Luxury for the eco-traveller not wishing to 'rough it' in a mud hut. Kandalama is perfectly positioned where the mountains descend to the dry plains, enabling the visitor to enjoy a wide variety of Sri Lanka's unspoilt nature. Vast protected forest gives way to tea and spice plantations, the nearest Wildlife Park is rich in mammals, reptiles and birdlife; and ancient rock formations and archaeological sites are all within a comfortable day's viewing.
Recently refurbished the hotel suites are magnificent. A modern aproach to the decor has been adopted whilst still using natural woods and muted colours to allow the large windows and views to dominate.
Situated just 15mints from Dambulla, Kadalama is ideal for the real archaeological enthusiast and historian but Polonnaruwa is larger and within easy access from Kandy and offers more of a general insight to the ancient ruins and Buddhas.
The hotel's design by world renowned architect, Geoffrey Bawa, incorporates many features linking it with its environment. Rocks, caves and cascades of rainwater add drama to corridors, foliage brushes the windows, flowering woodland creepers curtain balconies and the roofs are terraces of wild grass (think Norway - with elephants).
Birdwatching at Kandalama is a bountiful experience with more than165 species living in the varied environment. Visiting 'twitchers' can enjoy 3 different bird watching trails.
Several World Heritage Sites are just a short drive away; the sacred pilgrimage site of Dambulla, Anuradhapura the ancient capital city of Sri Lanka, the colourful city of Kandy with its rich traditions of art and crafts,music and dance and the Sigyriya Rock Fortress.
When not sightseeing guests may try elephant back trekking, horseback riding, canoeing or just ambling through the gardens and along the forest trails. To really relax try out any of the three 'natural' swimming pools or pamper yourself in the ayurvedic centre.
Kandalama's team has received many international awards and accolades for food and service, and more particularly for their committment to the environment in energy and water conservation, waste management and sensitive purchasing.
Kandalama is luxurious in its appearance, with an expansive edifice seeming to loom out of the rock face behind.
Each of the 162 spacious rooms and 4 suites has a balcony overlooking the Kandalama Reservoir. Furnished in a contemporary, neutral style with large picture windows giving panoramic views across many miles of water, plains and mountains. The ensuite rooms are elegantly furnished with rich drapes, fitted carpets and comfortable arm chairs, acknowledging the cooler evenings of the hill country.
Storage is generous and all the trappings of modern life are a finger tip away; satellite tv., air conditioning, channelled music and I.D.D. telephone. There is 24hr. room service for the exhausted or insomniac, and a same day laundry service.
Cuisine at Kandelama is very varied and accommodates tastes from all over the world. The temperate climate of the Hill Country produces a wonderful array of fruit and vegetables, all extensively used throughout the 3 different restaurants.
Choice is between an enticing buffet, a BBQ., or fine dining. On occasion Theme Nights or local celebrations allow the chefs to go to town with exotic and colourful displays.
The wide selection of dishes includes :- appetisers of Smoked Seer 'n' Dill Marinated Prawns or Creole Smoked Medallions of Thalapath Fish 'n' Pickled Quail Eggs, and Soups such as Cream of Chicken and Corn with roasted almond flakes or Lobster and Shrimp Bisque.
Wonderful seafood dishes depend on the fresh catch, and delicious entrees include Herb Crusted Lamb Chops with Roasted Breast of Duck and Grilled Medallions of Beef Fillet with Mushroom Ragout and Herb Potatoes.
Follow this (if you can) with a mouth-watering dessert and your choice of hot or cold drink.There is a generous choice of wines to enhance your meal.
For lunch time, or evening if you have dined well during the day, try something from the 'Light and Quick' or 'Nice and Spicy' menus - Smoked chicken and peach on brown bread, 'Kanchana' Sandwich of toasted bread with ham, cheese, chicken ,tomato and egg, Mutton Samosa with cucumber raita and mango relish, or Turkey and Vegetable Spring Rolls with Teriyaki sauce.
For guests who wish to follow an ayurverdic menu to optimise the effects of their treatment, the chef has developed an equally enticing display of nutritional and tasty dishes.
As anywhere, Kandalama enjoys a good wedding, and the wonderful setting and the talented chefs help to complete a perfect day.
Three 'natural' swimming pools and indoor and outdoor games- tennis, billiards, table tennis, gym.
An International spa & health centre and a trained chef for those who wish to enjoy a programme of ayurveda cuisine.
For the active adventurists who wish to enjoy the many sights and sounds with a different mode of transport there is horse riding and elephant back trekking, or canoeing and river safaris for water babes and finally cycling or trekking for the hardy.
The Cultural triangle has an enviable collection of indigenous birds to entertain "twitchers" and novices alike. Enjoy the nature lounge or book an in-house naturalist to escort you on nature trails to optimise your sightings and identifying the many breeds.
Anuradhapura - 15mins. drive. Sacred pilgrimage site with cave monastery and ancient Buddhist murals.
Aligala (Elephant Rock) Cave is 40mins trek away.
Kandy -11/2 hrs. away. 16th century capital and seat of much Sri Lankan culture. Home of traditional arts and crafts, music and singing. The main Perahera, or festival, is in July/August, with 10 days of street theatre and colourful processions.