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“Jungle icon”

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Heritance Kandalama
Ranked #2 of 17 Hotels in Dambulla
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed June 29, 2013

Driving through the jungle on a dirt track through the trees which seems to go on forever, at night this is quite a magical drive. As the car turns the bend, the hotel emerges from the trees. This is one of Geoffrey Bawa's architectural feats and an iconic hotel for Sri Lanka.

The hotel is situated on a hillside overlooking Kandalama Tank and the national park. There are plenty of monkeys, birds and other wildlife including a resident elephant who is close by most mornings.

Rooms are large and luxurious with great beds and wonderful bathrooms. Large windows give plenty of light but the creepers growing over the facade of the hotel doesn't allow for many views.

The hotel offers 2 pools which give you panoramic views of the surrounding area and the main restaurant also has great views.
If you can afford a Luxury Room it is definitely worth the upgrade.
Staff are friendly and polite and happy to assist with any request. Very hospitable and helpful.

Room Tip: Luxury Room is worth the extra expense.
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled on business
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1  Thank HasantiP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Heritance K, Executive General Manager at Heritance Kandalama, responded to this reviewResponded July 3, 2013

Thank you for staying with us and glad you enjoyed the experience being one with nature. Your kind sentiments are very much appreciated while looking forward to welcoming you back at Heritance Kandalama.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 29, 2013

Stunned by the architecture and the location upon arrival and what an environment this hotel has. You feel it that you are inside the jungle and always your eyes keep watching the superb panoramic view it opens to the beauty of the nature surrounded by lake, jungles and rocks. Truly this is an amazing place to stay if you planning to go out of the hectic Colombo.

Rooms were spacious and nicely set up and bathroom also very clean and big enough. Make sure to enjoy the three swimming pools here as the infinity pool was the best with the view and the atmosphere.

But, the day we were there had a big number of visitors in the hotel and service was not up to the reputation it has as specially when we were dining. It was extremely difficult to find a place in restaurant to dine there and sometimes some of my friends loss the place when they were coming back with the desserts. Finished plates were there in the tables and had to wait for a long time to bringing the drinking water...etc. Though we had four meals through out the two days there, it didn't have much variety specially during the breakfast (Could be due to the off season.Don't know exactly).

Apart from the above issue, all the other expectations other were fabulous and I could have given excellent rating. But definitely I'll be back with my family to this place very soon again.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with friends
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3  Thank ChamaraDJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Heritance K, Executive General Manager at Heritance Kandalama, responded to this reviewResponded July 3, 2013

Thank you for staying with us and glad you enjoyed the experience being one with nature. We appreciate your kind sentiments and sincerely regret if you were inconvenienced while assuring you a truly memorable stay on your next visit. Looking forward to welcoming you back at Heritance Kandalama.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 28, 2013 via mobile

This was our favourite hotel from our trip. Everything was A1. Food great in the buffet: room fantastic: service excellent. The architecture, the way the building merges with the rock and the jungle was stunning

  • Stayed: June 2013
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1  Thank theprincemoseley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 28, 2013

Having travelled extensively and stayed in many 5 star/luxury hotel, I can safely say that Kandalama is my favourite. Designed by Geoffrey Bawa on a staggering budget, the hotel is literally built into the rock-face and has superb views onto the lake, the rock palace of Sigiriya and the temple of Dambulla beyond. For nature-lovers, this hotel is unique: birds and bats fly through the corridors and out into the gardens; butterflies flit around your balcony and the Brahminy Kites wheel above the lake. Just wandering round the corridors of Kandalama (the entire length of the hotel is over 1km) is like exploring a beautiful, rock cave.

The staff are truly lovely people. We have got to know them well over the years and they are like family now. Whatever you ask for is not a problem. They even make special jams and chutneys for my mother to take away with her. The level of service is absolutely flawless.

Even for a 5 star hotel, the buffet is spectacular. My family has been coming for years, and even we forget quite how extensive and luxurious the food is here. There are two swimming pools, an immaculate gym and now a superb spa. As well as an Ecopark, cricket pitch, tennis courts, escorted walks to the nearby forest and many other activities. You really do not need to leave the hotel.

This hotel will not suit everyone - some people may find the element of nature too intrusive. If this is the case, then stick to your Hiltons and Radissons. For me, this will always be the perfect escape for the mind and body.

Room Tip: Try for a room on the higher floor, with views out over the trees.
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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5  Thank MrandMrsinManchester
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Heritance K, Executive General Manager at Heritance Kandalama, responded to this reviewResponded June 28, 2013

Thank you very much for staying with us and glad you enjoyed the experience being one with nature. Your continuous patronage and kind sentiments are very much valued and appreciated, while looking forward to welcoming you back at Heritance Kandalama.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 27, 2013

We splashed out on this hotel (rather than a guesthouse) and it was definitely worth the money. It's quite a distance from dambulla town but the view over the lake is superb, made even better by the infinity pool! The buffet breakfast was great, as was the buffet evening meal was at 15 pounds sterling was relatively expensive but tasty.
The one major problem with this hotel was getting around. We took a tuk tuk there but when we tried to hire one from reception the next day we were told that they couldnt phone one for us because of "health and safety reasons". And the cost of their car to take us into dambulla was 3000 rupees!! (The tuk tuk is 600). This really felt a bit like being held to ransom given how far it was from anywhere.

