Lake Koggala, Sri Lanka

Tri

Rates from (ex tax)$247.94

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (USD325.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Intelligent design

Setting

Undiluted Lake Koggala

Space to think – that’s the luxury of Tri, a sustainable, serene hotel in Sri Lanka, where three-quarters of the property is surrounded by Lake Koggala. Its exemplary green credentials are showcased in living walls, green roofs and entirely local materials used in the hotel’s bright rooms and villas (some with plunge pools). Local culture and natural beauty are harmoniously combined, with Quantum Yoga (developed by Tri’s co-founder, Lara Baumann) and Ayurveda treatments in an inspiring landscape.

This spoiling stay is one of the stops on our Sri Lanka itineraries.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A free dhoni boat excursion to Cinnamon Island, for a 'cinnamon experience', where guests learn how the spice is grown, harvested and prepared

Facilities

Photos Tri facilities

Need to know

Rooms

Eight villa suites and three rooms; two villa suites can be booked as a pair for families.

Check–Out

11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in: 3pm, or earlier if the room is free.

Rates

Double rooms from $247.94, excluding tax at 31.08 per cent.

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (USD247.94), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates are half-board and include a huge gourmet breakfast as well as lunch or dinner. There’s a two-night minimum stay (three in high season), and all rates include service charges and government taxes. Solo travellers, contact the Smith24 Team for rates.

Also

Owner Rob Drummond worked closely with award-garnering Raefer Wallis of Shanghai’s A00 Architects to ensure the design and build tread as lightly as possible. The resort's spiral layout is lifted from the Fibonacci sequence, but we’re sure you already guessed that. If you want to come home with a new party trick, ask the hotel to arrange tuk tuk-driving or stilt-fishing lessons.

At the hotel

Free high-speed WiFi; six acres of grounds; a library of art, design, architecture and travel books; a projector for screenings; a yoga <i>shala</i> for Quantum Yoga classes, and personal trainers. In rooms: minibars in some suites, free bottled water, Spa Ceylon toiletries; three of the villas have private plunge pools too.

Our favourite rooms

Rooms in the Water Tower are cosy cabins with glorious views; the tower’s cinnamon-wood cladding makes it look somewhat like a high-end haystack – trust us, that’s a good thing. The Lake Villa’s private pool is both view blessed and shaded from fellow guests by a smattering of greenery; it’s ideal for a spot of late-night skinny-dipping.

Poolside

The resort’s glimmering lake-edge infinity pool has ionising filters, and its panoramic green-and-blue views are really rather lovely.

Spa

Each guest has a bespoke plan of yoga classes and spa treatments, involving Lara Baumann's unique Quantum Yoga approach. Classes are held in a shala floating above the bamboo grove, and treatments take place in two elevated rooms. Post-pampering, stop by the steam cavern, or head to the sheltered relaxation area, with a gently trickling fountain, white flowers and bamboo. Ayurvedic massages are tailored to individual needs, where guests can choose their preferred oils and pressure, and shirodhara (a soothing water massage) and cleanses are offered too. Active types can hop on an exercise bike, follow a 'holistic parkour circuit' around the lake (accompanied by a personal trainer, on request), or learn how to climb a coconut tree with the aid of a rope.

Packing tips

Bring binoculars to spy on the scores of birds fluttering about their lakeside habitat. Don’t forget eye masks and earplugs if you’re a light sleeper who likes a lie-in – the glorious dawn chorus is loud and proud.

Also

The hotel is not best suited to guests with mobility issues.

Children

Tri is better suited to families with older children; only children 12 years and older are permitted at the resort. In rooms, a sofa can be made up as an extra single bed (US$75 a person, each night).

Eco‐friendly

Sustainable materials and building practices are exemplary: water is solar heated and transfers are by old-fashioned fishing boat. Tri’s entire philosophy is based on going local – from team members to ingredients in the kitchen and the art displayed. A carbon-consulting company in Colombo was enlisted to conduct a comprehensive biodiversity report.

