Last Updated on March 29, 2015
Imagine you have an infinity pool that looks out right at the ocean and you only have to share it with a handful of other people. You take your cocktail to the pool, listen to the clashing waves in front of you, and enjoy the peaceful bliss of the moment.At Era Beach on Sri Lanka’s south coast, this is not a dream, but your daily reality. With only eight rooms, it is one of the most exclusive boutique hotels I’ve ever stayed at and it almost felt like I was in a private villa instead of a hotel. Even at full capacity, the hotel can never feel crowded, and you will have the pool or the sun loungers almost to yourself. If you are looking for an intimate, luxurious beach getaway in Sri Lanka, there is no better place than Era Beach by Jetwing Hotels, the country’s leading chain of small boutique hotels.The rooms are spacious and comfortable, equipped with dark wooden furniture that complement the overall feel of the elegant colonial villa. The bathrooms can only be described as huge, almost as big as the room itself, with a shower big enough for two (just sayin’ 😉 ). The rooms all have a tea and coffee maker, best enjoyed on the balcony outside the room which offers the best view over the dream pool and the gorgeous grounds. Who wouldn’t want to wake up to this:But you won’t be spending a lot of time in your room while you’re at Era Beach – the pool area, nestled in between two lounge areas, one of which has a well-stocked bar and the other one the breakfast / dining room, is where you would want to spend most of your time. The saltwater pool is one of the most beautiful swimming pools I have ever come across, and just like everything at the hotel, it was designed in an effort to catch your eye and is without a doubt the star of the property.No matter where you look, the decor at Era Beach has been selected thoughtfully to match the overall feel of the property – sophisticated, luxurious and exquisite. Giant flower vases that resemble the Dutch-colonial style meet contemporary art and sleek furniture in the outdoor areas – one thing I loved about the resort was that all the common spaces were designed in a way that they had an open feel to it – wide open colonial doors and windows, or fully open terraces.Era Beach is so exquisite that they even offer a butler service, but I found the staff to be extremely discrete, always on call, yet never intrusive, adding to the elitist feel of the boutique resort.Under a few coconut palm trees right by the beach, eight sun beds are lined up, allowing you to look out at the ocean while relaxing and working on your tan. Because that’s about all you should be doing here: relax, recharge your batteries, chill out, and get a nice tan.The only time you might want to get out of your chair would be after the generous breakfast, to walk it off, so that you can order some fresh seafood for lunch. You get down to the beach via a set of stairs and walk on the soft sand for at least a kilometer in either direction. You won’t come across many people, only a few local fishermen and a small number of tourists from other nearby resorts. Following the beach to the right (when facing the water) would bring you to Unawatuna, a small nearby beach town, only a short 15-minute tuktuk ride away.
In Unawatuna, you’ll find everything you need from funky beach bars to tourist souvenir shops and Ayurveda centers.There’s not really any need to leave Era Beach, however: the food is absolutely divine and you can order lunch and dinner a la carte – the menu offers a mix of local cuisine and Western dishes – in addition to the breakfast which is included in the room rate and comes with fresh fruit and yogurt, fresh breads and pastries and a full hot breakfast on top of it. You’ll be dining outside, on the covered terrace on either side of the pool, enjoying the sunset and the absolute peace and tranquility around you.It is impossible not to relax at Era Beach – if you are looking for a romantic getaway, tranquility, solitude and five star service, you will love Era Beach.
Stand out features
What makes Era Beach unforgettable is the exclusive and private feel that the resort has. The beautifully designed property, something that all Jetwing Hotels are known for, the excellent quality of food and service, and the breathtaking pool are what make a stay at Era Beach an absolute exhilarating experience.
Room for improvement
The Wi-Fi situation was not very satisfying for me. While a few of the other guests were able to connect to the Wi-Fi in some downstairs areas, I could only ever connect in the reception area, and that’s the last place you want to spend time in at this resort. Whenever I was online, the connection was still painfully slow. I hope this is something that can be improved, but I am saying that from a standpoint of someone who works while traveling. For people on vacation, it might actually be a nice break from the digital world and sometimes you need to be forced to let go. In an enchanting environment like Era Beach, you shouldn’t be anywhere else but right there in the moment.
The other thing I thought could use some improvement were the bathrooms which were very big, but lacked in character. But then maybe that’s part of the minimalistic design.
Amenities: Saltwater pool, complimentary breakfast, tea and coffee maker in the room, free wi-fi, butler service, bar and restaurant
Location: 834 Galle Road, Talpe, Galle, Unawatuna Beach, Unawatuna
Price: Lobby rooms start at $80 per night (including breakfast), $104 per garden suite, $144 per sea view suite. Room rates vary depending on the season – please note that prices are considerably higher during high season (Dec – March). Half-board and full-board can be booked for an additional fee.
LGBT Friendly: Yes
Digital Nomad Friendly: Yes