Christmas in Sri Lanka certainly feels different than Christmas in a cold climate.
Having lived in Russia for many years, I continue to marvel at the pleasure of wearing shorts, swimming outdoors, and dining al fresco in winter.
Since the weather in Negombo does not feel like winter, we thought it was especially important to do something to bring a holiday spirit to Waterland. To do that, we placed wreaths on the villa doors, positioned a poinsettia bouquet at the end of the reception desk, hung Christmas ornaments, and displayed a Christmas tree.
Not ones to embrace the ordinary, we sought to do things with flair and environmental responsibility. Accordingly, instead of cutting down a tree, we constructed our Christmas tree from petrified wood we collected at our local beach.
To provide some humor, a Santa was tucked into the base of the Christmas tree and shimmering blue Christmas balls were hung on the traditional Sri Lankan masks...
Engagements and honeymoons are especially special moments. Many couples have come to Waterland for their honeymoons. Waterland has also become a place for marriage proposals.
With so beautiful beaches, majestic rivers, mist-covered hills, a vibrant culture, exotic wildlife, lush tropical scenery, and a tropical climate, Sri Lanka has tremendous romantic appeal. Of course, a key part of the honeymoon experience is accommodation and Sri Lanka has many marvelous resorts, hotels, and villas. Waterland's appeal lies in part from its extraordinary location on the water, its breathtaking views, and the chance it offers to interact with the friendly neighbors.
Another part of Waterland's appeal is the allure of a private villa with a private infinity-edge plunge pool.
Usually, honeymoon vacations costs hundreds of dollars per night and Waterland has made a niche by offering a stylish villa with a private infinity-edge pool for far less than the price charged by...
In September, Waterland commissioned the construction of a large boat/barge. The photo below shows 2 of the craftsmen who built the boat.
On October 15, 2016, we had a party to launch the new boat.
Friends, guests, and members of the staff celebrated the launch of the boat together.
The boat's designer was on board for the occasion.
One of the fishermen from the neighborhood kindly captained our first voyage. Once we were in the river, he discovered that the bamboo pole he brought was too short. This caused much amusement. Within a few minutes, another neighbor used his boat to deliver a longer bamboo pole.
The barge provides a beautiful place for drinks and watching the sunset.
Blue lights around the property soften the angular architecture, fostering a sense of tranquility.
The lighting follows existing contours, providing viewing frames.
Blue and white lights combine with the moonlight to create dramatic highlights and shadows. The highlights and shadows create mystery.
During the nightly purification ceremony on the river, flickering oil lamps drift in the water.
The darkness heightens one's appreciation for the sounds of nature: the rippling of the river and canal, the chirping of crickets, the croaking of frogs, the whisp of the wind as it glides through palm fronds, ...
In modern society, we are increasingly disconnected from the things around us.
By learning how some things are made, we better appreciate man's ingenuity. And by trying our hand at making things ourselves, we enjoy the satisfaction of creation and establish a new relationship with the people and things around us.
It is in this spirit that Waterland offers a half day experience focused on making things. In this experience, a driver/guide will take you by air conditioned car from Waterland to nearby factories and workshops.
One of the workshops visited makes bricks. Here you will discover how bricks are made and will get to try your hand at one step in the process of brick-making.
At a roof tile workshop, you will learn about the different steps in the manufacturing process and will get to try your hand at one step in process of roof tile making.
At a coir workshop, you will learn how different products including twine, textiles, and fertilize...
Sri Lanka is a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, and multi-religious society. This tour allows you to feel and appreciate that diversity.
Below is a suggested itinerary. You can work out the itinerary you like with your driver.
Your first stop might be the Muslim Poruthota Jumuah Mosque.
The majority of Negombo's population is Catholic and over the years the Catholic community has built a large number of magnificent churches, earning Negombo the nickname Little Rome. A next stop might be the neo-Gothic St. Sebastian's on Sea Street, the most grandiose of these churches.
Further along the same street, you can stop at the Hindu Sri Sithi Vinayagar Temple.
Next, visit he neo-classical St. Mary's Church on Main Street, Negombo's most famous church.
At Negombo Fish Market, a fisherman can take you around the market showing you nets, fish, and the many steps followed to prepare dried fish.
After the temple complex, go on a series of bridges that provide panoramic vie...
As with so many dining traditions, the story of napkin-folding begins in Renaissance Italy. There noble and merchant families in the 16th century began to incorporate elaborately folded pieces of cloth as centerpieces and into individual place settings. Napkin displays became symbols of the wealth and status.
At the French court in Versailles during the Baroque era, napkin-folding became even more elaborate. The influence of the court further popularized napkin-folding. The court's extravagance, though, ended up causing napkin-folding to be associated with aristocratic excess. After the French Revolution, napkin-folding went out of fashion.
With the growth of class divisions in the late 19th century, napkin-folding again came into fashion in aristocratic and bourgeois households. The new approach to napkin-folding was more restrained than it had been in the Renaissance and Baroque eras. 19th century napkin-folding seems to have been more a si...
In the 5 months that we have been open, we have accomplished much. The quality of the property and the services have earned Waterland a loyal following and guests often comment on how much they enjoyed their stay and how much they look forward to returning. That level of satisfaction has earned Waterland top reviews on Trip Advisor, Booking.com, Airbnb.com, ...
There are 7 features that are consistently praised:
The beauty and uniqueness of the location.
The beauty and uniqueness of the villa design.
The luxury of a personal infinity-edge plunge pool.
The comfort of the beds, sofas, and chairs.
The friendly, attentive, and helpful staff.
The cleanliness of the villas.
The excellence of the auxiliary services we help arrange: transportation, tours, special activities, massage treatments, ...
The guests have astutely identified 7 main areas for improvement.
The generator that we relied on for much of our electricit...
Batik is a technique that uses wax to decorate fabric. The technique was introduced to Sri Lanka in the 18th century by the Dutch during their rule of the country. The Dutch brought the technique from Indonesia, one of their other colonies. Batik is a Javanese word that means writing in wax.
Waterland offers you the unique chance to make you own batik.
Your batik-making journey will take you 30 minutes up the coast where several villages specialize in batik-making.
In one of these villages, you will have a 3-hour workshop on how to make batik.
In this workshop, your host will show you the different stages of batik-making and you will have the chance to observe some master batik artists.
After you see how others work, your host will teach you how to paint a batik.
Each guest will then apply molten wax to a 5 meter piece of fabric and paint a design on that fabric. This batik is yours to keep.
At the end of the workshop, you will have the chanc...