Note: this vision of Pandora Box of Dreams closes on August 1st, 2018.
A little over a year ago, I had the pleasure of previewing Pandora Resort, the full region venture by Lokhe Angel Verlack (Jackson Verlack) and his Second Life partner, Miza Cupcake-Verlack (Mizaki) – see here, and then writing about it post-opening. Given the passage of time since those visits, and having seen a number of group notices about the region, I thought Caitlyn and I should hop over and have a look.
Back in September 2016, Pandora Resort was a winter location, high in the mountains. Now it is a tropical paradise – in Miza’s words, “An exotic island resort just off the coast to India is open to cater to the needs of fun, warmth and relaxing experience exposed to vivid lush wildlife and other hidden paradise”, a description which certainly piqued my interest given the time I’ve spent in Sri Lanka and the deep fondness I have for that country.
A visit commences high over the region, on the upper deck of an airliner. Green arrows on the floor direct arrivals down to the lower deck and thence to the cabin door, where a teleport carries people to ground level, and a chance to debark the airliner. Outside of the ‘plane is a tropical setting, the “airport” sitting high on a plateau, sandy mountains visible on all horizons, a cobbled path leading the way past swimming pools shaded by pergolas on one side and an open-air dance area on the other, and on down to a reception lobby located part-way down the plateau’s east side.
The reception area offers an opportunity to rest and to look down on the lowland to the north and south. Ancient steps lead the way down through palm trees and lush grasses and along the side of the plateau and so to the to the beach in the south-east corner of the region. A portion of this is given over to a water-side pavilion – a bath house with outdoor seating, shaded baths and massage tables. Hot pools sit on the sands outside of the pavilion, and a path points the way westward, through a further spa area sitting in a rocky cleft, and on to ancient ruins on the west side of the island.
Here lies one of the places visitors need to take a little care. Tucked into the corner of these ruins is an Asian-styled house available for private rent, and off-limits to those not a member to the region’s group even when not occupied. The north side of the island, reached via a wooden board walk and east-side public beach, is similarly given over to private chalets available for rent and forming a discrete resort of their own.
It was here that I was put in mind of beach-side resorts in places like Sri Lanka; individual chalets with an open-plan layout; all it needs is for the landscape to be a little more lush and green, and it would be easy to imagine the essence of Sri Lanka had been captured here. The chalets sit out over water, and offer a considerable amount of living space for those wishing to rent one. However, casual visitors should again be aware that when occupied, the chalets can be understandably off-limits – but the watery path between them does remain open to free passage.
The west side of the island offers two bays of shallow water, one of which cuts quite deeply into the land, ending in a small, secluded beach under the lee of the central plateaus. A second beach on deep cut of this bay, and located under an ancient, broken aqueduct, provides another area for swimmers to enjoy.
There are one or two incongruities with the region – the little airport with its huge jet, for example, or the fact that the island – whilst quoted as being off the coast of India – is inhabited by African elephants. However, the latter is likely to be down to the availability of elephants on the Marketplace, which is biased towards the African variety. The former doesn’t actually detract from a visit, simply because once within the region, the airport
For those of us facing the onset of winter, Pandora Resort – Namaste – offers a welcome retreat to reminder of sunshine, vacations and warm seas. It might even, for those fortunate enough to have travelled to tropical climes, open a doorway to past holidays and time spent at luxurious resorts.