300, Colombo Road, Uswetakeiyawa
Just 30 minutes away, Reef's Edge is the perfect weekend getaway or extended lunch for the city-worn Colombo dweller. It's got a great beachfront location, dedicated staff, vibrant decor, and inspired food,.
Reef's Edge is now reopening on the 15th of May 2017 as Vingyana Reefs, a 5* naturopathy cancer treatment centre.
Edge Leisure recently launched Reef's Edge, a luxury beach hotel some 30 minutes away from Colombo. With about 22 rooms and one suite, it's somewhere in between a boutique hotel and an expansive chain resort. On the untouched Uswetakeiyawa coastline, the sea itself is unswimmable but the beach view is great - you can even see the Colombo skyline and port sparkling in the distance.
It's a lovely place that serves as an easy short weekend getaway for either families or couples (we saw an even mix of both there), because it's close enough to not be a taxing journey and yet manages to feel like a proper beach escape.
There's one suite, followed by three loft rooms, deluxe rooms, superior rooms and standard rooms. We stayed in a superior room, at Rs. 20,000 per night full board on a double basis. The room was just about 450 square feet, and had a lovely sea view plus balcony.
The sea was very rough as it was off season (June), and the crashing of the waves could've been distracting but luckily the room's glass fronted balcony doors were sound-proofed. A charming wicker seating area was set up on the balcony, with vibrant green and blue upholstery overlooking the premises, lawn, and the ocean.
Our intial room, 216, unfortunately had a cooling tower or something on top of it, so every half hour or so a loud flushing sound would occur. We told the manager though, and he swiftly shifted us to 212 down the hall, which was perfectly fine. All the fittings were high quality, Hans-Grohe bathware and ATOM TVs. Not the sort of thing you notice at a perfunctory glance, but makes a huge difference when you actually stay in a room. It's commendable that Edge didn't skimp on the small stuff. Lots of good self-branded toiletries and amenities were included, which added a luxury-resort touch.
With hardwood floors, plush mattresses, and an over-arching fresh blue-green colour theme, the rooms follow a similar design and layout. It's everything you'd expect from a luxury hotel room, with the view as a bonus.
Meals are usually at the Snapper restaurant. For now, it follows a set menu for lunch and dinner with a variety of options for each course. Their portions and quality are both extensive, and a meal will take an easy hour and a half despite how swiftly the dishes arrive. They start off each meal with an additional pre-appetizer that is always a pleasant surprise. For lunch we got a vegetable pakora, and for dinner a smoked salmon roll filled with cream cheese, which was lovely.
The appetizers were mostly fresh, leafy salads. We tried the chicken & avocado, caesar salad, garden salad with feta cheese, and the vegetable spring roll. My personal favourite was the Caesar salad. Although the grilled chicken was slightly dry, the iceberg lettuce and greens were fabulously fresh and crunchy and the dressing perfect.
There were just two soup options, a creamy pumpkin and curried country chicken with vegetables. We thoroughly enjoyed both, although the chicken option stood out in terms of flavour. For the mains, we tried a whole myriad of options, notably the turmeric and chilli marinated seer fish with coconut rice, tempered julienne of vegetables, and oodles of garlic butter sauce. As with all the other dishes, the presentation and the quality were impeccable.
We also tried a proper Sri Lankan rice and curry, nasi goreng, pasta Bolognese and grilled chicken over the two meals. The grilled chicken breast came tender and delicately seared, served with carrot, leeks, and potato rosti topped with mustard cream sauce. It was a close second to the seer fish in terms of taste.
The dessert options, while succint, were sufficient. The usual suspects made an appearance - fruit salad, wattalapan and cheese cake, along with a few interesting additions. We tried a baked Alaska and a Bailey's cream cheese cake, both of which were superbly rich and well-presented.
The breakfast options were fairly standard in comparison to the lavish lunch & dinner menu, with a straightforward option between local and continental breakfasts. We tried the Sri Lankan breakfast with a side of omelette, both of which were lovely. The kiribath wasn't spectacular but the string hopper and chicken curry were superb.
As the place still hasn't got their liquor licence, we couldn't order any cocktails. However, their juice selection is commendable, with a variety of fresh options like thambili and papaya and international flavours like cranberry.
All in all, the food was brilliant. We saw plenty of people visiting from Colombo just for a meal, and we see why. If there's anything to worry about, it's the vast quantities ensconced in the 5 course meal!
Much like the rooms, the hotel features some quality installations throughout. With clean limestone lines, vibrant upholstery, wicker chairs and beautiful accent lighting, the overall vibe is comfortable chic.
The vivacious colour scheme kept the beach feel alive, while the composed stone and fixtures leant themselves to a luxurious ambience.
We also noticed a lot of interesting accent pieces of art and sculpture casually scattered across the hotel, which really added a certain charm and flavour, ensuring the place didn't feel contrived and soulless. The oversize wooden lanterns, beaten iron bowls, spherical driftwood sculptures and entrance artwork stood out.
The infinity pool, suspended over the lawn area, looks out languidly over the ocean. It features a bar within the pool, called the Plunge, and a stunning sunset view framed by coconut trees. It can get a little windy later in the evening during off season, but I found it even made a nice spot for a solitary swim and reading session.
They also have a banquet hall, called the Grand Ark, which can accommodate about 250 people and suggests itself for wedding or corporate functions.
We were quite impressed by the service all weekend. The staff had that typical Sri Lankan hospitality, warmth, and eagerness to help. The problem with the noisy room could've potentially soured the trip, but the staff handled it with such swift efficiency and politeness, that we were relocated and appeased within 15 minutes of informing them
They may still have a couple of teething issues, for example I was never really sure whether they were serving alcohol yet or not, and a waiter by the deck seemed positively petrified when I asked for some french fries (they weren't on the snacks menu). But it's just the beginning and the younger staff needs a bit of training, while the older staff is smooth and efficient. They were also with the hotel since its inception so know the menus and workings of the hotel very well.
With a great beachfront location, dedicated staff, vibrant decor, and inspired food, Reef's Edge is the perfect weekend getaway for the city-worn Colombo dweller. The sea isn't too friendly, but the infinity pool and the manicured lawns make up for it. They also have a SPA Ceylon on the premises if you need a bit of pampering. Overall, we had a great stay. I'd also recommend it for a long, lazy weekend lunch.
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