When your appliances don’t work, what do you do? You unplug them, give them a break and plug them back in right? Granted, most of the time we do that because we don’t actually know enough to be able to troubleshoot the problem but the simple unplug seems to work like a treat and you get a new spark of life out of whatever you were trying to use. With our fast paced lives I think it’s only fair that we give ourselves the same treatment and I’m here to share with you a perfect place to do just that. I recently visited Talalla Retreat in southern Sri Lanka and experienced a week of total relaxation. I don’t know if it was the dreamy, tropical rooms, the beach, the buffet meals, the coconuts by the pool, the morning yoga classes or the massage at the spa but there was a lot of relaxation to be had. If you are looking for an unplug and reset or even just wondering where to stay in Sri Lanka, then read on and travel with me to Talalla Retreat.
Where to Stay in Sri Lanka
Can we just start with the rooms? If you’ve followed me on Instagram or seen my Sri Lankan highlights YouTube video, then you might remember this tropical setting, but the rooms surely set the tone of relaxation for your stay. I stayed in one of the first floor Deluxe Rooms though there are many different types to choose from to suit all budgets – from sea view villas to budget dorm style accommodation. When I entered my Deluxe Room I was taken aback – I didn’t spend a million dollars for this and yet I was staying in such a luxurious space. I felt like a queen! The bed was comfortable and surrounded by a mosquito net which came in handy at night, there was a balcony overlooking the pool area, a safe to store my valuables and my favorite part was the outdoor shower. If you’re a nature lover then I think you will like it because it is surrounded by tropical nature. As I showered in the mornings I had the company of the birds and the critters outside and in the evenings I could watch the glow bugs light up the trees and I had the company of a couple of resident frogs. Wi-Fi was available though there wasn’t a strong signal from my room, which was actually great to encourage that unplug and relax style of holiday.
Travel Tip: The Deluxe Rooms are open air so I wouldn’t recommend them if you are traveling with children.
There’s a lot more to do than just relax in your room though. Talalla boasts a 20 meter pool which is a space well suited for a little relaxation, especially if you don’t enjoy swimming in the ocean as much. It’s here by the pool that you can relax in one of their hammocks or pool chairs, read a book or just laze about under the palm trees. The bar at the nearby kitchen serves drinks, including fresh king coconuts which I highly recommend, all day to complement your time by the pool. Don’t be surprised if you see some cute, little squirrel like creatures scurrying about from tree to tree either. If you’d like to give your body a treat, there is a spa on site where you can get a massage, facial or body treatment. I got a massage on my last day there and while laying on the table looking down at a bowl filled with frangipanis below, I couldn’t help but think that it was a fitting way to get my body ready for the travel home.
When you’re ready for some food you don’t need to scour Trip Advisor for reviews of places to eat or endure that common conversation of ‘where do you want to eat?’, ‘I don’t know, where do you want to eat?’. We all know the feels on that right? Instead, go for an all inclusive option at Talalla and you will be able to dine at their kitchen for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfasts and dinners are served buffet style while lunch is served a la carte with a range of meals, fruits and sides to serve your palette using locally sourced ingredients. There is also a grill station at breakfast and dinner so you can order a fresh egg cooked to your liking or omelette for breakfast or a fresh cooked piece of meat at dinner. I liked the buffet style because I was able to try some traditional Sri Lankan food that I might not have otherwise tried. My favorite was a dish of shaved coconut with spices that I ate each morning with my egg and highly recommend. There is also a wide range of drinks served as well including fresh juices, soft drinks, coffees and, my favorite, the Mango Lassi which I had at breakfast each day.
If you’d like to add a little something to your stay then it’s good to know that Talalla offers surf and yoga retreats throughout the year and what a place to learn. I have never surfed before but I did try a lesson while I was there and it was such a fun experience! Even though I was clumsy and slow, our instructor Tim always made me feel like a surfing superstar and offered advice on something to improve on before each wave. You don’t have to be an expert to go on a surf retreat either, they can accommodate all skills levels. The yoga retreats are also suited for any skill level and if you’d like to take your relaxation up a notch, then I would recommend checking one of those out. Sounds crazy because it’s exercise so how can it be relaxing, but I visited for a yoga retreat (you can read more about that here) and for me, the yoga really added to the relaxation levels. Either of these would be great if you are a traveling solo as well because you will have the chance to link up with a group of travel buddies like I did. If you are not interested in participating in a full retreat, there are daily yoga classes in the morning and evening that you can participate in for 15USD when you feel the urge.
One of my favorite things to do was to walk to Talalla beach at sunrise. There’s something about a beach sunrise that is just the perfect way to start the day isn’t there? I often saw others taking a morning walk along the beach or going for a run and others like me who were there to watch the sunrise and snap a few pictures. The beach is lined with boats at one end and if you are there at sunrise or sunset you will be able to see the fisherman take their boats out to work. They are quite friendly and up for a chat if you are so don’t forget to say hi! If you’re there during the day it was also a nice place to cool of and take a dip. There are a lot of stray dogs around the beach area and I had two different beach bags peed on while I was swimming! If you can prop your bags up off the ground then I recommend that – especially if you have pets at home that the stray dogs might be able to smell on your stuff.
Travel Tip: If you want to get a great sunset view, walk down to Hotel Panorama at the other end of the beach and follow the path up the rocks where you can get a drink with an amazing sunset view!
As you might have guessed, there was a lot that I loved about staying here at the Talalla Retreat but I have to say that my absolute favorite thing was the staff who helped me each day. They really were some of the most genuinely kind people, going beyond the courtesy required of their role. When I would go for a meal at the kitchen the waitstaff always greeted me with big smiles and would often ask me about my day. They were quick to remember my name and room number which was a small gesture but nice to not just feel like another number going through the hotel. I booked a wildlife safari which left at 4am (so worth it – if you do one, go early to see more animals) and the staff not only helped me book that excursion but they also had set aside a little breakfast and bottle of water for me to take on my trip. Those big smiles, thoughtful gestures and kind people are what I remember most from this stay and I hope you get to experience it too.
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