Food and Drink

Photos Tri food and drink

Top Table

Tri invites you to try out lots of private-dining locations: at the top of the Water Tower, on the private jetty, by the pool or under a banyan tree.

Dress Code

Stylish sarongs and loose-fitting linens.

Hotel restaurant

The six-course dinners are reason enough to spend time at Tri. The Cambodian chefs working under Neil Wager’s expertise have a knack for crafting local ingredients into a pretty-as-a-picture plate, which is as flavourful as it is fancy. The menu of fresh, light ingredients and clever takes on Sri Lankan classics changes daily and reflects Tri’s focus on health and wellness. There’s also a lighter lake menu and, if you choose private dining in the Water Tower, excellent mezze awaits.

Hotel bar

Order an Arrack Sour – a local take on a Whisky Sour – and sip lakeside.

Last orders

You’re encouraged to eat and rise early, as dawn here is so beautiful. The latest you can order the six-course feast is 9pm.

Room service

Light snacks and the lunch menu are available in your room (and breakfast, too, if requested the night before. A magnificent spread of rice and curry makes a memorable banquet of local spices and flavours.

Location

Photos Tri location
Address
Tri
Aladuwa Watte, Pelessa,Thiththagalle
Ahangama
80650
Sri Lanka

Planes

Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo is roughly a two-and-a-half-hour drive away. Cinnamon Air operates an air-taxi service, with seaplanes landing on the lake from destinations throughout Sri Lanka. Call our Smith24 Team on 03300 376 891 to arrange flights and transfers.

Trains

You can occasionally hear the coastal train from the hotel – it runs directly from Colombo to Galle and is cheap and offers great views.

Automobiles

No sane holidaymaker drives themselves around Sri Lanka; drivers are inexpensive to hire. The hotel is only 15 minutes from the Southern Expressway and 85 minutes from the Colombo Expressway terminal. You’ll need to give your taxi driver the number of a contact at the hotel so that they can navigate you in.

Other

Arrival by boat promises a true ‘ta-da!’ effect. Your transfer can liaise with the hotel to take you to the locally made dhoni, steered by Sinhala-speaking Douglas who’ll escort you to the hotel from the water.

Worth getting out of bed for

Lake Koggala is a screensaver-worthy setting (one that you stare at longingly when you’re craving a holiday) and a dream base for exploring the best of Sri Lanka. Since Tri is perched right on the lake, it’s ideal for boat trips and bike rides; and it's only a short taxi ride from soft sandy beaches, and Galle Fort’s shopping and culture. Time within the ramparts of this citadel will walk you through a unique Portuguese, Dutch, British and Sri Lankan heritage. The hotel’s guest-experience team can arrange trips to temples and stupas, museums and workshops, tea plantations and cinnamon producers, as well as chaperone you on tours to meet local artists, craftspeople and curators. We also recommend a private guided tour of Galle Fort with Shanjei of Galle Fort Walks (+94 077 228 3001).

Local restaurants

The hotel’s culinary delights will beckon you back for seconds (and thirds), but if you’re looking to shake things up with a special meal in Galle, tell your driver to hotfoot it to The Fort Printers on Pedlar Street (+94 91 224 7977); its courtyard is cool and quiet, and the chef’s lightly seared yellow-fin tuna, super-fresh sashimi and meaty lobster dishes are delicious. Fellow Smith stay Amangalla (+94 91 223 3388), a 35-minute drive away, has a classically kitted-out dining room (crisp white linens, sparkling cutlery, impossibly polite staff) and a menu with Sri Lankan and European picks. George Cooper’s boutique hotel Kahanda Kanda (yet another Smith stay) on Habaraduwa Dikkumbura Road (+94 91 494 3700) is a fabulously stylish spot for lunch, too.

