• Look to Sri Lanka for luxury travel
  • Look to Sri Lanka for luxury travel
  • Look to Sri Lanka for luxury travel
  • Look to Sri Lanka for luxury travel

Look to Sri Lanka for luxury travel

Perched high in the heart of the hill country amidst verdant tea estates, around the cool, magical, misty waters of the Castlereagh Reservoir, you will find 4 villas that form the Ceylon Tea Trails. In sharp contrast to the sultry heat of the capital Colombo, the lush environment of Ceylon Tea Trails is like an oasis, affording guests the opportunity to luxuriate in ultimate comfort in the colonial era when English tea planters established Ceylon’s reputation for producing high quality tea.

maskeliya valleyWith names that remain imprinted on the minds of visitors who have sampled Ceylon Tea Trails’ many delights long after they have returned home, Summerville, Castlereagh, Tientsin, Norwood offer an opportunity to experience colonial living in different eras from the 1880’s to the 1950’s. With a dedicated butler and each inspirational residence’s individual chef turning out with ease four course dinners, mouthwatering lunches, English high teas or the ultimate picnic hamper, living in great style is a Ceylon Tea Trails’ signature. Period furnishings including claw footed baths, armchairs you can genuinely laze in, silk cushions, teak dining tables, panelled libraries and croquet sets, guests are able to enjoy an experience which is usually out of the reach of fast paced modern lifestyle lifestyles. Add onto this the amazing insights into the working tea factory and the surrounding area provided by tea planter in residence, Andrew Taylor, himself a direct descendent of one of the original tea pioneers, a selection of contemporary spa treatments, white water rafting, kayaking, walking tours following a jungle fowl trail, or a game of golf, or boating on the lake, Ceylon Tea Trails will not disappoint. Incredible attention to detail and impeccable service underpins this luxury offer.

Castlereagh pool

Elsewhere in Sri Lanka two modern hotels run by the Aitken Spence group, are continuing to lure luxury travellers seeking an exclusive experience with an abundance of comfort and enjoyment.

Heritance Kandalama

ht_HeritanceKandalamaJourney along a red road cut out of the jungle to find the inspirational Heritance Kandalama Hotel. There, the haunting, evocative notes of a lone flautist drifting across a rocky hillside as the sun sets over an ancient jungle landscape will captivate most travellers. Combine this with a dip in the infinity pool or a cocktail on the terrace, both perfectly positioned to command stunning views over the treetop canopy onto the lake and you have a winning formula that transports you back to the reign of King Kasyapa who built the nearby Sigiriya rock fortress. For the seasoned luxury guest, a suite at the Heritance Kandalama Hotel and its breathtaking views with a personal butler like the superb Dharshintha will create an unforgettable experience. Enjoy haute cuisine by flaming torchlight in a cave to savour the Heritance Kandalama magic. Keep your curtains open to awaken to the thud of the monkey troupes conducting their dawn patrols or as you lie in a bath taking in jungle views, catching sight of young monkeys mischievously playing on the Indiana Jones style vines that run down the sides of the hotel. This is an impossibly glamorous location because it combines pure simplicity with pampering luxury. Choose to return to basics or enjoy the pleasures of modern travel. One of the remarkable things about Heritance Kandalama is its ability to deliver privacy, people can disappear within. It is as much a hotel for lovers as wildlife enthusiasts or those seeking spiritual regeneration. In this romantic corner of the jungle, you will find a world class hotel that has the ultimate eco credentials, a model for sustainable development and harmony with the natural world – that can surely rival many of the more widely known top international offers. Seize the opportunity for an elephant-back safari on the shores of the lake built by a visionary king, an early morning bird watching expedition mission or a trip to mystical Sigiriya, a short car journey away. Make time for a trip to the hotel’s eco park, which is run by the extraordinarily skilled naturalist Sanath, who has inspirationally created a wildlife health service for exotic animals. Injured porcupines, ailing mongeese, car-traumatised snakes, a water monitor with an infected tail are treated with extraordinary devotion and care to be released back to the wild.

Heritance Kandalama was designed to blend in with its jungle environs. And it does so perfectly, perpetuating the vision of its groundbreaking architect, Geoffrey Bawa, who famously only managed to find the site for his ambitious project by taking a helicopter over the dense scrub jungle. This is a place which is designed to look out from, not to look at. Heritance Kandalama lures with its vision and the world is transformed for those who succumb.   Cast cares aside, walk barefoot along the miles of open corridors and coexist with abundant wildlife in its natural habitat. At dusk, bats swoop along the paths, inches away monkeys are back in the branches making use of the last light of the day, brahminy kites, storks and egrets appear along the shoreline of the Kandalama lake. We found an overwhelming sense of idyllic tranquillity in this beautiful place. It is for rejuvenation and inspiration for the discerning. It succeeds in creating a unique world where time appears momentarily suspended. To enter the rock kingdom that is Kandalama is to step into a unique world where superlative service and haute cuisine accompanies daily encounters with uninterrupted wildlife, led by the resident geckos. They say serendipity was born in this land – Heritance Kandalama seems effortlessly to embody all its definitions.


Heritance Ahungalla

6542140601_d20dddf354The Bawa architectural vision is showcased in another striking form in Heritance Ahungalla, with infinity views over inviting turquoise seas to which eyes are inexorably drawn the moment you draw up to the hotel. The original name of the hotel, Triton, provides a clue to Bawa’s concept of building a hotel perfectly integrated with the tropical seascape. Those accustomed to luxury will not be disappointed at this hotel which continues to effortlessly host VIPs and celebrities from around the world. Attentive staff, glorious pools (we love the one with the fishing boat) with views that Sinbad could have relished over the warm waters of the Indian ocean and gourmet dining make this a much desired repeat destination for those in the know. With romance in mind the intimate experience of candle-lit private dining under the stars, bare feet on the sand, creates a wonderful setting for a proposal, a memory to last a lifetime. The catalogue of culinary delights, including an amazing Lobster Thermidor from the Heritance Ahungalla kitchens, which showcase an impressive array of skills, would do well in London or any other international centre.

The understated elegance of a beautifully designed and superbly managed hotel, golden sands setting and personalised five star service make this is a gem of a hotel, fitting to an Indian ocean island that is fabled to be the source of the jewels from King Solomon’s mines.