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Ventana - An Enchanting Resort in BIg Sur

Summary: I love Ventana. I highly recommend visiting  and exploring the landscape at Lime Kiln and Andrew Molera State Park which I've blogged about here. Please note this is #notsponsored . Yes, that means we paid our own bill! Lots of details in the following review. including a Post Ranch vs Ventana comparison.  Can you tell there's something exciting beyond this beautiful gate? There's something special about Big Sur, a magic in the light, the presence of the Pacific, the cliffs, beaches, redwood forests and the murmur of the surf. It's one of my favorite places in California. I couldn't think of anywhere else I wanted to be to celebrate turning fifty, because it's a place where there's a sense of nature, space and light and a wide horizon. We've been to Big Sur many times and for a celebration there are two fantastic hotels vying for your attention. The exclusive, modern and very private, cliff top Post Ranch Inn and on the other side of the road the …

Jim's Farm - An Organic Retreat in Sri Lanka

We left Negombo for Jim's Farm as the sun was setting and got lost in the dark somewhere along a long mountain road. Our driver (Chaturanga)spent a lot of time on the phone trying to work out how to find the place. He asked where had we booked the hotel because he had never heard of it, I started to wonder if it would be worth the trouble. By the time we turned down a long dirt road Chaturanga was in open  rebellion, telling us he had taken tourists to some very dodgy places booked over the internet and were we sure about this place?  It was a bit disconcerting, but as I'd found it mentioned on an upscale British travel  site I wasn't too worried. It was hard to tell much on the dark driveway, but a tuk tuk met us at the gate and we knew we were in a special place when we saw the beautifully lit gardens, the house and then our room.  
It seemed a bargain at $125 a night and by the next day Chaturanga had taken it all back, declaring it was one of the nicest places he had seen and that the food they provided to the drivers was great!

So despite the bumpy start finding the place I can highly recommend Jim's Farm which was one of our favorite stops in Sri Lanka. It's an organic spice farm owned by a Brit and named after his father, think upscale agrotourismo! This is a great place to relax and recover from jet lag. The food is organic and much of it is grown on the farm.  
There are two large villas on the property, each with comfortable large rooms. We stay in the hillside villa and our spacious room had a lovely view over the pool. Meals are communal, which means yes, you have to talk to other people, but it was a pleasant crowd of mostly well travelled Brits. They offer well prepared a set menu with Sri Lankan and Western meals on alternate days, though we were disappointed to miss the Sri Lankan option due to our late arrival. The farm is located between Dambulla and Kandy so you can venture out to a variety of the Golden Triangle  sites from here, but why would you? We took the lazy route which we are so good at, a late breakfast, time by the pool to relax and when we summoned some energy we took a guided tour around the farm to see how they raise black pepper, vanilla, cinnamon, betel nut and other spices. We walked through the spice garden to breakfast at the main villa in the mornings, but if you don't fancy the short stroll they are happy to take you in one of their tuk tuks.

Highly recommended for anyone looking for quiet unpretentious relaxation and good food.

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