To the southern edge of Yala National Park, the luxurious Chena Huts sit overlooking a beach where turtles lay eggs at night and elephants venture down from the jungle to play in the surf. It is bordered by forest and a saline lake home to ibises, painted storks and even flamingos.
There are just 14 thatched ‘huts’ set around the property, though calling these sweeping thatched pavilions – each with a living area, bedroom, freestanding bathtub and shaded outdoor deck with built-in 5m plunge pool – is an understatement.
The Basses restaurant takes its name from the nearby reefs and lighthouse and is suitably nautical in its theme. Private dining experiences can be organised, whether on the beach under the stars or by a camp fire surrounded by nature. There’s also a swimming pool with poolside bar concealed behind a waterfall and an Ayurveda spa in which to unwind.
As well as safaris into the Ruhuna block of Yala National Park, other nearby attractions include fabulous birding in Bundala National Park, and the Great and Little Basses reefs, off which blue and humpback whales congregate and dolphins frolic. Kataragama, an ancient forest shrine on the edge of Yala that attracts tens of thousands of Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims in July and August, is close by too.