- Expansive property in Passikudah on Sri Lanka’s east coast boasts luxurious spaces in perfect setting
By Marianne David
A sun-drenched slice of paradise, Passikudah on Sri Lanka’s east coast is the perfect place to holiday – secluded, serene and all about the sun and the sea.
Set on the white sandy shores of Passikudah Bay, Amaya Beach by Amaya Resorts & Spas is a beautiful place from which to experience what the east coast has to offer.
With 125 spacious and luxuriously-appointed rooms and suites boasting vivid shades echoing the warmth of the island, Amaya Beach is the largest property in the area and its beauty is hard to resist. However, the service experience and culinary offering need improvement to live up to the standards set by the look and feel of the place.
The rooms at Amaya Beach are great; big, beautiful and packed to the brim with all required amenities. In some of the bathrooms, one can watch the sun rise or set while soaking in a hot bath – an experience that never gets old.
The rooms start from 425sqft, ensuring there’s always plenty of space and guests certainly won’t feel cramped here. They comprise 10 Superior, 77 Deluxe, 30 Premium Deluxe, two Deluxe Family Residence, three Ocean View Deluxe Suites, two Executive Suites and one Premium Deluxe Spa Suite.
Traditional décor is featured across the property, which also boasts many araliya trees, adding to its timeless elegance.
Each room comes with comforts to suit couples, friends and families and offer the option of either a king-size bed or two double beds, while the suites can sleep families of five or six and are equipped with bunk beds in a separate children’s area or a sofa bed. All rooms and suites feature complimentary wireless internet access.
While one would naturally spend as much time as possible in the sea or the gorgeous pool with its stunning view, there are plenty of other activities on offer at Amaya Beach as well.
These include snorkelling and diving to see the beautiful corals and fish. Snorkelling is done atop a board on which one can lie down and paddle around, looking at corals through the inserted glass area.
There’s jet skiing, kayaking and kitesurfing as well as yacht rides, which provide perfect sunset cruises. To keep kids entertained, there is a supervised Kids Club, Camp Safari, teenagers’ E-Zone, children’s pool and plenty of beach activities, including cruises and beach BBQs.
Guests can also play badminton, water volleyball, water polo, beach volleyball, cricket (softball), bocce, croquet, aqua aerobics, darts, table tennis, chess, carom or video games and go on bicycle treks.
Excursions include Dambulla, Maduru Oya National Park, Wasgamuwa National Park, Dutch Fort in Batticaloa, Batticaloa Lagoon, Polonnaruwa (archaeological excursions), Trincomalee (whale watching) and Minneriya National Park (elephant safaris).
The hotel’s fitness centre is open 24 hours and features a range of exercise bikes, treadmills and other equipment.For some pampering, check out the Sea Salt Spa, which features seven rooms with sauna and Jacuzzi facilities and various treatment options, ranging from Balinese to Ayurvedic.
In the mornings, enjoy the amazing sunrise and when night falls, take a walk and watch the sea and the sky to your heart’s content or sit in the Aqua Bar and chill with loved ones and friends, or play a game of pool.
Restaurants at Amaya Beach are the Reef Cafe – serving Sri Lankan and International specialties with seating for 120; Aqua Bar – lounge bar serving tea, cocktails and alfresco dining with seating capacity for 80 overlooking the pool; and Beach Bar – serving cold brew and pizza with a great view of Passikudah Bay.
At the Spice Market (seasonal), guests can explore the fire and spice of Asian and Sri Lankan cuisine, finely crafted with exquisite local ingredients. It can cater to 230 guests for cocktails.The hotel also has a ballroom, the Vandeloos Bay Ballroom.
To make visiting even more appealing, Amaya Beach constantly features card promotions and regularly signs up for seasonal promotions as well.
So if you love the sun and the sea, Amaya Beach is a good place to be – the beach experience it offers along with water sports activities make it great for the whole family.
Pix by Daminda
Having marked four years since its inception last month, Amaya Beach is now gearing up to provide a host of entertainment options for guests, ranging from water sports to a beach festival in collaboration with other properties in the area.
All this is part of a push to position Passikudah more prominently with a focus on the beach, as requested by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, and a proposal on these lines has been submitted to the Prime Minister by the East Coast Hotels Association (ECHA).
It is imperative that the Government improves connectivity by road, train and air, assertedAmaya Beach Assistant Hotel Manager Priyanke Pamunuwa.
“We have nine months of sunny weather, making Passikudah ideal for water sports and a beach festival. However, connectivity is still an issue and this needs to be improved. Discussions are underway to provide a train service here, which would attract more travellers to the beautiful east coast,” he stated.
“This area is unexplored. The environment we offer, the location, the space – all this is unmatched. Leisure activities should be improved here. The private sector has done its best. Now it’s up to the Government to create infrastructure here to develop tourism. Passikudah was booming before the war. It was famous for tourism.”
Commenting on occupancy levels, Pamunuwa noted: “Occupancy is low in all the hotels in the region at present, since the main season falls during June, July and August although there is sunny weather for many months.”
Expressing surprisethat tourists are not flocking to the area, he suggested it could be due to a monopoly by travel agents up to Habarana due to benefits along the way there.
‘A Poetic Journey’
A host of changes are in the pipeline as part of the Amaya rebranding exercise being carried across all its properties, with the new tagline ‘A Poetic Journey’.
Explaining the ‘Poetic Journey’ positioning, Amaya Resorts & Spas Assistant Manager Damayanthi Hewamanna said: “Amaya destinations are tranquil havens where guests can venture into nature and explore indigenous culture. Grounded in passionate service, indigenous luxury and operational excellence, Amaya delivers authentically rich cultural experiences. Blending contemporary aesthetics with local touches, Amaya makes each resort as distinct as its destination. The melding of natural beauty and heart-warming comfort ensures that every Amaya property provides guests with an unforgettable stay.”
She asserted that Amaya Beach offers guests experiences they don’t encounter every day, especially foreign guests. “We take them to villages where they can see fishermen bringing in the catch, we make them a part of it. We take them on historic journeys to places like Polonnaruwa. We are so close to ancient ruins, the Dutch Fort, Minneriya Park, and so on. We want the guests to walk in and experience the comforts in the room and indulge in the experiences outside the room.”
The hotel is also very involved with local communities. “At the Spice Market during the seasonal period, we plan to promote our local spices to them and let them participate in making local specialities and in an east coast cultural wedding.”
Employment at the property is an equal share of people from the community and elsewhere, while training is internal and provided to all staff by Amaya Resorts & Spas General Manager – Group Operations Dayal Fernando.
Source : FT