I have never met a sunrise I didn’t like. It’s that magical moment when the world is still rising from its dreamy state and reality is just setting in. But the view from our premier suite in Arie Lagoon overlooking the Negombo lagoon was not just another view.

Arie Lagoon
The view from our suite at Arie Lagoon

Waking up early has never been my forte, but somehow that morning in Sri Lanka I was up before dawn. Last evening had been hectic for us as our flight had got delayed and we reached the hotel late at night. However, the staff at Arie Lagoon welcomed us with warm smiles and made sure we had dinner at once and didn’t have to wait for the check-in formalities.

After having our welcome drinks, we were escorted to the pool facing restaurant, Banana Prawn restaurant and found the large dinner spread very pleasing. The name of the restaurant is derived from the special kind of shrimp living in the lagoon.

We stayed in the premier suite which has a spacious sitting area and a private courtyard opening out to the panoramic views of the lagoon. The large bed is super comfy and you can catch the sunrise right from your bed through the large french window. The 52inch LED TV is just an added bonus.

Happiness is finding a comfortable bed at the end of the day

Starting off the day

Negombo is a traditional fishing town in Sri Lanka, very close to the international airport and a perfect place to begin or end your holiday in Sri Lanka. Due to the high number of Dutch and Portuguese era churches this town is also known as “Little Rome”. There are also some very old colonial buildings and a 100 km long canal known as the Dutch Canal running through the heart of the city. But the most highlighted attractions in Negombo are the beach and the lagoon and the resort located right between them. While we did not find the beach very interesting with choppy waters, the lagoon is a retreat for nature lovers.

Arie Lagoon

That morning, as I stepped out of the porch onto the lawn, I was greeted by a curious looking chameleon sitting on a nearby plant. He didn’t get scared when I moved closer and posed perfectly as I got a quick shot. I was distracted by some movement on the bank and was thrilled to see a large monitor lizard walking out of the water. It felt quite surreal as the reptile moved in search of food unaware of me and looked so elegant in its natural habitat.

Negombo
Early morning fishing in the lagoon

A couple of fishermen came by, walking along the bank with a basket net to catch prawns and crabs. While I could not understand them completely, we communicated in sign language. They said they walk down from their village, every morning to catch small prawns and crabs this way before they sail into the lagoon in their fishing boats.

Kid’s Area and the Swimming Pools

Arie Lagoon
Kid’s Play Area

After a sumptuous breakfast, we decided to explore the property. The first stop as per my son’s demand was the kid’s play area right outside the restaurant. The weather can get hot very quickly during the day and after a while, we hit the pool.

Arie Lagoon

Arie Lagoon has two swimming pools and the main pool has a kid’s pool and a pool bar. The main pool overlooks a beautiful lawn and the lagoon giving an infinity pool experience.

The Gardens

The immaculately manicured gardens are a sight for sore eyes. The expansive lawns are designed so as to ensure that each room has privacy and a peaceful ambiance. The gardens are also the meeting points for different species of birds and perfect for kids to play around. We could see how hard the staff works to maintain the gardens and the housekeeping staff was always present around.

Restaurant and Food

 

We dined at the Banana Prawn restaurant which generally serves buffet-style meals. The breakfast consisted of continental as well as Sri Lankan cuisine. Our first experience of Sri Lankan food was great and we found the spiciness just right, very similar to Indian standards of spices. The buffet also had some kid-friendly dishes which is wonderful for families with kids, just like mine.

For lunch, the restaurant was very accommodating to send food to our room as our boy had dozed off early after a busy day in the pool. We tried the Sri Lankan curry rice and the seafood platter and everything was delicious. Special mention to the appetizers which looked like samosas and tasted heavenly.

The resort also has two bars overlooking the lagoon and a pool bar to relax and enjoy. The Crab Claw Bar is just the place to sip some cocktails while enjoying the beautiful sunset as the day winds down.

Our dinner had an extensive spread with quite a lot of non-vegetarian and seafood dishes. The Sri Lankan cuisine was served in traditional clay pots. The Chef mentioned that these clay pots are handcrafted by local village artisans. Cooking food in clay pots is a tradition and has been done for centuries in Sri Lanka giving the food a distinct flavor. I was quite impressed by the large array of desserts. The best way to end a beautiful evening.

Exploring the lagoon

Negombo lagoon is an estuarine lagoon and is fed by some small rivers and the Dutch canal. The lagoon opens into the ocean and has extensive mangrove swamps attracting a lot of water birds and animals. It is also surrounded by villages and has smaller islands within it creating a unique ecosystem. The villages around the lagoon are heavily dependent on it for agriculture and fishing.

The best time for a boat tour of the lagoon is at sunrise or sunset. We were recommended to take the tour at sunrise and the boat picked us up right off the property’s boundary with the lagoon. Since the excursion started quite early in the morning, the hotel team packed us a nice picnic basket.

Our guide gave us a quick overview of the lagoon and how it intertwines with the way of life of people living around it. We met a few fishermen who were just heading out to the sea in their traditional fishing boats and cataraman. The morning sun made a perfect backdrop to the sails of these boats.

As we started approaching the marshy areas, we could see different kind of birds flying around. We were lucky to see Storks, Cormorants, Egrets, Herons, Eagles and Kingfishers. You can enter the mangrove areas in some parts which are filled with monkeys and kids love this part of the tour. We were soon joined by another boat and the kids on that boat as well were very excited seeing the monkeys.

