The Heritance Kandalama Hotel sits on a rocky outcrop on the edge of an ancient reservoir and enjoys sweeping views of the surrounding countryside including two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the 1st Century BC Dambulla rock temple and the 5th Century AD Sigiriya Rock Temple. Conceptualised by Geoffrey Bawa, Sri Lanka’s world renowned architect, the Heritance Kandalama Hotel is not a building to look at, but a building to look from.
The hotel is shaped like the outspread wings of a bird, following the line of the cliff from which it seems to emerge. The hotel is 1km from end to end, and rises up seven floors, yet appears to be a perfectly natural extension of the mountainside. The flat roof and timber pillars support a screen of vegetation that attracts local wildlife.
Each of the 152 rooms is set at a different angle from its neighbours, so the view from each is unique. Entering your room is like entering your own private world – a five-star cocoon at the center of the 230-acre Kandalama estate. Polished wood floors and sophisticated colour palettes of black, grey and red are complemented by local fabrics and hangings.
The hotel is a good base from which to explore Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle. Sigiriya Rock, visible in the distance from the hotel, is a short 30 minute drive. Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and the Minneriya wildlife sanctuary are approximately one and a half hours drive to the north. A combined visit to Minneriya and Polonnaruwa make for a great day out while Anuradhapura deserves an entire day on its own.
Why we like it
- A classic Bawa design
- Hanging gardens
- The view of the lakes
- Jungles & hills
- The breakfast room