Caroline Clements

Heritance Kandalama
  • Where:Dambulla, Sri Lanka
  • Why:A tour of Sri Lanka.
  • When:May 2017
  • Who:Me and my personal photographer @helloscruffalo.
Get a

Me enjoying the Geoffrey Bawa-designed furniture with Sri Lankan batik artwork on the wall behind.

Incredible jungly vine-covered hotel façade.

Inside the room – all wood and warm colours.

Illustrated vines on the walls in the bathrooms.

The sauna on the top floor at the hotel’s in-house day spa.

Descending the stairs - more Bawa design touches.

The jungle-covered façade keeps rooms cool during heat of the day. Be careful of the monkeys that swing between the vines.

If you squint your eyes you will see and elephant dressed in formal attire on the Kandalama Tank (reservoir). The Tank was constructed more than 1700 years ago.

The open-air lobby.

Pool number 1 (of 3) – the infinity pool that looks out towards Sigiriya Rock.

Pool number 2 (of 3) – the forever-tranquil top deck pool, until someone bombs you.

More epic views of the rocky jungle surrounds. You get a similar panoramic view from the main dining room over breakfast.

Highs & Lows

  • Despite being a big hotel (800m in length), the spaces and rooms feel small and intimate.

  • The Geoffrey Bawa design is very unique – the hotel’s structure is environmentally sensitive, built into the natural rocky landscape with jungle vines growing over the facade. The interior details are very Bawa too – incredible furniture with a contemporary/traditional balance.

  • Three swimming pools!

  • The buffet offered at breakfast and dinner with panoramic views.

  • Monkeys are real scavengers here. They approach you on your balcony and will steal things from your room. Make sure to lock your doors.

  • WiFi in Sri Lanka isn’t ever great - don’t get your hopes up here.

The Barometer

  • Design

  • Website

  • Environmental Consciousness

  • Night's Sleep

  • Service

  • Amenities

  • Takeable Treats

  • Refer a Friend

  • Overall Value

  • Life Changing

Total: 43/50

Important Bits

  • Type

    Isolated luxury hotel in the jungle.

  • Vibe

    A tranquil luxury retreat for the up-market traveller with all the comforts of a big hotel.

  • Location

    Isolated jungle location about 10kms from the nearest city. You may not leave the hotel though.

  • Rooms


  • Music

    Some Sri Lankan instrumental music featuring drums and a flute.

  • Year Opened


  • Designed By

    One of Sri Lanka’s most celebrated architects Geoffrey Bawa.

  • Pool/Gym

    One gym and three amazing pools at different locations around the property.

  • Restaurant

    Yes two. The main dining room, Kanchana Restaurant, with epic buffet and panoramic views, and Kaludiya Restaurant (a la carte) upstairs. There is also Café Kachchan overlooking the infinity pool and Sigiriya Rock and serves snacks and drinks.

  • Bar

    Yes, Kachchan bar serving international and local beer and signature cocktails.

  • Minibar

    Not exciting – a few sodas and some chips.

  • Children

    All welcome. This is a reasonably large hotel and can definitely cater for children and families.

  • Price

    Reasonable five star hotel prices - worth it for the unique experience.

Take an elephant ride across Kandalama Tank (reservoir).

Walk around the property

Kandalama Tank, Dambulla, Central Province, Sri Lanka

Take an elephant ride across Kandalama Tank (reservoir).

The Golden Temple of Dambulla, a world Heritage Site.

Visit the Dambulla Cave temples

Dambulla Cave Temple, Kandy - Jaffna Highway, Dambulla, Sri Lanka

The Golden Temple of Dambulla, a world Heritage Site.

To get incredible views of Sigiriya Rock.

Climb Pidurangala Rock at dawn

Pidurangala Rock, Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

To get incredible views of Sigiriya Rock.

Heritance Kandalama

Heritance Kandalama, Dambulla, Sri Lanka

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