Sri Lanka’s most celebrated wildlife park is famous for leopards, elephants, and sloth bears—and now Yala National Park is also known for a stunning, sustainably minded safari camp next door. Designed by Nomadic Resorts and Bo Reudler Studio, the Wild Coast Tented Lodge is an eco-resort with organic architecture set between golden beaches and the national park’s jungles. Located on the country’s southern tip, the “five-star” lodge welcomed its first guests in November 2017 and promises an unprecedented intimate experience of Yala with unique and luxurious offerings.
Created for Resplendent Ceylon, the Wild Coast Tented Lodge comprises a collection of grid-shell bamboo buildings clad in reclaimed teak shingles and 28 cocoon five-star suites. The arched buildings, organized in six clusters, mimic the area’s giant rocks and boulders and are placed in a shape suggestive of a leopard’s paw print. High vaulted ceilings and large openings let in natural light, ventilation, and outdoor views.
Natural and local materials were mainly used in construction and help seamlessly blend the organic architecture into the surrounding dryland forests. A rich palette of copper, brass, terrazzo, and textiles complement the materials. “The five-star lodge is designed to give visitors an intimate experience of Yala, celebrating the flora, fauna and culture of the area with minimal intrusion on the landscape,” wrote Nomadic Resorts. “Local influences form an integral part of the project, from vernacular traditions and materials to community involvement. The architecture references natural formations in Yala’s landscape, namely the massive rounded boulders scattered throughout the park, at a macro scale, and termite mounds, at a micro scale. Adopting a human scale in between, the camp’s main buildings appear as outcrops of boulder-like pavilions clustered organically together at either end of the site.”
Solar energy will provide 40 percent of the eco-resort’s energy needs and graywater is recycled for irrigation. Organic waste is composted onsite for use in the landscape, while the hotel’s conservation station is set up to monitor and protect vulnerable wildlife such as the Sri Lankan leopard. Guests can choose between the Cocoon Pool Suite, Cocoon Suite, and the Family Cocoon Suite that sport an adjacent twin-bedded Urchin tent for kids and young adults. Sixteen of the property’s suites are placed around a watering hole designed to attract wildlife. Rates at the Wild Coast Tented Lodge start at $354 a night for one or $384 for two in the Cocoon Suite.
Images by Nomadic Resorts and Marc Hernandez Folguera