Perched on an island hill overlooking Sri Lanka’s largest natural lake, Koggala, Tri’s exquisite site was discovered by British photographer, Rob Drummond, over 10 years ago. Determined to bring something wholly different to Sri Lanka, Drummond worked closely with Raefer Wallis, of Shanghai’s A00 Architects, to design a hotel that honours nature, enriches its surroundings, and prioritises sustainable practice.
Designed to mirror nature’s ubiquitous Golden Ratio, a cinnamon-clad water tower offering dramatic 360 degree panoramas sits at the heart of Tri, while the swirling hillside houses eleven sumptuous suites that emanate outwards. From this central point, the landscape folds away in layers, creating secluded corners and varying levels, each of which offers a different vista.
Each of Tri’s 11 spacious suites is unique, ranging in size from 60m2 to 140m2, meaning that the property is a haven of serenity for couples, families and larger groups alike. Three elevated suites are housed within the water tower, while the remaining eight villas terrace down a spiral path, offering either sunrise or sunset views, private gardens and terraces or plunge pools. Interiors combine the warmth of local Jak wood with cooling natural granite, while furnishings fuse natural materials with softly coloured, locally made textiles. The open-plan Main House offers a communal space for dining and relaxation underneath its cantilevered roof, with wide sunbathing terraces, a 21-metre swimming pool over the lake, and indoor and outdoor dining areas.
Tri’s philosophy of balance and symmetry also resonates in its airy spa and treetop yoga shala, designed to “float” above the bamboo grove and provide a calming space for physical and spiritual practice of the Quantum Yoga approach, developed by Tri’s co-founder, Lara Baumann. A rotating calendar of leading natural health practitioners, therapists, Ayurvedic specialists and personal trainers runs throughout the year, so guests can develop a personalised wellness programme to follow during their stay, as well as mastering techniques to take back to their everyday lives.
The gastronomic offering has also been created around the idea of harmony, with emphasis on self-sufficiency and much of the produce coming from Tri’s own edible gardens and nearby local farmers and producers. Guests are treated to a daily changing menu of fresh, light ingredients and twists on Sri Lankan classics, such as the humble, but oh-so-tasty hopper. Native herbs and spices are used in all aspects of Tri’s cuisine, from home-grown cinnamon in the breakfast oats, to tamarind, chilli and sugarcane for the roasted chicken. All dishes, whether western or local, feature unique Tri-twists, such as the traditional breakfast of fresh fruit, curd and treacle, which is freshened up with a cooling buffalo curd ice cream. Menu options echo Tri’s focus on health and wellness, with a variety of Ayurvedic and detox options using traditional ingredients such as local Gotukola and Hathawariya extracts.
Tri’s sustainability ethos pleases both form and function. The use of cinnamon sticks is prominent throughout, from characterising the exteriors of the buildings and the gastronomy, as well as working to regulate room temperatures and nodding towards the plantations which pepper the surrounding landscapes. Among many other initiatives, verdant vertical gardens and living roofs blend the buildings into nature, while solar arrays, water gardens and rainwater channels generate power, minimise erosion and nourish the grounds.
The hotel’s strategic location means that it can be both a tranquil hideaway and a base for exploration. Guests can reach the culture and history of Galle Fort in just 25 minutes, while Sri Lanka’s best beaches are only 15 minutes away and ideal for whale watching, water sports, surfing and swimming. The in-house guest experience team can tailor trips to temples and stupas, museums and workshops, tea plantations and cinnamon producers, as well as introducing guests to fascinating local artists, craftspeople and curators.
Tri’s founder, Robert Drummond, commented, “Seeing our vision for Tri rise out of the foliage and into reality has been the most rewarding project of my life. Sri Lanka has been our home for 12 years and we have poured our hearts and souls into creating something truly unique and original for the island. We hope that our sustainability practices - which have influenced every element of design - will ensure that Tri enriches the land on which it stands, and that the simplicity of the hotel will allow it to act as a window from which to enjoy the beauty of the surroundings. We have a fantastic team in place, ready to welcome our first guests and ensure that impeccable service, creative food, tailored activities and a distinctive wellness offering in our little slice of paradise makes their stay truly memorable.”
Tri offers nightly rates from $250 to $600 per room on a half-board double-occupancy basis including taxes.