Sri Lanka is home to verdant tea plantations, shimmering coastlines, time capsuled villages, incredible wildlife encounters and a fascinating blend of cultures. It is also home to some of the most beautiful boutique properties offering world class service and an incredible personal touch. We share with you our favourite properties to stay in to complete your Sri Lankan adventure.
The Notary’s House is approx 45mins north of Colombo’s airport making it a wonderful place to settle into Sri Lankan pace for those not keen to venture straight into the city. Nestled in a coconut plantation on the banks of the Makandura Lake, this stunning property, was once home to a prominent family in the village, which has been lovingly restored, maintaining its heritage while introducing modern comforts. With only six rooms, the architecture is traditional and contemporary with unique design elements that compliment the property’s heritage.
From this beautiful property, you can walk to the lake where local villagers fish at dawn and sunset. You can even walk through the nearby village to the local temple where you can meet the Buddhist priest. The property provides bikes for those keen to explore the local area independently too. This exclusive hotel is perfect for those venturing to the north to explore the lesser trodden reaches of the teardrop island
Well and truly off the beaten track, surrounded by natural lakes, abundant birdlife and wildlife, the accommodation is rustic (literally mud huts) with sustainability at its core. Hidden in forest on the fringe of a small village Sleep in hammocks or under mosquito nets in an open hut. With outdoor bathrooms and showers under the stars, this unique property is perfect to give you a feel of rural life.
Located in the cultural triangle, Ulagalla delivers private bungalows hovering above the rice paddies with your own plunge pool. Each bungalow and oozes traditional elegance. Set on the edge of a rice paddy, you feel a million miles away from the nearby UNESCO sites of Anuradhapura or Sigirya. Centered by a 150 year old mansion, the bungalows are dotted throughout 58 acres of gardens and offer some incredible dining experience for those looking for something with a bit of an edge.
A Sri Lankan banquet at ‘Kamatha’ out amongst the rice paddy fields is one of the dining experiences to be had here. Our meal was lovingly prepared in a traditional mud hut, like the villages homes whilst we dined on 14 delectable dishes under bobbing lanterns, to the chorus of frogs, crickets and birds.
Gal Oya is a beautifully crafted eco-lodge, providing comfortable and luxe accommodation in a wild and remote setting. Gal Oya is one of the least visited wilderness reaches of Sri lanka and is home to an abundance of wildlife. Offering unique experiences including remote picnics by waterfalls, safaris both by jeep and by boat, this property is neighboured with one of the few remaining Vedda tribes, the forest dwelling, indigenous communities of Sri Lanka.
Gal Oya Lake hidden in Gal Oya National Park is only accessible to guests staying at Gal Oya offering the ultimate in exclusivity. Very few people even know this exists making it all the more special!
A boutique and eco-luxury hotel hunkered in Sri Lanka’s hill country, the Living Heritage Koslanda offers you a place to relax and recharge. With their own private waterfall with private rock pool to swim in, village walks, tree planting for conservation, tea plantation hikes and so much more, this hidden gem is definitely worth at least 2 or 3 nights – oh and the accommodation is in tree houses! Floating at the top of the tree canopy with views to die for. All open walls with just mosquito nets over the bed to make you feel part of the jungle.
The Fort Printers Hotel is an 18th century mansion which has been restored into an elegant small private hotel, which is a wonderful addition to the 16th century Galle Fort. Fort Printers was a printing company famous in Galle which until 2002 still employed the wooden printing blocks and wrought iron printing machines made in Leeds and London to print beautiful stationery and cards. With every room a different size, shape and theme, you may find yourself in the Headmasters room or perhaps the Geography room. Each room has its own unique charm and style, elegantly finished with the finest details.
This category of tours involves light trekking, walking, cycling, rafting or kayaking for a few hours each day with a small amount of inclines and declines. You will require a reasonable level of fitness and good health to participate. It is important to note that due to the nature of some of our trips, they may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and can involve long travelling days on various modes of transport.
Suggested preparation : At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake aerobic exercise (this may include jogging, cycling or fast walking) for 30 minutes, three times a week. It is also advised to walk on variable terrain and in variable weather conditions. For a cycling adventure, road cycling twice a week is recommended and for adventures which involve paddling and kayaking, it is important to gain confidence and rhythm rather than speed prior to departure.
This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake 45mins – 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week. Some potential exercises that could be beneficial include hill walking with a backpack on over variable terrain and weather conditions, as well as running and cycling dependent on the activity you plan on undertaking.
This category of tours involves trekking, kayaking, cycling or other adventure activities in remote areas for up to 8 to 10 hours a day. It is important to note that with the remoteness of some regions comes a variety of other challenges such as variable weather conditions, accommodation as well as facilities. You must have an excellent level of fitness and good health to be able to partake in this category of tour. You must have confidence in your own ability and be in good physical condition. Includes extended periods of endurance.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 to 4 months of strenuous exercise, four times a week. When preparing for treks it would be beneficial to participate in hill walks with a weighted day pack (approximately 5-8 kg) once a week for aerobic fitness and strengthening of leg muscles. It is also important to do this on variable terrain to prepare for challenging adventures. When preparing for cycling adventures, regular bike riding (at least 4 to 5 times a week for 1-4 hours is essential). It is also important to cycle on uneven surfaces or even participate in other aerobic exercises such as running or swimming to build up strength and stamina. Altitude may also be a factor in these tours.
This category of tour often involves extreme trekking, cycling or other extreme adventure activities. It is important to expect remote and poorly defined tracks and to be prepared for variable weather conditions for 10 to 12 hours per day (may sometimes be more depending on weather and altitude). These adventures are suitable for travellers who have prior experience in strenuous travel and activities, are extremely fit and have excellent health. It is also important to note that some of the terrain on these adventures will involve trekking in snow, at high attitude levels and may require technical equipment.
Suggested preparation: It is important to note that physical fitness should be an ongoing activity, commencing around 5-6 months prior to departure, or even before if you have no prior fitness. Exercise should focus on building maximum endurance and stamina. Four to five hard sessions of 40-60 mins per week should be completed and can include exercises such as going to the gym, running, swimming or cycling to focus on building aerobic stamina. It could also be beneficial to prepare by hiking on rough terrain, in extreme weather conditions or partake in altitude training.