15 Nights & 16 Days
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Embark on an exciting 16-day journey around Sri Lanka exploring some of its most sought-after sites. Start your trip with an exciting game safari in Wilpattu National Park – the largest park in the island – where you can try your luck at spotting Sri Lanka’s elusive leopard and sloth bear in the wild amongst much other wildlife. From there travel to Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka’s first royal kingdom, where you can visit the many archaeological sites scattered in the area and climb Sigiriya fortress recognized as the 8th Wonder of the World. In the evening go on a game drive in Minneriya National Park where you can see herds of elephants led by the matriarch. The next day make your way to Kandy, explore the street markets and visit the Temple of the Tooth with localhost. If you’re keen on stretching your legs, you can even opt to trek through the Knuckles mountain range with a naturalist. Wend your way through the lush tea fields in the heart of the country where you can go on a guided tour of a tea plantation and factory and enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes. Thereafter, transfer to the south where you will be staying within the 17th-century Dutch ramparts. Explore the fort with a local host before heading to the beaches on the West Coast where you can relax by the beach or try your hand at some water sports.
Though situated just a few kilometers from the airport, The Wallawwa feels nothing like a transit hotel. Sitting in acres of beautifully mature gardens, this charming boutique hotel is a sanctuary of serenity and style where the old merges beautifully with the new. Built over 200 years ago in the traditional “Dutch warehouse’ colonial design, The Wallawwa is the most ancient manor house in the entire province and was an ancestral home for many years.
With its completely secluded location, The Wallawwa is a luxurious private hideaway whose 17 boutique bedrooms, exquisite food, and wonderfully oversized Z Spa are the perfect ingredients for a relaxing and memorable stay. The hotel’s signature swimming pool sits in the garden a short distance from the main house, while a yoga garden is peacefully located beside the spa.
Based on the borders of the Wilpattu National Park, Leopard Trails offers a bespoke tented camping setup, inspired by old English camping of the past. Elegant and exclusive, Leopard Trails combines the best of a game drive experience with modern-day comforts and amenities for the modern explorer.
A typical day with Leopard Trails begins in the afternoon with a fantastic lunch spread of Sri Lankan rice and curry, followed by a short introduction to the camp. Guests can choose to cool off in a hammock or laze in the main lounge with a number of books from the Leopard Trails wildlife library until the evening game starts at 3 pm.
Designed especially for photographers and comfort, in either a Toyota Land Cruiser or Toyota Hilux, the evening game drive is led by either Aaron Sivarajah, Indika Nettigama or Avijja Fonseka. Passionate about wildlife and game drives, they each lead memorable game drives and walks and have years of experience tracking down the elusive leopard in Sri Lanka.
Back at the camp, guests can enjoy private bucket showers, followed by drinks and appetizers around the campfire before dinner. Dining under the stars makes for an unforgettable experience in the jungle. The next day, rise at dawn to freshly brewed Ceylon tea of coffee and depart on morning game drive or walk at 6 am which is an amazing time to get up close to peacocks and wild buffalos. On return to the camp, freshly squeezed juices from seasonal fruits await you before a breakfast fit for kings.
The Leopard Trails operates on an all-inclusive basis offering tented accommodation, two game drives per day in a customized vehicle accompanied by an experienced guide, snacks and drinks on game drives, all meals at camp, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and all park entry fees. If guests are interested in going on a private game drive accompanied by a naturalist an additional supplement is applicable.
Ulagalla incorporates an eco-friendly design blended with modern comforts. Spread across 58 acres of working paddy fields, organic vegetable plots and ornamental gardens that host 25 chalets, a sensitively-restored ancient Wallauwa (manor house), a 30m swimming pool, a gym and a sensual sunken spa.
