Within the Yala National Park in Sri Lanka, is a region called Palatupana that touches the waters of the Indian Ocean. Palatupana consists of forests that have been considered as hunting sites set aside only for the occupant sportsmen. It is close to this region that exists in a luxury wildlife hotel called the Wild Coast Tented Lodge.

“Between the jungle and the Indian Ocean” Maître de Maison – Tiran Nanayakkara

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Signage and Logo of the Wild Coast Tented Lodge ©resplendentceylon.com
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Bird’s eye view of the hotel showing its layout resembling the Leopard’s claw ©resplendentceylon.com
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Bird’s eye view of the hotel showing its layout resembling the Leopard’s claw ©resplendentceylon.com

It is almost impossible to notice this hotel at one glance! What appears to be like boulders emerging out of the ground is the building and its various units spread out within the landscape. The Yala National Park, Sri Lanka is famously recognized for having the largest leopard population in the world! With this in mind, the designers sought to devise a layout for the hotel that resembles a leopard’s paw. In this manner, Biophilia and organic architecture are adopted as important design philosophies in the make of the project.

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The hotel with its nuclei of the dining areas and the adjacently located tents overlooking the Indian Ocean ©resplendentceylon.com

The project stemmed from a collaboration between Architects, Nomadic Resorts, and interior designer, Bo Reudler Studio. Apart from the luxurious stay, the hotel also offers world-class wilderness safari experiences. For wildlife enthusiasts, the hotel serves as a one-stop tenting lodge at the brink of the opulent biodiversity of Sri Lanka.


To invite more of the outside into the inside, the suite rooms or the cocoons are placed dispersedly in the landscape, so that nature becomes a part of the circulation space.

The hotel offers a range of three options for stay, four secluded beach-facing pool cocoons suites, sixteen cocoon suites arranged as groups of four with viewing decks that are placed around watering holes, and the family cocoon suites with urchin tents.

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Plan showing a typical secluded beach-facing Cocoon Pool Suite ©www.resplendentceylon.com
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Plan showing one of the sixteen cocoon suites ©www.resplendentceylon.com
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Plan showing the family cocoon suite with urchin tent ©www.resplendentceylon.com  

The cocoon suites have been inspired by tents of historic military campaigns and give an impression of anchored airships. The designers intended to create an interior atmosphere of retro-futurism to invoke the memories of luxurious travel.

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The family cocoon suite with urchin tent showing the resemblance with the anchored airships and historic military tents ©www.resplendentceylon.com
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Interior of one of the Cocoon suites showing the affinity to colonial expeditions and the use of copper in the material palette ©www.resplendentceylon.com

The copper laden interiors with contemporary design novelties pack a whole colonial expeditions’ experience throughout the hotel suites. These 36 suites are lightweight tensile structures that were prefabricated off-site to reduce its impact during construction on-site and raised over stilts to reduce the impact onto the landscape. The structure can be easily disassembled owing to its material qualities.

Dining Experience.

Forming the nuclei of the entire hotel are two buildings that resemble the boulders in the surrounding. The structure takes the form of a dome-shaped shell that has a teak shingled roof and large arched openings. These two pavilions accommodate the Restaurant, library, and the Ten Tuskers bar. Wooden grid shell with bamboo is the structural make of the two domes.

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Sketch of the Dining area ©www.resplendentceylon.com
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The two dome-shaped pavilions illuminated at night ©www.resplendentceylon.com
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The layout of the Nuclei of the Hotel ©images.adsttc.com

The material allows for High ceiling vaults that welcome the sea breeze unto the built. A pool sides the two domes shaped pavilions giving vivid illuminated reflections at dusk. The spa is set in the rear end of the site away from the beach. Copper, brass, wood, bamboo, textiles, and terrazzo are the material used in the project’s palette. However, bamboo becomes the hero of the project, where it is worshipped thanks to its organic qualities which required locals from the adjacent village into participatory construction. To go as organic as possible even in terms of materials for construction, a mixture of elephant dung and clay is used for making the seating areas.

Wilderness Safari.

Apart from hospitality, the project also acts as a safari camp where visitors are allowed to engage in wildlife activities. Yala National park is one of Sri Lanka’s most visited parks that features a wide range of flora including forests, scrubs, grasslands, lagoons, etc. Visitors get to witness forty-four mammals and two hundred and fifteen bird species in the curated experiences offered by this five-star-hotel.

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The wildlife safari experience offered by the hotel ©www.resplendentceylon.com
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Walk to Sithulpawwa, an ancient Buddhist monastery located in the forests of Yala National Park ©www.resplendentceylon.com

The hotel also tries to bridge safari and heritage walk among some of the country’s oldest archaeological and worship sites. Few being to the Sithulpawwa monastery and the Kataragama temple complex. Another attempt by the Designers to form a seamless blend of the built into the landscape is in the desist from fences around the project, to allow the wild creatures big and small to transit in the hotel campus.


Is a Young Student on the verge of completing her Bachelor in Architecture. Being an ardent admirer of Van Gogh, she tries her best to get her ideas about Architecture into life through the art of writing. She believes that words as much as drawings carry great value in the profession of Architecture.

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