Opening in 2017, this luxurious tented lodge sits on a deserted beach on the edge of Yala National Park, the Leopard hot spot in southeastern Sri Lanka. 28 vaulted “Cocoon” tents offer the comfort of a luxury hotel with the excitement of a safari-style wilderness experience. The air-conditioned Cocoons measure a generous 55m2 and are furnished to the highest specification. Some have their own plunge pools. They are dotted around five watering holes designed to attract a variety of birdlife and amphibians, which can be viewed from each Cocoon’s outdoor viewing deck. The family area Cocoons come with a fun adjoining twin-bedded children’s ‘Urchin’ tent.
A bamboo-clad bar and restaurant serves creative daily changing menus, whilst a delicious “picnic tea” forms part of the safari drive experience. The lodge boasts a Sanctuary Spa offering a range of natural treatments developed in-house. The library doubles up as an educational centre where guests learn about the wildlife in the park and watch documentaries, further explained by the lodge’s expert guides.
Wild Coast Lodge’s unique design, masterminded by a consortium of Dutch, English and Sri Lankan designers, sees the man-made structures blending seamlessly into the surrounding landscape thanks to the use of carefully selected natural materials. The use of fabric and bamboo allows each of the 28 tents to take on the shape and colour of the rocks and boulders that lay scattered nearby, whilst a clever layout in the shape of a leopard’s paw alludes to the area’s elusive resident.