The hill-country capital of Kandy lies on a plain amidst towering hills and looped by Sri Lanka's largest river: the Mahaweli. The town’s pleasant temperate climate, its scenic location and its rich history has made it a favourite haunt for travellers. For almost two centuries Kandy provided a safe haven for the proud Kandyan Kingdom, until it finally fell to the British in 1815. For Buddhists Kandy is one of the holiest cities with the famous Temple of the Tooth and in August there is a magnificent procession where the sacred tooth of Buddha is majestically paraded on elephant back around the city streets. It’s a lovely place to wander around to see the faded colonial grandeur of bygone years. The botanic gardens have many rare and wonderful trees and plants from around the world and it's worth going for a cocktail high on the hill at Helga’s Folly. There is a great golf course and you can visit the elephant orphanage or go trekking in the world heritage Knuckles Mountain Range.
Bougainvillea Retreat lies in a beautiful valley in the grounds of the Victoria Golf and Country Resort with picturesque views of the Knuckles Mountain range and Victoria Lake it is the perfect place to rest after visiting the hustle and bustle of Kandy. The retreat was built to intertwine with its surroundings so as not to spoil the lush vegetation in the gardens. Bougainvillea has 8 rooms, and the main house has a mini-cinema and television, within the grounds there is an outdoor spa, Jacuzzi and steam bath. A beautiful place to unwind after a day’s sightseeing.
Kandy House is a beautiful nine-bedroomed hotel which makes you feel like you are in the remote jungle, though it’s only 12km from the bustling city of Kandy. The hotel is tastefully decorated with colonial furniture and was the ancestral home of one of Kandy’s most influential aristocratic families. The suites are set around a two-storey central courtyard each with its own private veranda complete with teak and rattan furniture. The gardens are peaceful with a lovely swimming pool and are the perfect place to relax and take in the noises of the jungle. The fresh juices and cocktails are delicious and you can sit in the evening on the terrace overlooking the beautifully lit, exotic gardens and watching the huge fruit bats feeding on the bread fruits. The food is outstanding - a mixture of Sri Lankan and European influence and some of the best we had on the island. It's generally a really stylish, well-run hotel and a great base to explore the Kandy area.
Ellerton Bungalow has a spectacular hilltop location with magnificent views over the Mawanella Mountain Range and is only half-an-hour from Kandy. The refurbished plantation bungalow was built for the manager of a large tea estate more than 100 years ago and it keeps the character and tranquility of colonial days, full of antiques, oriental rugs and old photographs. The beautiful garden provides vegetables and fruit for the house and is a haven for birds. The countryside around Ellerton has many paths and tea estate roads making it easy to explore the local villages, temples, tea plantations and paddy fields on foot or by bike. The six simple but comfortable rooms are split between the Main House and the Valley House which is near the swimming pool. It has amazing views and a huge veranda which is a great place to sit and read or look out over the valley below. The staff are lovely and really make you feel at home and the dogs will always accompany you on a walk or bike ride.