Rebecca & Jamie Harris
Sri Lanka 10 nights & Maldives 7 nights
Overall review: Following on from what was the most amazing wedding day, we had the most blissful and stress free honeymoon we could've hoped for. Whilst in the midst of planning our wedding, we knew the kind of holiday we wanted, but also knew we didn't have the time or patience to sit and plan the intricate details of it. That's when we came across Invite to Paradise. After a few emails and phone calls to Reece, discussing exactly the kinds of the things we wanted to do, and our budgets etc, we knew we'd not only be in good hands, but also be hassle free. It was exactly that. From beginning to end, we were able to just enjoy the adventure of Sri Lanka, and the paradise of the Maldives.
The personalised travel pack we got prior to going was wonderful. We had so much to think about pre wedding etc, it was great to have the pack to read. I helped us not only prepare for our trip, but get even more super excited!
Hotels: Our hotels were all great. we loved how we got a cool towel and drink whilst checking in, although were rarely hot and bothered by this stage! There was a vast range of the kind of places we stayed, from jungle huts with our own pool, to stilted cabins, and then the more traditional hotels we are used to. Some of the views were just out of this world, and especially in Ella we often couldn't quite believe our eyes. It was a great selection.
The rooms were all to a very high standard. We especially loved the huge baths that were in a lot of the rooms! Most hotels knew we were honeymooners, and delivered us biscuits, fruit, cake, cards, and chocolates, and made us feel very special. The staff were always helpful, and the food was great (we loved our first meal especially at Negombo, a seafood extravaganza). Food and drink in some of the hotels were a little expensive, and not near enough to other places to not rely on our driver to explore other possibilities, but generally this was fine.
Chauffeur-Guide: Our journey started the evening after our wedding. We were still floating around on cloud nine, but from landing in Colombo we soon realised that didn't matter. Our driver, Kameal, was there to welcome us, in what was a comfortable and are conditioned car (maybe not quite the luxury vehicle we would have expected in the UK, but perfectly adequate), and delivered us straight to the hotel reception where he checked us in, no thinking involved.
He was very knowledgeable and gave us lots of background whilst driving from one place to another, but also sensitive to times we just wanted to relax and enjoy the scenery (or so Becca could sleep!). He was flexible to what we wanted to do, but also advised us the best places and times to do things, including extra lunch stops (and we were picky with what we wanted! And pamper times). We especially liked the way we did some of the sight seeing. It was hot, and neither of us enjoy being out and getting too hot and bothered for too long in the heat, so he'd give us the history in the car on the way, and when we arrived he'd sort our tickets and entry out, and take us straight to the places of interest. We avoided quest, and the unnecessary parts of the attractions. Winner! We enjoy sight seeing but not spending too long over it, and Kameel was just great for this.
He cleaned the car every evening, so it was always spotless, and was always nice and cool (even though he was often too chilly), so comfortable for the rides. Jamie had plenty of space, and he removed the headrest at the front so he had a 360 degree view!
Excursions: We loved the excursions. We felt we got a real feel for the country, whilst also being able to relax in-between and soak up some culture. One thing we were disappointed with that we hadn't been told was Vesak, a celebration of the Buddhas Birthday, and therefore a three day public holiday (the equivalent of Christmas) we were there. This meant we couldn't visit the tea factories which was a little disappointing, and also that we hadn't realised there would be no alcohol served for those 3 days. It wasn't a big deal, we'd just have appreciated knowing this before we arrived a t the tea plantations.
The wildlife safaris were great, and well organised, and we loved seeing part of the ancient cities and trekking up Sigiriya Rock Fortress. It is such vast country in what it has to offer, and we got a real taste of it all.
Best memory of the trip: Too difficult!!! We loved the combination of the adventure of Sri Lanka and the heavenly surroundings of the the Maldives. We couldn't have asked for more memories and a better way to start our married life! Jamie loved the Sri Lankan food (albeit maybe not for breakfast, soon learnt after the first couple of days!, and Becca embraced the herbal porridge. The people were so friendly, and the variety of things to do and the beauty of the country made memories we will cherish forever, with the help of our 1200+ photos.
How was the trip overall: Excellent
Could we have served you any better?: Just with regard to knowing about Visak happening whilst we were there. Otherwise spot on! Can we do it again please?!
Any ideas on what we could do differently to make our travel service even better?: Carry on just as you are. We had a perfect and hassle free honeymoon which was just and more then we had hoped for. We are just trying to plan when we think we can justify a re-visit.....1st year anniversary seems reasonable?!
Good enough to recommend?: Yes
Would you travel with us again?: Yes