New Eco Warrior Lodgings
Of late, Sri Lankan hotel developers have been building eco-friendly hotels in hopes of helping raise Sri Lanka’s credentials as a green destination to attract more discerning and high-spending tourists. A growing segment of travelers is now more sensitive to minimizing their carbon footprint, and delight in seeking out hotels that help them do that. These eco-conscious travelers have long been attracted by Sri Lanka’s natural beauty and rich biodiversity.
Many feel the term ‘eco tourism’ is an oxymoron as travel by nature contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions and thereby global warming. The consciencesoothing effects of hotels to minimize their impact on the environment are the reason for travelers to choose them.
The hotels listed here have some of the essential elements of basic eco credentials like the promotion of recycling, energy efficiency and water conservation, and the creation of economic opportunities for local communities, in addition to some added features unique to each one.
Aladuwa Wa tte, Pelassa, Thitthagalle, Ahangama
Set on the bay of the Koggala Lake is Tri Lanka’s first association with water. Throughout the 10-suite hotel, water is a precious resource.
A defining feature of the contemporary, sustainable design luxury hotel is a striking, cinnamon-clad water tower located at the center of the property. The tower also holds the hotel’s water tank, in addition to three rooms and a deck with a 360-degree view of the property.
The rest of the hotel is made entirely from locally sourced materials like recycled wood, and features wall gardens, green roofs and solar panels that meet the property’s energy needs. Its cantilevered infinity pool and plunge pools in three of the villas all use 60% less chlorine than regular pools, and the hotel envisions increasing this to 95%.
Tri Lanka is owned by Rob Drummond and his wife Laura Baumann (of Quantum Yoga), and designed by green architect Raefer Wallis of AOO Architects.
Gal Oya Lodge
31km post Bibile-Ampa ra Road, Uva Province
Gal Oya Lodge promotes environmentally responsible tourism. Gal Oya National Park, where the Lodge is located, is also the only place in Sri Lanka where safaris can be conducted by boat, when guests can watch animals come to the water’s edge to drink and hunt. However, the highlight of the safari is seeing elephants swim from island to island searching for food and at leisure.
Gal Oya Lodge is also within walking distance from the village of Sri Lanka’s aboriginal people, the Veddas, for whom nature is not just for viewing pleasure but the primary source that meets all their needs.
Designed by John Balmond, advised by his father renowned architect Cecil Balmond, the lodge is constructed with natural materials like teak and mara, and complete with thatched roofs; the hotel’s furniture is also handmade by local village craftsmen.
Ka udugannawa, Ga mpa la Road, Pahalathamba vita, Mannikkawa, Ka ndy
+94 11 2391191/770112071
While providing the necessary comforts, Gadadessa focuses on minimizing its carbon footprint by using sustainable energy sources. The property uses solar panels for its energy needs, in addition to a small-scale windmill that powers Base Camp. It also has its own mini hydropower plant.
The Octagon House, made from forest-grown timber, is designed to take advantage of natural airflows to keep the house cool at all times without the use of air conditioning. Tree House is a basic, eco-friendly abode that provides necessary comforts. Gadadessa also has its own campsite complete with tents, and provides the ultimate wilderness experience.
As part of its agriculture tourism, Gadadessa uses the aquaponics farming technique, a sustainable food production system that combines traditional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water).
Yala Caravan Village
No 84 Gurugoda, Palathupa na, Kirinda,Sri Lanka
Caravans are the latest trend in Sri Lanka. Yala Caravan Village, situated on the coastal side of Kirinda, caters to this by providing room for 10 caravans. The park lies just 5km from Yala National Park, one of Sri Lanka’s richest eco tourism destinations.
Yala Caravan Village is also surrounded by several eco tourism locations like the Bundala birdsanctuary, one of Sri Lanka’s prime spots for bird watching, and the Kirinda lagoon, where guests can go on diving excursions.
The village also offers adventure experiences like a wildlife safari in Yala, trekking excursions, and activities for kids like wall climbing and a high rope course.