Sanctuary Sessions: Conde Nast on our ‘Go-Slow Haven’

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The lowdown

Highly sought-after London-based osteopath Sam Kankanamge has brought the success of his practice home to Sri Lanka. The result is a one-of-a-kind Ayurvedic immersion on the south coast of the island. Guests come here, to the mangrove forest of the Rekawa Reserve sandwiched between a pristine beach and lagoon, to disconnect, take stock of their lives and embrace the healing power of nature. Weight loss, depression, skin disorders, insomnia, stuck in a rut? Nothing is too much or too little for Dr Harshi Anuradha, who diagnoses your dosha after you’ve given her the lowdown on your life.

Then it’s on to the prescribed timetable of acupuncture, full-body massages, osteopathy, shirodhara (oil poured onto the forehead to calm the mind) plus more hardcore elements, including all-out cleansing and fasting. Personalised Ayurvedic medicine is freshly whipped up daily in front of your eyes. Time here drifts by in a haze of treatments, topped and tailed by kundalini yoga on the beach or in the shala overlooked by monkeys. Gong baths, sound therapy and meditation sessions relax you further. Then there’s the cacao ceremony, a ritual of drinking pure chocolate and dancing your flip-flops off to help release deep emotions.

If you’re craving downtime, find some headspace in the frangipani-filled garden, seek out one of the daybeds or go for a stroll along the palm-tree-lined sand. There’s the chance to explore local sites, too – nearby Yala National Park has some of the best leopard-spotting on the planet. Meals are help-yourself and eaten together as guests bond over the delicately spiced curries. And while some people arrive looking to address specific issues, others just need a break. It’s a mixed bunch: burnt-out creatives, over-stressed execs, mothers and daughters, and soul-searching millennials. There’s no alcohol or caffeine; instead, it’s king-coconut water and herbal tea on tap.

When it comes to (early) bedtime, pick your way along the candle-lit wooden walkway to one of the eight simple thatched cabanas. Modelled on the shape of a conch shell to draw up energy from the earth, they have no lavish trappings but that doesn’t matter when there’s this much peace. Lasting change is the aim. To set you on your path, Dr Anuradha gives you a take-home strategy. Then, as the final flourish, there’s a cleansing ceremonial flower bath, in which you soak in a tub of water blessed by a Buddhist monk with essential oils and herbs. This is a unique retreat of supreme holistic care. You leave in substantially better shape than you arrived, sparkling with energy and coaxed back to life.

Lina

Coming from a lineage of healers, Lina works with somatic embodiment, breathwork, energetic healing, sound, and naturopathic nutrition. She channels her practice into words and thoughts to share with you. Her warmth and radiant energy will capture you through her words

