Cape Weligama - Sri Lanka
Client: Resplendent Ceylon
Project: Cape Weligama Resort and Spa - Interiors
Opened: November 2014
Comprising 40 villas, 5 food & beverage outlets and other supporting pavilions, Cape Weligama has been deliberately designed to avoid looking like a resort, and to feel more like a Sri Lankan village. Villas are carefully sited in clusters of two or three, always in response to the site’s natural topography, its mature trees, and set within tropical gardens that offer privacy as well as maximising the views from the unique cliff top location.
A key aim was to offer guests a range of experiences well beyond what might be expected of a resort of this scale – whether residential, dining, or recreational – to constantly delight and surprise throughout an extended stay. . The villas sit comfortably within the landscape, and no two clusters are alike, enhancing the village feel with each cluster named after an author with close links to Sri Lanka - be that historic or contemporary.
Covered verandas at each villa allow guests to take full advantage of the site’s near-constant sea breezes all while enjoying the spectacular views this cliff-top site provides. Interior finishes are in harmony with the overarching village theme; tiled floors are refined in finish but rustic in appearance, while timeless teak wood and rattan furniture hints at the historic colonial influences which are still a part of everyday life in Sri Lanka. The internal palette, patterns and textures are all carefully selected to create interiors which are wholly in harmony with their environment as well as their thematic inspirations.
To avoid repetition of design elements – typical of many resorts – and adopt a bespoke approach to each unique space throughout the property, three distinct themes feature throughout the villas, relating to Sri Lanka, the site’s specific context, as well as to its owners. Curated artwork, artefacts, lanterns and furnishings all celebrate either the island’s prominent maritime heritage, its diversity of fauna or the renowned Ceylon tea, and help differentiate each villa within a cluster. As a result the interiors are timeless – neither anonymously contemporary nor overly historic – and all are infused with a subtle sense of place.
The dominant scale of the Dining Pavilion is disguised through the day as they eye is drawn through its generous rows of doors to the ocean beyond. The dining area has tables within arranged at three levels ensuring every seat enjoys unbroken views and at night the scale is again disguised, and a surprising intimacy is achieved, by the focussed lighting of tabletops and by the rhythmic arrangement of candle-lit niches.
The Living Pavilion, despite its similarly grand scale, achieves a similar intimacy, offering guests a combination of a comfortable lounge bar and an inviting library where filament lamps mix with candle flames against a backdrop of warm wood screens and claret-red columns.
In contrast to these spaces the canopy of a giant Kumbuk tree provides shade to a more rural dining experience, where reclaimed local hardwood has been employed to achieve an appropriately rustic appearance for the furniture.
Carefully conceived, bespoke interiors combine with striking architecture in this one-of-a-kind site to ensure guests are provided with unique experiences, and that Cape Weligama will be recognised as an icon of Sri Lankan hospitality.