Post and photos by Victoria
Why you’ll love the Jetwing Beach Hotel
Positioned among two acres of palm trees on a sunny strip of sand overlooking the ocean is Jetwing Beach, a five star, family-friendly property and member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World. It’s ideally located, just 15 minutes from the international airport, and makes an excellent place to start or end your Sri Lankan holiday.
Designed by Sri Lanka’s celebrated architect Geoffery Bawa, the property is typically minimalist and elegant with polished cement floors, open verandas and walkways and gurgling water features. The hotel sits adjacent to JetWing Blue which is another good option for families, although JetWing Beach scored more globetotting points for having a kids club, an excellent restaurant (The Black Coral) and a wonderful spa with steam baths, plunge pools and couples room.
Other facilities include tennis and squash courts, two swimming pools and plenty of water sports such as windsurfing and kite surfing. Go fishing on a traditional catamaran, play a game of volleyball or borrow a bike and pedal around the area. However you choose to enjoy it, Jetwing Beach is a very easy place to stay for a while.
Why the kids will love the Jetwing Beach Hotel
Jetwing Beach is one of those hotels that ticks all the right boxes for all family members. Parents are happy because it’s luxurious, the food is fantastic, there’s a great spa and kids are happy because there is simply so much to do.
For little globetotters there’s a fantastic and well-managed kids’ club that is open from 9am to 5.30pm daily. Kids aged from four months to 13 years can spend their days splatter painting, playing pool games (in the kids’ swimming pool) and having their faces painted.
Big kids and teens will love the water sports on offer including water skiing, windsurfing, banana boat rides, sailing, snorkelling and kite surfing. You can even catch a ride with a local fisherman in his traditional catamaran and help him haul in the day’s catch if you like. And once the kids have tired themselves out biking, walking, swimming and playing then there’s always the in-room DVD player for watching movies. Holiday bliss for everyone.
Jetwing Beach has 75 Deluxe Rooms and three Suites. The spacious rooms are elegantly decorated with dark wood furniture and white linens. All rooms come with generous bathrooms with rain showers, AC, IDD telephone, satellite TV, DVD/CD player, mini bar, tea/ coffee making facility, electronic safe and hair dryer. The rooms all have sea views but the higher you are, the better the view of the beach.
Deluxe Rooms: Decorated in earthy tones are these rooms that come with a private terrace or balcony overlooking the Indian Ocean. The large bathrooms house a separate shower and bathtub.
Suites: The three suites come with their own personal butler service and Jacuzzis. The rooms enjoy a separate sitting area as well as an enormous balcony or terrace with sun loungers and possibly some of the best views in the house.
Best Rooms For Families: One extra bed is permitted per room in addition to one or two baby cots. The hotel has a number of baby cots available for guests to use. The Suites come with an additional day bed that can double up as an extra bed for kids. The suites inter-connect with deluxe rooms, which works well for families.
Jetwing Beach offers three restaurants; The Sands, Black Coral and The Deck. Private dinners on the beach or on your terrace can also be organised. The Sands restaurant is the go-to dining space for all meals. Black Coral is the hotel’s fine dining restaurant and The Deck is a seaside café and bar.
Breakfast The generous breakfast buffet is served in the large, open-plan Sands restaurant and includes fresh fruit, juices, eggs cooked to order, bacon, sausages and more. Traditional Sri Lankan breakfasts are also available
Lunch & Dinner Lunch is served in The Sands restaurant or you may choose something from the menu at The Deck. The Sands lunch buffet serves international and Sri Lankan cuisine and there’s an a la carte menu with ‘healthy’ and vegetarian options. Dinner can also be enjoyed at The Sands; theme nights are held throughout the week with the highlight being the seafood BBQ. Black Coral is widely considered to be one of Negombo’s best restaurants and offers fine dining in a lovely setting. With an excellent wine list and an array of hors d’oeuvres and amuse bouches, this is the place to come for that special holiday meal.
Afternoon Tea: Sample a wide variety of teas in the Tea Corner that is open throughout the day or fresh fruit juices from the juice stand.
For Kids: The dedicated kids’ menu offers dishes such as ‘Dinosaurs’ (home made fish fingers), ‘Water World’ (poached fish on fresh buttered noodles and vegetables) and ‘Teddy Bear’ (home made chicken nuggets). An all day dining menu is available at The Deck, near the pool. Room service is also available.
