Wild Coast Tented Lodge

Yala & Southeast, Sri Lanka
Book from GBP Book from £640 per night

Wild Coast Tented Lodge

Yala & Southeast, Sri Lanka

A luxe wilderness lodge with plush tented suites sandwiched between a sandy beach and Yala National Park

A luxe wilderness lodge with plush tented suites sandwiched between a sandy beach and Yala National Park

Hugging the shores of the Indian Ocean, at the border of leopard-rich Yala National Park, Wild Coast Tented Lodge claims a coveted spot. In this glamorous wilderness retreat, the traditional camping experience gets a lavish makeover. 28 sumptuous tents, some with private plunge pools, are scattered among dramatic rocky outcrops, lush vegetation and strategically placed watering holes where wild animals come to drink. On our first morning, we had breakfast encounters with wild boars, and heard tales of a leisurely leopard sunbathing near reception, which set the tone perfectly for our remarkable adventure.

Daily game drives are included, on which you'll head into the National Park with an expert ranger, looking for leopards, sloth bears, crocs and all manner of birdlife. When you're not out tracking wildlife, you might go for a swim in the enormous free-form infinity pool, which handily extends to the bar so you can nip out for quick refreshers. But we chose to unwind in the Sanctuary Spa, where cinnamon and Ceylon tea are incorporated into treatments. Daily-changing, all-inclusive food menus showcase stunning Sri Lankan flavours, and complimentary sundowner cocktails and canapes - our favourite part of the day - are a blissful way to wind down. After a delicious three-course dinner, retire to your Cocoon Suite, a space-age structure with a copper bath, a dreamy four-poster bed, and a secluded viewing platform facing the wild. We slumbered beneath a vault of starry skies, and it felt impossibly romantic.

Highs

  • Everything is included: game drives, all meals, beverages, and refreshments from the in-room minibars
  • Situated in a stunning rural location where the jungle meets a rugged, empty beach – you might spot native wildlife wandering past your suite
  • The tents are architectural marvels, built with minimal impact on the surrounding ecosystem
  • The cream teas are delicious, perhaps because Wild Coast, along with sister hotels Cape Weligama and Ceylon Tea Trails, is owned by the Dilmah tea company (needless to say, tea flows abundantly!)
  • Warm, friendly staff, and very knowledgeable safari rangers

Lows

  • Yala National Park does get busy, but the hotel’s knowledgeable guides will strive to take you to the more unexplored areas of the park
  • It's pricey, but rates include meals, games drives and most drinks
  • If you like the jungle and nature separated from your accommodation, this property is not for you
  • The sea in front of the lodge isn't safe for swimming

Best time to go

For optimal wildlife viewing opportunities, it’s best to visit Yala during the dry season, which runs from February to June. During this period, reduced water levels make it simpler to observe animals as they gather around lagoons to quench their thirst. If you're keen on spotting leopards, the prime months are February and March. Sloth bears are most easily spotted in May/June, while the winter months of October-April are best for seeing migratory birds. Keep in mind that the park undergoes its annual maintenance closure throughout September.

Our top tips

Bring some comfortable khaki trousers, light linen shirts, and a safari jacket. And if you've got binoculars, bring those too - leopards are pretty elusive, so you'll do well to come prepared.

Great for...

Great Outdoors
Romantic
Beach
Eco
Family
  • Boutique Glamping
  • 28 tented suites
  • All meals included
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • Beach Nearby
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Car not necessary
  • Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • WiFi
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available
  • Laundry Service
Room:

Rooms

The Cocoon Suites resemble vast silkworm nests, and when viewed from above, their clever positioning forms the shape of a leopard paw print. Each is immaculately designed and surprisingly spacious inside, with an open-plan sleeping and living area under a high-domed roof, complete with a separate canvas-walled cubicle for the toilet and shower. We loved the plush four-poster bed, the copper bathroom fittings (the stunning standalone bathtub even had bear-paw feet) and the wooden, vintage-style suitcase that transforms into the minibar. Floor-to-ceiling windows lead to your own observation deck; ours faced a man-made watering hole, and we spotted wild boar, birds and monkeys right in front of our tent.

For an extra touch of luxury, opt for one of the beachfront Cocoon Pool Suites, which are exactly the same as the Cocoon Suites but come with their own private plunge pools. If you've got little ones in tow, the Family Cocoon Suites feature adjoining “urchin” tents, which have twin beds and ensuite WCs. Older kids will have a great time in these, and parents can enjoy a good bit of privacy from the comfort of their own separate tent!

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar
  • Mosquito net
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Terrace/balcony
  • WiFi

Eating

All your food and drink is included, and you certainly won't go hungry. At the heart of the resort is the open-air, bamboo-clad pavilion and dining room, which wraps around the massive free-form swimming pool. It's a perfect spot for savouring meals while gazing out at the turquoise Indian Ocean.

