When we learned late September is monsoon season in Sri Lanka’s more visited southwest region, it was time to reroute and arrange a new itinerary with new hotels (enter Udekki). Secretly I was a bit glad. I had been reading mixed reviews about beaches in the south. They were overrun with tourists and ruined by irresponsible real estate development up and down the shores, mainly in Unawatuna and Galle. It wouldn’t be fair to say the whole southwest of Sri Lanka is plagued by these issues. But nevertheless we decided to head north and inland for a 5 day trip. We’d avoid the rains and herds of tourists, two birds with one stone.
The east coast with Arugam Bay was a consideration too but hefty travel time might have taken away from the five days. Sri Lanka does require transportation planning as points of interest are spread out. There is a railway system used by many travelers but most hire drivers or stay put.
Named after a traditional South Asian hand drum, I came across a boutique hotel called Udekki …located on Alankuda Beach, about a 3 hour drive north of Colombo in the town of Kalpitiya. Only within the last few years have the more northern parts of Sri Lanka become accessible to visitors, whether due to actual or perceived danger from a fairly recent civil war. Kalpitiya, a peninsula consisting of 14 islands, seemed perfectly suited as a base for day trips to Wilpattu National Park and Anuradhapura, a UNESCO world heritage site filled with temples and monasteries. And when in season, a perfect place for dolphin and whale watching.
I shot Glen, the musician cum boutique hotel owner of Udekki, an email asking if there was space for two at the lofts. Carolyn, his partner, immediately responded and assured us there was. She made helpful suggestions regarding transportation and armed us with other important info. We must have emailed about ten times and she was highly responsive and pretty amazing. I knew we were in good hands and expectations were exceeded when we arrived. Carolyn was standing at the gate, cold towels in hand. She showed us to our 2nd story loft overlooking the property and asked if we wanted some complimentary sunset cocktails and snacks. Ummm, yes please.
We threw off our jeans and headed down the tiled path through the beautiful flower filled gardens to the pool area. Within two minutes, we had cold beers and endless plates of prawns at our table. I felt like I was at home. And that’s what Udekki is – someone’s home. A home they decided to share with other travelers and make them feel like they’re at home too… except this home is on a beach with hammocks and coconut trees and equipped with an army of tireless help doing everything to make your stay comfortable.
Grounds at Udekki
The Lofts at Udekki
Our loft was large and very comfortable, not luxurious. It’s as if “luxury” would ruin the ethos of this tranquil and chilled out destination. The space was surrounded by tall windows with no screens or air-conditioning. You didn’t need it. We left the windows wide open at night and listened to the waves crashing on the beach just a few meters away. We left the door unlocked most of the time. Cool air flooded the room and we slept well. The en suite white washed bathroom and shower were open and airy too, it was liberating.
A huge terrace with cushioned seating area afforded great views and an awesome place to have breakfast. It is also included with the room. Breakfasts consisted of egg hoppers, dal, paratha, seeni sambol (chili’d caramelized onion relish), spicy scraped coconut, watermelon and guava and toasted bread with freshly brewed coffee. Yum.
The pool was strategically designed in the shape of the letter H lending the end and middle corners space for individual thatched roof bungalows. Each group of travelers at Udekki had their own private nook whilst still enjoying open air dining amongst the trees. Background music played while dinner was served. Full board for two people each day at Udekki was cheaper than a couple of premium cocktails at a high end bar. Since we were out and about one of the days, a packed lunch with snacks and drinks were placed in a cooler in the car that Carolyn helped arrange. Dinner was incredible. Giant bowls of crab, lobster tail, roasted vegetables, fish or chicken curry, prawns, halibut and noodles were brought to the table. Unlimited beers, local gin and rum also included. A total feast.
Goodbye Udekki, Until Next Time
Carolyn and Glen would stop by to say hello, sit with us and chat during dinner. Glen’s own family were visiting at the time too and we were introduced and felt included in their reunion. Even with their own things happening, no request was too big. Glen went out of his way to make our stay relaxed and completely chilled out. Trust me when I say you can’t really get an experience like this at any hotel. We only had two nights at Udekki but the stay left a lasting impression. I’m hoping to return to Udekki when the seas are calm enough for dolphin and whale watching. Special thanks to Carolyn for checking in to make sure we reached our next destination and were doing okay.
To read about our next hotel in Srl Lanka after Udekki, click on Brook Boutique Hotel
This is not a sponsored stay and my review is unsolicited.