Local cafés

Galle’s Royal Dutch Café (+94 77 177 4949), on Leyn Baan Street, is flamboyantly fronted with palm fronds and columns. The old-school eatery’s frontman is lifelong Galle resident and well-renowned storyteller Fazal Badurdeen, who’ll happily spin a few yarns as you sip spice-infused tea. If you’re entertained, he offers walking tours of Galle Fort, in between whipping up heavenly home-made cakes. 

Local bars

Historic Galle is hardly a dance-till-dawn destination; however, it’s not totally bereft of nightcap-worthy spots. The Living Room by TPV (+94 71 289 3939) – named after owners Thomas, Patrick and Vadim – has a zoo’s worth of animal sculptures, colourful local artwork and hirsute lampshades; TPV owns a Scandi-accented boutique in Galle Fort, and here there’s an edit of their home curios, art and costume jewellery on sale. They also support a local animal charity so expect to see some friendly canines wandering about. If you prefer your bars bijou and boho over sleek and styled, pile into the comfy cushion room at Koha Surf Lounge, a 30-minute drive away.

Reviews

Photos Tri reviews
Charles Cave

Anonymous review

A hotel designed in adherence to the Fibonacci sequence? The nesting place of ‘Quantum Yoga’? Mrs Smith and I near the mysterious Tri with feelings of slight trepidation. I’m not sure I’m ready to put my body into a pose that slingshots a chakra around a black hole.

We pass lush paddy fields spotted with puddles of fresh rain as we drive the final stretch to Lake Koggala. At the top of a dusty road two towering wooden doors part timidly for our vehicle and soon after we’re being shown to the pool area which, it transpires, is also the dining, bar, and main lounge area too.

The pool is stunning; a true iconic infinity (yes, we live in an age where one might dispute a pool’s infinityness) that extends out into the tranquil lake to give the effect of being able to swim out for miles. The bar and poolside area is predominantly white and modernist – Carrie Bradshaw and co wouldn't look amiss clinking martinis on the loungers. Our welcome is completed with another tasty albeit completely unidentifiable juice drink.

There is an immediate air at Tri of it being so much more than a hotel. An organisation, almost. It seems to be living and breathing along with the nature it snugs into, and one gets the impression it will do so whether or not there are guests sleeping in its beds. We feel slightly like we’re intruding.

On the walk to our room we’re pointed out the water tower, a unique, cylindrical structure armoured in what looks like silver-birch branches. We’re told it is home to two smaller rooms and a panoramic viewing deck at the top complete with honesty bar. It sounds dreamy. And, behind the tower, a sleek building of glass and golden wood: the library, and infamous Quantum Yoga studio. Tri is an enchanting site; as if the Thunderbirds gang threw in the towel and turned Tracy Island into holiday homes.

Where Tri really shines is the rooms. Our lake-view suite has all the good qualities of tree-house style design, with all of the luxuries of a more traditional hotel room. It is completely comfortable and, as the sun goes down, we find it to be immaculately well lit. Moreover, if there was an award for best-smelling bedroom in Sri Lanka, my vote goes here – all fresh cinnamon and greenery. The balcony, overlooking the lake and all its verdancy, is almost charming enough to make us drag the duvet out and sleep under the stars. We decide to explore.

The library is, architecturally, a fine space to admire though I feel with its 30 or so books, calling it a library is a little like calling my three house-ferns a jungle. Disappointingly, the ‘honesty bar’ atop the water-tower has only a bottle of tonic water, a bottle of still water and four wine glasses. A little too honest for us…

We take an idyllic evening swim, as the restaurant beside the pool begins to effervesce with action before diners arrive. We order ‘Smoking Arak’ cocktails – bliss. They come served in a small decanter with glass stopper. I feel like Hunter S Thompson on pay-day.

Food at Tri is mostly brilliant; the chef clearly full of ambition. Most dinners are six-course, near fine-dining meals full of surprise and emphatic ‘yum’ sounds. The pork belly was hedonistic salvation. The Sri Lankan curry night was warming and pitch-perfect. (There are occasional blips, mind: one evening we are served floppy and tasteless pasteis de nata that would make the dogs of Lisbon weep.)