  • Stayed: June 2013
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1  Thank kazmojiggers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Heritance K, Executive General Manager at Heritance Kandalama, responded to this reviewResponded June 28, 2013

Thank you for staying with us and glad you enjoyed the experience being one with nature. Your kind sentiments and comments are highly valued, while looking forward to welcoming you back at Heritance Kandalama.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 27, 2013

Aesthetically designed hotel that blends very well with its surrounding environment. Only after a long drive along a narrow unpaved (but not bumpy) road do u get to the hotel. The welcome was good and check-in was quite fast considering ours being a large group visit.

The room ("Superior", I reckon) we got wasn't big but was comfortable - offering views of the wilderness behind the hotel. The front of the hotel offers views of the Kandalama lake and Sigiriya (which we missed). The bathroom was adequately spacious but didn't offer a bathtub. Though old in style, the light arrays on either side of the mirror added a nice touch. However, there were a few stained spots in the toilet and bathroom floor that didn't look clean and needed attention.

The best thing about the hotel is how close you are to the wilderness around it. Monkeys roam about freely around the hotel prompting the hotel to warn guests against unnecessary interactions (e.g. feeding monkeys). We even had an entire family of them visit us at our room balcony. We also encountered a huge number of bugs inside the hotel but they weren't harmful nor were they a bother.

Food was very good, but not exceptional. Variety at buffet wasn't much but what they offered were done well.

Staff were very courteous and helpful.

The hotel maintains an eco-park with an animal rehabilitation center, sewage treatment plant and paper recycling plant just 900m down the hotel access road. The day we visited it we were shown some venomous snakes at the animal rehabilitation center and given a guided tour at the paper recycling plant.

The hotel offers (at a cost) jungle treks, horse rides, and elephant rides around the hotel premises.

Apart from these and excursions to nearby attractions like Sigiriya or Dambulla cave temple, the best thing about Heritance Kandalama is how it blends in with the natural environment around it. Definitely worth a visit.

Room Tip: Ask for a room at a higher floor facing Sigiriya (and the Kadalama lake).
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank sundomain
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Heritance K, Executive General Manager at Heritance Kandalama, responded to this reviewResponded July 3, 2013

Thank you for staying with us and glad you enjoyed the experience being one with nature. Your kind sentiments are very much valued while looking forward to welcoming you back at Heritance Kandalama.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 27, 2013

Heritance Kandalama is worth visiting just for its unique architecture and its grand location.
The property is built into a hill in a way that the structure is actually merged with the original rocks. So to reach one of the wings you will walk through a corridor where one of the walls is a rock-face. And it has stunning views of the Kandalama lake and the dense forest on the hill makes for a very one with nature backdrop.
We stayed in a suite which had spectacular views of the lake from 2 sides and dense foliage on one side. The effect was mesmerising. In the bathroom, one could well spend hours soaking in the Jacuzzi while gazing at the lake. If money is not an issue, we would recommend it always.
The food was also very good with a mixture of Sri Lankan and other cuisines - while it was always a buffet, we never felt fatigued.
One of the things that's quite fascinating - the staff moves around barefoot.
It is also a good staging point for visits to the Dambula Caves, Sigiriya Rock and Minneriya National Park - all must visit attractions.

Room Tip: Make sure you go for a room that has lake views.
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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Thank hedgefund007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Heritance K, Executive General Manager at Heritance Kandalama, responded to this reviewResponded July 3, 2013

Thank you very much for staying with us and glad you enjoyed the experience being one with nature. Your kind sentiments and comments are highly appreciated while looking forward to welcoming you back at Heritance Kandalama.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Heritance Kandalama

Address: | PO Box 11, Dambulla, Sri Lanka
Location: Sri Lanka > Central Province > Dambulla
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Romantic Hotel in Dambulla
#1 Spa Hotel in Dambulla
#2 Luxury Hotel in Dambulla
Price Range: $170 - $453 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Heritance Kandalama 5*
Number of rooms: 152
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Heritance Kandalama is shaped like the outspread wings of a bird, following the line of the cliff from which it seems to emerge. The hotel is a staggering 1km from end to end, and rises up seven floors, yet appears to be a perfectly natural extension of the mountainside. The flat roof and timber pillars support a screen of vegetation that attracts local wildlife. The abundance of real-life animals around the hotel is complemented by wonderful large-scale sculptures within it. A metal owl is suspended outside the main restaurant; wooden elephants inhabit the lounge; a stone cobra uncoils along the terrace overlooking the infinity pool. However, while focusing on highlighting its enchanting natural surroundings, our luxury resort in Sri Lanka gives priority to providing its guests with the finest comforts and service. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kandalama Hotel Sri Lanka
Hotel Heritance Kandalama
Heritance Kandalama Dambulla
Kandalama Hotel Dambulla

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