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Claire White
Claire White
1717427624
I have just completed a 10 day retreat at Sen Wellness and having researched many options, I was drawn to this but it was way beyond my expectations, it was amazing. The yoga by Frances and the monk was incredible, the doctors were kind and helpful and all the staff could not have been more helpful. Special mention to treatments from Tanisha and the manager Sanath who got me out on the beach one evening to see the mother turtles. A dream come true in so many ways, left feeling refreshed,so much healthier in body and mind!! I would highly recommend to anyone who needs a reset.
Michael B
Michael B
1717236953
My stay at Sen Wellness was absolutely amazing all-round. Sen is a beautiful place, in the middle of nature with a serene atmosphere. I had a deeply relaxing,  inspiring and unforgettable stay at Sen.I stayed for three weeks in April/May 2024. The Yoga and meditation classes were great and even as a (complete) beginner, I felt very well supported. Also the therapeutic sessions were fantastic and effective. The food is delicious and rich in variety, which was very welcome for my longer stay.As I was traveling alone, I much enjoyed the close-knit group and personal feeling at Sen. Meals are enjoyed sitting together around a large communal table, allowing you to connect and meet.The staff is just fabulous - everyone, from the gardener, kitchen staff, to the therapists and managers (to mention just a few), really cares to make you feel well. Whenever you need something, they help you. Everyone greets you always with a smile.I would like to thank the whole Sen team for an amazing experience, and I am sure to be back here in the future
britta barth
britta barth
1713871962
I had a wonderful stay and participated in the Signature Retreat. The resort is located in a very beautiful nature reserve. There is a beautiful beach for long nice walks and you also can see turtles.Meditation and Yoga were very also so good as were the ayurvedic treatments. I love it.The Signature Retreat led by Sam is a great, inspiring journey in itself - I can highly recommend.The ayurvedic food was delicious and the staff is great.I hope to go soon again to this wonderful place.Mandy thanks to Sam and his team at Sen Wellness Sanctuary. Britta
One of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had in my life. The 10-day retreat is the ultimate in relaxation. They feed you all your meals (delicious homegrown/homemade food), schedule yoga and daily spa treatments and hold special ceremonies throughout the week. The staff go above and beyond to make your experience deep, meaningful and heartfelt. The sanctuary is located in a jungle so be prepared to be immersed in wildlife! Monkeys, reptiles of all kinds, turtles on the beach, eagles/birds and more! I stumbled across this place researching Sri Lanka and it was truly meant to be. The faculties are stunning, comfortable and reasonably priced. Don’t miss an opportunity to come here!
Melanie Farfel
Melanie Farfel
1711609773
A wonderful stay! The staff was so incredible and thoughtful throughout. I left feeling very rejuvenated. Thank you !
M UW
M UW
1710650939
I had really nice experience at Sen Wellness for 8 nights. Here is in the middle of nature, we can feel that we are a part of nature and it is very natural to live with all kinds of animals and plants. I am now mentally and physically fit.What I really appreciated is food - healthy, everyday different menu, some vegetables that I have never seen… I felt that my feeling of taste transformed through my stay and skin condition and body condition became better.All people here is really kind and peaceful.Yoga teacher, Stefania, is a wonderful teacher, she is really knowledgeable and so kind to care all participants. I had enjoyed conversations with her at breakfast, lunch and dinner.Doctors, therapists are nice, I could ask questions and request whatever I feel comfortable.There are different types of rooms, I experienced the most luxury cabana and eco-cabana with Air Conditioning, too. Luxury cabana was awesome but I liked eco-cabana as well. It was an old facility but authentic, compact and I felt cozy. I was alone in the room so the space was enough for single use. If you wish to have luxury stay, I would recommend you to go for Luxury cabana.Everyone has different purpose and expectations. My purpose was feel nature, have simple life and feel appreciation of life. And it was fulfilled. Thank you so much for all Sen wellness team.
sunil damodar
sunil damodar
1710516667
Went to Sen Wellness with family for a retreat, it was a nice spiritual and healthy experience. Fantastic team who were friendly and did everything possible to make it us feel special, great doctors and therapists and of course the daily yoga and one on one interaction with Sam was icing on the cake. Would recommend this to anyone looking for a great mix of spirituality, yoga, treatment and healthy eating. Look forward to my next one at Sen Wellness.
Jessica Crozier
Jessica Crozier
1709904229
Sen Wellness is the perfect place to go to when you are exhausted by life and need a rest to get back to yourself and work through any difficulties you may be experiencing.There’s lovely yoga and meditation classes every day plus a set schedule which is a great way to structure your day of rest alongside tailored Ayurvedic treatments and healthy food.The place is for me perfect but it’s not like a 5 star hotel so if that’s what you are looking for it may be the wrong place for you.If you are lucky you’ll see some turtles as well.Samath and Francis are great managers and will make sure everything goes well.
Kumail Syedain
Kumail Syedain
1709739998
Beautiful experience, beyond my wildest expectations. Would recommend to anyone interested in Ayurveda and healing
Neil Wadhawan
Neil Wadhawan
1709656423
I was fortunate to lead a yoga retreat in early February of 2024. Everything was absolutely spectacular. Sen is a very special place with a beautiful energy that is perfect for retreat and healing.What really makes Sen so special are the people. Every single one of the staff members as well as the ayurveda doctors and all the managers were so kind and always trying to make each experience special. The entire team was led by Sanath and Frances and they were both absolutely wonderful. I can't possibly find enough kind words for both of them. Their leadership and warmth really allowed me to lead the retreat in the best way I could and they were always there for me whenever I needed. Thank you!
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