Heritance Kandalama is an architectural masterpiece that comes with an interesting anecdote. Before the property was raised, the project was rigorously opposed by the abbot of the Golden Temple who feared that a hotel this scale would doubtlessly deface the scenery of the region. A compromise was eventually reached when master architect Geoffrey Bawa took on the project and promised the abbot that none of his fears would be realised. Indeed, this stunning 152 rooms hotel literally enveloped by lush vegetation looks just like a natural extension from the rocky outcrop it was etched into. Bawa's genius at harmonising buildings with nature is most apparent here with the open corridors and elegant stairways that give generous views of the gorgeous plains and Sigiriya in the distance. Kandalama in fact has become an oasis for wildlife where troops of wild monkeys go about their daily business right outside the balconies in the day while at night bats zip through the corridors like maniacs trying to beat rush hour. Such flourishes of nature within such a monumental statement of design is most definitely a mark of Sri Lankan gumption not to be missed.
Service: + + +
Design: + + +
Overall Distinction: + + +
Recommendation Index: +++ Notwithstanding its age and a few design kinks in the rooms, Kandalama is quite the destination in itself. From S$300
GOURMET AND WELLNESS
Heritance Kandalama houses Sri Lanka's first Sixth Senses Spa on its top floor with its own green roof for yoga sessions. There are many massage options on its menu but we recommend the Ayurvedic massage that we found particularly reinvigorating. The nightly buffet at Kandalama is actually very outstanding. The spreads are not only extensive, the dishes are mostly very tasty as well. Rather surprisingly, croissants freshly baked every morning at the breakfast buffet are some of the best we've ever tasted.