Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Staycation At Karpaha Sands, Kalkudah - Hotel Review


Ever since COVID-19 had us confined to the comfort of our homes, we've wanted to escape them. Whether it was just to take a trip to your favourite restaurant, see your friends or travel the world, we were all itching to do it. As the world tentatively opens up again, I'm still cautious as to whether or not international travel is the best option. But I knew I wanted to travel, somewhere. Lucky for me, I get to live half of my life on a tropical island in the middle of the Indian Ocean with endless possibilities of places to visit. So we took a trip from the West Coast of Sri Lanka to the East for few days at the end of July as our first trip since COVID-19 and let me tell you, it was the best few days of 2020 (so far).

Normally when we travel within Sri Lanka, we have our staple places and one of those is Jungle Beach by Uga, but much to our dismay the resort is closed until next year. *Sigh*. So we took to our friend Google to search for more boutique hotels on the East Coast and after browsing through places, I came across one place that a.) we hadn't heard of before and b.) looked absolutely gorgeous. Karpaha Sands on Kalkudah Beach, Passikuda ended up being the spot that we chose and we couldn't have been happier. 

With a number #1 ranking from Trip Advisor and named as one of the best Asian beach hotels by The Telegraph, it's easy to understand why when you get there. 

Situated on the East Coast, this hotel is a little dream on the edge of the ocean. It's beautifully secluded with villa rooms on a gorgeous stretch of beach; the ideal place to relax for a few days. Our trip here was wonderful and needed after being cooped up in the house for so long. Taking a breath of fresh air, listening to the waves and feeling the sand between your toes was just great. 

Here's my rundown of Karpaha Sands!

 
 Location:
It was a little hard to find the hotel at first, I mean we missed the turning because we didn't catch a board at the top of the road. But thank God for Google Maps. After you turn off the main road, you head through a long stretch of unpaved beach road and as you drive down, you may think you've missed it. But then you see the board that navigates you the right way and you know that when you reach the hotel, you will for sure be at the edge of the sea. The hotel is situated on a secluded beach that only hears the waves on the shore, the breeze running through the coconut trees and the occasional chants of fishermen tugging their nets to shore. At the time that we went, there wasn't as many people as there would be during a normal peak time season, which Summer usually is, but I quite enjoyed the tranquility and being able to take in the location privately. As you enter the hotel, you're greeted with a beautiful fisherman boat in the foyer that opens to a reception that looks out onto a pathway lined with araliya trees with the horizon line in the distance. If that doesn't completely sell you straight away, then I don't know what will. 

 

Sleep:

We stayed in one of the Palam Suites; "palam" in Tamil means "fruit" and these suites offer you the greatest fruit of all - a direct access and view of the ocean. Whenever we go on a trip, especially within Sri Lanka, we like to look for more villa style rooms for privacy and Karpaha Sands was perfect for that. The room has a cabin-tent vibe with an open plan space. You have an outdoor veranda which works as the "porch" into your room with double sliding glass doors. In the room, you have a small seating area and a super comfy bed sits in the middle of the room, giving you the perfect view of what seems like endless sand, rows of magnificent coconut trees and the beautiful blue of the ocean beyond. This space is then separated by a small wall and curtains that lead into a beautiful open bathroom space with his and hers sinks in the middle, a major bathtub, storage areas, a little tea & coffee nook with a mini fridge, and finally an outdoor shower. Basically, everything you need is in one room of course and it's so cosy that we pretty much spent most our time in the room (also, it was a bit rainy whilst we were there so...)


Eat

Ps: Basically got no other photos of food because we got too excited and ate, so my bad.

We went to the resort on a half board package, which allowed us breakfast included in the price. For breakfast, which we decided to have on the outdoor patio each morning, we had the option of either traditional Sri Lankan breakfast (which is a must anywhere you go) and Western options as well. We got a bit of everything and honestly, the breakfast spread is insane. Along with what you order, you receive a full bread tray, fruit, juices and more. And because you end up having so much, you probably won't eat lunch. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no buffet options available, however there are à la carte menus available for lunch and dinner, which range from a bit lower than Rs.1000/- and upwards. We had some wonderful meals of seafood, which is all fresh so if you are choosing from the à la carte menu, we definitely recommend any of the seafood. Room service were brilliant too, with the same à la carte menus available for your room and quick turnaround service when it came to restocking tea and coffee (which we tend to have a lot of). The service was brilliant when it came to food, so much so that they even made my Mum a little birthday cake last minute and it was so delicious! Only other thing I'll say is that they do not serve any alcohol at the moment, but you are allowed to bring you own, so pack yourself a bottle of wine or two. And if you don't, the staff will happily source for you. 

 

Relax:

Along with the beautiful beach front, the resort offers an infinity pool by the main building area that also looks out onto the ocean, where you can relax on a sun lounger or take a dip in the pool. Or you can head right down to the sea salt water and sand. The other thing that I loved was that there were bean bags dotted across the beach, which would be perfect for relaxing in with your favourite book as you soak up some sun. There's also offerings of a spa, a games room, a library, gardens across the property and the bar lounge for spaces outside of your room. 

COVID-19 Precautions:

As soon as you get to the hotel, you don't even need to worry. A member of staff will come and greet you, check your temperature and make sure you sanitise by washing your hands and placing your footwear in a disinfectant mat. They also continue to check your temperature twice a day just to make sure. There's also social distancing measures in place in the restaurant whereby they have limited capacity of seating so as to insure as much safety as possible. Anyway, since there was less people at the resort at the time, we didn't have to worry as much. But the staff did a fantastic job of making sure that not only we felt safe, but they themselves were too complying with the health and safety guides implemented by the Sri Lankan Tourism Board. 

 
Extras:

Something that I thought was completely unique to the experience was technology you get with your room. Of course you get your usual room key, but you also get your own mobile phone that works as the room phone and your free Wifi provider (through personal hotspot), so you can pretty much carry that around with you throughout the resort. You also get a little bluetooth speaker so you can play your music a little louder and a torch to get around the property. Honestly, I thought the mobile phone was a truly great little extra because it also was so easy to contact staff around the hotel and also, whatever bills you have from your meals or any other experiences get sent to you immediately through that! So it's much easier to keep track of things for yourself. 

Though it rained a little bit during our trip and we truly lazed about, it was probably one of the most relaxing trips we've ever had. I cannot tell you how much we enjoyed that mini getaway at Karpaha Sands. The service was great, the ambience was beautiful and just overall the hotel made such an impression on us that we know we'll one day definitely visit again. 

So if you live in Sri Lanka and are in need of a staycation, or if you're making Sri Lanka one of the first destinations you visit when the borders are fully open, then definitely add Karpaha Sands to your list. 

I hope you enjoyed this review and if you want to see more, let me know! If you want more destinations/recommendations within Sri Lanka (for now, since I'm not doing international travel just yet), then do let me know in the comments below. 

I hope you're staying safe and well. Sending you lots of love, 

Emily xx

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1 comment

  1. You look absolutely fabulous in all three of the outfits you are shown wearing during your stay at the Karpah Sands . I like the looks of the grey wrap-around skirt styled with the black one-piece swimsuit, love the look of the white maxi-dress, and especially love the very feminine pink button-front minidress with its puffy sleeves, bow, and its airy design.
    The Happy Birthday cake looks yummy, and I'm getting hungry thinking about the delicious fruit at the Palam Suites. The bed looks inviting and so does the bathtub.
    The Karpah Sands in Kalkudah looks like a delightful place for a staycation.

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