Absolute best stays in SRI LANKA

Before traveling to a new destination, me and Uroš always spend a lot of time researching the most beautiful places to stay at. This time we really wanted to find retreats where we could spend some time just relaxing and enjoying ourselves to recharge our batteries. Here we rounded up our four ultimate secret hideaways that we discovered along. 

KANDY – THE THEVA RESIDENCY

It’s very very rare that we fall in love with a hotel so hard and so fast. But it happened with Theva Residency in Kandy. Theva is one of those places that just makes you happy, and makes you want to tell all your friends about it.

The hotel is nestled on top of Kandy and offers a commanding position over the surrounding mountains. We could feel the unparalleled in-room experience upon entering. Our suite was tucked away in a private corner with a massive sliding window giving us a chance to enjoy the view from the comfort of… (WAIT FOR IT…) >> our soaking tub!

Just when we thought things can’t get better we ended up in a suite above the jungle with a … Jacuzzi! Yes indeed, a jacuzzi in a room. A room, in the middle of the exotic jungle, involving a jacuzzi. With petals, may I add. And sunset! We spent days watching monkeys playing outside our window in lush tropical gardens by the infinity pool. And eating and drinking. Shrimps, exotic fruit smoothies and award-winning cocktails! Will we ever be able to forget this place? No. So in love…

EASTERN HILLS – LIVING HERITAGE KOSLANDA

Set in the heart of Srilanka with 80 acres of pristine forest, nature trails, river and waterfalls Living Heritage Koslanda is complete peace oasis offering unlimited opportunities for immersing yourself in nature. We were charmed (understating) by the sounds of nature from the moment we stepped out of our car. Walking through the jungle path to reach the hotel – it was just after the rain storm making it very humid but so serene and mystical that we could never forget it. Tranquil surroundings give this hotel a very romantic and intimate feel. We got a perfect chance to self-reflect and recharge here, it is also by far best spot for meditation or yoga, nestled amongst the jungle with beautiful sounds and smells.

The hotel owns one of the most amazing infinity pools in all of Sri Lanka and it sits right above the paddy fields. It is also blessed with an amazing private waterfall and natural pool, plus the 3rd highest waterfall of Sri Lanka Diyaluma is only short 10 minutes’ drive away. Koslanda also organises some of the best trips – make sure you visit the hidden beauty of Poonagalla Estate, very unspoiled and authentic with zero tourists!

And then we get to the accommodation. We had our own private courtyard, a long veranda and a tropical garden with rain shower and jacuzzi. Showering by moonlight? You got us here! Interiors were exquisitely arranged in heritage style, we got fresh flowery on the bed and towels every night which made this stay a very unique. Welcoming service (thank you again, Carrim) and dining here was nothing but spectacular. Fresh and tasty and very much in line with the Sri Lankan cuisine. Secret tip? *Don’t skip the pumpkin soup and heavenly lemon mint cheesecake(s) – Uroš and I would go back to Sri Lanka only for this dessert! Oh, and they said farewell with a flower bouquet. How thoughtful is that!

LAKE KOGGALA – KAHANDA KANDA

Waking up to absolute tranquillity before rolling into our private pool and spending quiet days in pure luxuriousness – meet Kahanda Kanda.

With a choice of 10 individually designed villas on airy 12 hectares space overlooking the tea plantations and Koggala Lake, each providing its own taste of the luxury life, made us feel like we are in own kind of world. We had a villa for sleeping and villa for living, a private pool surrounded by palm trees, a jacuzzi we could sank into for hours and an outdoor shower in hidden corner. The interiors were featuring elegant art and antiques. There were lush gardens all around, tropical-plant-lined walkways, a beautiful lilly pond and open-air spaces filled with personal touches of an award-winning interior designer George Cooper.

The secluded location and vibe of this jungle property is ideal for the stylish luxury adventure traveller or newly-wed couple seeking for the most romantic honeymoon experience, plus it won’t break your bank. It is great to stay year-round, but staying in the low season you will not only save, even better – you will have it all to yourself and be spoiled with so much heart-warming attention. It’s a win-win-win.

And how we ate! Like the queen and king of Fatland. Population: banana pancakes with coconut and maple syrup, labneh cheese on top of grilled tomatoes and fluorescent drinks. One morning we also checked out the tantalisingly memorable Sri Lankan breakfast with its string hoppers, coconut sambal and an array of curry dahl, chicken and fish curries. Freshest local treats, organic vegetables, fruits and herbals were all from the hotel’s own (!) garden and they are enough to put Kahanda Kanda on your travel bucket list!

DOWN SOUTH, NEAR GALLE  – KK BEACH

Escaping the wilderness, we headed to the pristine beach in the southern most point of the island at KK Beach. Away from the busy main Unawatuna beach, KK Beach instantly made us feel like we’re in a tropical paradise.

The owner is the same as at Kahanda Kanda, but this retreat is way smaller (only two deluxe rooms, two suites and two penthouses) which makes it more personalised and fresher. With rooms that step right onto the golden sand beach, we could even spot turtles from our sunbed! There was also 20 m black slate pool behind the wooden fence giving us a sense of seclusion.

The crisp and sparkling hotel designed in white, natural textures and colours including nautical blues was also only minutes away from snorkelling trips, surfing and whale watching which made it a perfect place for us since a lot of our photography inspiration comes from nature and outdoors. Our top choices were visiting Galle Fort, Koggala lake, tea trails and many more, but we were plenty satisfied also with just staying at the hotel’s grounds – its beach is one of the best in the whole island! Overall, it is no surprise that they’ve made it to the Conde Nast Traveller Hot List of 2017!

❥ Sri Lanka is spectacular, it’s affordable and it’s still often uncrowded. Now is the best time to discover it and these are the absolute must-stays. Let us know about your FAVs in the comments below!

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