Hotel Review: Cinnamon Bey Beruwala, Sri Lanka
I’ve had the pleasure of staying at many of Cinnamon Hotels best properties around Sri Lanka, but nothing compares to the culinary extravaganza prepared for us at Cinnamon Bey Berulwala, just an hour south of Colombo and 30 minutes drive from gorgeous Galle.
An award-winning food writer recently told me that the best way to describe a culinary experience, regardless of what you’re eating, is “not to attempt to describe the food nor the tastes, but the actual eating experience itself”.
This advice was easy to take on board after indulging in a food experience like no other at Cinnamon Bey Beruwalas’ Rock Salt restaurant. Although it’s not just the food that should attract you, given the traditional dance welcome and gorgeous poolside views.
Visiting the local market
It’s not too often, if ever, that the head chef in a top hotel will accompany guests to the local fish market, less than 2km from the hotel. The excitement in our minibus was palpable as we piled in, keen to meet some local fishermen and see what’s likely to be on tonight’s dinner menu. We had barely checked in an hour before and we were already off on an adventure.
The market is usually busiest in the morning, when the fishermen arrive in after a long period night fishing, arriving at the bustling fish market around sunrise to sell their produce. Despite arriving just before sunset, the market was still buzzing with people, with the stallholders keen to show off some of the more unusual fish on offer.
Local markets are always a prime opportunity to interact with locals, try out your limited language skills and (if given permission) to take some beautiful portraits of the locals going about their day. Below you can see some of the local men and children who happily posed for some portraits.
Once our Chef had picked out some fish for dinner, some of which he told us he would be using to make traditional fish and milk breakfast parcels, wrapped in freshly picked palm leaves, we headed back to our hotel to get ready for dinner.
Our Cinnamon Bey Beruwala Culinary Feast Begins
The night started at a pop-up bar overlooking the enormous main swimming pool at Cinnamon Bey Beulwala. We were offered some pretty strong-smelling local cocktail concoctions that were blended with Arak, a local coconut based fermented liquor. These delicious, but secretly powerful, cocktails were accompanied with some beautifully presented mini appetizers, which allowed us to sip and dip until called for dinner.
I loved all the outdoor candles flickering in the breeze, the shimmering, blue glint coming from the dimly lit swimming pool, and the soft notes of music playing over the loudspeaker as we all mingled and got to know each other better. After all, this was a group of travel bloggers and it doesn’t take much to get us talking!
What awaited us upstairs in Rock Salt created a hum of excitement and maybe even a few cheers! We all sat down around a long table, and while red or white wine was generously poured out, we were presented with our jaw-dropping starter. When you hear about food that is so beautifully presented that it’s almost a crime to eat it, they’re talking about the starters at Rock Salt.
A perfectly formed, solid ice igloo was placed in front of each diner, with mouth-watering slices of sushi hiding inside. The cameras flashed, the pitch of the vlogger’s voices increased a notch, and the atmosphere of the room really came alive. While it might have been to pretty to eat, it was also a battle against time, as our beloved igloos would melt in front of our eyes if we didn’t get eating fast enough!
The main course was the main event, with each of us given a sizzling, hot lava plate to cook our food on. With a choice of fish, salmon, and prawns, we all got to work straight away by drizzling oil over our hot plates, choosing what meat we wanted carefully, and watching on as it cooked to perfection before our very eyes.
To add more to this unique culinary experience, we were all handed tall, white chef hats to wear proudly while cooking our own meals.
You could just see these huge smiles on everyone’s faces as we poked and prodded our sizzling strips of salmon or chicken, feeling like contestants on an episode of Come Dine With Me based in Sri Lanka!
Food aside, although for me that was the main draw, our short but sweet stay at Cinnamon Bey Beruwala was definitely memorable. The view of the ocean, swimming pool, and palm trees swaying in the wind was the perfect view to wake up to, and I loved the small balcony to chill out on.
Breakfast was equally impressive, with egg stands, hopper stands and designated cold rooms to store the incredible selection of fresh fruit on offer. Whatever you fancy, hot or cold, they probably had it on offer.
We didn’t have much time to chill out, but if I was to return I would love to simply spend a few days floating in that pool or going for long walks along the somewhat wild coastline, and hopefully returning to another meal to remember. If you’re heading to Sri Lanka, I highly encourage you to add it to your itinerary!
Note: Thank you to Cinnamon Hotels for hosting me as part of a pre-conference FAM trip for #TBCasia Travel Blogger Awards and Conference. As always, all opinions are my own.