On the way back, I lost myself in the calmness of nature. The boat tour was so relaxing that our little one was also mesmerized by the beautiful sunrise. After a quick breakfast, we headed out into the town to check out the churches and the fish market.

Our guide and boatman from the lagoon excursion tour

Our Final Verdict

Arie Lagoon is a beautiful property by the lagoon with its hospitality at the best. True to its name “Arie” which means superior in Greek, the staff goes over and beyond to make your holiday a superior experience. So if you are looking for a luxury family getaway in Sri Lanka, I would strongly recommend Arie Lagoon, Negombo.

We were hosted by Arie Lagoon, Negombo for a couple of nights and we explored Negombo en route to the cultural triangle in Sri Lanka.

63 COMMENTS

  1. Such resorts make you want to master the art of doing nothing and just be one with the surroundings! And here the surroundings are bountiful in nature! Loved the fact that you could enjoy sunrises and rendevous with so many birds (loved the darter picture) and a monitor lizard!

  2. The Arie Lagoon seems to be a wonderful place to wake up in the morning in Sri Lanka. A place by the lagoon would be such a rejuvenating place to stay. Thee views look amazing and the hotel too seems to strike the right ambience for a highly satisfying stay. Above all the warmth and hospitality of the staff would surely take the experience to another level.

  3. I’m planning a SE Asia trip for next year so how perfect I ran into your review! The Crab Claw Bar sounds like my jam. Drinks with a view? You have my attention! Talk about a truly “Arie” stay!

  4. I’ve never heard of little Rome before. It looks like your family really enjoyed yourselves I would love to be able to visit Sri Lanka with my family one day, also kudos to you for getting up close and personal with that Chamaeleon I could never do that.

  5. Wow, this place looks extraordinary to explore. I love all these details your provided, this is a wonderful resource for anyone looking to visit Sri Lanka!

  6. I like that it is kid friendly. We like to take our son with us on vacations and try to make sure we find places that have activities for children under five.

  7. The stay looks just perfect to me. And the food seems out of the world. I had not really heard of Negombo so this was quite an introduction for me. Would definitely want to stay here if I travel to Negombo.

  8. OMG I would love to experience an early morning fishing in the lagoon, using the traditional way of catching fish. That is fun!

  9. I did not know about Negombo being a laid-back beach holiday destination but not about its nickname Little Rome or the Dutch and Portuguese era buildings. Arie Lagoon definitely looks like it has everything covered for a fun family vacay.

  10. I visited Sri Lanka a few months ago and glad to discover that the coastline of the island is so amazing. Glad you and your family had a great time there too! The room is spacious with a great view and the pool seems fun! @ knycx,journeying

  11. Beautiful place to visit and where you stayed looks great! Your pictures of the wildlife are really beautiful. I am glad that you emphasized that! I always see a lot of hotels and streets and food but I think that the wildlife is really important in a travel blog! I am the outdoorsy type, so thank you for satisfying my nature side!

  12. Nice to know all about this luxurious family hotel. Guess, you have liked the Sri Lankan cuisines a lot. 🙂 Yes, Negombo is very close to the airport. I had a complimentary stay at Ramada Katunayake Hotel and really enjoyed the time.

  13. I am a sri lankan and i have been to this place. Every bit you have written here is complete truth. What i love about this place is the food. It is soo amazing

  14. This looks like such a delightful place to visit. It seems like you all had so much fun and this is definitely somewhere I would love to visit too.

  15. Wow, this place is awesome, that landscape and views are really beautiful and everything in it and this is a highly recommended place to visit

  16. Wow so much to explore!!! Loved the swimming pool and reading about your awesome experiences!! Thanks for sharing, hopefully my husband and I will be visiting soon this year, it has always been on my top 5 list to travel!!

  17. Seems like you had a wonderful time at the Arie Lagoon. The resort looks splendid. Sri Lanka is on my wishlist , I am planning to visit very soon. Your pictures are so beautiful and I enjoyed reading the review.

  18. This sure looks like a great place to stay. I had been to Lanka and wow it was amazing,, Wouldnt mind going back for this again. thanks for the tips. My Son would love it too!

  19. Gorgeous! What a picturesque place for a holiday! Food looks great too…It’s making me drool and I’ve only just had dinner LOL This reminds me of the island where my brother and his wife had their wedding – Telunas Resorts. If you ever find yourself anywhere near the Riau Islands, it’s worth checking out too!

  20. sounds like you had a wonderful time! And it´s nice to see such happy smiles on a kid´s face 🙂 It´s great to see how much there is to learn about nature in places like this!

  21. What a lovely and relaxing place to stay! It is lovely that everything is so close to nature so you could see the wildlife around the lagoon with your son!

    All that food looks fantastic too. You must have all had such a perfect break!

  22. Damn! It’s been a long time since I saw such an incredible post that gives some value and inspiration at the same time. I would never know about this place if I didn’t read this post. I’m a nomad and this is definitely going on my ‘to see’ list! This place haves an aura of peace and tranquility!

  23. Sri Lanka is an amazingly beautiful country… beautiful landscape..the country side….the lagoons n beaches…and to top it all the wonderful people.
    Beautiful description and the complementing lovely pics makes the place apparently a must visit on any tourists itenirary..
    Thank you

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