ÀNI Sri Lanka Luxury Private Resort Review

One evening a few of us left some belongings in some random corner of the resort, a bag, some sandals, a hat. The next morning we all woke up to our forgotten items carefully placed outside our specific suites, they made note of everything. Every evening, we’d find little gifts placed on our beds like a traditional Sri Lankan silk scarf, a freshly peeled cinnamon stick from the day or a handmade bracelet. When returning to your suite, you find the room hasn’t only been cleaned, it has been tidied. My toiletries around the sink had been spread evenly and arranged perfectly, being a minimalist fiend, this was very pleasing. My round hairbrush had been rid of all the old hair so tightly entangled within it, a job that I’d been putting off for weeks.

If you were chilling by the pool, at least once a day someone would offer to clean your sunglasses. Your sliders would be straightened beside your lounger while you swim. Not to mention, your favourite drinks orders, whether it’s coffee at breakfast, your favourite wine for dinner or go-to cocktail by the pool, they had you covered. I was beginning to think they knew me better than I knew myself.

The beach at ÀNI Sri Lanka

Sadly, I am an absolute magnet for mosquito bites. Though there are lots of mosquitos in Sri Lanka, the team were always on hand with citronella, whether you’re on the resort or on an excursion. A lovely and gentle member of staff applies the gel to your arms and legs before dinner (primetime for mossies) every evening. Though I had bites from the journey, I didn’t get one new bite since arriving at ÀNI.

I have to mention one of my favourite people at ÀNI, Manjula. He’s the spa manager and an all round great guy to have around, very insightful if you have any questions about health, wellbeing, culture or anything. Manjula used a special ayurvedic remedy on my reactive mosquito bites and by the morning they were gone, like magic.

Is there anything to do?

There’s plenty to do within the resort, swim in one of the two infinity pools, or take a thrilling slide-in if you prefer. If you want to sink a little further into relaxation, you can relish in an ayurvedic massage at the spa or wake-up with a sunrise yoga class on the beach. If you crave activity you can workout in the air conditioned gym, play tennis, shuffleboard or partake in a privately curated PT session. You can play one of the many board games in the library, a game of chess in the pool or enjoy movies beneath the stars in the evening.

Chess in the pool


Sunrise yoga on the beach

Movies by starlight

Although the ÀNI resort is secluded, there is no limitations to leaving the resort to immerse yourself in Sri Lankan culture. There’s a fleet of colourful tuk-tuks at the resort ready to take you wherever you please. The team takes great pride in sharing the experiences of the south region of Sri Lanka and are more than happy to arrange excursions. You can take a walk around the nearby Buddist temple, sip some tea at Handunugoda Tea Estate, cruise the coastline in a private catamaran in the search for blue whales or witness wild leopards and elephants at Yala National Park. Just an hour away is the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Galle Fort, where you can wander the picturesque streets built by the Dutch in the 17th century. The fort even withstood the Boxing Day tsunami which damaged that region of Sri Lanka in 2004.

Yala National Park

Galle Fort

Tuul and Bruno Morandi / Alamy Stock Photo

One of my personal favourite trips was to the ÀNI Art Academy, founded to uplift the local community, hosting around 50 students who intensely practise the art of hyperrealism drawing. As an amateur illustrator myself, as I viewed the artwork of these students, my jaw kept dropping lower and lower. I wish I could’ve bought a piece of art by every student, their talent is utterly phenomenal.


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