These places to stay are some of the prettiest in existence-glass encased chalets by lakes, striking colonial mansions, luxurious cabins in the jungle and minimalistic green structures-in no particular order. Here’s a rundown of five peculiar hotels, a far cry from typical cookie-cutter properties. Their out-of-the-ordinary appeal could be the highlight of your next island escape.
Chena Huts by Uga Escapes-Yala
The first boutique luxury hotel in Yala, home of the second largest national park in the island, this property consists of 14 thatched dome-like huts. Sprawled across seven acres amidst the shrub jungle, these luxurious huts resemble a rustic appeal. Each hut boasts its own deck with a Jacuzzi-cum-plunge pool, ideal to take a refreshing dip after a day of taking in Yala’s many wildlife encounters.
Why go – The property is located right on the edge of the Yala National Park, which is believed to have the highest density of leopards in the world.
Santani Wellness Resort and Spa-Digana
Surrounded by looming hills in Digana, Santani is Sri Lanka’s first wellness resort with a resident Ayurvedic doctor. A clever option for a detoxing and well being break, this property is ideal to take a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life and form a thread with nature. The 16 stand-alone chalets and two additional rooms housed in a villa, sport minimalistic architecture, which affirms Santani’s philosophy of connecting with the simple things in life.
Why go – Santani promises a digital detox to its guests; total disconnection from the influx of information through digital devices.
Wild Coast Tented Lodge-Yala
Spanning across the island’s deep south bordering the buffer zone of the Yala National Park, this property is designed by a group of Dutch, English and Sri Lankan architects. Inspired by natural shapes and earthy shades, there are 36 uniquely designed luxury tents scattered across the wilderness. The elegant restaurant boasts a pool which winds its way through the dining area and bar.
Why go – Some of the tents are nestled close to the watering holes often visited by wildlife.
98 Acres Resort and Spa
This globally award winning property is one the most sought-after luxury dwellings in Sri Lanka. Nestled amidst a scenic tea estate spanning across 98 acres, this eco-friendly boutique hotel offers stunning views of Little Adam’s Peak and the famed Ella Gap. The elegant stilted cottages are built using “illuk” straws to maintain cool temperatures, while discarded railway sleepers have also been put to good use in the construction of decks and walls.
Why go – For guests who prefer to fly in, the resort-owned helipad is located just five to ten minutes from the property.
Transporting you into a dream-like trance, the beautiful Kalundewa Retreat sits calmly on the dull green waters of a seven- acre lake in Dambulla. The teak floored, glass walled chalets resemble a cocoon of utmost serenity. Surrounded by sprawling Kumbuk trees and placid waters, Kalundewa Retreat lets visitors indulge themselves in luxurious spaces with the most natural setting possible.
Why go – Guests routinely rave about “Uthpala”, a natural spring water swimming pool is set at a quiet niche of the premises, which comes complete with an observation deck.