Exceptional Elegance & Superior Sustainability
Just imagine standing on an isolated beach in front of the Indian Ocean, with a world of rich and vibrant life at your back. Imagine exploring the lush vegetation of Sri Lanka’s beautiful countryside, scaling the towering mountains in search of peace, and engaging with the warmth of the local community. Now imagine enjoying those luxuries without the guilt of leaving behind a sizeable carbon footprint. That is the luxury of Ravana Garden, 2020’s Most Outstanding Sustainable Luxury Getaway – Sri Lanka.
True luxury is effortless and timeless. Ravana Garden embodies both, and more. Drawing on centuries of authentic Sri Lankan culture – partnered with an effortlessly easy experience of eco-friendly luxury – this boutique hotel is not only one of the best in the world, it is also one of the most sustainable. Sustainability forms the heart of Ravana Garden, ensuring that every guest is able to not only experience the utmost in luxury, but do so in a way that is guilt-free by leaving the tiniest footprint on the environment. LUXlife recently had the absolute delight of speaking with Ravana Garden founder Rasika Perera, and his wife, Dulangi Kavikeshawa, as they shared the encompassing vision for Ravana Garden, and their wish for more hotels to follow suit in driving sustainable, guilt-free, luxury experiences.
What was made immediately clear was the way in which Rasika and Dulangi embody everything that Ravana Garden stands for. They have poured themselves whole-heartedly into this venture, living out a passion for sustainability, community, and an undeniable sense of peace and harmony with the natural world. Both bring an enthusiasm and desire to drive lasting change, setting a shining example of the action that must be taken now if we are to preserve and protect the natural world. Nowhere is that desire for sustainability blended with luxury more evident that in the initial construction of Ravana Garden.
Rasika and the team showed an unwavering commitment to the preservation of life during the construction of the hotel, ensuring that no trees were felled for the sake of convenience or luxury. What was originally designed to be a twenty or twenty-five-suite hotel was, firstly, reduced to fifteen, before being reduced again to nine. So absolute was Rasika’s dedication to sustainability that he often made choices that would almost seem to compromise Ravana Garden’s appeal, though only doubled down on it. Rasika and Dulangi’s vision simply goes beyond it, gifting a sort of luxury that moves beyond the physical and finds a comfort in the peerless beauty of nature. It’s more innate, more untamed, more wild – absolutely – but also more true. True to itself and Sri Lanka as a whole.
Of course, that’s not to say that the more typical trappings of luxury are absent or otherwise diminished. Guests are welcome to spend time relaxing by the beach-facing pool, clustered near a collection of trees. Within these trees are families of rabbits, mongooses, and peacocks.
Wildlife regularly ventures out into the open, affording guests the chance to observe the hotel’s commitment to sustainability and nature first-hand.
During our time together, Dulangi took the time to speak briefly about the necessity for education. As it’s become easier to feel overwhelmed in our daily lives, there is a growing need for us to embrace sustainable ways of living for the sake of the planet. With this in mind, it becomes clear that Ravana Garden is about more than luxurious accommodation; it is about setting a benchmark for sustainability and showing people how luxurious sustainable travel experiences can be.
In this, Ravana Garden is the perfect way to educate people on how to change their lives in small ways to make a big difference. Crucially, single-use plastics have been banned. There are no plastic bottles, toothbrushes, disposable toiletries, polyethene bags, etc. The hotel instead offers bamboo, ceramic, and glass alternatives. Moreover, there are no televisions in the rooms, encouraging guests to connect with one another, and with nature in a truly stunning setting. Rasika’s eyes lit up as we began to discuss the rooms, each of which is a seamless blend of ancient Sri Lankan tradition and contemporary luxury. A particular favourite of Rasika’s is the Garden Suite with a plunge pool and waterfall that emulates the beauty of Sri Lanka.
