Wild Coast Tented Lodge, Yala

Wild Coast Tented Lodge, Yala Claimed

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Description

Wild Coast Tented Lodge

Resplendent Ceylon, the leisure arm of Dilmah clearly has pleasing the senses in mind with their three unique boutique experiences scattered around the country. Cape Weligama, Ceylon Tea Trails and Wild Coast Tented Lodge in Yala are poles apart in terms of weather, accommodation facilities, ambiance and even the food they serve, but one constant is in their impeccable service.

 

From the get go of contacting the reservations hotline in Colombo, it was evident that the superior ethics of Dilmah’s founder have trickled down to every branch of its operations. Bookings were meticulously processed and followed up on and we couldn’t wait till the day arrived.

 

The experience actually began with the bus ride from Matara to Tissamaharama. Although the Expressway buses from Maharagama to Matara are relatively comfortable and the ride is just 1 ½ hours, from there on its regular buses and an almost 3 hour journey. In order to avoid the nauseous feeling of winding roads, and super crazy drivers choose to plug in your earphones, and lose yourself in your favourite tunes. Wild Coast graciously offered to pick us up from the Tissamaharama main bus stand and we were happy to be escorted in a luxury van after quite literally having our heart in our throats for 3 hours! (Word from the wise, don’t take the bus, drive instead!)

 

One of the only properties allowed to build within the Yala National Park itself, Wild Coast shares the same entrance as Uga and Cinnamon with a Hilton property also coming up in close proximity. Upon entry the first thing you notice is the road block made up of a recycled tree trunk complete with all its branches. In fact sustainability plays a huge role at Wild Coast with maximum effort made to preserve the environment surrounding. This is particularly why there are no electric fences or otherwise cordoning off the property, allowing wildlife to roam freely.

 

As soon as we got there we were greeted by the staff with wet towels, the sweetest iced tea and pineapple popsicles to quench our thirst while waiting for the check-ins to be completed.

 

Once that was done we followed a semi-cleared path dotted with cocoons and what looked-like onion-shaped tents with our “guide” Lahiru. Our home for the weekend was one of the cocoons which was an elevated tent cum tree house. Do not be fooled by outer appearances though because this is by no means an ordinary tent. We were soon to learn by a detailed description given by Lahiru that this was one of the most luxurious and high-tech tents you can think of. Designed to emulate a planter’s bungalow almost everything in the tent is made of copper, including the open bathtub which has its own special bath foam. (You can’t use regular ones because they may react with the metal!). The furniture is all teak wood with comfy chairs and a four-poster bed. Then there’s the well-stocked mini bar which is all inclusive in your package. Talk about plush! Wild Coast does not however leave food inside the tent and advices guests not to do so as well, lest you are paid a visit by inquisitive monkeys or worst case an elephant on his way to a watering-hole. The high-tech side of the tent comes with air-conditioning, Wi-Fi, tea and coffee machines, and a Sonos speaker system that allows you to connect your mobile device and listen to any radio station or podcast from around the world. If not for having to explore, we would’ve been quite happy to simply lie in bed and relax all day!

 

The surroundings of the camp site also strives to lose itself in the flora and landscape of the area. They like to keep it that way and the restaurant, bar and library are designed to emulate the boulders by the sea. The pool that accompanies the building is also a great place to watch the sun go down over the horizon while listening to the Backstreet Boys softly playing in the background. (For some reason a playlist of BSB songs was on repeat every time we went down for a meal… Not complaining though being that I love BSB!)

 

Wild Coast takes service excellence beyond excellent. Taking care of guests comes naturally to everyone here and its smiles all around, ever-obliging to attend to every whim and fancy, and even chase away the occasional spider or land monitor who happens to cross your path while walking or dining at the restaurant. The culinary team led by Chef Ranil also certainly know how to please your taste buds with carefully curated meals to fit even the most discerning. Every type of meal requirement is taken care of and presented with elegance, whether it be dining under the stars by the beach or inside the jungle itself. We were taken on several culinary journeys around the world at every meal we sat down to enjoying cuisines from India, the Mediterranean, Italy and even some local fare. Special mention must be made of the Passion Fruit and Green Chilli Sorbet which had so much kick in it, the mixed Surf & Turf that was too big for two super Foodies like us and Slipper Lobster Salad that I personally could just eat every day! We also had the opportunity (or Sanura did while I manned the camera!) to cook our own Sri Lankan rice and curry inside the forest assisted by Chef Ranil of course who was such a gracious teacher.

 

We’ve talked about Nick and our Safari experience in a review dedicated to the outdoors so will keep this one to just how much we loved the location and facilities. Coming back to the room, relaxing before tucking in for the night and trying out the different options of Bickford’s was just how we would like to spend our holidays or for that matter spend the rest of our lives…

 

Location         ****   (Wild Coast is one of the only properties inside the National Park!)

Ambiance       ***** (Amazing both in the tent and out!)

Service                      ***** (Special shout out to Lahiru!)

Food              ****   (So much variety and attention to detail!)

Overall                       **** 1/2

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