I was looking for a weeks break during Easter 2017 for my family –I wanted a resort not too far from Dubai which offered activities in and around the resort, lots of entertainment for the children and a place where we could get some R&R. Virtual high five for me… I found the right place that ticked every box, let me introduce you to The Shangri La Hambantota Golf Resort and Spa.
Overlooking the pristine southern coast of beautiful Sri Lanka, Shangri-La's Hambantota is located along the ancient Spice Route in a city steeped in rich history. Hambantota is known for its natural beauty and wildlife, and allows visitors to explore some of South Asia’s most fascinating nature sanctuaries, including the Yala, Udawalawe, Lunugamvehera and Bundala National Parks.
The luxury resort spans 58.8 hectares, making it the largest resort in Sri Lanka, and boasts 300 spacious rooms, including 21 suites, all surrounded by stunning tropical gardens. It is home to an 18-hole golf course, an expansive spa and an artisan village that celebrates local arts and crafts.
The morning we arrived the kids were blown away by everything they saw, not knowing what to do first. As parents we fell in love with the stunning grounds that we could access from our garden level rooms as they offered so much space and privacy in a controlled environment.
The hotel had three swimming pools. One being the main large pool, the other being a pool with two water slides and shallow enough for the children to stand or for my youngest to jump on her tip toes. The other pool was an adult only, sun set pool and located on the opposite side of the resort which was the quieter, kid free zone.
There is also a baby water park attached to the main pool which the kids loved -running through the sprinklers and up and down the slides.
The beach was pristine, white sand, completely raw and untouched, the waves are quiet rough so sadly we didnt swim in the sea during this stay as the red flag was up during our entire stay.
The hotel had thought about everything and even included a trapeze school were twice daily queues of kids would patiently wait to climb the 7m high trapeze and show off their skills. My eldest was addicted and actually pretty good. I tried it and it wasn’t easy and not a pleasent sight when I landed! The staff were very aware of safety and were extremely hands on and supportive while assisting the children up and down the ladder, putting them in a harness and encouraging them not to be frightened and talking them through how to swing on the trapeze bar.
Since the hotel hadn’t been open for long, I didn’t know what to expect from the kids club aptly named The Cool Zone Kids Club – well, it only turned out to be the best and biggest hotel kids club I have ever been too. It had a brand new and rather big soft play area, amazing activities and crafts and the most amazing, patient and extremely kind staff. When your kids don’t want to leave – even for ice cream – then you know you have a winning kids club.
I also have to thank the hotel, as Sisi was 4 years old at the time and while getting out of the pool she slipped and sliced her chin on the wall. It was a deep cut and still has the scar to prove it. The hotel first aid and medical center were amazing and reacted quickly, being gentle and attentive. Everyday during the course of the week, the nurse would look out for Sisi and ask to change her bandages.
As the kids enjoyed the kids club so much we took full advantage of the alone time by visiting CHI Ayurveda Spa. For 90 minutes we enjoyed one of the many massages and had got ourselves some well-deserved peace and tranquility.
The sun set pool was our fav late afternoon spot to enjoy a dip, view of the ocean and a glass or two of vino. This was supposed to be a quiet zone but with no guests around the kids enjoyed a swim with us as we ordered snacks from the cool food tuk tuks - a nice trendy touch.
For golf lovers, the resort is home to Sri Lanka's premier 18-hole* golf course which is set amid a vast coconut palm plantation, offering spectacular views. The beautifully landscaped par-70 course takes you on a memorable golf experience through three landscaped zones, each with its own unique character.
The hotel had a selection of restaurants from the golf club restaurant to Bojunhala which offered traditional Sri Lankan food. My children loved the all day dining and I have to high five the hotel as every day they offered a kids buffet with children’s character plates and on a counter level where the children could actually reach and see inside the serving dishes. This made dinner with the kids less stressful as they could help themselves to their own food deciding for themselves what they wanted to eat. After dinner most nights they did ‘movies under the stars’, but by this time my three were exhausted and off to bed they went.
Because we enjoyed the resort so much, we only managed to enjoy one excursion outside of the hotel, but it was a great one – An Elephant Safari – click the link below to find out more:
All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Shangri La Hambantota - it was a perfect family get away where we managed to relax, and the children were constantly entertained. This hotel/resort does a fantastic job of finding the right mix for both the parents and the children hence I don’t mind at all putting it near the top of my list for ideal family hotels.