Every room gifts something different, ensuring all guests can have their own experience of authentic Sri Lankan culture, courtesy of Ravana Garden. The Terrace Suite with Plunge Pool harkens back to a bygone era of ancient history, and the Sinhalese kingdom of Anuradhapura. Designed with inspiration taken from the Twin Pools of Kuttam Pokuna, Ravana Garden’s own plunge pool is a luxurious recreation of a truly significant achievement in hydrological engineering and architectural creativity. Finally, the Honeymoon Suite with Plunge Pool is nothing short of perfection and is everything that a newlywed couple could want from a relaxing getaway. Whilst the garden does have its own plunge pool and outdoor bath, the eyes are drawn immediately to the outstanding waterfall and the secret sanctuary it protects. Cascading water flows elegantly over the top of a secluded alcove where couples can experience blissful privacy, surrounded by Sri Lanka’s lush vegetation.
As we sat and talked with Rasika and Dulangi about the wholly sustainable culture that Ravana Garden is perfecting, the conversation turned naturally to food. To skip over the culinary delights that Sri Lanka offers would be a cardinal sin, but Ravana Garden’s menu is especially delicious given its sustainable provenance. The organic and semi-organic traditional culinary options with a modern twist are not only made with locally produced and sourced fresh ingredients, but they are also completely free from MSG. There are no unsustainable or, indeed, processed foods at all, such as lamb, beef, pork, farmed salmon, bacon, and sausages. No guest is offered food which would be harmful for their health. Rasika and Dulangi’s conscience drives them to never carry guilt around potentially risking the health or life of its guests for financial gains.
Instead, the hotel makes full use of its on-site vertical and horizontal vegetable gardens, buying most fruit from organic farmers and certified outlets. Ultimately, Ravana Garden’s food is as healthy and natural as just about everything else. Guests are able to get hands-on with their own food, working alongside on-site chefs to understand the intense, aromatic flavours of the local Sri Lankan cuisine. Families can partake in the food’s preparation, even getting the little ones involved in creating dishes that are not only delicious, but locally sourced and completely sustainable. Most of the dishes served at Ravana Garden, including desserts, are unique to it. Breathing new life into some of the most ancient and traditional Sri Lankan recipes, the meals are customized with modern twists to suit the palates of the guests. Ultimately, what you eat at Ravana Garden you will seldom find anywhere else.
Each carefully prepared meal can be enjoyed wherever guests would like it. Perhaps a candlelit dinner for two in a secluded grove? Or a lofty spot of lunch on the contemporary rooftop sky bar? Whatever guests want, the team at Ravana Garden are on hand to help make it happen. Indeed, as the conversation with Rasika and Dulangi turns to their staff, the pride and joy is clear to see. They are, above all, businessowners who have poured their energy into helping those that work at Ravana Garden to thrive and grow.
Community is just as vital to the success of Ravana Garden as the sustainability. Between 30 and 35% of the workforce is made up from local villagers, and each one brings a wealth of potential that Rasika and Dulangi are keen to develop. There are women who had never worked before who are now able to feed their families, and young men whose futures have been brightened by these generous people. One particular staff member trained with Ravana Garden before going on to earn a job working at the prestigious Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo. It is about more than ecological sustainability for those at Ravana Garden; it is about coming together as a united people to support and encourage one another.
That same community helps to make the amenities and experiences at Ravana Garden even more delightful, without ever compromising on the core of Rasika and Dulangi’s vision of sustainability. With a magnificent swimming pool, well-stocked library, and spacious air lounge, guests can choose to simply relax, unwind, and revitalise themselves in the luxury of Ravana Garden. For those in search of authentic Sri Lankan experiences, Rasika and Dulangi can open world-weary eyes to a treasure trove of opportunity.
A relaxing boat ride can help guests experience one of the largest wetland bird sanctuaries in Sri Lanka, with a signature breakfast in the middle of a lake. Madal Fishing is also available at certain times of the year, allowing guests to experience the most traditional and ancient way of catching fish. With cycling, croquet, beach volleyball, sea bathing, mountain trekking, temple visits, cultural rituals, and various safaris all in close proximity, the wealth of things to do is exceptional.
Ravana Garden is more than luxury accommodation in a stunning location. It is a benchmark for sustainable travel experiences; one which the world should take notice of. Encouraging connection between people and nature, Ravana Garden is a restorative experience like no other, and is good for the mind, body, soul, and perhaps most importantly, the world around us. Sustainability remains at the heart of everything that Rasika, Dulangi, and the entire Ravana Garden team continue to do. With a final ayubowan, we at LUXlife wish these world-changers all the best as they continue to live lives of selflessness, sustainability, and superior luxury.