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Sunday, 18 September 2011

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The captivating Marble Beach



A breathtaking view


The view of the sea from the cabana


Yacht’ - the restaurant


Sun Rise

Tired of the city's heat, headaches and hassle - need a place to relax and rest your feet while watching the sun rise against a serene 'shaded blue' sea front, where the crystal clear water would make you forget all the aches and pains - that little haven would be the Marble Beach, situated close to the southern tip of Trincomalee Bay - this virgin stretch of sandy beach was unexploited for decades and it was declared an Air Force detachment and a high security zone.

Now it is an alluring beach resort run by the Air Force. "It was made an Air Force detachment in 2001," Flight Sergeant Madura Wanniarachchi who is the second in command at the 'Marble Beach, Air Force Resort' told the Sunday Observer, adding that the objective then was to secure air operations at the Air Force's Eastern base at China bay. This was one of the main supply routes at the height of war against the LTTE and thus a key LTTE target.


Flight Sergeant Madura Wanniarachchi

After the conflict ended, the beach was opened for the public, but with the beach resort opening in March this year, activities have been restricted to a far corner, so that the privacy of guests will not be hindered. The major part of the beach is taken up by the eco resort run by the Air Force and no trespassing is permitted. The resort with its nine themes Cabanas, Teak, Ebony, Mahogany, Margosa, Sandalwood, Satinwood, Banyan, Cinnamon and the two storeyed tamarind are designed with the beauty of the natural surroundings in mind. Each of them boasts a distinct style and is full of character while providing a tranquillity that can seldom be found elsewhere. 'Cinnamon' with its unique location on the rocky side of the beach commands the highest demand.

The services of the resort include a wellness spa run by a qualified therapist, a lifeguard service that operates during the daytime and at night on request, and pleasure boosters like snorkelling, hiking and beach volleyball.

Fresh seafood dishes prepared from the harvest of fishermen on the beach front is a speciality of the resort. Calypso and oriental music are played alternatively by the Air Force band on the beach front, as the sun sets and darkness spreads.

The two bands have received accolades from guests and their music lulls you to tranquillity.

To the right side of Marble Beach, you can see former LTTE pockets Muttur, Sampur and Upparu and to the left the Trincomalee harbour - the second biggest natural harbour in the world - and the Eastern Naval base. Marble Beach, with a name that gives one the impression that the beach is made up of cobblestones, like the ones you find in southern England, instead marvels you with a fine look-alike. The sun's rays make mosaic patterns on this exotic view of the ocean bed as the first glimpse of the sun is seen over the horizon. Lars Bindzus, a 41-year-old IT manager from Frankfurt is one of the guests captivated by the stunning view at Marble Beach. "This is more like a camping site. There is a jungle adjoining the Beach. The Beach front is breathtaking because of the bay."

Bindzus who is in Sri Lanka for the third time has brought with him his 80-year-old father. The father proudly said it was his eighth visit to Sri Lanka and the conflict had never bothered him.

"My father wanted to visit Trincomalee again and I made it a point to bring him to Marble Beach which was recommended to me by a friend."


Lars Bindzus, an IT Manager form Frankfurt with his father

 

Talking about the end of the conflict, Bindzus said: "There is no reason not to visit Sri Lanka now."

This particular stretch of the magical East coast is famous for colourful marine fish, shallow waves and a tranquil sea with water as clear as crystal. For parents who dread their children playing alone by a rough sea, this particular piece of news should be reassuring.

The water is shallow and is upto an adult's waist, stretches several metres before it turns deep. The resort, built on a concept by former Air Force Academy Commandant Air Vice Marshall, Kapila Jayampathy was opened by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in March this year. Its fame has already reached worldwide and within this short span, the resort has accommodated guests from India to Germany. "We have a strict privacy policy, hence beach vendors are not entertained.

They are a nuisance and we have made this place out of bounds for them for the benefit of our guests," Flight Sergeant Wanniarachchi added.

The resort managers with their eco friendly concept have banned polythene use and food from outside is not allowed even in the public area of the beach.

Already the resort has received several bookings from leading companies in Sri Lanka to host their annual trips.

One of the companies of Brandix Group had an annual 'day out' for 500 guests last month.

Mas Holdings will be having a similar event for 1,200 people this month.

"We don't have a rigid policy. Our aim is to please the guests and provide maximum entertainment to make their outing a memorable one. We try to fulfil almost all their requirements."

He said the China Bay Air Force Academy Acting Commandant Group Capt. Prasanna Ranasinghe and the Manager of the Resort Retired Warrant Officer Jayakody was taking a keen interest to ensure the Marble Beach Resort elevating itself into one of the top resorts in the Eastern coast.

Dieter Flak, a German national who stayed at the resort last month penned his satisfaction in the visitors' book: "Like a paradise! Beautiful beach, wonderful cabana, extraordinarily nice staff and the best Air Force band! Thank You."

The article was prepared with the help of Wing Commander Rasika Bellanage.

 

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