MT Rainey is at Santani Wellness Resort.
Panwila Town, Sri Lanka
I’m now high up in the mountains of Sri Lanka, one and a half hours beyond Kandy, which is four hours out of Colombo which is in turn a thirteen hour direct flight from London. Sixteen if you go through Doha. Still, the world and the news intrudes if you let it. I’m fighting it off for a few more days.
This is an exquisite place built in 2016 inspired by the famous architect Geoffrey Bawa. It’s simple, and in some ways harsh. Straight geometric lines, polished concrete, hard wood and steel girders form a beautiful skeleton which supports an elegant body of light and air.
There’s minimal glass. Everything is open and inviting to its surrounding landscape and to the environment. Which is an enveloping wall of dense green jungle plunging into bottomless valleys on all sides. Quite Scottish actually if you don’t look too closely at the foliage. Fluffy hot weather clouds cling to the mountaintops. The jungle soundtrack of myriad birds, insects, monkeys and frogs fills the space, soaring at sunset into a delightful cacophony.
There’s really nothing to do. Except yoga, a daily walk down to the river for wild swimming and a range of more or less exotic Ayurvedic treatments.
In the daytime it’s too far for any excursions, too hot for sunbathing, too beautiful to ignore by reading. The evenings are hypnotised by long evolving sunsets and distant storms that silently dazzle the sky. Music and chatter from fellow guests is rarely heard. Where is everybody?
There is one thing which infallibly draws the guests together three times a day and it’s the food. A French trained Sri Lankan chef prepares delicious local cuisine and Western variants to order. It turns out there’s actually an incredible range of Sri Lankan cooking well beyond “rice and curry”, though hoppers for breakfast are a staple I’m getting used to. It’s subtle and spicy and makes some basic vegetables a lot more interesting. So you really wouldn’t come here to lose weight. Unless it was a weight off your mind. Or in fact your wallet. But hey, what the hell, it’s “apocalypse soon” anyway.