Vivanta by Taj Bentota is a refreshed full-service beach resort in a destination your friends haven’t heard of.
Why Go: This refurbishment of a 1990s beach resort in Sri Lanka is worth considering if you’re in the area. Find the sprawling red-roofed complex on the southern part of the country’s west coast, about halfway between Colombo and Galle. Activities include boat safaris to local villages, whale- and dolphin-watching excursions, and visits to a nearby elephant orphanage.
What to Expect: India’s established Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces luxury brand is rapidly expanding under its younger Vivanta by Taj umbrella. Don’t expect the height of luxury, but do expect comfortable, contemporary spaces and prime beachfront property. The 160 rooms offer ocean or garden views and beachy interiors. Among four restaurants are chefs specializing in Chinese cuisine and seafood dinners. There is a sprawling swimming pool, expansive lawns, and a six-treatment-room spa offering ayurvedic treatments.
How to Get There: The resort is adjacent to the local Bentota River Airport; Bandaranaike International Airport near Colombo is 3 hours’ drive away. (+94.34.555.5555, www.vivantabytaj.com/Bentota-Sri-Lanka/Overview.html)