Public areas of the resort – a first-floor restaurant, fully-equipped bar, and reception area – are all located in the main house, a 150-year-old fully-restored mansion once home to the village chieftain. Linking all areas of the resort is an eco-friendly transport system through on-call golf buggies and pedal bicycles, two of which are provided for guests in each chalet. With an emphasis on sustainability, Ulagalla operates on a solar energy farm that powers half of the energy requirements and their chalets are built using recyclable material.
The activities offered at Ulagalla – archery, horse riding, kayaking and nature walks – have also been chosen for their minimal impact on the environment.
Bougainvillea Retreat, a sophisticated abode set up in 2002, is located just 45 minutes from Kandy, near the scenic Victoria Golf Club. The retreat feels contemporary and exhibits a design that seems more in tune with Tuscany than Sri Lanka’s hill country thanks to its delicate iron balustrades, infinity pool and stone-embossed walls. Indoor and outdoor areas flow smoothly into one another and share the jaw-dropping panoramas of the Victoria Reservoir, the palm-fringed mountains, and the lush neighboring golf course.
The hotel is designed for complete relaxation including features such as a freeform infinity swimming pool, a mini-cinema with over 1,000 DVDs, a well-thumbed library, and a spa with Jacuzzi and a steam bath. Bougainvillea also hosts several yoga retreats throughout the year.
The nine rooms at Bougainvillea are located in the main house and the garden.
Located in the central highlands of Sri Lanka, in the heart of the tea country surrounded by picturesque lush green valleys, Camellia Hills is a modern five-bedroom tea bungalow. A sister property of The Wallawwa in Kotugoda and Fort Bazaar in Galle Fort, Camellia Hills features a minimalist design appointed with contemporary furniture decorated in greys and blues and floral designs creating an ambiance of warmth. The five bedrooms at the bungalow are split into Lakeview rooms and Camellia bedrooms. Architecturally designed to offer spectacular views of the Castlereagh reservoir from the central areas of the bungalow, Camellia Hills is a hotel that should not be missed.
The ramparts of the iconic Galle Fort, built by the Portuguese in the 16th century and heavily fortified by the Dutch a century later, is home to many acclaimed hotels and villas of various styles and a haven for cuisines from all parts of the world. Nestled in this bustling UNESCO World Heritage site is Fort Bazaar, a Portuguese inspired boutique hotel offering stylish accommodation with a touch of minimalism.
Tiled with handmade Vietnamese floor tiles and a Moroccan styled courtyard, Fort Bazaar is a unique hotel that is much sought-after by travelers from all walks of life.
Rock Villa is a wonderful private beach villa that was once an old wallawwa (manor house). After being caringly refurbished by Sri Lankan design guru Taru, the property maintains its original architectural features of courtyards, veranda, and hand-carved ornate timber window frames. Interiors are contemporary and stylish, decorated with Dutch-period antiques, plush sofas, and colorful soft furnishings combined with contemporary art and sculptures, fresh lotus flowers and ethnic touches.
The main wallawwa consists of two bedrooms and a living and dining area opening out to the gardens, whilst a newly-constructed set of rooms and a lounge area blend in seamlessly with the old wallawwa architecture. There is also a spacious dining pavilion overlooking the 50ft. swimming pool and gardens, which lead directly onto the beach (after taking a few strides across the simple, single-gauge railway line which runs at the bottom of the garden – most find the occasional trains interesting and unobtrusive).
Rock Villa has six rooms in total – two Deluxe Rooms, two Superior Rooms and the Wallawwa Suite, which consists of two rooms and is booked in its entirity. Though it typically sleeps 12 people in total, two more can be accommodated with extra beds. Interiors are stylishly furnished with twin or king-sized beds and equipped with all modern facilities and ensuite showers.
Other facilities include: a TV lounge with books and board games; laundry and room service and complimentary Wi-Fi in public areas. Relaxing massages can be arranged with prior notice. The beach here is relatively isolated, and safe for swimming and snorkeling during the season from December to April. Rock Villa can be booked by the room or as a whole and can comfortably accommodate 12 guests.
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