Ayubowan! As you step out of the vehicle and walk towards the reception you are greeted by smiling staff with their palms together in front of the heart. Ayubowan is a Sri Lankan greeting that means “may you live long” – how lovely is that? We had visited the restaurants at Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle a few times as outside guests, and I had always wondered what it would be like to stay overnight at this luxury hotel in Sri Lanka. Since staying here for the first time in 2016 we have returned time and time again to soak up the best of Sri Lankan hospitality.
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Prepare for all of your worries to melt away as you step into the Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle: we were welcomed with a cold, lemongrass-scented wet towel, a cup of king coconut water and three beautiful ladies singing and tapping on a traditional Sri Lankan drum. Our villa manager/Sri Lankan guardian angel, Kanishka, led us over to an e-bike rickshaw and we were whisked away to our villa; the 152-room hotel sits on 42 acres of beachfront land!
The Rooms at Anantara Tangalle
There are several different options available and Anantara offers both rooms and standalone villas. During our first stay, we were luckily upgraded and my jaw dropped when we arrived at the ocean view pool villa. We were given a tour of the beautiful master bedroom, bathroom, private terrace and salt-water pool before sitting down for the in-room check-in procedures.
Before leaving us to jump on the bed like 6-year-olds, Kanishka wrote down his direct phone number and asked us to call if we needed anything: luggage unpacking service, room service, restaurant reservations, laundry, a ride in a golf buggy to anywhere in the hotel we wanted to go, more towels, anything. He had also booked us a foot massage as a welcome gift and no less than 5 minutes later, 2 staff from the Anantara spa had showed up at our villa to soothe our tootsies.
The villa was absolutely humongous. The master bedroom is luxurious but cozy, glamorous but comfortable, and I got quite possibly the best night’s sleep in a long while in the king-sized bed. Best. Mattress. Ever. The room also had a massive smart TV with dozens of channels and free movies, Bose bluetooth speaker, Nespresso machine and coffee capsules (free of charge), kettle, mini-fridge stocked with goodies and plenty of fresh fruit.
Step into the bathroom and you may never want to leave. The bathroom had two sinks, a freestanding bathtub, the dreamiest rain shower and every amenity you could need. On the other side of the shower is a built-in wardrobe and drawers, luggage rack and safe.
If the room wasn’t impressive enough, just take a look at this pool. This wonderful little private infinity pool is where we spent the better part of the afternoon, soaking up the sunshine and listening to tunes. Perfection.
We have also stayed in the “standard” garden view and ocean view rooms – you can expect the same high-quality furnishings that are featured in the private villas.
The Facilities & Food at Anantara Tangalle
Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle offers a tennis court, badminton court, fitness center, 2 swimming pools, kids club, spa, surf lessons, yoga classes, beach cabanas, just to name a few! The main 25 metre infinity pool offers in-water lounge chairs, a poolside mojito cart and pool bar so you always have a drink in hand; the pool cascades down into a shallower, smaller pool that is also surrounded by lounge chairs. You will never ever have to fight someone for a pool chair at Anantara, of that I am certain.
The beach is just steps away from the pool and is a stunning rocky bay – it is, however, not always swimmable due to strong currents. The best time to visit if your heart is set on swimming in the ocean is from December to April.
Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle also houses 3 main restaurants: Il Mare (Italian), Journeys (International) and Verele (Teppanyaki). The food is, put simply, delectable. Even when we aren’t staying at Anantara we often frequent Il Mare for dinner and Journeys for the best breakfast buffet in Sri Lanka.
Let me talk you through this magical breakfast buffet spread: Western classics including sausages (chicken and pork), baked beans, eggs, hash browns and 3 types of bacon; Sri Lankan dishes; cold cut platters; all the carbs you could ever need in this lifetime (including a pastry chef who walks around with a tray of freshly baked chocolate croissants); yoghurt, fresh fruit and cereal and a juice station. There’s even a gluten-free section!
The coffee served at Journeys is an experience in and of itself. It comes on a tray with cinnamon sticks, rock sugar sticks (brown and white), biscotti and sparkling water to ~cleanse the palate~.
I also have never and will never say no to a white sangria. Ever.
My tip for anyone staying at Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort in Sri Lanka is to head to Verele just before sunset for happy hour, mosey on over to Il Mare for the sunset and a decadent dinner. Every dish I’ve tried at Il Mare has been top notch and authentically Italian (the restaurant manager is from Turin, a city in northern Italy), and dessert is a necessity when dining there. I have 3 words for you: chocolate. lava. cake!
The Service at Anantara Tangalle
Where do I even begin? The service at Anantara goes beyond excellent. Service with a smile? No, more like service with soul. Every single staff member we crossed paths with said hello and flashed their pearly whites, and everyone we spoke with was genuinely friendly, kind and helpful: it’s the kind of warmth that you can’t fake.
Our villa manager was the most accommodating and thoughtful person – no task was too small and no task was too big. I’m fairly sure that he would have donated part of his liver if one of us needed a transplant (well not really, but you get the idea).
Things to Do in Tangalle
If you want to step outside of the resort and explore the area, there are plenty of options. You can go on a safari to Yala National Park or Udawalawe National Park, head to Galle Fort (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), visit the temple in Gandara, tour a tea plantation and more. For more ideas head to my guide to Sri Lanka’s south coast.
Getting to Anantara Tangalle
The resort is located in the southern part of Sri Lanka and is a 3 and a half hour drive from Bandaranaike International Airport. There are also domestic flights from Colombo to Dickwella town but make sure you check the schedule as these currently only operate once a day.
All-in-all, Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle is one of the most extraordinary places I have ever stayed. When it is time to check-out and leave the hotel, the staff performs a traditional Sri Lankan farewell ceremony and says another round of Ayubowan greetings. You will leave desperately wishing that youcould have stayed another night. When you stay at Anantara you 1) never need to leave the property because they have almost everything you could ever hope for, 2) are treated with the highest level of hospitality, and 3) will almost certainly count down to your next visit.
Are you thinking about visiting Sri Lanka or have you stayed at Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle before? I’d love to hear from you below!
You might also enjoy:
- Since Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle opened in early 2016, the chain has opened a brand new property further up the west coast of Sri Lanka in Kalutara. You can read my full review of Anantara Kalutara here!
- Southern Sri Lanka is one of the best regions to explore around the island. Here is my ultimate south Sri Lanka guide
- For even more recommendations for luxury and boutique hotels in Sri Lanka check out this guide
- Looking for more ideas of things to do while you’re in Sri Lanka? Read my 2-week itinerary around the island
- Head on over here for more Sri Lanka travel tips and destination guides
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I stayed at Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle as a paying customer, the opinions on Yogawinetravel.com are, and always will be, my own!
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