August 4, 2017

“The name’s Bond. James Bond…”

Action hero par excellence. Lover of distinction, stylish, the coolest person on earth and habitué of the best hotels in the world.
I fully expected to see him at Cape Weligama.
Consider Cape Weligama as the epitome of style and cool.
The place to be seen and yet not seen.
Wouldn’t it be THE place he would go to unwind, mend the bullet holes and hone some of his undoubted athletic skills?
And for the latter, there’s the perfect place.
The Sports & Athletic Centre.
Located just outside the resort in the East Bay, I was taken down to the East Gate in the ever present resort buggy and a short walk along the beach road brought me to a discrete villa that houses the small complex.
Small is a misnomer. Compact is a better descriptor because everywhere one looked, there was sports equipment designed for just one thing.
Even before you enter you have to walk around a small swimming pool that’s used as the dive training pool. No danger of something going wrong when you’re learning in the safety of a 4ft depth.
Want to go surfing?
There’s rack after rack of full boards, and for the less adventurous or children, a range of bodyboards. Safety is obviously of primary concern, and all children are accompanied by experienced guides and floatation equipment is mandatory.
I must say at this point that anything to do with the sea should be viewed with care. The ocean is a mightily unpredictable mistress who can turn in a moment, so it’s always best to both be trained by people who know her and listen to the advice given.
That said, I really didn’t know what to choose.
Not being with my family ruled out the banana boat – perhaps one of the more fun activities – but it really needs at least 3 people to heighten the fun. Personally, I preferred the flying bed which sounded amazing, but I had to regretfully conclude that age was not on my side.
Snorkeling was an option judging from the wall of masks, tubes, and flippers available to suit all ages. Having snorkeled in The Maldives I knew what to expect and there were many wall charts to identify the fish and marine creatures I could see.
Diving was a different matter.
I’d done one basic dive in the Greek islands some years back but did not possess a PADI qualification.
Not to worry because there’s a certified 5-star PADI diving school on site fully staffed by qualified instructors. Hence the swimming pool. And there’s plenty of local dive sites (and even a couple of wrecks) to provide interest. Sadly, dive time was not on my side this visit
Nor was it available to participate in the “Aqua Gym” which also operates from the pool.
Now, I’d seen these used on Caribbean cruises (and used as light relief in poor quality films) but it wasn’t until I read up the background that I realized the health benefits of actually exercising in water. Your body weight is supported by the water so you’re able to undertake slightly more strenuous exercise than on land whilst reducing the risk of damaging a ligament, muscle or bone. And it’s actually quite tiring.
Which prompted me to make a booking at the luxurious Cape Weligama Spa for later in the day.
There are many further activities provided at the centre including the famous Whale safari’s (already taken and what an exhilarating experience it was), river and bird watching trips either in individual canoe’s or a boat accompanied by an experienced naturalist and trips to Udawalawe National Park to view elephants, crocodiles, monkeys and a further multitude of bird species.
The latter is a full day trip and, to be honest, you will need the time. Sri Lanka is a bio-diversity hotspot, and to experience and soak up everything on offer at the activity centre will take some willpower when there is so much else to do at the resort.
And talking of so much to do. All this “activity” had left me feeling somewhat tired and the time for my Spa treatment was fast approaching.
Calling the ever-present electric buggy at the East Gate, it silently took me to the Spa. Conveniently located next to reception in a dedicated villa, the Spa offers courses of complete relaxation and wellness. Either individual treatments or a full course in consultation with the guest.
The gentle melody of Indian Ocean waves breaking on the nearby shore and the sway of coconut palms overhead provided a quietly therapeutic setting for Cape Weligama’s luxurious spa experience.
Whether you are looking for an express manicure, a soothing facial, a relaxing yoga session or a more lavish, stress-releasing body massage, the spa therapies are designed to nourish body and mind. And they are available for both male and female guests with the appropriate therapist for each.
Of course, you can also experience the same treatments in the privacy of your own villa – either inside or on your terrace.
Much has been written about the therapeutic effects of spa treatments and I can personally attest to the benefits.
What makes the Cape Weligama Spa experience so different and so beneficial is the liberal use of tea.
Many of the different Dilmah teas available have therapeutic properties and these are harnessed to provide many of the benefits.
Ceylon Tea is thematic of Cape Weligama and this powerful antioxidant with anti-aging and calming properties helps stimulate circulation and promote detoxification.
But tea is not the only innovation. World famous Ceylon Cinnamon is also used in many of the treatments and this subtly fragranced spice has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine as it’s known for its healing properties and as a remedy to many skin and health problems.
The range of pampering is diverse to say the least ranging from ‘Hot Lava Shell’ massage, (Only available at Cape Weligama), deep tissue massage and express manicures/pedicures and facials – which are also available for male guests. The latter is of particular importance in today’s age focussed business world to ensure shareholders, customers and staff see that you’re energetic enough to operate the company. We live in a youth oriented society in the West, but in the East age is revered as it signals wisdom.
All the Bungalows at Cape Weligama are equipped with steam showers and bathtubs to extend your private in-room pampering should you desire.
Of course, pampering is part of any spa treatment, but whatever the treatment it has to be beneficial to the body. That’s why Cape Weligama Spa uses a range of natural herbs that are prepared on the premises to a special recipe containing invigorating Sri Lankan spices.
Depending on the results required, there are massage oils available containing essential oils such as Lemongrass, Cinnamon Leaf, Clove Bud, Nutmeg, Palma Rosa, Black Pepper, and Ginger. All of which have therapeutic properties.
I lay in luxury for 90 minutes as I experienced possibly the best massage I have had in my life.
Starting with a chilled infusion of Front Office tea to set my relaxed mood which was black tea laced with Cinnamon and spices and sweetened with the local palm sugar (“Kithul”). I was already feeling relaxed when I entered the massage centre itself having changed from casual wear into a cool white cotton robe.
The massage itself was accompanied by barely audible soft background music as the professionally trained masseur commenced.
This was an exquisite experience that set this massage apart from all others.
It employed the use of homemade warm, healing compresses filled with Sri Lankan spices and it smelled wonderful. I’ve experienced a massage using hot stones being rolled across my back in Cape Town, but that was for a specific lumbar complaint. These compresses are gently pressed on the main muscle groups and held for a few seconds to warm up the body followed by the massage. The infusion of heat into a specific place greatly speeds up the muscle relaxation.
The final experience was the use of Tiger Striped Clam shells from the Philippines where each shell is hand-selected for its unique size, shape, and structural integrity. I discovered that the shells are personally matched to size, sanded and polished to reveal their natural lustre, then bonded together to form a beautiful implement for massage therapy.
My calf muscles were tense from a fair amount of walking that day, so the heat from the Lava Shells helped gently remove the knots.
I was also told that the shells also give off calcium ions when heated, which transfers to your skin during the massage. Calcium can help to firm and regenerate the skin — a nice bonus.
In an all-too-brief time, my massage was complete. I had experienced firm hands unlocking muscles; warm compresses to relax all the main muscle groups and hot shells to relax more stubborn areas. A truly unique experience.
Thankfully, I was able to stay calm in the Spa centre as I slowly recovered my senses and prepared to return to my villa leaving the facial, an option for another day.
As it was a warm evening I decided to remain outside on one of the convenient loungers and contemplate the sunset feeling totally rejuvenated.
I may not be James Bond, but I can imagine him having the same experience.