Checking in: Cantaloupe Aqua - Sri Lanka
Both a calm yet playful paradise, Cantaloupe Aqua is one of those places that however beautiful the photo, it will never do it justice.
That beach looks so calm right? Even calmer in real life.
And the mist between the sea and the sky? Even more breathtaking in person.Upon arriving into the gated property, you're instantly swept up into this stylish yet tranquil beach getaway and with the most beautiful view of blue skies and seas directly ahead. After four nights of endless travel, we definitely felt we'd booked Cantaloupe Aqua at the right time, for a little bit of R&R and a chance to catch some well deserved rays. Within moments we instantly felt at home, making full use of the outdoor space, taking up any opportunity to sit and chat over a Corona or three. And get lost in thought at how incredible it was to be looking out at the Indian Ocean with nothing directly opposite us (our minds are blown pretty easily).
Absolute bliss. That's what.
So with our brains well and truly switched off, our swimwear on and our stomachs happy with the choice of food, we decided that we didn't want to leave Cantaloupe Aqua. Not for a while anyway.
ROOM WITH A VIEW
There's having a room with a sea view, and then there's having a room with a sea view at Cantaloupe Aqua.
Have you ever seen so much blue? We're talking blue on blue on blue.
As soon as we opened the door to our Aqua Chic room, we knew we were in for a treat. With floor to ceiling windows, a king-sized bed, a balcony overlooking the bay and an infinity Jacuzzi, this was the true definition of tranquility. There was plenty of space to roam around in, and although we spent majority of it downstairs surrounded by the sea, it was nice to escape back to the room for an afternoon nap or some downtime on the balcony.
For me, there really was nothing like waking up, with the blinds up from the night before, watching as the morning light shines in and the view of the ocean to look out onto.
It really is the simple pleasures of travel for us. And a good night sleep!
A WARM WELCOME
Within minutes of entering the hotel, we were greeted with warmth and care and a refreshing glass of Coconut Water (I'll admit, we're not Coconut fans, but when you've been sitting in a car for four hours, it was delightful). Throughout our two nights at Aqua, everyone constantly checked in on us, asking how our stay was and if we needed anything (we're pretty chill!). They'd ask us about our lives back home, and be eager to talk about their culture and traditions, which we found thoroughly interesting. Sri Lankans are known for their friendliness, and with the staff at Aqua, they definitely were just that.
We never felt unwelcome, and actually, were treated like absolute royalty.
THE PERFECT BEACH GETAWAY
Locations are always a big deal depending on what you want out of your trip. For us, we'd been travelling around the country; in the mountains, the jungle, the city and a busy town, so being beach side for a few days was the perfect chance to just slow down.
Cantaloupe Aqua is located in Talpe, Unawatuna and known for its coral reef and palm-lined beached. Whilst backing onto the main road which heads towards Galle, you instantly feel worlds away with the private gated entrace, and only views of the sea and soft white beach infront of you.
The village of Talpe is quiet, so we found there was little to do, so took enjoyment in taking walks along the beach as the sunset. And with a delicious menu in the hotel, perfectly paired with a bottle of wine, the sleepy village we were in didn't quite matter, as we listened to the waves crashing over the rocks and relished in just how beautiful of a country Sri Lanka is.
It truly is a beautiful place.
BREAKFAST FIT FOR A KING & QUEEN
At home we're not really that great at breakfast, but as soon as you're elsewhere, it almost becomes standard. And let me tell you, breakfast at Cantaloupe Aqua did not disappoint.
Not one bit.
Each morning, we were both greeted with a fresh fruit platter, alongside fruit juice. We'd then debate over what to order, before settling on a firm favourite of Avocado Toast and Omelette. On the last morning, the chef kindly brought out his favourite Banana Pancakes with a side of Buffalo Curd. Having visited the local market the day before, we'd been eager to try the Curd they talked about, and a little like a Greek Yoghurt, it was sharper. More bitter. But the best combination with their sweet and tasty pancakes.
Sitting al fresco, overlooking the sea with no awareness of time was one of the things we loved most about this stay, and if we could, we'd have made breakfast last until dinner time..
Now we're fans of cooking (the male more so), so when we got the chance to try the Culinary Demonstration that Cantaloupe Aqua offer, we were there with bells on (OK once I'd finally persuaded the male that setting a morning alarm would only happen once on the trip). We set off to the local market in the morning with Exec Chef, Nandana to check out all the local produce - with the first stop at the fish stands. Which, isn't really where I liked to be...
I gently broke the news to Nandana that I'm vegetarian, so after a little story about the fishermen and how far they travel in their tiny boats (it's truly incredible and I appreciated THAT part), we swiftly headed towards Galle to browse the colourful fruit and veg on offer. I can't quite express how much wonderful fresh produce they have, and actually, how proud they are of this.
That's what I loved.
We then headed back to the hotel, and popped on our aprons and paper hats, preparing to cook 7 delicious Sri Lankan dishes. It's fair to say that when Nandana declared we'd be making Dhal, it took all of my restraint not to kiss the man - I love Dhal.
And I now love proper Sri Lankan Dhal even more.
We also really like fresh coconut in our salad too.
Whether you're looking for a few days relaxation or in need of a pit stop during your whirlwind trip around Sri Lanka, we'd definitely recommend a stay at Cantaloupe Aqua. As soon as you're greeted with nothing but the Indian Ocean in sight, you're instantly left feeling calm.
And debate if you'll ever come home again.
We may have, but we're already thinking up our reasons to go back again..
*We were guests of Cantaloupe Aqua, but all photos and thoughts are my own