I woke up to the sounding of crashing waves. The room was dark with a few rays of light streaming through the blinds. For a few minutes I could not figure out where I was. I remember leaving Colombo at 4 in the evening after picking up my fellow travelers. We could not have chosen a worse time to set out on a long journey. The CHOGM traffic cock ups added to the misery. It took us nearly two hours to get to the Kandy Road and a further three hours to get to Dambulla. Making a traditional six hour journey stretch out for nearly nine excruciatingly long hours. It was past midnight when we arrived at our location. We were bone tired and just crashed without really taking note of our surroundings.
I got out of bed and tip toed to the door and opened it.
And stepped into one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever come across. The kind of beach that would have inspired Alex Garland to write his novel the Beach.
I had arrived at the Paradise Beach Hotel Trinco which is maintained by the Sri Lankan Airforce.
During the war this area was strategically important as the terrorists used to launch attacks on planes landing in China Bay from this location. So this area was captured and taken over by the air force and they built a camp in this extremely large property.
One must say that one good outcome of the war was that beautiful beaches of the North and East of our island did not fall into the greedy clutches of the business community who would have just gone and started massive hotel projects without any care or concern for the community or the environs.
But now that the war is over our giant mighty military machine has realized that they have large areas of prime real estate under their control. So instead of waging war on terrorists now they are battling other hoteliers for a portion of the tourist dollars in this country.
The great thing about Marble Beach is that it is inside an air force base which means it gives the people who stay exclusive access to a fenced off private beach. Which is absolutely nice even though it is breaking the laws of our country as the beach is considered public property. Of course as any red blooded Sri Lankan I did not give a toss about the ethics of this – since it did not affect me - and went about smugly enjoying my holiday.
Marble Beach has about ten independent villas built on its sprawling property. Each has a different theme and style. The distance between the villas are such it is virtually private. The rooms are comfortable but it aint no 5 star hotel. Fortunately it has air-conditioning and decent beds. But the bath rooms needed a lot of work specially the fittings and overall the little details of the rooms were not looked into. For instance the light switch was by the door and not by the door.
It was the same with the food too. There was a buffet for breakfast and dinner. The food was tasty specially when it came to the Sinhalese cuisine. But I would not advice anyone to go their because the food was awesome. It was adequate.
Then why on earth should I go there? I hear you ask muttering under your breath.
I have three words for you. The beach! The Beach! The Beach!
Oops that was six words but you get the drift don’t you?