Aliya Central Province, Sri Lanka
Aliya, a stay in central Sri Lanka, boasts what might just be the best swimming pool anywhere in Asia.
The generously sized 12 by 8 metre pool (which feels much larger than that) is situated in the middle of a dense canopy of greenery, gazing out towards Sigiriya – the thousands of years old wonder rock that is the enduring image of Sri Lanka.
King Kashyapa (of sixth century fame) built a palace of exquisite grandeur on Sigirya, which has been both lost and found over the last 1500 years. But if he were to hypothetically see the low-key, relaxed opulence of Aliya, we get the feeling he would have preferred to stay here.
As well as the pool there is a spa with modern and traditional methods, a modern recovery treatment centre for those needing a complete break, thoughtfully designed rooms and villas with their own pools, and the most extraordinary buffet selections get lost has ever seen (curry for breakfast, lunch and dinner).
As well as being the perfect base to explore Sigiriya, Aliya (Singhalese for elephant) is central to Minneriya National Park. When we visited, four herds of elephants converged into the one area, giving close proximity to over 100 elephants.
Sri Lankan Airlines fly direct to Colombo from Melbourne every day, and direct from Sydney 3-4 times a week.
It is important to note that there is an economic crisis taking place in Sri Lanka, however get lost spent a week in the country in September 2022 and felt completely safe.
Sri Lanka is extraordinarily welcoming to travellers – we recommend supporting local business operators where you can.