Tangalle is a fishing port and tourist destination near the very southern tip of Sri Lanka. We wouldn’t know much about it, though, save for driving through on our way out of town. Instead we stayed at one of the most blissful beachside resorts we’ve ever been to, Buckingham Place, maybe 10 miles or so outside of town.
It’s a pretty small resort run by Nick, a British ex-pat who came to Sri Lanka and fell in love with it. What’s amazing is that Buckingham Place is the first resort he ever built. I talked with him about it and he said when he started he knew pretty much nothing about building a resort except his own likes and dislikes.
At any rate, he sure got it right, just a very quiet, comfortable, relaxing place, small enough to feel intimate but big enough so he can make a living. A highlight was the restaurant. Often in a place like this, where you’re miles from anything resembling a tourist restaurant, they get by with mediocre food at high prices. Here it was great food at mediocre prices. I particularly liked the fact that they didn’t serve wine by the glass. Normally that’s annoying, meaning they’re trying to sell you more than you want by the bottle. Well, his explanation is that too often they would open a bottle to sell it by the glass and then have to either 1) throw a bunch away when no one else bought it; or 2) serve sub-par wine to the next person. His solution? Buy a bottle and if you don’t want it all we’ll store it until your next meal. Perfect!
There’s not a lot to do at Buckingham Place except relax. A beautiful pool with a great view over the Indian Ocean and explicit directions to keep noise (including their own piped music) to a minimum. Admire the local art that decorates the restaurant. You can walk on the stunning beach but no swimming; the tides and currents are too dangerous. I’ve recovered enough from my twisted ankle of a month ago that I could start running again on the quietest paved country roads I’ve seen in a long time. And then maybe an afternoon walk out on the same roads where the locals were pretty intrigued by this stranger walking. Who walks except really, really poor people?
Otherwise it was breakfast-pool-lunch-pool-cocktails-dinner. When your surroundings are beautiful and the food great, that’s not a bad combination. In other words, Sri Lanka just keeps getting better. This is pretty close to paradise.