Kandy, the last capital of the ancient kings and the cultural hub of Sri Lanka, is situated in the centre of the country, surrounded by scenic hills and tea plantations. Home to one of the most revered Buddhist relics, a tooth of Buddha, it also houses an exquisite selection of hotels, both in the peaceful tranquillity of the hillside and close to all the main sights.
The Madulkelle Tea and Eco Lodge is just under an hour from Kandy, nestled within the scenic Knuckles Mountain Range. Rest in charming tents which feature all the luxuries and comforts of solid buildings, including ensuite bathrooms and wifi access. From the dazzling terrace or the infinity pool you can enjoy magnificent views over the surrounding hills and lush greenery. The property also features an intimate fine dining restaurant serving a variety of dishes made using organic vegetables from the hotel garden. Trekking and day trips to the local tea factory, plus romantic campfires can be arranged upon request.
Helga’s Folly is without doubt the most extraordinary place to stay in Kandy, characterised by quirky decor and eclectic architectural styles. Offering 35 uniquely decorated rooms, the labyrinthine hotel is filled with paintings, vivid colours, family portraits and temple relics, illuminated by dripping candles in every corner. A walk through the garden feels like you have stepped into A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with wild monkeys and birds moving through the confines and a glistening pool surrounded by fairy statues. If you’re in luck, enjoy an evening with the charming hostess herself, who is always happy to share her adventures.
With a tranquil atmosphere, this colonial bungalow was lovingly restored and is surrounded by the lush jungles of Kandy. This hotel offers a marvellous outdoor pool and even a library, in which visitors can browse an extensive collection before retreating to one of the comfortable lounge chairs to enjoy the exotic panorama. The charming guestrooms are decorated in warm tones with wooden accents, equipped with all the amenities you’ll want, from air conditioning to a minibar and flat-screen TVs. Under the watchful eyes of master chef Indika, the restaurant serves delicious Sri Lankan, Thai and international dishes.
The Kandy City Hotel is ideal if you’re looking for upscale comfort at an affordable price. With a central location near the railway station, it provides easy access to all the main sights. The building dates back to the 18th century when it served as a tea room; the recently refurbished rooms have been decorated in modern designs with warm, wooden features, ensuite bathrooms, air conditioning and a TV. Three luxury suites are available which include private balconies. Enjoy a tasty meal in the onsite restaurant with culinary influences from Sri Lanka, Asia and Europe, browse the souvenir shop or rent a bicycle or car to venture into the nearby mountains.
Situated near Kandy Lake, the seven rooms of Anna Shanthi Villa are fitted with ensuite bathrooms and air conditioning; the tasteful decor makes it hard to believe this hotel comes at a reasonable price. You’ll be greeted with freshly brewed tea in the morning and can retreat to the immaculate garden area to marvel at the surroundings. In the dining room, international and Sri Lankan dishes can be tasted, and the incredibly accommodating service assists with any queries and wishes.
Richmond House is situated a few miles from the city in the picturesque hillsides. The colonial villa reflects the grandeur of a bygone era while skilfully incorporating modern luxuries. From ancient artefacts to comfortable beds and an elegant lobby, the hotel offers a magnificent refuge from the stresses of your daily routine. It’s hard not to get comfortable with its magical garden and panoramic views. The property features suites and deluxe rooms, which have all been lovingly decorated.
Emma Sparks contributed additional reporting to this article.