The ancestral home of one of Kandy's most influential aristocratic families, built in 1804, retains the atmosphere of a private country house, while its colonial influence, providing seclusion and serenity in its countryside setting only a short distance from Kandy.
The refurbishment of the 'Walauwa', with its airy white interiors, polished hardwood floors, Dutch-style antique furniture and careful injections of colour, works perfectly.
The house is set around a central courtyard and there is a freshwater swimming-pool landscaped into the surrounding paddy fields and shaded by tropical trees. The wide verandas are the perfect place to doze with your favourite book, and to complete the relaxed vibe, Yoga and massage are available on request.
Guests can eat in the original dining-room surrounded by ancestral portraits or less formally on the verandah overlooking the Kandyan hills. The fusion food has an emphasis on local ingredients, and there is a ten-course Sri Lankan curry feast option which is highly recommended if you can manage it.
All rooms have a colonial character updated with contemporary silks, four-poster beds with mosquito nets, ceiling fans and floor to ceiling shuttered windows overlooking the gardens.
Why We Love It
Located in the spice-growing hills to the east of Kandy, with luxurious bedrooms named after Kandyan butterflies.
Ceylon Tea Trail Bungalows
Summerville has the air of a country cottage, Castlereagh has an eclectic style, and they sit opposite each other on the shores of the Castlereagh lake.
Tientsen, furthest away from the others in the next valley, is unashamedly colonial and Norwood is more modern, at the end of the valley away from Summerville and Castlereagh.
Each one comes with its own manager, chef, butler and houseboys and between four and six luxurious suites. The bedrooms are very spacious, with four-poster beds, lavish bathrooms and each bungalow has elegant dining and drawing rooms. Open log fires adds warmth when necessary.
The beautiful gardens are the perfect place to relax amongst tropical plants while absorbing the breath-taking views. The gardens also feature sun-decks and summer houses where traditional English Cream Teas are served by the bungalows' resident butler.
The effect is quintessentially luxurious and colonial; a stroll back in time but with all modern amenities.
Why We Love It
Built for British tea estate managers in the days of the Raj, these four classic colonial properties have been tastefully restored.
The hotel is only a short drive - or cycle - from the Dambulla cave temples and Sigiriya lion rock. The ruined cities of Anuradhapura, and Polonnaruwa and the Minneriya wildlife sanctuary are also within an easy drive.
Bawa's design allows magnificent views of the ancient Sigiriya Rock, the surrounding mountains and the reservoir. The hotel's immediate surroundings are home to numerous species of birds, butterflies, monkeys, spotted deer and wild boar.
The luxurious rooms and suites are housed in two wings: the Dambulla Wing with views of the surrounding mountains, forest and Kandalama reservoir; and the Sigiriya Wing which overlooks the Sigiriya Rock and the surrounding wilderness, mountains and lake.
The hotel is highly regarded for its cuisine and has three restaurants and a café, all with scenic views, offering a variety of Sri Lankan, western and eastern dishes. There are also several 'destination dining' options, from a picnic lunch to a traditional rice and curry meal with villagers in Puranagama.
There are three swimming pools, a gym, tennis courts, billiards table and a mini shopping arcade. The Six Senses Spa, with extensive treatments, overlooks the lake.
Why We Love It
A minimalist, contemporary hotel designed by Sri Lanka's famous architect, Geoffrey Bawa; heaven for naturalists.
This peaceful retreat near to many of the best sites in the cultural triangle is surrounded by acres of woodland. The ruins of ancient capital Anuradhapura are very close by so this is the perfect base for exploring this fine archaeological site.
The hotel has 20 individual villas. including the two bedroom Nikawewa Suite, set in sprawling forests. The original ancestral mansion is now the hotel reception, and communal area. Each chalet has its own plunge pool to soak up the scenic views of the nearby paddy fields and, in keeping with the natural surroundings, they are run on a very eco-friendly basis. The hotel also uses local ingredients and produces as much food as possible from the organic garden.
The Liya Wella restaurant offers a range fusion food to cater for all tastes. Guests can also request private dining on the decks of their chalet, under the stars, or as a picnic.
The hotel offers many activities such as horseback riding, kayaking and archery, there is a spa which uses holistic Sri Lankan therapies and finally an infinity pool. For the keen birders, over 90 species can be spotted within Ulagalla's 60 acres of land.
Why We Love It
Guests can request a barbeque in the paddy fields - a stunning sight when the rice is vibrant green.
A hotel built in - and above - a man-made nature reserve, and within view of the spectacular rock fortress of Sigiriya.
This is something of an original concept. Many of the rooms at Vil Uyana are built over reed beds and paddy fields created on reclaimed agricultural land. Accommodation is in elegant minimalist thatched cabanas, many with their own pools or within the forest. The grounds can be explored via wooden walkways or by boat or ferry in search of rare birds and wildlife.
There are two restaurants, The Sulang for light meals and drinks while watching birdlife on the lake, and Winds and the teak furnished Apsara serving local specialities and with a spectacular view for all day dining. The Graffiti Bar in the library has a selection of cigars and cocktails.
Inactivities include relaxing by your private pool, or passing the time in the spa enjoying a soothing Ayurvedic massage. The more active should under no circumstances miss climbing to the top of the Sigiriya rock fortress to see its beautiful frescoes and the ruins of the 5th century palace.
Why We Love It
In creating the lakes at Vil Uyana it was the first time anyone had dug lakes in the area since the wonderfully named King Parakramabahu in the 11th century.
Living Heritage Koslanda
Set in the Eastern Hills of Sri Lanka, Living Heritage Koslanda is a divine four suite getaway for those seeking serenity.
Surrounded by tropical gardens and ancient forest, the timber and stone guest suites all offer views of 'God's Forest', and boast sumptuous 'Emperor' sized beds for a heavenly nights slumber. The traditional architecture of this boutique hotel and the suites, brimming with antiques, are influenced by Sri Lankan heritage. Each room has a central courtyard, bringing the outside into the home environment. Guest Suites also boast outdoor plunge pools and hot water showers.
The hilltop swimming pool is a spectacular place to unwind, while active guests should explore the surrounding forest, home to giant squirrels and monkeys. A hike through this woodland reveals a stunning waterfall cascading over the rockface - the perfect spot for a cooling dip.
Living Heritage Koslanda offers a range of experiences for guests, from exploring scenic tea plantations, to visiting Diyaluma falls - the highest waterfall on the island - and exploring Buddhist temples such as Kataragama and Buduruwagala. Guests can also learn new skills, with the opportunity to make Sri Lankan dishes during a private cookery class. There are games and DVD players in each suite to keep children entertained, and plenty of space for little ones to run around in.
Why We Love It
In the nearby sacred woodland lies an ancient elephant corridor and these gentle creatures can be spotted wandering by between June and August.
Like its sister Teardrop resorts in Sri Lanka (The Wallawwa and Fort Bazaar), the new Camellia Hills bungalow is effortlessly stylish and easily luxurious, and this time set amongst the lush green hill country.
With stunning views across Castlereagh reservoir, Camellia Hills newly built bungalow houses five en suite bedrooms, a dining room and two spacious living rooms with open terraces to admire the vista over the rolling hills.
For guests wishing to relax and unwind, the fabulous swimming pool and ambalama (traditional Sri Lankan shelter) located in the front garden and surrounded by tea fields, take full advantage of the inspiring panorama across the reservoir.
Why We Love It
Local experiences are at the heart of the Camellia Hills ethos; visit a local tea factory for a lesson in Ceylon Tea production, climb the sacred Adam's peak or be whisked away to a private spot for a romantic picnic.