When Sri Lankan hill country traditions meets Czech Republic architects and designers, the result is Galavilla Boutique Hotel & Spa, a cheery and individualistic hotel full of bright colours which also benefits from wonderful hill-country panoramas over the Knuckles range, fresh mountain air and well-tended, colourful hillside flowers and shrubs. Galavilla is 900m above sea level, compared to Kandy’s 500m, so has temperatures around 3 degrees cooler, but it is strikingly warmer than hill country areas like Nuwara Eliya and Ella, especially in the height of the season, and unlike these two popular hill country towns the area is so lightly populated as to give it a wonderfully escapist atmosphere. Public areas blend inside and outdoor living successfully and the original furniture, fittings and artwork create a welcoming and caring atmosphere without too much obsession over the minutiae of traditional Sri Lankan style. On cricket match night, the floodlights of Pallakele can just be made out across the river in the distance.
There are 10 large rooms in three categories, offering individualistic design and colour schemes. There are five lowest-category superior rooms, of which four are on the ground floor (Earth, Water, Wood, Fire) and one on the first floor (Moon),all of which have shower cubicles in good-quality bathrooms as well as work desk, sitting area and private terraces or balconies. Three deluxe rooms on the first floor (Air, Sun and Metal) benefit primarily from even better panoramic views and have a bathtub with shower. The two Suites (Sun apartment and Honeymoon apartment on the first floor also have a small TV room off the bedroom; other rooms must rely on a 1st floor TV room. Reading lights above the bed are a rare and welcome addition for Sri Lanka.
Wood Room (ground floor): King-size double, neatly-divided sitting area. Outdoor seating with chairs and table.
Fire Room (ground floor): Two twin beds pushed together, sitting area, in-built outdoor seating.
Water Room (ground floor): King-size double, sitting area, in-built outdoor seating.
Earth Room (ground floor): Two twin beds pushed together, larger outdoor terrace overlooking gardens with table and four chairs.
Moon Room: (first floor): The only superior room on the first floor. Slightly smaller room, but with good outdoor balcony with excellent views. Can be an adjoining room to the Honeymoon Apartment.
Air Room, Sun Room and Metal Room (first floor): The three Deluxe Rooms all have double king-size bed, whirlpool bathtub and balcony with in-built seating and table and chairs and impressive mountain views.
Sun Apartment: As Deluxe Room. Also benefits from an additional TV room, and has a curving balcony with table and chairs, in-built seating and glorious mountain views. Can be an adjoining room to the Sun Room.
Honeymoon apartment: The largest room in the hotel. As Sun Apartment, although relatively lightly furnished.
Galavilla is a perfect spot for quiet contemplation; a natural place for yoga, meditation or just relaxation by the pool. The restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating options and an experienced chef offers a reliable mix of Western staples plus Sri Lankan curries and Biryanis from 7am to 11pm. Galavilla does not have a liquor license, so BYO is advisable. Wi-Fi is free and there is a first-floor TV room with TV and a small library. The swimming pool is at level lower and is set in attractive and colourful gardens with mountain views, and has a small children’s area, a mini waterfall and a covered Jacuzzi which can be operated on request. An Ayurvedic spa offers a good range of Ayurvedic wellness treatments, massages and steam and flower baths. An Ayurvedic doctor should be arranged in advance). There is a simple circular yoga pavilion. Occasional workshops are held.There is laundry service as well. The nearby Kirimetiya viewpoint offers one of the finest panoramas in Sri Lanka.
Why We Like It
Escapist and reliable property away from the tourist trail in a great hillside location south of Kandy.
From Kandy lake, it will take you a further 50 minutes to climb 18kms into the hills to reach Galavilla, the last 2.5kms along an uneven road, but Galavilla, for all the extra effort required, is rewarding for those looking for a get-away from-it-all experience in a blissful, lightly-populated hill country setting. Kandy can be up to four hours from Colombo or the airport.