Getting my Groove Back at the Hotel J

Getting to travel to Sri Lanka for work was pretty awesome, but I can’t deny that conferences are really hard on me. So much socializing, so much self-promotion, and so much thinking on my feet. It is fun, but it’s also so much time being “on.” Add in the fact that this conference was basically a week long trip around Sri Lanka with 40 (truthfully, amazing) other bloggers and by the end my introverted brain was practically screaming at me to go sit in a quiet room somewhere.

So after the TBCAsia conference I jumped at the chance to spend my last few days in Sri Lanka completely alone. JetWing Hotels graciously invited me to visit Hotel J, the company’s first budget hotel, located in the coastal town of Negombo. It sounded exactly like what I needed after a week of early starts, endless conversations and shared sleeping arrangements.

Negombo is a pretty popular tourist spot in Sri Lanka, due to it’s proximity to Katunayake International Airport. The area is actually closer to the airport than Colombo, so it’s a perfect first or last spot for travelers. There’s not a ton to do in the area, and the beach isn’t quite as gorgeous as other places in Sri Lanka, but it’s a chill little town, and a great place to relax by the ocean and decompress.

The beach isn’t exactly terrible either.

Unlike some of the other places I visited in Sri Lanka, Negombo was a nice little backpacker hub. It took me a day to regain my sea legs among the many vendors, tuk tuk drivers and restaurant owners vying for my attention, but it came back to me quickly. Along the main street I ate simply cheap meals of seafood fried rice, shopped for excellent ceylon tea and bought tiny little elephants for relatives back home.

I also bragged a lot to the poor folks at home

Mostly though, I hung out at my hotel. A crisp white building right on the beach, with minimalist décor and colorful accents. Unlike the whirling streets outside, the hotel was peaceful. I spent hours laying on in a recliner on their front lawn, watching the activity on the beach and soaking up some sun. I frequented the hotel restaurant which served interesting Sri Lankan fare and pretty decent nasi goreng. When the rain set in I retreated to my covered balcony where I caught up on emails and sipped ginger beer while listening to the waves crash in the darkness.

And, I was totally alone. Not everyone likes to be alone, but years of on and off solo travel have taught me to relish these moments of total freedom. Sleeping late, reading by the pool, eating ice cream twice a day, all things I will do if left to my own devices.

I didn’t get a chance to backpack around Sri Lanka on my own (although I know several bloggers who did), although I would certainly like to come back one day and take another crack at it. I only had three days between the end of my conference and my flight, not enough time to see much, but just enough time to squeeze in a mini-vacation before heading back to my real life in Seattle.

My last day in Sri Lanka was a stormy one. Just before sunset the skies finally made an effort to clear, so I climbed up to the Hotel J’s rooftop bar to watch the sunset. It was a nice final picture of Sri Lanka. I felt refreshed, ready to go home.

My stay at the Hotel J was sponsored by Jetwing Hotels. My trip to Sri Lanka was sponsored by Cinnamon Hotels and Sri Lanka Airlines. All opinions are my own.

8 Responses to Getting my Groove Back at the Hotel J

  1. Anna | The Blonde Banana February 10, 2015 at 12:18 PM #

    I always feel like I need to schedule a “real vacation” day after my trips to recover before heading home as traveling as a blogger can be exhausting. Sounds like you found a good place to do so. Looks like a pretty cute hotel for “budget!”

  2. Mike | VagabondingMike February 11, 2015 at 2:36 AM #

    I have never heard of Negombo, Sri Lanka before but now that its on my radar I think I’ll have to add it to me ‘to do’ list.

    …great, I now foresee a good hour (at least) of ‘Googling’ in my future… 🙂

    Seriously though, its always good to hear about places nobody else is talking about.

    Thanks again!

  3. location de voiture February 11, 2015 at 7:36 AM #

    very nice blog good job

  4. Rachel Kershaw February 11, 2015 at 3:55 PM #

    Looks like a cool place for some RnR and anywhere right on the beach is good with me, I love the sound of the sea!

  5. OlgaOlga February 12, 2015 at 5:46 PM #

    The ‘not exactly terrible’ beach actually looks pretty cool!

  6. daniellemlloyd23 February 15, 2015 at 10:09 PM #

    I’m feeling the need for something like this. We’ve just had two weeks of being constantly on the go and I just need a nice bed with a hot shower. I’m travelling with a bunch of boys who couldn’t care less about either thing *le sigh* awesome photos.

  7. amy - toothbrush travels February 22, 2015 at 8:16 AM #

    Alone time is so under-rated, i think people forget that being so ‘on’ all the time means you end up craving time to be ‘off’. Hope you had a lovely time just relaxing and chowing down on ice-creamy goodness xx

    • Steph February 23, 2015 at 11:15 AM #

      Truthfully my favorite part of solo travel is alone hotel time.

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