Lie by the pool, swim in the ocean and ease yourself into laidback Sri Lankan beach life.
Make an appointment at the spa for a massage or aromatherapy treatment. Or, send the kids to the kids’ club and take advantage of the couple’s room!
Spend your days windsurfing, water skiing, sailing, kite surfing or simply sunbathing.
Enjoy a boat cruise through town along the Dutch Canal that was originally constructed to deliver supplies to the Dutch administration.
Set the alarm for 6am and head over the lagoon bridge to witness the fishing boats returning with their nets full of fresh fish, prawns and lobster ready to be auctioned.
Visit the ruins of the Old Dutch Fort, built in 1672. The fort grounds now form part of the town’s prison so you won’t get a chance to look inside – unless you steal something of course!
Spend the morning in the hotel’s kids’ pool and then build sandcastles on the beach.
Hang out in the kids’ club staffed by qualified professionals who run a range of programs for children aged from 4 months to 13 years old.
Learn to water ski or windsurf and then bounce around the ocean on a banana boat ride.
Borrow a snorkel and mask and see if you can find Nemo and his pals beneath the waves.
Scuba diving is also available for teens.
Meet the local fishermen and head out to sea on one of the traditional wooden catamarans. These traditional fishing vessels are only used in this corner of the island.
Head to the Muthurajawela Marshes and tour the brackish waters by boat.
Look out for birds, butterflies, monitor lizards and crocodiles. You may even spot a python!
A/C, babysitting available for an additional charge, common rooms, handful of baby cots available, doctor on call, nearest hospital is 2.5 km away, 1 extra bed permitted in each room, the suites connect with a duplex room, dedicated kids’ club, dedicated kids’ dining facilities, dedicated kids’ pool, laundry, pushchair-friendly, shop, spa, swimming pool, travel desk, WiFi (complimentary and available throughout the property).
When to go:
The most popular time of year to visit Sri Lanka is from December to April. During these months the days are sunny and the sea serene. From May onwards the humidity rises and the rain begins to fall in stormy bursts until June. A second monsoon passes through from October to November, although the rainfall is unpredictable and showers never last for long. Visit at this time of year and make the most of discounted hotel rates! Book well in advance if you plan to visit over the Christmas period.
This corner of tropical Sri Lanka enjoys an average temperature of 27C. The best months for whale watching are December to April.
Location & Travel:
Jetwing Beach is located in Negombo on the West coast of Sri Lanka.
Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport is Sri Lanka’s only international airport. From here destinations include India, Dubai, Malaysia and Singapore. Sri Lankan Airlines operates a daily air taxi service from Colombo to Koggala Lake, near Galle (1 hr). Jetwing Beach is located 12 km (15 mins) from the airport. The hotel can assist with airport transfers.
Negombo Railway Station is the nearest train station to Jetwing Beach. To get to Galle you will have to travel through Colombo; trains run daily along the west coast and take about three hours to do the journey from Colombo to Galle. Apart from a handful of journeys, you cannot book train tickets online. Reservations for trains with reserved seating such as InterCity Express trains open 10-14 days in advance. For those with ‘unreserved seats’ you simply buy your ticket at the time of travel.
Jetwing Beach is just 12 km from the airport making it a very convenient first or last point of call on your holiday. If travelling south along the coast then Galle is approximately 125 km from Colombo airport and takes 3 to 4 hours to drive. The tiny coastal Galle Road links the beachside towns along the west coast although the new E01 Expressway, the island’s first motorway that opened at the end of 2011, has cut down the journey time considerably. The motorway does not currently link to the airport so you still have to travel through the congested eastern suburbs of Colombo before you reach the open road.
1) The traffic in and around Negombo and Colombo can get very congested. Remember to pack some water and snacks for the kids when on the road.
2) The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is a family highlight and easy to visit in a day trip. For more ideas, see 10 Things To Do in Sri Lanka with Kids
3) Tempted to stay in Sri Lanka for ever? A Year in Green Tea and Tuk-Tuks follows the adventures of BBC journalist Rory Spowers who moved from London to Sri Lanka with his family to set up an organic farm.