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“Utterly unique and relaxing”

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Heritance Kandalama
Ranked #1 of 15 Hotels in Dambulla
Certificate of Excellence
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
203 reviews
93 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 319 helpful votes
“Utterly unique and relaxing”
Reviewed January 20, 2014

We stayed here for 3 days, and it’s probably the most unique hotel I’ve ever stayed in. It’s almost invisible from a distance; it blends in so well to its jungle and cliff surrounds.

The service was lovely and we checked in at the café/pool area that overlooks the lovely lake and jungle areas.

The entire hotel ‘plays’ constantly with the inside / outside, so that you truly feel part of your surrounds.

As you stroll through you may see parts of the rock face weaving in and out, as does the jungle that the rooms back onto or overlook. Wildlife was everywhere; I loved the tiny little tree frogs that you had to be careful not to step on when going back to your room. Swifts had nested in some of the corridors, literally in the ceiling, and obviously they had complete freedom to do so, they were not evicted!

The rooms were lovely, very relaxing with a little lounge area and office area. The bathroom was huge, and you could chose to have the lake view through the full wall size windows, or draw the blinds if you didn’t want the monkeys looking at you!

Free fast wi-fi, quiet air-con.

The buffet was outstanding, some of the best food we have ever eaten which is incredible in a buffet situation. Delicious, varied, perfectly cooked, we thoroughly enjoyed the food. They even gave you the flexibility at a much reduced cost if you just wanted to eat off the salad bar, which we did one night as even that gave so much choice.

We got there at 7.30 pm when it opened and never had a problem getting a seat.

The service was a perfect balance of helpful, without being over the top. We found the English of the staff was okay, but we sometimes needed to repeat ourselves or phrase our question a different way, be patient as they are so willing to help.

We spent our 3 days visiting Siriyga Rock, Polonnaruwa, Dambulla Rock Temple, and an afternoon safari to the national park.

They were quite full days, and my only regret was not being able to spend more time in the hotel!

Room Tip: A higher up room would give the best views.
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank antibes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Chicago
Level Contributor
58 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
Reviewed January 20, 2014 via mobile

We are midway through a 12 day trip in Sri Lanka. We spent two nights at Kandalama and really enjoyed it. It is in an excellent location. Close to Dambulla caves, 30 minutes from Sigiriya , and 1.5 hours from Polonnaruwa . They have 3 lovely infinity pools - which we did not get a chance to use due to rain. We were in room 724 and really liked it. Top floor of hotel - great views. There was a darling monkey family that played on our balcony each morning. We had the bed and breakfast arrangement. There is a large " international" buffet for breakfast and for dinner. Thought the breakfast was good - there is an omelet, waffle station that is made to order which we liked. I did not care for the evening buffet. It is a sea of people...and frankly much of the food was tasteless. The second night we ate at the fine dining ( their description)restaurant. We had the Sri Lankan curry which was the best we have had on this trip. It was $11 per person. The buffet is $31 per person which is a good deal if you like the food.

Stayed January 2014
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Thank chichichicago
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
21 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed January 20, 2014

My wife and I spent 2 very relaxing nights at the heritable hotel in a Superior room (no. 225) Our room was spacious and had a view out to the lake. Our bathroom was also roomy and the glass wall at the end of the of bathroom also provided a view of the lake. The hotel is set into a hillside and surrounded by jungle, with cheeky monkeys climbing on the room balconies. The buffet breakfast and dinners catered for all tastes, from traditional Sri Lankan food to western tastes. The service was efficient but relaxed, creating a sense of calm in the hotel.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Piecost
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed January 19, 2014 via mobile

We stayed for two nights and enjoyed every minute. The room was very comfortable with a lovely view. The food was delicious and the service impeccable. We enjoyed our walks in the grounds, swimming in the pools and the ride on Monica, the elephant. We would love to return!

Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Angela R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tywyn, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed January 19, 2014 via mobile

As I write this I am in our room getting ready to go for dinner on our final night. So this review isn't affected by rose tinted memories.
It's a long drive from Colombo, 4plus hours so be prepared. The final few kilometres are along a rough road, similar to a farm track. But trust me, it's worth it.
We arrived after 6pm and were greeted with a flower and many smiles. We were led to a reception bar area, given a hot towel and some refreshing fruit juice. Once checked in we were taken to our room in the Dambulla wing. A spotlessly clean large room greeted us. And in the morning we got to see our view. Across the trees was the lake (or tank as it's called here) beyond that the mountains.
Off to dinner we went, WOW. The food is just wonderful. Don't worry about people telling you that the food is spicy, true ther are some spicy dishes but there is a great choice each evening. The best food we have had on any holiday.
The staff are brilliant, constant (and genuine) smiles. It really does matter to them that you enjoy the place.
Around the hotel you can go on a boat 'safari'. Mainly birds but there were some buffalo, although I'm pretty sure they came from a local farm. An elephant ride on Monica, take her some fruit and make a friend for life. A short walk down the road is the Eco Park. It's not huge but a lovely place to spend an hour or so. The warden is very helpful. There were a couple of young Palm Civets which had been rescued & he took them out so we could get photos. They are due to be released in the next 6 weeks.
We also did the hot air balloon ride, not cheap but definitely worth it. The joy on the faces of the locals as you float a hundred feet or so above their homes was wonderful.
Across the 'tank' between the hills you can see Sigirya, another on the must do list. It's about 45 minutes drive. Go early and take water, it's quite a climb up all the steps. You will get offered help/a guide etc. A polite no thank you works so long as you keep walking.
If you come here, and you should, just remember on the seemingly never ending drive (after a 9 hour flight) it is definitely worth it.
Off to Tangerine Beach, Kalutara tomorrow. I fear we have been spoilt here.

Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
Helpful?
Thank jontifree
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lund
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed January 17, 2014

We spent our first 4 nights at the Heritance Kandalama just outside Dambulla. The setting of the hotel is fantastic, with views of the lake and the surrounding jungle. We were 2 adults and 2 kids, aged 12 and 8, and we stayed in a normal Superior room with an extra bed in the Dambulla wing.
Just next to the swimming pool we had great views and proximity to the pool for the kids. We had frequent visitors by the local monkeys to our balcony and pool area.
Small issue was the noise from the pool cleaning system, which somewhat disturbed the tranquility of the nights. Other rooms further away from the pool probably not disturbed by this.
We had dinner at the buffet all nights, and all members of the family loved it. Local spicy curries, but most of the buffet was very international and will fit anyone's taste. Great !
We did day trips to Dambulla, Sigiriya and Polonaruwa, drivers organised by hotel. At the sights we used local guides, selection helped by the car driver. Very good.
Elephant ride close to Sigirya was a memory for the entire family !

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Bagful
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Albany, Western Australia, Australia
Level Contributor
30 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed January 15, 2014

I rang my mother in Australia and said "we are in paradise". Such a beautiful place in a magical setting. If Middle Earth was in the tropics it would be here - the hotel burrows into the side of a mountain and looks out over a large lake and distant mist covered hills. The hotel and its surroundings share a simple palette of largely neutral tones and deep shades of green creating a cool and restful environment. The staff are professional yet warm and kind, especially toward children (it seemed to me that the Sri Lankan people enjoy children). The buffet was a constant threat to any notion of self restraint....

Room Tip: I don't think there are any bad rooms. If you can pay more you will get a better view but we we...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Ingrdient
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Heritance Kandalama

Property: 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 Family Hotel in Dambulla
#1 Romantic Hotel in Dambulla
#1 Luxury Hotel in Dambulla
#1 Spa Hotel in Dambulla
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
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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