An Idyllic Hideaway


It’s a personal observance when I say people tend to travel more to the south or to the east, than they do the west (more towards Negambo and Kalpitiya). It’s a shame though. Each and every part of our island is blessed with beauty. The bestie and I make plans to travel together every two-three months and on our last vacay of 2017, we decided to head to Jetwing Lagoon in Thalahena, Negambo. Somehow, we’d always pick a place that’s close to the ocean or water of some sort. It’s an island living thing I suppose.  As impromptu as the decision was to go to Negambo, I had made our booking from Friday till Sunday. As someone who works part-time, I suggested we leave around noon so that we’d get there just in time to check in. Of course, it’s hard to stick with time being Sri Lankans and with a few quick errands to run with an infant on board, we finally left Colombo around 3pm amidst a crazy traffic jam.

Feeling ever so grateful for the Katunayake Expressway, I missed the closer exit to the lagoon and instead wasted a further 20 minutes taking the longer route to the hotel. Google Maps to the rescue! We did stop by a grocery store to stock up on a few munchies – being typical locals here – and finally got to the hotel close to 5pm.


Historical significance

The Jetwing Lagoon is an Ayurvedic and spa resort and located just beside the lagoon. A newly acquired section of their pool and lounge area faces the deep blue Indian Ocean on the opposite side of the property. The design and architecture has great significance and are undeniably very striking. The resort is known to have been the first ever to have originally been built by the renowned architect Geoffrey Bawa in the year 1965.

If you happened to think the property has an aging look to it, think otherwise. As per other properties run by the famous hotel chain, this one is well maintained and up to standard.

The style and design of every space includes a great deal of white washed walls and textures of brown in the use of wood, wicker and even linen around the rooms and property. Lush foliage surrounding the rooms and also the dining areas add a look of serenity and simple wildness. One of the most prominent features is the pool, which happens to be the longest on the island – a whopping 1,100 meters in length!

It took a few minutes to get check-in and in the meantime, bestie and I had already racked up a couple of photos of our surrounding and also sneaked in a few selfies with the little one. And then it was a quick buggy ride to our Bawa room. We happened to pick one of the larger room purely because of her infant – we’d requested for a baby cot as well and didn’t want to crowd the room with additional furniture. The room was decorated quite aesthetically pleasing to the eye with simple yet polished furnishings, added amenities like mosquito repellants, an umbrella and notes on the brand’s belief in sustainability.

The bathroom was expansive to the say the least and open on one part to the foliage and sky. This unfortunately was a bit problematic as come evening, there were too many mosquitos to count and handle. The repellants did not do justice and the two of us went on a killing rampage for a good while. The resort is also home to plenty of other types of rooms including deluxe rooms, family rooms, and suites.

Without much of a meal for lunch, we decided to head over to the restaurant for an early dinner. Light rain was a bit of a struggle to get through with an infant on board but luckily, the umbrella came in handy and we picked a nice spot next to the gardena and lagoon. Our dinner was a set menu without a few selections of choices for an appetizer, main and dessert. This is something the resort offers when occupancy in somewhat low. The next night’s dinner was buffet style due to an increase in occupancy. The food is quite commendable although there were a few hits and misses during our two night stay. I have to admit, the crab curry was to die for and breakfast is a must have.


Plenty to offer

The town and city of Negambo has a long history of being a fishing hub and therefore a cultural beauty. There are a multitude of attractions in the area from cultural excursions to water sports to keep one entertained for a couple of days. The town is a mere 15 minutes away and there’s plenty of famous spots to explore, including the Dutch Colonial Fortress. The bestie and I did not venture out but I hear unfortunately that the fortress is not being protected and conserved well. Definitely something to look into. The fish market and little shopping areas by the beach are bursting with life and colour; something a lot of bloggers tend to highlight and photograph.

The second day of our stay was a pretty relaxed one. The thought of a dip in the pool was however interrupted by light rain and overcast skies throughout the day. Guests can spend a few hours in that case at the dedicated Ayurvedic spa on the property, located just beside the pool. The rates seemed pretty decent and the resort also offers a few package rates which includes a few hours of a massage and then an Ayurvedic lunch, as well as a tour relation to the work of Bawa.

We had a few issues with dealing with the mosquitos once again but unfortunately, it wasn’t completely addressed. The repellent wasn’t much help the first night and all three of us kept waking up multiple times to the annoying buzzing and biting. We decided to not open out the windows and always keep the bathroom door locked just to keep the insects out and this somewhat eased the annoyance on the second night.

