Jetwing Light House: 5 stars, materialized

After an exciting but tiresome visit to the Galle Fort, T and I were hoping that there wouldn’t be any trouble checking into our room at the Light House Hotel as we had only reserved it via a telephone call. To our amazement, as soon as we approached the reception area and inquired about our room, the baggage was attended to and we were taken to the upper floor where the lobby area was. The swirling wooden stairway to the lobby area was decorated with Dutch and Sinhalese warriors re-enacting the Battle of Randeniya which brought out a glimpse of Sri Lankan culture. (Something that we were full to the brim with, after an entire day spent at the Galle Fort)

The moment you enter the lobby area, there is only one thing that captures your eye and makes time stand still – the ocean. The hotel which lies on a rocky, hilly area adjacent to the beach is created in such a way that the lobby area receives a full 180 degree view of the Indian Ocean. For me, this was the pinnacle of Geoffery Bawa’s architectural design of the hotel. The hotel as a whole is spacious and airy and the interior décor brings out a trendy outlook with a touch of culture blended into it. The lawn which is maintained in front of the lobby area extends downhill with a rocky stairway leading to the beach-front where small pools of ocean water have been created as a result of the waves that crash onto the rocks. If you’re a wildlife enthusiast, you’ll be able to spot a variety of fish, shellfish and even sea urchins around these natural pools.

While I was gazing at the ocean in silence which was interrupted only by the crashing waves and the clicks of T’s camera, a waiter clad in white approached us with cold facial towels and a variety of welcome drinks; iced tea, king coconut and mixed fruit juice. Feeling dehydrated, I went straight for the king coconut while T settled for the iced tea. The king coconut was chilled and of the sweetest kind and T thought the iced tea deserved much praise. Being the hard-to-please type, he then covered up his sudden excitement over the drink by complaining about the chairs in the lobby area, which in his opinion were “dull”. Soon after the complimentary refreshments, the room keys were handed over to us. Our night at the hotel would be spent at room 322.

Our walk was accentuated by the pin drop silence which would occasionally be disrupted by the sound of waves crashing. The entrance decorated with a battle scene and the lobby characterized by the crashing waves is a total contrast to the rest of the hotel’s quiet and peaceful setting. When we finally reached our room (which was located one before the last on the third floor), the first thing T wanted to do was check on the view from the balcony. He had specifically inquired about the sea view (which we found out was available for all rooms – another one of Bawa’s talents) but to his disappointment, there were a couple of trees blocking the perfect view of the sea. I on the other hand, wanted to explore every nook and corner of the room and after a swift analysis, I was quite satisfied with what it had to offer: A coffee brewer and utensils to make tea, a mini bar, a TV, A/C and fan, stationary and a few magazines, a gorgeous wash room, a spacious closet area and a massive bed. The wash room/toilet should be given special mention because it was equipped with the necessary equipment such as a hair-dryer  (was a bit slow but served its purpose) and some aromatic lotions and bath products. It also comes with a small bath tub with candles and bubble bath products for those interested in adding a bit of romance to their stay at the hotel.


After a quick shower we headed to the beach…


The beach adjacent to the hotel isn’t the best beach around because of the rocky terrain. However, it’s a paradise for seashell lovers (like yours truly). I spent hours sitting on the soft sand rummaging through bits and pieces of shell to find some of the cutest and tiniest shells I’ve ever seen. T on the other hand was too busy clicking away. Only when we sorted out the pictures did I realize how many pictures he had taken of me, sitting on the beach, concentrating heavily on finding seashells, as if my life depended on it. Unfortunately, it started to drizzle and we had to move the camera equipment so we headed back to our room. That is when we decided to take a dip in the pool while it was raining. However, I do not approve of this because it can be hazardous in case of lightning. I had just learnt about the lightning hazard and its management at uni and was terrified because of my paranoia of getting struck by a big bolt of electricity. T (as usual) had a good laugh while I was fretting away.

(The hotel has a second pool adjoining the spa area and the beach)

After the brisk dip we headed back to the room so that we could make it in time for dinner.

Dinner can be summed up in one word – magnificent. I know it’s cliché and you probably hear it every time you switch on your TV to watch a travel programme amidst all the “ooh”s and “ah”s, but the food at Light House Hotel is truly out of this world. (Out of the third world is more appropriate I think) T thought the food was heavenly and of top quality (As Russell Peters would say : A1) We were seated near the garden area which had the sea view; so the amazing food was topped off by the candle-light, the sea breeze and the sound of waves crashing, making it a dinner to remember.

The long, tiresome day and amazing dinner, lulled us to sleep only to wake up late the next morning which resulted in us rushing to make it to the breakfast buffet on time. Once again Light House Hotel had not ceased to amaze us with its culinary delights. T’s exact words: “The Breakfast Buffet was one of the best, no, scratch that, THE BEST I have ever had.” And I agree wholeheartedly. There was so much variety and the food was so mouthwatering, that we stuffed ourselves over the limits which were beyond our comprehension.

After a few hours of relaxation on the beach and more photography by T, it was time to head back to the room. I packed both of our bags and soon it was time to check-out. We contemplated staying another night but knew it would hamper with other plans so we succumbed to logic. It was a sad moment where spontaneity was over-powered by practicality.

Our bill came up to approximately USD 210  for one night’s stay for two on half board basis. However, keep in mind we visited during the high/peak season so the prices could fall to as low as USD 110 during the off-peak season (which we both think is a bargain for the quality this hotel offers you).

To sum up our experience at Jetwing Light House:

Pros:

  1. The hotel is amazing and the rooms have great facilities. However, it should be mentioned that travellers should avoid comparing the standard of a 5 star hotel in Sri Lanka with that of New York or any highly developed city. The hotel lives up to its expectations only if you keep that point in mind. The hotel is also included in the directory of Small Luxury Hotels of the World.
  2. The food is also amazing. (I feel like I’ve been over-using the word amazing but this hotel really deserves it) There is so much variety and the food is mouth watering as mentioned earlier.
  3. The service is really good and the staff is friendly.
  4. The pool and other facilities are also pretty good (From the looks of it – because we didn’t use all the other available facilities)
  5. All rooms come with a sea view.

Cons:

  1. It wouldn’t be the ideal place for a single person to stay at. More suitable for couples and family outings.
  2. If you are looking for excitement related to night life etc. – this is NOT the place to be.
  3. The beach isn’t too great when compared to other beaches in Sri Lanka because of its rocky terrain.
  4. The bed is huge but is made up of two queen sized mattresses kept together which isn’t that great as they keep moving away from each other, leaving a huge gap between the two mattresses.
  5. If you are a foreign visitor, the hotel might be a bit too far from the airport – around 3-4 hours away.

More information on Jetwing Light House can be found here.

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~ by travellingtwosome on April 11, 2010.

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