Leopards. Elephants. Water buffalo. These aren’t the animals you typically associate with a beach retreat, but that’s exactly what you’ll find at Sri Lanka’s Wild Coast Tented Lodge, on the edge of Yala National Park.
The 378-square-mile preserve, in the southeast corner of the island nation, consists of lowland dry scrub abutting a long stretch of coastline with swaying palm trees. The combination of marine, freshwater, and woodland habitats mean there’s an impressive diversity of wildlife, including spotted deer, sloth bears, and over 200 bird species. And Wild Coast, which opened last fall, is in the middle of it all.
The resort consists of 28 private suites, called Cocoons—four of which have their own plunge pools—plus spa and a bamboo dining pavilion that feels like walking into an open-air beehive.
During the day, a guide will help you explore Yala park and ancient Buddhist sites nearby. At night, before you retire to your Cocoon, you can enjoy a sundowner in the beach garden, with the stars overhead and waves crashing in the distance—and your entire being swallowed in serenity.