Sri Lanka’s laidback style makes the island a great match for families or small groups craving a tropical pursuit. You’ll start your luxury holiday in Sri Lanka with an overnight close to Colombo where you can unwind and acclimatise before meeting your professionally trained private driver-guide in the morning. Head north to the Cultural Triangle and Sigiriya, where you have a couple of days to explore the fascinating UNESCO site of Sigiriya and meet the inquisitive monkeys of the ancient site of Pollonaruwa with a local guide. With free time in between where you can take in the beautiful surroundings at Water Gardens and enjoy a well-deserved dip in the secluded pool.
On route to Kandy, you are taken to a private spice and fruit plantation for a wander through the gardens followed by a sumptuous home-cooked lunch. Once you’ve arrived into Kandy, your afternoon will be spent on a tuk-tuk tour exploring the last capital of the Sri Lankan Kings which fell to the British Empire in 1815. The next morning you head to the charming train station in Peradeniya and board the train to Hatton in the Tea Country. A chance to slow down and reflect on the previous days; the train journey is also a great opportunity to immerse the family in a local everyday experience.
The Tea Country makes a great base on your Sri Lanka adventure holiday not only for following the footsteps of the Tea Planters but also for mountain biking, walking, white water rafting and canyoning on a day excursion to Borderlands. Each excursion will leave you with stories to recount on your way back to your bungalow. It’s time to leave the Tea Country, grab your binoculars and your Sri Lankan wildlife guidebook and head off for a Yala National Park safari.
Camping at the KK Tented Camp on the fringe of the park will be the perfect introduction to your upcoming wildlife encounters in the park. After your captivating safari, you’ll continue your holiday following the coast and arriving at the family-friendly Why House, near Galle and a few minutes from the beach. Follow the rhythm of rural Sri Lanka on a cycling trail, unlock Galle Fort’s history on a Treasure Hunt, trek through the Kanneliya Rainforest with a local guide, and feel goosebumps whilst whale watching on your private Catamaran. Enjoy plenty of time for some sun-drenched beach therapy in between your excursions. You then wave goodbye to the welcoming team at the Why House after fussing one last time over Henrietta’s adorable sausage dog and you’ll be driven to your last stop, Colombo city. You meet your local guide by the old Dutch hospital in central Colombo who will take you through the streets of the capital city to sample street food and embrace the thrilling chaos of the back streets, bringing your adventure tour in Sri Lanka to a tasty conclusion.
A restored two-hundred-year-old manor house resting in sprawling bird-rich gardens, The Wallawwa manages to deliver unbridled tranquillity despite being only a fifteen-minute hop from the international airport. It’s a convenient stop at both the top and tail of any Sri Lankan adventure but it also rewards those who choose to linger longer with its traditional Sri Lankan cooking, day trips to nearby Colombo or simply slowing your pulse by slinking into its jungle-fringed pool.
Water Garden’s beautifully landscaped grounds are flanked by rice paddies and centuries-old trees for a gorgeous rural setting. As its name suggests, Water Garden is built around manicured water gardens, inspired by the ancient equivalent that sits at the base of its famous neighbour, Sigiriya rock fortress. All of its chalets are angled for unblemished views of the icon, while the spa and swimming pool keep you as serene as the surrounding landscape.
Colonial luxury living at its peak, Kandy House is a boutique hotel situated within a former nineteenth-century mansion built by the last chief minister of the Kandyan kingdom. The palatial features of his former villa have been retained and its rooms boast vivid fabrics, black woods and whitewashed walls. Dinner is a personalised affair with tailored chef recommendations, while the twice-weekly ten-course curry feasts are taste sensation.
A modern take on an authentic tea bungalow, the five-bedroom Camellia Hills sits plumb in the middle of the Tea Country’s lime-green hills so beloved by the British during the colonial era. If you can pull yourself away from the panoramic terrace and the soft cosy sofas in front of the fire then you will find one of the most beautiful parts of Sri Lanka with myriad tea estates, unexpected chapels, Hindu temples, and magical emerald hills with tea pickers in colourful saris.
Your safari experience starts right here at the Leopard Safaris Yala by KK Collection camp; sleeping under canvas in a luxury tented camp surrounded by nothing but the jungle on the fringe of Yala National Park. Head out to the National Park with one of the camp’s specialist rangers in a customised safari vehicle, cool off in the eco-pool late afternoon, dine al fresco under stars and then fall asleep to the sounds of the Sri Lankan bush.
Thanks to its charming staff, intimate atmosphere and peaceful setting, we think Why House should really be called Why Home because it’s exactly that – a home from home. Few come back without mentioning the very professional and knowledgeable Henrietta and Jelly, her sausage dog. Three acres of landscaped tropical gardens, tastefully styled rooms, a very attractive and a generously sized swimming pool make this your very own Sri Lankan sanctuary.
Passed down over five generations of the same family, Maniumpathy feels like a home from home. Now a boutique hotel with just eight charming colonially dressed rooms (each one is named after a woman from a different generation), it’s as if you’ve been transported back to relive the experiences of residents in years gone past. Found in the leafy Cinnamon Gardens district of Colombo, the hotel feels like a secret you’d want to keep to yourself as you step out of the busy street and into this peaceful walled retreat.
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