- Travel and Places
An eco-lodge in the heart of Ceylon
An echo-lodge of wounder
By Marwan Asmar
It displays elegance and superiority, a majestic setting in the middle of a vast green that stretches as far as your imaginations and horizons, playing on your mind with you constantly asking “am I really here?”
Heritance Kandalama in Sri Lanka is a beauty of awesomeness, environmentally referred to as an eco-lodge but it is also a prodigious Five-Star hotel that has all the trappings of hospitality, congeniality and dazzling brilliance.
In Heritance Kandalama one can combine business with pleasure, a time to meet and discuss through its different style meeting rooms (U, Tiered, Theater, Class Room and Board Room styles). The palatial surroundings are there for high-powered businessmen to unwind, relax, produce the creativity and innovation to generate business because what you seen is out of this world.
Heritance Kandalama is a one-kilometer establishment that was originally and horizontally carved out of a large rock one of whose small remains was incorporated in one of the corridors of the hotel to reflect the artistic scenery represented in the diversity and bio-diversity of the country.
From Colombo, Kandalama is 100 kilometers, north east. I was told helicopters can be hired to get there, but many should definitely go by hired car or mini-bus to express the beautiful lush green surroundings of the country that makes your heart pulsates with awe, wonder and excitement at the ecological existence of the places nearly always characterized by rich foliage and coconut, jackfruit, banana, mango and papaya trees and much more.
It’s an amazement of dazzle and triumphant green that the businessman, politician, decision-maker, and the plenty of ordinary people who visit the place, can’t get over. I was bewitched, mesmerized.
Before reaching Heritance Kandalama, our bus turned to a long path of green with trees almost covering the sky in arches-like fashion with their branches spewing green in different shapes, and elegance.
Sri Lanka is famous for its constant rains and showers that is why the trees, shrubberies and foliage are amazingly beautiful for the eye. You are constantly attacked by the rains that can drench you from the tip of your head to the bottoms of your feet—it’s a delight, a heavenly feeling that one is floating on thin air.
In Heritance Kandalama, we were rushed off to its restaurant perfectly positioned to add yet another aura to what has now become a selfless body tied between the material world and to the fields, woods and forests surroundings this overwhelming structure.
It was high-powered cuisine, making your mouth water and wonder with delight at every-single taste on offer from the starters and soups to the main course and the delicious deserts. It was all go, stretching and tearing at your imagination that your were actually in dreamland because in front of you on the horizons is the Sigiriya rock fortress, a UNESCO world heritage site built in the 5th century but still stands with natural reverence to its surroundings
The rooms in Heritance Kandalama, all 152 of them, are luxurious but with different categories. Although all are top-of-the-range, from the Royal, Luxury and Spa suits, to the Deluxe, Panoramic and the superior. These offer state-of-the-art ambiance with Jacuzzi’s frequently fitted to allow its guests to unwind.
With balconies for the morning coffee, monkeys are a constant prey, jumping playfully up and down around you but part of the scenery, offering delight and amazement, cajoling your mind to the famous Jungle Book movie originally written by Rudyard Kippling in 1894.
We were told that the hotel won many international awards, marked as a top international treasure and visited by famous international dignitaries like the current UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his predecessor Kofi Annan as well as presidents, prime ministers, ministers as well as politicians.
For a good holiday, the management of the hotel has put on for its guest different eco-trails to experience nature first hand. These can last to as many hours needed ranging from bird watching, butter fly and Dragon fly watching to jungle trekking as well as elephant safaris which you can actually see in different parts of the country.
Rates are very competitive. The hotel has an interactive website at http://www.heritancehotels.com/kandalama/ or res.kandalama@ heritancehotels.com. As in all places visited in Sri Lanka, the hospitality and the personal touch are alluring making you feel very special.