Sri Lanka is now six years into a stable peace – a not insignificant factor in why the country has become a locus of thoughtful, sustainable hospitality. Witness the debut of Santani (www.santani.lk; from $600; first picture), its first dedicated contemporary wellness retreat – the brainchild of a group of recently repatriated young Sri Lankans with degrees from the likes of Harvard and MIT and a collective passion for the preservation of local culture and ecology. Spread across 40 acres outside Narampanawa, in the hills northeast of Kandy, Santani’s ultra-slick villas enlist reclaimed timber (an entire plantation floor’s planks were deployed in their building) to create open-air pavilions for sleeping, meditation and treatments, administered by a team hailing mostly from the US and the UK.
Meanwhile to the southwest, in Yala,Uga Escapes has just opened Chena Huts (www.ugaescapes.com; from $650 all inclusive; second picture); the latest in the sustainable model that this family-owned company promotes is a groovy safari camp with domed, thatched pavilions set in semi-protected wetlands between the famous nature reserve and the Indian Ocean. Besides elephants, the land teems with indigenous and migratory bird species – and the beaches with turtles, which come ashore to nest.