Portofino Resort Tangalle: Sri Lanka Casual
Even by Sri Lanka’s high standard of friendly, professional service, the staff at Portofino Tangalle stand out as exceptionally accommodating.
Even by Sri Lanka’s high standard of friendly, professional service, the staff at Portofino Tangalle stand out as exceptional in their prodigious work to ensure every guest at the resort has a good time. From the very approachable general manager, Mr Ian Sylva, to the housekeepers, gardeners, and maintenance staff, every employee here contributes to the happiness of guests, ensuring when they leave, they leave wishing they could stay longer.
For those who want to get away from it all and enjoy the privilege of a virtually private tropical beach in an oceanfront resort, Portofino Resort Tangalle makes an ideal hideaway. The only sound at night is made by waves breaking on the sand. You know that calm sound; it is the sound citydwellers crave when they buy sound machines in order to drown out the drone of constant traffic. Here at Portofino Tangalle, after waking up refreshed and eager to start enjoying the day, guests may be lucky in finding a coconut freshly fallen off one of the many palm trees and sipping their morning coconut water right out of its natural package rather than from a carton.
Portofino Resort Tangalle is found neither in Portofino nor Tangalle; it is, however, found at the end of a 5km road on a large property in a quiet Sri Lankan village called Ranna. This area of Sri Lanka’s southern coast is just beyond the denser coastal development that reaches from the country’s famous Galle Fort on the southwest tip of the island to Tangalle. For now, small resorts with low impact on the environment are found intermittently among the private homes and open spaces along the stretch of pristine beach where it is normal to be the only one on it. At night, a black sky unpolluted by city lights is filled instead with the Milky Way and shooting stars; dinner on the sand at a table surrounded by torches makes a romantic setting for a special meal of succulent lobster and other seafood caught the same morning it is served.
Portofino Tangalle has 50 units in several lowrise buildings constructed on the property. All rooms have access to a patio (on the ground floor) or a deck (on the first floor). Rooms fall into two categories, Deluxe and Suite, with the larger Suite rooms offering a sitting area and dining table to create a homelike environment. Families like the rooms facing the pool to keep an eye on children while playing in the water, though here it is just as likely to find carefree adults doing the same. Just a few steps away from the pool is the resort’s open-air Senses restaurant where meals are served to guests who are not dining in room or on the beach. Just steps away from the beach is the spa. In a land where ayurveda is an ancient tradition, an ayurvedic treatment should not be missed. At Portofino Tangalle, the spa therapists administer ayurvedic (and all other) treatments with an intuitive knowledge of the human anatomy to make aches and pains disappear.
Guests at Portofino Tangalle come from everywhere, for every reason. Some spend the night en route from the tea plantations of the highlands to Galle Fort; others want to stay relatively close to the departure point for early-morning whalewatching excursions. Though the ocean is sometimes too rough for swimming, the unpopulated stretch of deserted beach is beautiful and serene and encourages Europeans and other cold-climate visitors to spend weeks here in splendid isolation among the tropical vegetation, enjoying the extraordinarily delicious flavours of Sri Lankan cuisine and the equally extraordinary friendliness and dedication of service almost extinct in their home countries.
Portofino Tangalle can arrange for private transfers direct from Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport to the resort, a pleasant drive along the modern Southern Expressway before joining the coastal road after Matara for the rest of the journey. Air Asia X’s convenient and cost-efficient Flatbed Class from Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Perth, and Darwin provides a comfortable seat and, as the name states, a flat bed on par with any Business Class in the sky. The Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau maintains a helpful website providing insightful information about the country’s attractions and activities in the Tangalle area and beyond.
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