Friday, 28 November 2014

Escaping it all at Cape Weligama


From seaplane to neverending coastal road, past a string of stick fishermen and up a steep winding and rugged street, you’ll find a Sir Lankan hideaway built into a steep cliff that has all the character of a luxury resort with the rich flavor of local people and the traditions they hold dear. This is Cape Weligama, the modern and uber-luxe sister resort to Ceylon Tea Trails. It is brand new, as in doors just recently opened. The staff, and the place itself, are still finding their feet, but landing firmly in a position that is setting them up for a very bright future indeed.

We arrived at Cape Weligama on a beautiful and bright sunny afternoon. It was as if the hotel staff had special ordered the weather – not an easy task at the end of monsoon season in Sri Lanka. But, for that afternoon we were truly able to see the beauty of our surroundings and the incredible detail that has been shown to every single corner of Cape Weligama. The villas themselves are the perfect reflection of everything the group stands for. Resplendent Ceylon, the hotel group which Cape Weligama is a part of, have made it their sole purpose in life to give back to the communities of Sri Lanka. This is a community in development that wishes to restore glory to their home country’s tourism trade. Everything from the furniture in the rooms to the food on our plates is a reflection of local talents. Even the butlers for the villas offer a local experience and are all too happy to discuss anything and everything with you during your stay.

Yes, each villa comes with a butler. It also comes with a pool, an ocean view and a bathroom that will truly knock your socks off. And if that isn’t enough to keep you busy, there are two other public pools to dive into, two beach fronts to explore and a feast of activities to fill your days while at Cape Weligama. Although I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t tempted by the idea of lazying about for the duration – taking long hot baths, indulging in massages in the room, eating at any one of the three restaurants on site or just enjoying a good read on my ocean front porch. One look at Cape Weligama and you can easily see why it’s labeled a retreat. This is like stepping out of reality and stepping into paradise for however many days you can sacrifice.

Saying that, there are some things that can’t be missed while in residence. For one, you have to eat at the outdoor Sri Lankan restaurant by the beach. This was definitely the culinary highlight of the stay. Chefs deliver an outstanding curry and local street food experience, all cooked right in front of you and delivered straight to table. Be warned, you’ll think you can eat it all. I don’t think I’ve ever piled a plate so high. I sat with a full tummy as the ice cream stand opened at the close of the meal and I was certain I couldn’t fit another morsel of food in without embarrassing myself greatly. Yes, there could have been a jeans-button-popping-moment in my future, should I have kept filling my face. But truly you just cannot stop. The food is so incredible and I do believe when I come back I’ll be spending just about every night in this restaurant. That all being said, the hotel does have on offer an extensive in-room dining experience. Butlers assist you with everything from breakfast on your veranda in the morning to BBQs in the evening with your guests.  In truth, if you don’t want to leave your villa once, there’s no need from check-in to check-out. Although doing so would be a great shame. But more on that later!

For now, here’s a look at what I discovered while in residence at Cape Weligama for three nights. 
(Ps. Please do check out the website - http://www.capeweligama.com - for truly stunning pictures, as sadly we didn't have too many blue skies so I'm afraid I don't do it justice). 

Cape Weligama
Cape Weligama
Cape Weligama
Cape Weligama
Cape Weligama
Cape Weligama
Cape Weligama
Cape Weligama
Cape Weligama
Cape Weligama
Cape Weligama
Cape Weligama
Cape Weligama
Cape Weligama
Cape Weligama
Cape Weligama
Cape Weligama
Cape Weligama
Cape Weligama
Cape Weligama

Cox & Kings have a 7-day / 5-night trip to Sri Lanka priced from £2,355 per person, including flights from London, road transfers, 2 nights all-inclusive at Tea Trails and 3 nights’ half board at Cape Weligama. Transfers by sea plane with Cinnamon Air can be arranged for an extra cost.

FFG was a guest of Cape Wiligama.
All photos taken with an Olympus Pen. FFG is a UK ambassador for Olympus. 

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Fruit Loops are so in fashion (on this Turkey day)

Moschino fruit loops

It's Thanksgiving today and as my whole set of family and friends will be focusing in on Turkey, stuffing and cranberry, I thought I'd take a step out and concentrate on a different food group: cereal. Yes, I know I'm slightly obsessed. When designers starting sending AW14 designs down the runway focused on American supermarket classics, I went a bit mad. My whole preppy dressing flew out the window and I was ready to embrace more fun filled flare for the season ahead. 

Last week I had a spare minute to pop into Moschino to try on one of my favourite pieces from their collection this season, which just so happens to feature this cereal craze in fashion. I'd been eyeing up the Moschino Fruit Loops dress for ages. Well, actually it's officially called the Froggy Loops dress- I'm assuming that has something to do with copyright issues. Regardless, it looks close enough to my favourite childhood cereal box and I needed to step back in time and live my Saturday morning cartoon rituals in a modern way. Yes, I was the saddo who loved a Saturday morning with Fruit Loops and cartoons. Simple pleasures, eh?

