Arriving from Colombo, we first stayed in a small eco lodge as we decided that it was time for some “back to nature” feeling. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel good after an amazing day trip to the Sigiriya Rock on the second day. In the evening I suddenly became a high fever. This was the moment when we decided to leave our totally open and beautiful, but very basic bamboo hut and look for a more convenient hotel.
As always my wife had done a lot of research before the trip and thought that the Heritance Kandalama wasn’t far away. We decided to give it a try. It took us almost 45 minutes to go there on curvy roads, passing some small villages and a huge lagoon. Driving through the lonely and dark nature reserve with a small tuk-tuk maybe was the best way to approach this hotel – albeit it probably was a very unusual one.
When our tuk-tuk driver entered a small, non-asphalteded and bumpy path we were slightly confused, as we couldn’t see any building at all. Taking another turn, it suddenly was there: a huge building with more than 100 guest rooms and with a length of more than one kilometer. As we don’t like large hotel chains that much, my wife and I were very sceptical in the beginning, but after the warm welcome, we immediately changed our mind. The modern ambience and the design of the whole complex totally impressed us.
Why come back
The super friendly service of this hotel really overwhelmed us. In addition to this, the hotel is perfectly located to explore the beautiful surroundings including Sigiriya Rock, Polonnaruwa or Anuradhapura. Coming back from a long day trip, you can relax in one of the three pools, have a drink and enjoy the spectacular view over a huge lagoon which is part of the adjacent nature reserve. It’s a perfect base for relaxation and adventurous trips.
Room for improvement
They only offer a buffet for dinner, which is quite expensive. The variety of food was very good, but the quality was only average. In the simple eco lodge before we had enjoyed amazing home-made food that was much better. Tip: order your food at the bar and eat it outside with an amazing view on the infinity pool and the lagoon.
Totally in ♥ with
The little monkeys that live in the jungle around the hotel and visit you on your balcony are really cute. Normally, I am not a huge fan of monkeys, but these little rascals kind of stole my heart.
What my wife says
I totally fell in LOVE with the architecture. To me modern architecture oftentimes seems to dominate nature. Geoffrey Bawa’s Kandalama Heritance Hotel is the opposite. The hotel perfectly blends into nature while still looking very modern. Even through it was built already in the 1990s. I especially loved the open floor concept and the natural pool on the front deck which is built around a huge rock.
Side Note: There was a big controversy from environmentalists and the nearest village when the hotel was being planned. But the Heritance group promised a sustainable development and managed to turn around the whole situation. I really had the feeling that Kandalama is managed sustainably and that they do a lot for their employees and the community close to the hotel. The driver that brought us to our next destination was the perfect example of the Kandalama employee: friendly, hospitable, service-oriented, humble, open-minded, curious and somebody to whom you really enjoy talking the whole day. Thanks, again Bandare 🙂
Let more pictures speak