Sri Lanka the resplendent island of the Indian Ocean

Prestige issue 236 March 2013

The embassy of Sri Lanka in Lebanon and the Office of Tourism, invited Prestige to discover this far island with its forests, its populated coastal strip alternating vast beaches with coconut trees, mangroves and lagoons. This island that looks like “a big tear in the ocean” seduces by the splendor of its fields and spice gardens, as well as its beautiful tea plantations waving infinitly on the mountain sides. The tour was made with Qatar Airways, it includes eight hours of flight from Beirut to the capital Colombo, including one hour stopover in Doha. Prof. Bassam Lahoud shares with Prestige readers the memorable moments of this trip.

The villa Manikgiri an example of English architecture. © Prestige / Photos: Pr. Bassam Lahoud

 

Colombo Economic capital of Sri Lanka Sprawling city, Colombo is the center of economic activity in Sri Lanka, due to its strategic location on the maritime trade routes between Europe and the Middle East on one hand and Asia on the other. Its many business centers, its headquarters, its restaurants and its beautiful hall centers are one of the most important tourist attractions in Sri Lanka. Travelers come to walk at the Galle Face Green and Viharamahadevi park; visit the Sri Lanka National Museum and the National History Museum, which displays the crown and throne of the last king of Kandy; or admire the masterpieces of Sri Lankan art at the Art Gallery of Green Path.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Prestige / Photos: Pr. Bassam Lahoud

Colombo is one of the leading attractions in Sri Lanka. Its beautiful parks, museums and art galleries are a destination of choice for tourists.

In addition to its impressive skyscrapers, Colombo presents a wide range of ancient monuments, colonial buildings with varied styles and buildings dating from the XVIIIth century.

 

Statue of the Prime Minister after the independence. © Prestige / Photos: Pr. Bassam Lahoud

 

Colombo, the bustling city, attracts by its beautiful landscapes boarding the sea.

 

View of the office of President of the Republic from the Galadari hotel facing the channels.

 

Colonial buildings downtown. © Prestige / Photos: Pr. Bassam Lahoud

 

The Galle Fortress It traces the magic of the past Dating back over 400 years, the Galle Fortress was built by the Portuguese in 1588 and then renovated by the Dutch in the XVIIth century. This old building, illustrating the European architecture and traditions of South Asia, stands on a small rocky peninsula boarding the sea. Visitors are fascinated by its magnificence and grandeur. They think they are in a city due to the multiple lanes with Dutch name evoking a turbulent past due to colonization. They are also dazzled by the beauty of the interiors of the Oriental Hotel where nature joins European architecture. At the Dutch Museum is exposed a large collection of articles dating back to the era of Dutch occupation. Today, the fortress became the favorite place for artists, poets and photographers as well as tourists. One finds all the ingredients for a pleasant stay: shops, restaurants and hotels …

 

© Prestige / Photos: Pr. Bassam Lahoud

 

At Galle Fortress, one is dazzled by the magnificence of the architecture alongside the beautiful nature.

The Jetwing Lighthouse hotel that blends luxury and history Minimalist and elegant, Jetwing Lighthouse, luxurious colonial style hotel stands atop a hill 2km away from the center of Galle. It enjoys beautiful views of the Indian Ocean. Like all hotels built by Geoffrey Bawa, the perfect balance of volumes and lines, and the clever use of materials and colors create a serene atmosphere of great elegance. Tourists find all components of an unforgettable stay. They can practice several interesting activities, including whale watching excursions; visit places of attraction such as the Fortress of Galle or make shopping at the commercial street.

 

© Prestige / Photos: Pr. Bassam Lahoud

 

At Hotel Jetwing Lighthouse, one is dazzled by the magnificent sculptures of knights in bronze and copper decorating the staircase lobby … A wonder related to the history of the Randeniya war .

The Closenberg Hotel Refined and warm atmosphere Ideal place to relax surrounded by a beautiful garden, Closenberg hotel reveals a beautiful view on the woods and mountains. In addition to its luxurious space, it dazzles travelers excited to spend a peaceful stay, and then visit the sites in the vicinity such the Galle Fortress, the National Maritime Museum and the Galle International Stadium …

 

 

© Prestige / Photos: Pr. Bassam Lahoud

 

The Heritage Kandalama Hotel, stop in the jungle Each year, thousands of tourists stay at the Heritage Hotel Kandalama, known for its magical surroundings. Built by the architect Geoffrey Bawa, this hotel fully integrated with the surrounding vegetation, emerges from the forest. The walls and roofs are covered with vines of incomparable beauty. It has three impressive pools and offers exotic activities such as bird watching … Its original architecture, modern and minimalist, the rooms with a spectacular view of the Kandalama Lake and the Sigiriya make it a dream.

 

© Prestige / Photos: Pr. Bassam Lahoud

 

Gardens of Lunuganga “Heaven on earth” Lunuganga gardens, this tropical paradise located one hour drive from Colombo are of unparalleled beauty. They were created over 40 years ago, by the architect Geoffrey Bawa to decorate around his residence. In addition to the rarity of their splendor, their serene and calm atmosphere makes it a place of relaxation. They have a panoramic view of the lake Dedduwa and the birds island. Lunuganga residence meanwhile, hosts each year one or two international personalities to spend a peaceful holiday. There are five suites, which have preserved furniture and masterpieces of Bawa. They are open to tourists from May to September. As for the public rooms, they are linked to a luxurious living room and floral terrace … A place that invites total delight!

 

Luxury, exotism and relaxation … Gardens of Lunuganga immerse you in a world of dreams …

© Prestige / Photos: Pr. Bassam Lahoud

 

Wonderful masterpiece of Geoffrey Bawa, gardens of Lunuganga annually attract thousands of tourists.