Heritance Ahungalla, formerly known as Triton Hotel, is one of Geoffrey Bawa’s earliest creations. It is a subtle blend of traditional art and cosmopolitan life, of Eastern culture and Western style.
What strikes you first is the long driveway flanked on either side by ribbon ponds and tall graceful palms. The Reception is dramatic. A pool that meets the sea in one unbroken line arrests your attention. We had been here many years ago, well before the refurbishment, and were impressed how the essentials of Bawa’s design had been retained to complement the more stylish makeover. In inimitable Bawa fashion Heritance flouts conventional design of artificial segregation of inside and out, building and landscape. With his penchant to ‘consult the genius of the place in all' the hotel is designed as a series of connected pavillions that revel in the beauty of the beautiful beach landscape. All main areas have an unbroken view of the sparkling blue ocean. Trees grown inside, water cascading from one level to another, we were filled with a sense of being one with nature, in spite of the décor that was strikingly contemporary. Check- in was quick and efficient and the reception staff professional and friendly.
Two huge pools, one of deep turquoise and the other a dark midnight blue were quickly our favourite places. The one by the Reception, which is open to day guests, proudly displays a local sail boat at its crest with dramatic effect.
Three restaurants, two bars, a pool bar and recreation options of tennis, badminton, volleyball, table tennis, billiards, a games room and water sports including water skiing will occupy the most demanding guest.
For the less energetic there is a large, well stocked and comfortable library.
The stylish refurbishment of the rooms results in a pleasing collection of contemporary timber and steel furniture set off by furnishing in shades of black, beige and gold. All 154 rooms are air conditioned, but sunny and airy in typical Bawa style. The new look is very chic and sophisticated. Ensuite bathrooms have been refitted with attractive contemporary fittings. Each room has either a balcony or terrace giving you a glorious view of the restless Indian ocean. The hotel has a cosmopolitan air within a classy beach resort.
154 rooms are classified as Deluxe Rooms, Suites, and Luxury Suites.
The Deluxe rooms have a double bed, sofa, lounging chairs, and a writing desk. In-room facilities include satellite TV, mini bar, IDD phone facilities, safe and tea / coffee making facilities. The ensuite bathroom has a h/w rain shower, hair dryer, bathrobe and slippers.
Suites: additionally the spacious Suites have a living area and balcony or terrace. Scented candles, personalized stationery at the writing desk, a special pillow menu and a range of luxury toiletries add to the feeling of being spoilt and fussed over.
Deluxe Suites: Luxuriously spacious, the Deluxe suites come with generous sleeping, living and dining space. Your balcony or terrace has some of the best views of the ocean. But the best part has to be the bath tub and jacuzzi.
The Heritance has three restaurants, 2 bars and one pool bar.
For a la Carte menus and snacks you should head to The Mustard, the hotel coffee shop. Jute, the main restaurant, with 200+ covers, has daily buffets offering an extensive range of Sri Lankan and international dishes. The breakfast buffet was our favourite, though at times the dishes could have been hotter. We also loved the BBQ nights… tucking in happily to finely grilled sea food and meats.
The Upper Room is a fine-dining restaurant which offers some of the best western favourites prepared to international recipes and standards. Evening entertainment is by the hotel band which plays favourite tunes of both local and western mix, and local cultural shows on some evenings.
If you are in the mood for a change of cuisine why not drive to either Bentota or Hikkaduwa. Little wayside restaurants with their own unique personality and mixed cuisines can be a refreshing change from the typical resort fare. If you love spicy food, crab at Refresh or Francis in Hikka is highly recommended… and don’t forget the rotti shops in Hikka. Sweet or savoury those rotti’s are just out of this world.
The Heritance is well equipped with recreation facilities.
Two vast pools will attract the water babies, especially the midnight blue private pool, away from the bustle of day guests. Fringed with trees that give plenty of shade from the sun, this pool is where we spent most of our tropical afternoons.
The beach is wide and generous and the sea lovely to swim in during season. The hawkers that pester you with their wares are a nuisance, but it is delightful to sit at sunset and watch the colours of the sun bathe the sky in hues of orange, purple and vermillion.
The library is well stocked with books and magazines.
In terms of sports and recreation you can choose from tennis, badminton, volleyball, table tennis, billiards, a games room and water sports including water skiing.
Evening entertainment organized by the hotel includes cultural shows and bands singing local and western favourites. Our favourite act was the dramatic fire eater.
Excursions around Heritance are plentiful as you are nestled between Bentota and Hikkaduwa.
At Bentota there is a wide range of water sports and activity from diving, snorkeling, jet skis etc.
Bentota also has several great spas to visit and many antique furniture sellers who have an amazing collection of colonial antique furniture and jewellery items.