Sun, Sea, Sand & Ayurveda and Ayu-Boho-Wans


View from hotel

Chef Rodrigo

Susil’s ayurveda boutique hotel

I was pleasantly surprised when someone called out to me at the Good Market in Colombo. For a moment, I couldn't recognize him because his black moustache had turned grey. It was Susil de Alwis of Mount Lavinia Hotel fame. I was happy to see him and his wife Jayani. It was a long time since Susil moved from Mount Lavinia Hotel and then to Palm Beach Hotel. We had lost contact. Though the black moustache had gone grey, his energy remained the same ... a fast moving and fast talking hotelier. Susil told me he had his own Ayurveda boutique hotel in Wadduwa. He said "It is an exclusive resort hotel. We are self sufficient. You should visit us one day". I did promise Susil to visit him somehow. 

It took a long time for me to find the time to visit him in Wadduwa.  I drove to Wadduwa on a Saturday morning.  Susil was there even at 6 in the morning to welcome us with open arms. For a moment, I thought I was entering a nice old house by the beach with a nice garden front. We were warmly welcomed by several Ayubowans by Susil and his wife Jayani followed by his staff.  Privilege Ayurveda resort had no Hellos, Allos, Hi and Byes. Even the foreign guests at the resort greeted us in real Sri Lankan style–Ayubowan. I was very happy with what Susil has done. I wish many others will follow. We hardly hear our greetings unlike the Indian Namaskar and Thailand Sawadeeka.   I am also not surprised because the Ayurveda resort is about Ayu (Life).  I have seen many Sri Lankans doing the shaking hands and saying Ayubowan instead of folding one’s hands to greet others.  This is how it should be. Well done Susil. 

It was a very peaceful place with.  No matter where you are at the hotel you will find no plastic or metal.  Rooms are powered through solar power. The hotel uses no chemicals.  A healthy place to get lost for sure. Guests too had woken up early, and were doing yoga near the swimming pool of the hotel. Later I found out that Susil pays a very handsome salary to the yoga master. I think you get the best only that way. The Ayurvedic lady doctor gets paid the highest. After all, it’s a place tourists come for Ayurveda. She plays an important role in treating the guests and recommending their diet. They don’t  serve alcohol. The Doctor and the Chef play an important role in this type of resort. Guests had come from far away countries having booked ‘Privilege’ giving months’ notice. Sometimes even three months. They wanted peace, tranquility and well being. I realized they entertained only people who were serious about health and well being, and didn't see any Sri Lankans.  The three–acre land has 163 plants from king coconut, coconut, arecanut, etc, to kos, del, veralu to kang kung, mukunvenna, and ebony, teak, etc., and over 40 herbal trees. Over 23 varieties of birds visiting the resort in Wadduwa have become a major attraction. Wish I knew all their names. 

Over a sumptuous Sri Lankan breakfast with Susil and Jayani, I asked Susil what made him open this. He said, "I started it as a fine dining hotel in my retirement, but over the past 14 years, seeing the world change so rapidly and people becoming more health conscious, I wanted to take the great gift of Ayurveda, which has strong roots in Sri Lanka, to the world.  I can proudly say that Privilege is one of the first self-sufficient resorts in the island. We cater only for in house guests, staying for a minimum of 13 nights and who come for Ayurveda and Yoga only." 

The kitchen at the Ayurveda resort headed by the experienced Chef Rodrigo is a kitchen we all should have at our homes. Let me tell you why. There is no bottle opener, no tin cutter, no deep freezer and no microwave. All vegetables not found in the hotel vegetation are sourced from the village. The hotel does not use any oil. No meats are served except fish. The coconut milk is sourced through the coconut trees planted at the hotels three acre land. Chef Rodrigo said "Vegetables are chemical free and slow cooked in clay pots and served in clay pots, directly from the kitchen to the restaurant. Unlimited fresh juices are served with no sugar. Our daily buffet is laid out based on "vaatha kaa pitha to balance the body" 

Rodrigo is a pleasant and a charming man instrumental in educating the guests on the vegetation at the hotel. He also conducts cookery classes weekly, something we missed during our short stay there. In addition to Susil and Jayani, he made us feel at home, preparing the food I enjoyed most from Helapa to Lavariya to Roti. Think I had polos too, if I remember right. I don’t think I have had both healthy and delicious food anywhere I have stayed before. It was indeed a Privilege, thanks to Rodrigo. The humble Chef was so friendly and caring. He also made sure the guests who came to the Ayurveda resort had the right food.  We got our pressure checked by the Ayurveda doctor, and had the best oil massage ever. There were no disturbances, we listened to the sound of the waves, we danced with the sea breeze, we had temple flowers falling on our heads, green, green grass for our feet and white sand for us to keep the foot prints in the sands of time; and we drank the best of herbal drinks–all pure and natural. That was life. 

I do want to go again and get lost back in time. Maybe never return to civilization which makes me stressed out.  It was a Privilege indeed.

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