Nestled amongst sand dunes and jungle by the ocean’s edge, Chena Huts is a sublime base from which to explore Sri Lanka’s famed Yala National Park. Its low-slung thatched huts are in fact indulgent private guest pavilions – 14 in all, designed to harmonise with their natural environment. Each of these have their own 5m plunge pool. Inside, amid the rustic timber bed frames and furniture are ultra-modern amenities from dimmable lighting systems to minibars and enormous bathrooms with free standing baths.
At the heart of Chena Huts is a fine dining restaurant, with a nautical theme and fabulous views. However, if you wish you can have your meal near the bonfire under the stars, or even out on the beach or by the bird-filled lagoon which borders the property. There is also a large central pool, a poolside bar and a secluded spa, with a wide range of Ayurveda treatments and beauty therapies to choose from.
Most visitors come to this part of Sri Lanka to explore Yala, an expansive reserve brimming with elephant, peacock, sloth bear and leopard. Neighbouring it is the lesser-known Bundala, a wilderness popular with migrating avian species from all over the world. Both are best explored early morning or late afternoon with a knowledgeable local guide; however, these excursions should be booked in advance due to their popularity.