in style; else­where Bawa’s pared-back but el­e­gant style has pro­vided in­spi­ra­tion for the re­laxed in­te­ri­ors. Gue­strooms are large, the small­est at 60sq m; each fea­tures a bal­cony or ter­race, king or twin beds, free Wi-Fi ac­cess, en­suite with tub, Ne­spresso ma­chine and smart TV.

Suites are set apart and have their own lounge; guests here and in the one and two-bed­room pool vil­las also have the ser­vices of a villa host.

Wine hu­mi­dors (handy in the sul­try trop­ics) and Bose sound are added lux­u­ries.

Other fa­cil­i­ties in­clude a wa­ter­sports cen­tre, gym staffed by per­sonal train­ers, chil­dren’s club and large dou­ble-height day spa with 10 treat­ment rooms.

Sur­rounded by a lo­tus pond, the spa also fea­tures a sep­a­rate pavil­ion host­ing yoga and med­i­ta­tion classes.

DON’T MISS: Some quiet mo­ments in the li­brary, ded­i­cated to Bawa and show­cas­ing draw­ings from his ar­chi­tec­tural ar­chive.

DIN­ING IN & OUT: Ital­ian-born ex­ec­u­tive chef Gae­tano Sgroi, whose CV in­cludes stints as per­sonal chef to for­mer Ital­ian pres­i­dent Os­car Luigi Scal­faro, over­sees three restau­rants within the re­sort. At Olu, he rec­om­mends the sig­na­ture salad (wa­terlily roots with or­ganic chicken sim­mered in co­conut milk and chilli, wild gotu kola leaves, pomelo, plan­ta­tion co­conut shav­ings, green tea and lime dress­ing); in Ac­quolina, it’s a Milano clas­sic, risotto zaf­fer­ano with Cal­abrian saf­fron, two-year-aged parme­san and gold leaf. In Spice Traders, he sug­gests the bam­boo steamed wild sea bass. The busy kitchen also of­fers cook­ing classes and pro­vides pri­vate meals in ro­man­tic lo­cales.

ASK THE CONCIERGE: Book your stay over a full moon to ex­pe­ri­ence Poya Day cel­e­bra­tions; 10 min­utes from the re­sort you’ll find the world’s only hol­low stupa, Kalatura Vi­hara, lined with mu­rals.

CHECK­ING IN: From $444. To De­cem­ber 19, take ad­van­tage of a short breaks spe­cial. Stay a min­i­mum two nights (from $274 a night plus tax) and get break­fasts, dis­counted din­ing and spa treat­ments and be in line for a room up­grade and late check-out. More: ka­lu­

ALSO TRY: Anantara Bo­phut Koh Sa­mui Re­sort, Thai­land; Nee­lesh­war Her­mitage, Ker­ala, In­dia.

CHRIS­TINE McCABE Anantara may be busy in Sri Lanka but it has also opened a new 115-room re­sort in Oman; Anantara Al Ja­bal Al Akhdar Re­sort is sit­u­ated on a canyon’s edge high in the Al Ha­jar moun­tains, two hours from Mus­cat, the cap­i­tal • Next month Shangri-La Ho­tels and Re­sorts opens a sec­ond property in China’s Harbin; the 344-room Song­bei Shangri-La Harbin oc­cu­pies a prime po­si­tion on the edge of the Songhua River’s north bank of­fer­ing river and city views • Dorch­ester Col­lec­tion’s leg­endary Ho­tel Eden in Rome, closed for a top-to-toe makeover, will re­open on April 1; book­ings can be made now • The open­ing of the 97room Capri by Fraser in Barcelona sig­nals the start of a rapid ex­pan­sion of the mil­len­nial fo­cused brand, which has six ho­tels in­clud­ing one in Bris­bane where iPad check-ins and an e-Concierge are the norm; 13 ho­tels are planned in 10 cities in­clud­ing Ber­lin and Shang­hai • On Fri­day, Lon­don’s Clar­idge’s will un­veil its fa­mous Christ­mas tree, this year con­ceived by Ap­ple’s chief de­sign of­fi­cer Jony Ive and Aus­tralia’s Marc New­son; guests at the ho­tel on Christ­mas Eve can look for­ward to car­ols and horse­drawn car­riage rides through May­fair.

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