The menu blends international dishes with vibrant local flavours and cooking techniques. Expect the freshest seafood and fish as well as succulent meats. We couldn't get enough of the Dilmah tea-smoked beef carpaccio and the lotus leaf-baked reef fish with spiced jackfruit. When it came to dessert, the cashew and cardamom filo pastry with raspberry cream and fruit salsa blew us away.

For breakfast, we feasted on delicious egg hoppers, pastries, and kiribath (milk rice). These were particularly welcome after an early morning safari, although the lodge does provide a picnic of light sandwiches to keep you fuelled on game drives. Lunch is a la carte, and we'd recommend the Sri Lankan thalis: plated set meals featuring fragrant curries, rice, poppadoms, and the island's zesty condiment, sambol.

But the highlight for us was the early evening cocktails and canapés, laid out on the rugged beach garden where everyone could mingle and enjoy the view. If you want a more private romantic experience, opt for an al fresco lantern-lit dinner on the beach, under a star-studded Sri Lankan night sky.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
  • Lunch
  • Restaurant
  • Vegetarian options
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • The daily game drives are included in your room rate and operate at sunrise or sunset. The expert rangers are dedicated to spotting leopards, elephants, crocodiles, sloth bears, water buffalos and more, and with the park being home to over 45 different mammals and 200 bird species, every drive promises something new
  • In addition to safaris, you can go on guided bush walks, on which you'll learn to identify footprints, droppings, animal sounds and birdsong - all from a safe distance, of course!
  • Visit the Sithulpawwa caves, a Buddhist monastery that traces its origins back to the 2nd Century BC. Guided tours provide a rare glimpse into the lives of secluded monks and Sri Lankan kings of bygone eras. Consider visiting in the late afternoon when the jungle is bathed in magical light
  • Pamper yourself at the Sanctuary Spa, where treatments incorporate two indigenous ingredients: Ceylon tea and cinnamon. We recommend the coconut wrap or a spice scrub
  • Keen twitchers should visit Bandula National Park, where the wetland and saltern habitat is home to a large collection of resident birds as well as migrants that visit every winter, from waders to raptors
  • One of the most memorable experiences in Sri Lanka is witnessing the breathtaking sunsets, and there's no better place to enjoy them than the beach in front of the lodge - drinks and canapés provided

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Historical sites
  • Private guided tours
  • Safaris
  • Traditional cultures
  • Well being
  • Wildlife

Kids

The proximity to nature and wildlife makes Wild Coast a good choice for families, and there are some dedicated kids activities, like ranger programmes and cookery classes. While it’s more suited to children aged 5 and above, the site offers complimentary baby cots and up to two futon mattresses for youngsters sharing their parents' Cocoon. For older children, the smaller Urchin tents comfortably accommodate two.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Family Cocoon Pool Suites are comprised of a Cocoon Pool Suite and an Urchin tent with twin beds for kids. Note that they are separate from one another, so kids need to be old enough to sleep on their own. Cocoon Suites and Cocoon Pool Suites can fit two children on futon mattresses, and cots can be provided.

Extra Beds Available, Family Rooms

Kids Activities on site:

  • Junior Ranger programmes in which kids will learn about animal identification, footprint identification and tracking
  • Kids cookery classes
  • Game drives (families usually get their own jeeps)

Families Should Know:

The grounds and pool are not fenced, and wildlife wanders freely. The ocean is not safe for swimming. Note that jeep safaris are shared with other guests, so children will need to be able to last the duration (3-4 hours).

Distances:

  • Airport: 4.5 hours' drive (Colombo)
  • Hospital: 30 minutes' drive (Kirinda)
  • Shop: 30 minutes' drive (Kirinda)
Kid Friendly:

Location

Wild Coast Tented Lodge is located on Sri Lanka's southern coastline, adjacent to Yala National Park. The nearest village is Kirinda, famed for its rock-top Buddhist shrine, while Tissamaharama, a thriving lakeside town, is 20km away. It’s a 4.5-hour drive from the capital, Colombo.

By Air:
You'll fly into Colombo Bandaranaike International (300km away), which is served by plenty of international airlines.

From the Airport
The hotel can arrange road transfers from Colombo (4.5 hours on a well-maintained highway), or you could catch a domestic flight with Cinnamon Air to either Weerawila Airport or Mattala Airport, both approximately a 1-hour drive from the lodge.

By Car:
If you want to book a car and driver for your entire Sri Lankan holiday, enquire through our Tailormade Tour Operator.

Detailed directions will be provided when you confirm a booking through i-escape.

Airports:

  • Colombo Bandaranaike International 300.0 km CMB

Other:

  • Beach 0.1 km
  • Shops 15.0 km
  • Restaurant 15.0 km

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