Short stories, Travel and Health Information
I am seated in a prettily manicured garden as dusk is falling, sipping a cup of fragrant Highland tea and gazing out at the vista of Kandy stretched out below me.
Far in the distance, standing out like a beacon, is the floodlit white stupa of the Asgiriya Viharaya. To the right in front of me the dark green hills of Udawattekelle stand guard – while towering over me on my left is the tree covered Wakarawatte (Dunumadalawa) forest reserve -with its natural reservoir that provides the city’s water supply. The glassy waters of the Kandy Lake with the golden roofed temple behind it can be glimpsed in front while over to my right I can see the Dumbara Valley and the mountains of the Knuckles range in the far distance.
Despite the modern constructions that blot the view here and there, the view of Kandy from the hills above it is still magnificent. I am privileged, as I sip my tea, to be enjoying this vista from The Coffee Bungalow, Kandy’s latest boutique hotel.
Originally built in the eighteen sixties by a British coffee planter, the bungalow over the years has had many owners – including Mrs Ruth Keyt, first wife of the famous painter George Keyt – until it was bought by its present owner, a visionary who decided to refurbish it and convert it into a boutique hotel.
Accommodation is limited to just seven spacious rooms, two on the ground floor, four on the first floor and the large Planter’s Suite on the second floor. Each is tastefully equipped with the best furniture and fittings – including four poster beds and claw footed bathtubs. The living rooms are beautifully decorated with Dumbara mat wall hangings as well as ancient maps and photographs from a bygone era. While the conveniences are certainly modern, the place has a timeless elegance and genteel charm.
Guests can book their accommodation here on a bed and breakfast basis; dinner and snacks can also be prepared to order. The meals we were given – hearty breakfasts fit for a British planter plus four course dinners that could best be described as Sri Lankan fusion food – were delicious and beautifully presented. On the first afternoon of our stay here we even enjoyed High Tea on the lawn as in the days of the British Raj!
An infinity pool from which one has a great view of Kandy adds a touch of modernity to the property, and I would certainly recommend a dip in the pool.
However, I myself am happy to leisurely sip my cup of tea as dusk falls, savouring the view from the comfort of my garden chair – while allowing my hardier fellow guests to enjoy themselves in this pool with a view.
This article was originally published in The Sunday Times on Sunday 9th December 2018