Boulder Garden is a remarkable eco-boutique hotel, convenient for the entrance to Sinharaja Rainforest and lovingly designed around a crop of gigantic black boulders. It took three years to build Boulder Garden from local stone, preserving the surrounding natural environment and providing employment to the villagers. The end result is a deep commitment to its natural origins and the surrounding wilderness, which is inhabited by numerous species of endemic birds. You feel as though you are enshrined in an ancient rainforest: winding steps lead through the trees, which are inundated with monkeys and squirrels, past rock pool and flowing water. The occasional jackal will prowl by and eagles and hornbills are a regular sight. Rainforests are naturally wet, so be prepared. Boulder Garden is the sister property of Rainforest Edge located nearby, and is ideal for wildlife enthusiasts looking for comfortable accommodation close to Sinharaja.
The deep corridors, with rock walls and timber beams, have a medieval feel – but it is medieval with modern luxuries. There are ten spacious suites: two natural caves, one split-level family room, and seven twin or double suites which have a private balcony. Interiors are furnished with a writing desk, wall cupboards, IDD phones, tea & coffee-making facilities and ensuite tiled bathrooms with h/w showers.
The open-air restaurant, with canvas chairs and storm lanterns, rests beneath the largest boulder of all which supports its own mini-waterfall when it rains (but guests remain dry underneath). Traditional Sri Lankan cuisine and western dishes are served. A converted cave acts as a bar, and there is a spring-water swimming pool up to 6ft deep and lit at night. Other facilities include room and laundry service, guided nature trails, treks to the nearby caves, kayaking, mountain biking and excursions to Sinharaja Rainforest.
Why we like it
A unique boulder-strewn setting in the rain forest that feels like a long-abandoned temple
Boulder Garden is an eco-retreat set on five acres of wilderness in the village of Wadakale, 45 minutes from the northern entrance to Sinharaja Rainforest. The journey from Colombo is two hours via the highway.