Lunuganga, Bentota Sri Lanka, South West Beaches
The great Geoffrey Bawa’s stunning home is now a ravishing hotel known as Lunuganga. The legendary architect poured forty years into transforming this abandoned rubber and cinnamon estate into an idyllic garden paradise. Although influenced by Renaissance Italy and England in the 19th century, Bawa claimed that the garden actually planned itself.
A tropical paradise of many moods, shady clearings in the jungle complement lilly ponds framed with frangipani, with glorious lake views to boot. Steps lead guests to private bathing in the lake. Over 200 varieties of trees create shaded nooks for private contemplation.
And then there are the buildings themselves: testaments to Bawa's artistic vision. Light, space and environment make the living spaces... well... entirely livable. The eye is drawn to appreciate the gorgeous natural surroundings.
Antiques, sculptures, and a big old tub complete the guest room, and moss scales the courtyard walls. Previously a cowshed, the Gallery is now a magnificent two-storey tribute to art, and includes a portrait of Bawa by Sri Lanka’s own Laki Sennayake. The Long Room is lined by two walls of glass, which bathe the four poster bed in sunlight. The Donald Friend Room is named after the artist, and was home to Bawa’s good friend back in the day. For complete privacy, a two bedroom lakeside cottage is available for rent.
It’s difficult to put into words how special this hotel is. Sri Lanka’s rich cultural heritage is blessed with such an estate, and a stay at Lunuganga is a wonderful privilege
Deluxe - This is our first really 'upmarket' category. It might be a beautiful tiny hotel with very limited facilities or a 5* resort hotel with all the trimmings; but any hotel in this category will be a well-run establishment with very comfortable rooms, a strong service ethos and excellent food.
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‘Our driver/guide Chandarma’s knowledge of the archaeology and wildlife, which we were especially interested in, was excellent.’