Reef portrays a contemporary colonial interior design that’s a little unique to Sri Lanka in that it’s resplendent more of colonial India than Ceylon. Although the hotel is lavishly filled with an elegant collection of antiques and artefacts from Sri Lanka and abroad the hotel’s most striking features – the Bharat hand-crafted floor tiles, the ceiling fixed punkah fans, the Kerala tamarind-washed tiles that inlay the roof and the highly polished granite bathtubs – have all been imported from India. The easily portable Campaign furniture that was so beloved of the travelling Brits in the days of the Raj evocatively characterize the suites; sleep in 150-year-old folding Calcutta four-poster beds, relax in faithfully reproduced rattan chairs and admire their elegantly matching counterparts.
Each of the expansive suites offers plenty of privacy and privilege, and comes with its own fully-furnished veranda or balcony that overlooks either the lush garden, the turquoise swimming pool or the deep blue sea. Two kitchens at the hotel serve up a generous menu of dishes that are infused with the flavours of the tropics whilst meals are served in the illuk-thatched restaurant beside the pool, under the stars in the garden, in the elegant dining room of the main house or even in the privacy of your own suite. There’s a tennis court for guests to use plus a gorgeous spa where any stresses and strains, if not already a distant memory, are expertly massaged into oblivion.
Facilities include electric ceiling fans, functioning punkah fans, armoires, a TV with DVD player, a direct dial telephone, a mini bar, tea and coffee making facilities, a dressing table, an electronic safe and free Wi-Fi internet access. Ensuite bathrooms feature exquisite free-standing hand-carved granite bathtubs, twin carved granite wash basins and a rain shower with polished granite shower screen plus an exquisite array of beauty products by Kama Ayurveda of India.
Secreted off the tropical lily pond that flanks the main entrance to the hotel this intimate suite boasts its own private veranda with relaxed seating (great for private dining) to admire in tranquility the watery scene. Manel SuiteLocated on the first floor of the main house, Manel boasts plenty of private living space including a walk-in dressing room, a sundrenched Burmese teak balcony overlooking the pool, garden and sea plus an additional private courtyard shower open to the sky.
The largest of Reef’s seven suites, Nelum is also located on the first floor of the main house. Featuring a Burmese teak balcony looking seawards to the front as well as a second deeply shaded balcony to the side, this suite offers the most private and exclusive living space. Nelum also has a walk-in dressing room plus a second doorway onto the side balcony via the bathroom.
Ocean suites feature deep private verandas furnished with Indian swing chairs that are situated only footsteps from the restaurant and pool. They have large walk-in dressing rooms and additional private courtyard gardens featuring rain showers open to the sky. Namal and Sepalika ocean suites are interconnecting.
– Enjoy a range of water sports from jet skiing, to windsurfing, wake-boarding and canoeing
– Visit Lunuganga, the magical home and gardens of the famous Sri Lankan architect, the late Geoffrey Bawa
– Visit Brief Gardens, the magnificent gardens and former home of Geoffrey’s brother, Bevis Bawa
– Visit the city’s cultural sites including the old districts of the Fort and Pettah, the Independence Memorial, the National Museum and the Gangaramaya Temple
– Shop the city’s boutiques for everything from beautiful batiks, Indian silks and blue sapphires to stunning homeware pieces and antiques.
– Explore the wealth of culinary expertise: there are fine Japanese, Thai, Indian, Italian and Greek restaurants
– Take a helicopter ride above the city to get an aerial perspective
– Walk the Galle Face Green at sunset, fly a kite and sample some traditional street food
– Discover the country’s exciting artistic talent and the various small art galleries and exhibition spaces
-Indulge in spa treatments at the handful of world-class salons
Health and safety is very important at Reef and their two kitchens are filled with state of the art culinary equipment including a tandoori oven that is presided over by a team of experienced chefs. Menus list a delightful selection of tropical-infused dishes that showcase a generous array of western and Sri Lankan cuisine. Whilst the lunch menu tends to favour salads, soups, sandwiches and lighter meals the evening menu is a little more formally divided into a selection of courses. Why not try the Spicy crab ravioli with creamy pesto sauce to start, followed by a Singhala fish curry with all the trimmings? Tempting desserts include homemade ice creams, crepes suzette or flambéed tropical fruit. There’s also a daily specials menu and the option of BBQ dinners under the stars.
Reef also has an all-day snack menu as well as an afternoon tea menu that’s traditionally served between 3 and 4.30pm. Choose from a number of intricate varieties of Ceylon tea and fruit infusions alongside a tiered cake stand of fresh scones, finely cut sandwiches, cakes, biscuits and tropical fruit skewers.