To the sound of a traditional group, Sri Lankan native Tess de Kretser, who has lived in Ireland for almost 35 years, launched a boutique hotel located in the heart of the beautiful Sri Lankan countryside – Olcote in Ceylon – in Dublin. A labour of loe, this stunning hotel boasts eight luxury en-suite double bedrooms, an extensive pool and jacuzzi area, exotic gardens and, of course, sunshine!
An acronym for Our Little Corner of the Earth, the special meaning behind Olcote in Ceylon’s name reflects its atmosphere of intimacy, relaxation and sanctuary, and guests can expect to be immersed in traditional Sri Lankan culture, cuisine and hospitality throughout their stay. Dating back to the 1930s, the property was lovingly restored and extended by Tess and her loyal team to create a unique Sri Lankan paradise for all to enjoy, from couples and families to weddings and honeymoons with an exotic twist.
A beautiful al fresco dining area is ideal for family get-togethers or romantic candle-lit meals, and the skilled chef also holds cooking classes for those who’d like to learn about traditional methods of cooking, the local food markets and seasonable produce. Resident housekeeper Kavitha will be happy to look after the younger ones while parents enjoy a soak in the Jacuzzi, indulge in some much-needed relaxation by the pool or sample the local nightlife, and bicycles are readily available for the more adventurous. Explore the local area and discover some rural villages for a taste of authentic Sri Lankan life, or visit the larger town of nearby Piliyandala with its thriving market.
Unmissable one-day or multi-day excursions, some with overnights, are also available to some of the most beautiful areas surrounding the Olcote. These can be discussed and organised with tour director Manoj, and include a mountain/tea plantation trip to the city of Kandy, shopping and sightseeing in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo, a climb up the ancient rock and eighth wonder of the world, Sigiriya, animal safaris and boat trips to the Bentota Lagoon for crocodile watching.
The hotel itself is a haven for wildlife, with monkeys, squirrels and colourful birds aplenty in the private gardens, as well as a 300-year-old Tamarind tree and a small patch of tea bushes used to make delicious organic tea. Wi-fi is also available throughout the hotel for those who want to share this extraordinary holiday with those back home.
Tess and her team are looking forward to welcoming Irish visitors to Olcote in Ceylon – living in Ireland for over three decades has given Tess a strong understanding of Irish holidaymakers and has used her first-hand experience to create this home away from home. Tess has also named the hotel bedrooms after Irish places she has lived, including Maynooth, Sandymount, Cabinteely and Ballsbridge, and even her hotel bar has an Irish twist!
Prices include breakfast, light lunch and dinner, and guests can choose between sumptuous Sri Lankan delicacies or more familiar Western options. Transfers to and from the airport are also included. Prices start from €2,000 all-inclusive for a couple staying for a week – or why not exclusively rent the entire hotel for your family, wedding or honeymoon for just €3,500 per week all-inclusive!
Fly to Sri Lanka with Emirates, Etihad, Qatar and Turkish Airlines.