The Luxe List 2014:Â Jetwing Yala, Yala National Park, Sri Lanka
Rumor has it that a leopard roams this seaside propertyâ€™s 15-hectare grounds after dark, perhaps in search of one of the wild boars that graze here. Set on Sri Lankaâ€™s southeast coast three kilometers from Yala National Park and the bevy of leopards residing therein, the Jetwing Yala is offering an extra draw for travelers making their way to this part of the country for the extraordinary wildlifeâ€”elephants, crocodiles, spotted deer, a rich pageantry of migratory birds. As the closest accommodations to the park, the resortâ€™s sunrise and sunset game drives and resident naturalist see it excelling at its duties as a safari destination, and not just out in the wild, but on-site as well. Sri Lankan architect Murad Ismail, a protĂ©gĂ© of Geoffrey Bawa, was enlisted to design the grounds, and guests greeted with a menu of welcome drinks will follow his wide, polished concrete corridors to their rooms, where high ceilings and skylighted bathrooms keep things airy around four-poster beds and ebony lacquered furniture. Even standard rooms come with spacious balconies overlooking the oversize swimming pool, a magnet for respite from the equatorial swelter, though the beach is just a hop over the sand dunes away.
94-11/234-5720; Jetwing Yala; doubles from US$170