Well, I was set back a bit in store, but only momentarily. I was told that my dream time machine dress was only available in a very small size - as in the smallest. The attendant looked at me as if she knew it wasn't going to work but seemed amused enough to play along. I stepped into the fitting room and pulled on the dress (that is so obviously meant to be loose). As I looked in the mirror I momentarily looked past the facts: mainly that it was three sizes too small, so short it looked like I should be stepping off to work a pole in the middle of a room somewhere and so expensive that I'd probably have to swing from said pole for a week to pay off the credit card debt after purchasing. None of that mattered in that moment. As I stood in the fitting room at Moschino I marveled at the genius of Jeremy Scott. He has truly given new life to a classic brand and I am in awe of his ability to do so, with this dress and everything else he has done since taking the reigns. I do believe we're witnessing only the beginning of a beautiful partnership.

All that fashion romance aside, I do find myself loving any moment I can get in a fitting room these days. Hope you're enjoying the short stories that go along with the pop-ins. Needless to say, this particular dress did not go home with me, sadly. I might have been tempted, but sadly no store had in stock the size that I required. All sold out. I'll just visit these pictures occasionally to remind myself of the cool one that got away...


Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Sri Lanka Travel: Flying high over Adam's Peak (Sri Pada)

Adam's peak

Our Sri Lanka travels continue and yesterday we made our way, by seaplane again, from Ceylon Tea Trails to Cape Weligama. I wouldn't normally be one to get excited about two seaplane journeys in one trip, but we ended up having the same pilots with Cinnamon Air and they took us on the most scenic route as we headed for the coast. 

One of my main regrets, while staying at Ceylon Tea Trails, was not having the time to visit Adam's Peak. For those of you unfamiliar with this spiritual landmark, allow me to quickly paraphrase it's importance. Millions of people each year come to Sri Lanka on a pilgrimage to the top of Adam's Peak. They climb thousands of steps to reach the top where the find the footprint of Adam, for Christians that is. It is said this was where he first stepped onto the earth after being cast out of paradise, hence the name "Adam's Peak." However, this is a pilgrimage made by Hindus and Buddhists as well, as they too believe that the footstep in the stone represents that of Siva, for Hindus, and Buddha, for Buddhists. It is a journey made by believers and the curious alike, and is a scene like nothing you have ever witnessed before. People begin their journeys as early as 1am so as to reach the peak on time to watch the sunrise. As you climb and look down, in peak season, you will see the stairs and land stretching out before you covered with tiny lights as people follow in your footsteps to the top. One can certainly easily understand how this would be a spiritual moment in time. 

Now before you think I've just gone on a wild and crazy tangent here, there is a reason I mention all of this. As I was taking off in the seaplane it weighed heavily on me that I had not done this trek while I had the chance, but I was even more upset that I had not at least made the car journey to visit the base of the peak and to see the people climbing to the top. While I should hope that I'd be returning to Sri Lanka in a matter of months, I never know what the future holds and Adam's Peak is not to be missed when given the chance to visit. Essentially, here I'm telling you to make it a "must" on any itinerary you put together if you book into Ceylon Tea Trails

Now, back to that whole seaplane with Cinnamon Air. As we made our way off the lake and into the sky the pilot told us to have our cameras ready as our route to Cape Weligama would be a memorable one. So, I reached down for the Olympus Pen and had it strategically placed on the window's ledge so as not to catch too much glare. We flew over waterfalls, beautiful hills covered from top to bottom in tea plants, and bright and vibrant villages as we climbed into the sky. 

Sri Lanka from the air
Sri Lanka from the air
Sri Lanka from the air

Then the pilot pointed ahead and said "Adam's Peak." As I'm a total dweeb, I dropped my camera in excitement. Nothing can prepare you for the sight of the peak as you approach. It is, in short, magical. Luckily, I got myself back together in time to shoot a few pictures, which I will reference regularly until the day I can return and climb with the millions of others that do so each year.  

Adam's Peak

For those of you making the journey, start training now. Apparently it is a rigorous walk that is described by many to be "intense" and unexpected as the stairs seem to stretch on forever - 7km to be exact. It would seem, however, that popular believe is "no pain, no gain." And for what I have read, it is a feeling like none other when you reach the top.

Sri Lanka and Ceylon Tea Trails, I'll be back for more, without a shadow of a doubt, and I will climb Adam's Peak. 

Fashion Foie Gras is a guest of Cape Weligama and Ceylon Tea Trails.

All Pictures taken with an Olympus Pen Camera. FFG is a UK ambassador for the brand. 
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