Heritance Kandalama has long been one of Sri Lanka's most sought-after hotels. It is a minimalist, contemporary hotel designed by Sri Lanka's famous architect, Geoffrey Bawa who conceived it `as an austere jungle palace'. Kandalama is widely adored, but it is this slightly stern feel that tends to disappoint a small minority who prefer a warmer, more natural atmosphere. The minimalist interiors and the building itself are cleverly designed to blend into the landscape without interfering with the tranquil surroundings. Bawa's design allows magnificent views of the ancient Sigiriya Rock, the surrounding mountains and the Kandalama reservoir. The hotel lies in attractive scrubland which is home to numerous species of birds, butterflies, monkeys, spotted deer and wild boar and it has won numerous environmental awards. Heritance Kandalama is truly a naturalist's dream. It is used by some large upmarket package groups, although the hotel has such a style that independent travellers rarely find this cause for dissatisfaction.
The hotel's 152 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 captures breath-taking views of the Sigiriya Rock in addition to the surrounding wilderness, mountains and lake. Accommodation in the Sigiriya wing includes the magnificent Royal Suite (the best room in the hotel),10 Suites, 30 Deluxe Rooms, 30 Luxury Rooms and four Superior rooms. The Dambulla Wing has two Luxury Suites, one Suite, three Panoramic Rooms, three Luxury Rooms and 71 Superior Rooms. The spacious and elegantly furnished rooms have en suite bathrooms with rain showers and hot and cold water. The rooms have solid timber flooring with timber interiors and are highlighted with cloth tapestries. Other facilities include a/c, IDD phones, TV, tea/coffee making facility, minibar, and safe.
Superior Rooms (199 sq.ft.) - Located on 2nd to 5th floors of Dambulla Wing, these rooms have twin beds which can also be joined as a double bed. The ensuite bathroom has a shower cubicle with rain shower.
Luxury Rooms (277 sq.ft.) - Located on 2nd and 3rd floors of Sigiriya Wing, these rooms have twin beds which can be joined together as a double bed. The ensuite bathroom has a bath tub and shower cubicle with rain shower.
Panoramic Rooms (231 sq.ft.) - Located on 6th and 7th floors of Dambulla Wing, these rooms have twin beds which can also be joined as a double bed and has a choice of pillows to be selected from the pillow menu. The ensuite bathrooms have a Jacuzzi and rain shower.
Deluxe Rooms (264 sq.ft.) - Located on the 4th & 5th floors of Sigiriya Wing, these rooms have a double bed and pillow menu. The en suite bathrooms have a Jacuzzi and rain shower.
Suites (518 sq.ft.) - Located on Sigiriya and Dambulla wings, these suites have a living room with balcony and bedroom with balcony. Furnished with a king size bed, the suite also has a pillow menu, flat screen TV and DVD player. The ensuite bathroom has a Jacuzzi and rain shower.
Luxury Suites (775 sq.ft.) - Located on the Dambulla wing, these suites have four poster King size beds, pillow menu, flat screen TV and DVD player. The ensuite bathroom has Jacuzzi and rain shower.
Royal Suite (1,240 sq.ft.) - The most luxurious of them all, the Royal Suite located on the Sigiriya wing, has exquisite views of the Sigiriya rock fortress. The suite consists of a Master bedroom with balcony and attached bathroom, a Visitor's bedroom with balcony and attached bathroom, private dining and living areas. The bedrooms are furnished with king size four poster beds and have pillow menus, flat screen TV, and DVD player. The ensuite bathrooms have Jacuzzis and rain showers. The Sitting and dining areas are furnished with an eight-seater dining table, 32" flat screen TV and DVD player.
Heritance Kandalama has three restaurants and a café, all with scenic views, offering a variety of Sri Lankan, western and eastern dishes. Service can be quite formal and prices reflect its reputation. There are also several `destination dining' options, from a picnic lunch to a traditional rice and curry meal with villagers in Puranagama. For pre-dinner cocktails or an aperitif, there is the Kanchana Lounge which also hosts a variety of nightly entertainment including cultural shows and other musical performances. The hotel has three swimming pools, a well-equipped gymnasium, tennis courts, billiards table and a mini shopping arcade. The recently-opened Six Senses Spa, with an extensive menu of spa treatments, is located on the top floor of the hotel, overlooking the lake. The Six Senses Spa has extensive spa experience within the Asian region, and provides rejuvenating therapies incorporating the traditional Ayurveda and aromatherapy spa treatments.
Why We Like It
One of Geoffrey Bawa's most celebrated properties, this jungle fortress has lakeside views and playful monkeys to lighten its deliberately austere design.
From the outset, Heritance Kandalama has been working towards being as sustainable as possible. Its intelligent design means that the property blends into the eco-system, allowing for the freedom of movement for wildlife and vegetation and protecting the natural water streams that pass beneath the hotel’s raised structure. Further to this, over 60% of the property’s employees are from the immediate community, and priority is given to local employment and purchasing opportunities.
Heritence Kandalama snakes along a rocky outcrop on the edge of the ancient Kandalama reservoir. The hotel is favourably positioned in the cultural triangle, close to Dambulla cave temples and Sigiriya rock. The ruined cities of Anuradhapura, and Polonnaruwa and the Minneriya wildlife sanctuary are also within an easy drive. The journey from Colombo will take about four hours.