If you’re someone who happens to be interested in the brand’s sustainability efforts, there’s information available in the form of a brochure as well as a video on the room television. From recycling rainwater to water their plants and lush garden to their reduce use of energy and growing their own produce, Jetwing certainly strikes me as a hotel chain that goes an extra mile to ensure their impact on the environment and wilderness is a positive one.

Come Sunday, it was breakfast, half an hour in the pool, a quick lunch and then check-out for us. The staff at the reception were extremely accommodating and a brief moment, I was truly sad to leave. But there’s always the promise of coming back in the air.

 

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HSBC CFW RESORT SHOW Unveils a Four-Day Showcase

Colombo Fashion Week (CFW), which introduced its Resort edition as a single day event in 2012, is now a four-day showcase  from the 1 to 4 October. The show will unveil the best of resort wear fashion including fifteen ‘Bright Spark’ shows at the start of the week leading up to twenty main shows by established designers. The ‘Bright Spark’ shows will also unveil the collection from Peronie Nadine Stefel who is the first ‘Bright Spark’ designer to be awarded the fund created by CFW in its ongoing effort to develop and support up-and-coming fashion designers.

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Commenting about the show, Ajai V Singh, President, Colombo Fashion Week stated, “The creation of resort wear as a season is vital for us as we can play on our strengths and make us shine by the grace of God. Resort wear is a growing category and we want to lead its growth in this part of the world. We can’t do much in terms of fashion with the Fall and Winter seasons, so for designer businesses to grow we need a second season along with Spring and Summer. Two years ago we found that resort wear worked well as our second season. With continuous innovation, we will keep driving this category to greater heights, creating more opportunities for Sri Lankan fashion designers and the industry.”

CFW is one of the three main Fashion Weeks in Asia which have been running for more than 10 years. It is also one of two fashion weeks in Asia which has introduced a dedicated resort wear season in its annual calendar, in addition to its Spring/Summer season. In just two years it has grown to become a four-day event and has shown an ever-increasing growth pattern. The HSBC CFW Resort Wear Show is unique because it takes place at a resort and this time Jetwing Blue and Beach in Negombo will play host to the highly anticipated event.

U by Upeksha at the CFW Resort 2013 Show

Singh further added, “There’s a valid reason for promoting resort wear, it’s not just part of our efforts to make Sri Lanka a destination for fashion entertainment, it’s part of our plan to make an international impact in the fashion industry. As our plans for CFW’s growth continued to unfold CFW became part of Asian Fashion Week (AFW). Five Sri Lankan designers who showcased their work at CFW, were selected to show their collections at AFW in Indonesia.  Sri Lankan designer, Sonali Dharmawardena even had the honour of opening Asian Fashion Week this year. Colombo Fashion Week is now being recognized internationally for the impact it is making on the local fashion industry and every aspect of fashion in Sri Lanka.”

Along with 17 established Sri Lankan fashion designers, there will be three international heavyweights at the HSBC CFW Resort Wear Show who will add an interesting dimension to the show. Abraham & Thakore, a designer duo and label from the Indian fashion industry which has won accolades and recognitions around world, will be showing in Sri Lanka for the first time. Harare, a label owned by Caroline Fuss will also show at the HSBC CFW Resort Wear Show. Caroline showed at New York Fashion Week just last week and was well received by the fashion community. The third international designer to be featured at the show includes a CFW loyalist and the show’s best international ambassador; Bibi Russell. She is a world-renowned fashion designer and icon who is also a Goodwill Ambassador for UNESCO.

In addition to several ramp events this not-for-profit annual event stays true to its vision of developing and uplifting Colombo’s fashion design industry through its behind-the-scenes mentoring process and workshops.  This year at the HSBC Colombo Fashion Week workshop will be held on the 4 October and will focus on a theme titled, ‘The use of indigenous textiles in fashion’. Designers Bibi Russell, Harare and Abraham & Takore will also join the workshop to share their knowledge and experience.

Yoland at the CFW Resort 2013 Show

Every year, as part of the CFW plan, new additions are made to the seasonal CFW calendar.  This year CFW Resort will see designer Pop-up stores being created with the support of TATA housing. TATA housing held a competition among final year architecture students and the designs of two students were selected and awarded. A total of 15 Pop-up stores for each designer brand will be set up at the venue, Jetwing Beach, enabling guests to see the latest collections in a well-designed retail environment. As part of the Fashion + Food series of CFW, a Michellin star chef from Paris and an internationally acclaimed Malaysian chef will be at the event. The chefs will provide delightful cuisines every evening, bringing in a design element to the show from the culinary arts. There will be special menus available on 1 and 2 October, the day of the ‘Bright Spark’ shows and the menus will continue to evolve till the show comes to a close on 5 October.

Issued by    :    Arc Worldwide Sri Lanka; a part of Leo Burnett Solutions Inc.