If you are looking for a place to relax over the weekend and relax by the pool or by the Negombo lagoon I would definitely recommend Jetwing Lagoon in Negombo.
A bunch of us were looking to go away for the day so we did a bit of research and decided that Jetwing Lagoon would be the ideal place for us as we all wanted to relax and we all wanted to go swimming but since it was off season we had to settle for somewhere with a swimming pool instead of swimming in the ocean.
I called three days before we were supposed to get there and made a reservation which they confirmed immediately – the person who took down our reservation was extremely courteous and responded to all the questions to my satisfaction. We were told that the Sunday buffet is priced at Rs. 2,750 (inclusive of taxes) and that we could arrive at the premises as early as we wanted to.
We got to the hotel at 10am and were greeted at the reception by friendly faces and once we told them that we were only there for the day we were asked to proceed to the main restaurant area to pay for the buffet tickets and also to get our tag so that the staff are able to identify us from the in-house guests.
The process took about ten minutes and once we were done we went straight to the changing rooms to get changed and jump into the 100 metre swimming pool. I’d say that the most unique feature of the hotel is its large swimming pool; we were told that this is supposed to be the longest swimming pool on the island.
The pool was extremely clean and inviting so we all jumped in for a quick swim before some of my friends decided that they wanted to get a tan or catch up on some reading instead of swimming till lunch time.
I opted to stay in the pool and swim to my heart’s content; I was able to do 100 metre laps and not be interrupted by adults or children crossing my path and this mind you was despite the hotel functioning at full occupancy. We figured that the in-house guests were probably still sleeping in or had gone out to do some sight-seeing.
I must mention that the service by the poolside was efficient; there were waiters discreetly standing by with menus on hand in case we wanted to order drinks before lunch but once we told them that we were waiting till lunch time to indulge in the buffet they left us to our own devices but made sure that we had plenty of towels to wipe ourselves down.
Lunch time came around and we headed to the restaurant as we were ravenous from all the swimming and relaxing! There was a vast array of salads both western and Sri Lankan, cold cuts, tuna sashimi and two stand out salads which was the Thai chicken and prawn salad and the chicken, pineapple and mango salad.
We all had two helpings of salad and a delightful cream of asparagus and broccoli soup before we worked our way over to the mains which featured an action station that was serving vegetable tempura, batter fried calamari and a roast leg of lamb which was roasted to perfection. There was also a decent selection of meats and vegetables. I do regret that none of us stopped to take pictures of our food but you’ve got to trust me when I say that the food was absolutely star class. There was also plenty of options for the non-western food loving palate and the tourists who usually prefer to try out the local cuisine. There was Sri Lankan rice and curry along with the usual accompaniments of papadam, chutneys and pol sambol. There was in fact something for everyone including the vegetarians.
The selection of desserts wasn’t as impressive as the lunch however they had delicious curd and treacle, an assortment of cookies, local ice-cream, fruits and plenty of Sri Lankan sweetmeats and a very tasty semolina pudding.
The service at the restaurant was a bit chaotic as the restaurant was packed during lunch time; we had to ask for refills of water several times before someone actually came over and filled our glasses and there was nobody to clear our plates while we moved from one course to the other even though we would have been out of our seats for at least a good five to seven minutes at a time.
The coffee after lunch however arrived within two minutes of us placing the order and it was the perfect cappuccino. One of the few places out of the city that has managed to live up to my coffee expectations.
After lunch we went back to the pool and continued to relax; I had a 20 minute power nap in the shade in one of the cabanas while my friends proceeded to soak in the sun. Once our lunch had digested and once the sun had gone down a bit we all went back into the swimming pool and proceeded to spend our time inside the pool till it was time to leave. We did however order more coffee as it was really good and rather inexpensive.
When we got back home that evening we were completely rejuvenated and ready to take on another week at work. It was probably one of the most relaxing and enjoyable day trips that we’ve taken together and there were six of us in the group.
I would definitely recommend Jetwing Lagoon if you want to get away for the day with your family, a special someone or a group of friends. There is plenty of garden space for children; they could play on the grass and run around as long as they don’t run amok as this would interfere with the calm and tranquil atmosphere that is a trademark of this hotel.
We are definitely going back again for more relaxing, swimming and eating and I would encourage you to do the same if you want a break and a change in routine from a regular Sunday on this paradise island. The address is: Jetwing Lagoon: Pamunugama Road, Thalahena – Negombo. Telephone: 031-2233777 if you need directions or to make a reservation.
NB: This article was written for Esteem Magazine and published in the September/October 2013 issue.