It's been a while since I've posted about my travels around Sri Lanka. As you may have guessed, I've been a busy, crazy, creative machine these past few months. The demands of running two businesses at once has really taken it's toll on my health, and my body was crying out for a break. I knew I needed to slow down, unplug and take care of myself – mind, body and soul – or I was going to burn out. So, I started looking for somewhere peaceful to get away from it all. That's when a friend suggested Jetwing Ayruveda Pavillions and... it was exactly what I needed.
Situated close to the seaside town of Negombo, about an hour's drive north of Colombo, Ayurveda Pavillions is a haven of comfort and serenity. Imagined as a place for holistic healing for the mind, body and soul, it offers ancient healing treatments, yoga and plant-based cuisine. With locally-inspired open air architecture, reminiscent of a traditional Sri Lankan village, the design keeps the chaos of the outside world from creeping in, leaving you feeling a world away. The pool, surrounded by lush tropical trees, is heaven itself.
Ayurveda is an ancient system of medicine, deeply rooted in Sri Lankan history. Its therapies have varied and evolved over more than two millennia. Every day I learn something new about it! In fact, the main classical Ayurveda texts begin with accounts of the transmission of medical knowledge from the Gods to sages, and then to human physicians. Therapies are typically based on complex herbal compounds, minerals and metal substances. Guests at Ayurveda Pavilions can enjoy the healing power of these ancient treatments, put into practice by trained professionals and doctors within the precincts of the beautiful and lush resort. There are also massage therapies and daily yoga practice to complete the healing experience.
What really took my breath away, however, were the carefully curated dishes on the entirely plant-based menu. Each dish cleverly weaves Sri Lanka's Ayurvedic medicinal plants with locally sourced fruits, vegetables, herbs and even edible flowers to create a truly luxurious experience for guests – tailor-made to enhance your healing treatments.
From the minute we arrived (around lunch time – perfect!), we were spoiled with five courses of delicious healing foods. A choice of broccoli or spiced pumpkin soup was our starter, nestled in a giant clay bowl and garnished with shards of cinnamon, a banana leaf and butterfly pea flowers. Next, a raw salad of lotus root, fresh herbs and red pepper wrapped in zucchini and garnished with dragonfruit and edible petals. A delicious vegetable cake was to follow, with sun-dried tomatoes, soya meat and salad. Then, an incredible platter of Sri Lankan curries, served with nutritious red rice and tricolour quinoa – all with an Ayurvedic twist of course!
Finally, we were treated to some delectable healthy desserts. First, a coconut cake with a drizzle of palm treacle, scattered with star fruit, watermelon and dragonfruit, followed by a healthy version of a sesame ball that I'm told is a very popular Sri Lankan dessert... ummm, why have I not had this before?? It was a flavour explosion – think tahini and caramel!
As a foodie and a vegan, I was in heaven at Jetwing Ayurveda Pavillions. I didn't think I'd find anywhere serving this level of plant-based cuisine in the country. But I'm here to tell you that yes – you can find innovative vegan dishes and raw living cuisine in Sri Lanka! My compliments to the chef!
For my first health retreat experience in Sri Lanka, I was so incredibly impressed by Ayurveda Pavillions. For me, the experience rivalled any retreat I've visited in Bali or Thailand, but was made all the more special by the fact that it was all very Sri Lankan in spirit – that means the hospitality, environment and flavours of my adopted homeland. There's nothing quite like it. I only had a taste of what was possible here, but I left curious to learn more about Ayurveda and desperate to come back for an entire month of treatments.