Sri Lankan tourism is on the rise as adventure-seeking, culture-thirsty travelers discover the tear-shaped island in the Indian Ocean. A new crop of luxury hotels is training the spotlight on the country’s incredible natural beauty and culture. Sri Lanka-bound travelers will find major international players like Anantara and Relais & Châteaux, alongside smaller boutique properties.
One that we have our sights set on is the first Harding Boutique Hotel, developed by Sri Lankan-Australian entrepreneur Paul Harding. Situated in Ahangama on the southern coast, just a 30-minute drive from the UNESCO-listed Galle Fort, the project will break ground on September 15 for an anticipated opening in autumn 2019. What’s so cool about this new venture is the design and architecture, inspired by the Tropical Modernism design pioneered by Geoffrey Bawa, the influential Sri Lankan architect. (A great example of his work can be found at the Anantara Kalutara resort, which we reviewed earlier this year.)
The Harding Boutique Hotel will be designed by British architect Jonathan Ashmore of the Dubai- and London-based ANARCHITECT firm. Notably, Ashmore’s great uncle was a pioneering hotelier in Sri Lanka, opening The Blue Lagoon, which was the country’s first resort and one of Bawa’s first hotel projects (now called the Jetwing Lagoon Hotel).
Surrounded by coconut groves, Harding Boutique Hotel will have sweeping open spaces amidst lush greenery. The six suites will be equipped with king beds, rain showers, sea-facing tubs and balconies overlooking the Indian Ocean. A hotel highlight will be the open-air roof terrace for taking in the views.