Little stands between you and the sloth bears, elephants and leopards in Sri Lanka’s remote south-eastern corner. Twenty-eight cocoon-like tents are scattered across the oceanfront dunes abutting Yala National Park, offering a sumptuous retreat after a day of game viewing. Spot wildlife from your private deck or feel the sea breeze from the vaulted, woven-bamboo pavilions in which the restaurant, bar and library are located. Ocean swimming isn’t recommended along this rough coastline but you can cool off in the free-form infinity pool which glides past the bar, walk in the coastal bushland or contribute to the rangers’ conservation efforts by contributing your observations to the growing database.
Where is Wild Coast Tented Lodge?
Perched on the shores of the Indian Ocean and fringed by national park, the lodge is four hours by road or a short flight by seaplane from the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo.
Aptly named “cocoons”, suites are encased in canvas with double-glazed windows and are designed to blend in with the surrounding landscape. Safari-chic defines the interiors with their teak flooring, chocolate leather folding chairs, repurposed metallic finishes, mosquito-net-draped beds and – just the remedy after a day spent tracking leopards – freestanding copper bathtubs. Elevated decks lead from each suite; four of them have private plunge pools. Children will love the freestanding “urchin” pods in the eight family cocoon suites.
Restaurants and bars
Sri Lanka’s sensational flavours are distilled in the “gourmet safari” dishes served in the dining pavilion and beach garden. It’s an all-day feast of breakfast hoppers, locally caught fish and classic Sri Lankan curries; local ingredients infuse the cocktails served at Ten Tuskers Bar. International fare is available for the spice-averse and cooking classes are offered for guests who’d like to expand their repertoire. Sip Dilmah with your afternoon cream tea (the brand belongs to the Fernando family, owners of the lodge) and sundowners on the beach after the evening game drive.
Travel for work
Leave the laptop at home: business facilities don’t stretch much further than the desk and work lamp in each suite. This is a destination in which to decompress and reconnect with nature.
Spa and gym
Ceylon tea and cinnamon are key ingredients in the oils, scrubs and poultices used at The Sanctuary Spa; try a Ceylon spices massage for a truly zingy experience.
Water is heated with solar power, food waste is used for biogas, camera traps are used to monitor and create an inventory of leopards in the region and the property’s waterholes are filled with desalinated seawater.
What you need to know
Wild boar and other creatures come to drink from the lodge’s waterholes at dawn and dusk.
Best for: Luxe-safari devotees
Number of rooms: 28 tents
Rates: From US$983 per night
Wi-fi: Complimentary and available in each suite
Parking: Yes, though visitors generally arrive via road or air transfer
Address: Palatupana, Yala National Park, Sri Lanka
Telephone: +94 11 774 5730