21st April 2015
Our tailor-made specialist for the Indian Subcontinent Sunita has recently been on a recce in Sri Lanka. Below Sunita talks about some of the best boutique hotels she visited whilst travelling around this beautiful country.
Sri Lanka, a small island nation, has so much to offer travellers. It is a sacred land for Buddhists; many travel there to visit the fascinating ancient cities which form the cultural triangle. That's just one part as it's also the perfect country for honeymooners, families, beach lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. Bearing in mind the interests of all types of travellers, there are hotels that cater to those interests and so many more. A traveller is definitely spoilt for choice.
It's hard for me to pick out my favourites as each is so unique in its own way. Sri Lankan hotels also prove that they need not be the most expensive and over the top luxurious. There are hotels that stand out, providing a very wholesome experience to discerning travellers and at affordable prices. Here are some just to name a few!
Just under an hour away from the airport is Casa Helliconia. Call it quirky, trendy or oozing with charm, this two room intimate property in jungle-like surroundings makes you fall in love with it immediately. Far away from the chaos of the city is your peaceful haven. No alcohol is served here as it is very close to a temple, but guests can take their own.
Move on to the cultural triangle and step into the Wild Grass Resort at Sigiriya. Just eight villas in four acres of land offer the peace, tranquillity and privacy that we crave for in this fast-paced world. The stilted villas have glass walls on three sides allowing sufficient natural light as well as great views of the green surroundings. You can have wildlife walk right up to your door.
A little further away at Anuradhapura is the pure luxury resort of Ulagalla. Twenty private chalets, all of them suites, are located in the midst of paddy fields and forests. Bordered by a lake on one side, the guests find themselves in an idyllic setting in one of the finest boutique hotels in Sri Lanka. Guests of Ulagalla can enjoy a cultural, historic and wildlife experience due to the proximity of the resort to ancient sacred cities and Wilpattu National Park.
The Mountbatten Lodge at Kandy is steeped in history and speaks volumes of a bygone era. The photographs of Lord Mountbatten and Lady Edwina on the wall of the main reception area greet you as you enter the building. As you walk into the rooms you find the original antique furniture and all fixtures and fittings of Lord Mountbatten's time; nothing has been changed. The framed maps that adorn the walls are from the early 20th century. Across the garden, near the infinity pool, six Garden Chalets have been added. These are quite modern and ideal for people looking for serene and tranquil surroundings. Stepping into the property is like stepping into a time machine, within minutes you can be transferred from early 20th century Ceylon to present day Sri Lanka and vice versa.
Also worth a visit in Kandy is the Stone House, an old colonial mansion built of stone, hence the name. Just a 15 minute drive away from the town centre, this house provides a peaceful getaway for the discerning traveller. With just five rooms in the main building, all quite luxuriously furnished, large private gardens, a pool and staff around to pamper you, the Gal Bangalawa (Stone Home) is your luxurious home away from home.
Heading towards Tangalla, enjoy another home stay experience ay the Coco Tangalla. The six bedroom, black and white themed house set against the backdrop of the blue ocean takes your breath away as you step into the premises. The sleepy little town of Tangalla is not far away. Whilst not a typical buzzing beach holiday resort, this promises to be just the place you would want to be.
The one to watch out for is the Rangiri Dambulla Resort. Strategically located between Sigiriya and Dambulla, it is not only a convenient base to explore the cultural triangle, but also one of its kind in the region with large, well-appointed tents. This eco-friendly venture will have a total of ten tents and six villas and ample greenery. Located in the heart of the cultural centre, yet away from it all, this promises to be something quite special. Watch this space for more...