Like many places on our trip, Tri quietens to funereal levels by about 9.45pm, after which the trees are rowdier than the guests. This is no bad thing, though. Our sleeps are peaceful and comfy.

Though breakfast (complete with very naughty granola and frozen buffalo curd) is incredible, we’re a little distracted by the routine rounds of general management who stop at each table with a clipboard of what looks like doctors notes and try to upsell experiences.

Eventually we decide to take a trip to Cinnamon Island (the upsell worked). It’s a fine hour-and-a-half, though one can tell the main proprietor is perhaps tiring of people like us turning up to see him and his family make various forms of the spice. He's quick to tell us, with a slightly menacing grin, that he has no fear of the lake-dwelling crocodiles: ‘They only like the taste of white flesh.’ And then urges me to try a very tiny chilli he’s growing. ‘How spicy is it?’ I ask. ‘Just eat it’ he says, smirking. It’s pretty damn spicy.

Our small gripes aside, Tri has the framework of something magical. As they make a home of the house, so to speak, it will easily climb up there to sit with the very best on the island.

 

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith Hotel with us, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Tri’s Guestbook below.

We loved

Everything about Tri. The most stunning feature is easily the infinity pool that sits atop Lake Koggala. The meals in the restaurant were creative and delicious, our room was gorgeous, we did a couple of yoga classes, which we loved, had a massage, which was great and did a cooking class under the trees, which was another higlight and we highly recommend. The service was incredible attentive.

Don’t expect

Lots of noise and lively nights. It's nice, relaxing and quiet.

Rating

Stayed on 21 Feb 2018

We loved

Everything! The room, the pool and facilities, the location and view, the staff, the food...We didn't leave for the 48 hours we were there!

Don’t expect

Lively nights – Tri is all about relaxation.

Rating

Stayed on 4 Dec 2017

We loved

The room is divine. The food is something that I would come back for on my next trip to Sri Lanka. 

Don’t expect

A spa and wellness area could be added in the property.

Rating

Stayed on 27 Nov 2017

We loved

Everything. We couldn't fault the setting or service. Both the dinner and breakfast were incredible. Nothing was ever too much trouble.

Rating

Stayed on 9 Jul 2017

We loved

The beautifully appointed rooms, delicious food, and the views. 

Don’t expect

Hustle and bustle or nightlife.

Rating

Stayed on 9 Jul 2017

We loved

The peace and quiet, the yoga, the incredible breakfast. A trip to Galle is a must.

Don’t expect

Too many frills – the villas are beautifully simple.

Rating

Stayed on 3 Apr 2017

We loved

The peacefulness. 

Don’t expect

Parties.

Rating

Stayed on 31 Mar 2017

We loved

Everything. The views, the rooms, the food, the amazing staff, especially Oliver. What a perfect stay.

Rating

Stayed on 17 Mar 2017

We loved

The magical setting – it instantly de-stresses and uplifts. The beauty of the lake is the closest to the elixir of youth I've ever found. Great to go to the nearby tea estate – special white virgin tea with the highest level of antioxidants in the world and a lovely place to sample various teas. Definitely walk there or back to get a great flavour of the local area and meet the super friendly locals.

Don’t expect

Lively nights. It is all about peace and beauty.

Rating

Stayed on 24 Feb 2017

We loved

Absolutely everything. The staff, the incredible food, the view, the rooms, the yoga, the wildlife. Idle Bikes bike ride around Koggala Lake was well worth it.

Don’t expect

Lively nights – the whole hotel closes down by 10pm as people tend to rise early and go to bed early.

Rating

Stayed on 30 Jan 2017

We loved

The peace and quiet, the spectacular setting, the friendliness of all the staff and, most of all, the food. Go to Poonies in Pedlar Street; Galle is a great place for lunch.

Don’t expect

...TV in the room or muzak anywhere.

Rating

Stayed on 6 Nov 2016

We loved

The location.

Don’t expect

Night life.

Rating

Stayed on 1 Oct 2016