Tintagel, like the castle in Cornwall for which it is named, instantly offers a royal welcome. And like King Arthur, you will feel that you deserve to be there, surrounded by such opulence.
Though it has an illustrious past, this home-turned-private-hotel has never before invited the public to enjoy its glow. Most recently it was home to the family of the world’s first female Prime Minister, Sirimavo Bandaranaike. During one of her three non-successive terms in the office, her daughter was the President, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, again the country’s first female in the office and an impressive mother-daughter team.
Prior to the family which produced so many of the country’s leaders, it was occupied by British soldiers during World War II. They had seized it from its first owner, a doctor who built it in the 1930’s and lived an aristocratic lifestyle, complete with peacocks wandering the garden!
Upon entering, you’ll get the sensation that you are being warmly embraced by your kindest, most beautiful aunt, who wants to cater to your every whim. You will certainly feel drawn to wander inward to investigate the colors and flavors of each nook and cranny, and you will not be disappointed, but rather thoroughly enchanted.
The proprietor and designer of Tintagel, Shanth Fernando, has struck the perfect balance between comfort and beauty, classic and chic, without seeming overdone. From just inside the entrance, his eclectic style juxtaposes towering vases ornamented by spheres of greenery with a Flemish chandelier, and an ornate mirror from a chateau in Marseilles with muted ash-toned elegance.
Even before you see you see your room, you will long to visit the terrace and sit among the flowering Thunbergia vines to sample the chef’s delectable dishes, or to take a moment to explore the 500 handpicked custom leather-bound volumes in the cozy library.
You’ll find yourself secretly planning the perfect time to visit the pool and make yourself a part of this work of art, and then tiptoe up the stairs to the spa for more in-depth pampering.
It is only having seen all of these things that will draw you out of your room once you’ve arrived. The beds are plush with feather and down comforters and quilts and Egyptian cotton sheets that bring to mind childhood dreams of sleeping on clouds. The colors are like sampler platters of the dining experience that waits below with avocado, cream and chocolate on the menu. The furniture includes Chinese cabinets and Burmese reliquaries while the carpets were hand-woven in Nepal. Modern conveniences add comfort with flat screen TVs, and Bose music systems to enhance the multi-sensory experience.
The private balconies will make you want to linger, while the luxurious bathrooms will entice you to take your time with your personal beauty rituals. And each of the 10 rooms is individually designed, making you want to come back again and again to experience each of them.
Tintagel mixes the classic and the modern to create an atmosphere that soothes and enlivens and leaves nothing wanting. It even houses a private dining room for events, should you want to try being a host of the aristocratic lifestyle for yourself, and a gym to work off the fusion fare that melts in your mouth from either or both of their two restaurants: al fresco in The Courtyard or in The Dining Room surrounded by grey silk wall panels and dusky burgundy glassware, again custom-made for Tintagel.
Tintagel is obviously a labor of love, and it is warmly felt from the moment you arrive to the moment you depart. Conveniently located in the midst of the bustling city of Colombo, it is the perfect place to pamper yourself after seeing all that the rest that the island has to offer, and to use as a base while you enjoy the city’s kaleidoscope of delights.
A visit to this special place on the paradise island of Sri Lanka is sure to leave you with fond memories and an inner sparkle that will never be extinguished.
Malayna Dawn is an American freelance writer and author who lives in Sri Lanka.
All photos provided by Tintagel, and used with permission.