The latest resort from the celebrated Marriott Hotels opens its doors in the picturesque Southern coast of Sri Lanka.
Words Yomal Senerath-Yapa | Photographs Menaka Aravinda and Vishwathan Tharmakulasingham
Weligama Bay Marriott Resort and Spa is one of the biggest surprises to the quaint coastal town of Weligama. The beautiful seaside has acquired a brand new persona with the magnificent presence of the resort, which appears stunning to the visitors, dwarfing the entire skyline. Soaring above a landscape of feathery coconut fronds, the resort has brought new life to the tranquil land.
One first enters the vivid, elegant lobby, which entices the visitor to the fascinating view of the mesmeric Indian Ocean. Crowned with a giant, abstract chandelier, this airy lobby is permeated with the feel of the vast shoreline. The sea is the soul of Marriott. It is present throughout and lends the resort all its character, beauty and charisma. All the 198 rooms look out to the blue-green bay where the ocean ripples out gracefully. You will never get tired of the eternal sight of the ocean and its abiding sense of mystery, its constant, rolling murmur.
All guests can avail themselves of the novel “At Your Service” or AYS concept. Simply by dialing ‘0’ on the room phone, they can check in or out or book a tour or even their airline tickets; an efficient system that connects everything. The Marriott provides an experience to suit every traveller. ‘Tides’ downstairs is a buzzing social zone, where the outgoing guests can mingle with the vacationers winging in from across the world, while their Individual Zone accommodates those who cherish lounging in solitude. The Kid’s Club is made of every child’s dream, with indoor and outdoor game zones, a mini-theatre, a movie centre; bright-lit, spaceship-like spaces, which will grab any youngster’s imagination.
The hotel has been decorated with the best contemporary tastes blended with Sri Lankan motifs and designs. The vernacular inspirations include beautiful patterns borrowed from beeralu lace, which are carved on wood in the lobby and all the rooms. In the restaurant, you will find colourful pillars inspired by the traditional toy cooking clay pots available on the roadsides of Weligama for children. The rooms are exquisite, each complete with all contemporary amenities such as a bath tub as well as a 55 inch smart LED TV. The daybed provides for an extra person. Quan Spa, the Marriott’s own brand, is softly as well as sensuously lit and fitted with the most exclusive fittings evoking striking, exotic far eastern grandeur. It has five treatment rooms, of which two are dry treatment spaces and one a couple’s therapy room.
Dining at the Marriott Weligama is an eclectic and lively experience. The main restaurant, Weligama Kitchen, is divided into culinary zones with interactive live kitchens. There are the Indian, Sri Lankan, Hong Kong and Chinese sections as well as Tuscan section complete with an authentic Italian pizza oven where guests can sample Mediterranean fare. The seafood restaurant, christened The Big Fish, will serve guests fresh fare caught from the waters beyond your window. The centre of The Big Fish is Chef Miguel who will host each and every guest. It is he who welcomes and seats you, pours out the wine and entertains you as he prepares your meal.
There is also the Pool Bar, where one can order nibbles (Western or Asian) to enjoy at the golden beach or by the pool, complemented with a selection of drinks, alcoholic or non-alcoholic, and citrus based signature cocktails. The small but cosmopolitan Mirissa Baking Company tantalises with mouth-watering aromas of freshly-baked deserts and snacks and the fragrance of coffee and specialty drinks. Tides, the social zone also serves its own food. At day time, you can help yourself to coffee and pastries, in the evening they swap to alcoholic beverages and tapas.
The Marriott hosts weddings and is ideal for destination weddings. The hotel offers traditional, elegant banqueting venues and a breezy rooftop with serene views. The best backdrop would be the quaint pool lawn, where on a sprawling expanse, you will host an idyllic romantic beach wedding. They have spaces to host anything from a meeting to a thousand-strong function.
Weligama itself, is nonetheless a great destination on its own.
700 Matara Road, Pelana
(+94 41) 460 0100