We stayed for three nights at Dehi Gaha Ela, including New Year's Eve. For the entire time, we were the only guests and were made to feel extremely welcome. The staff are charming and attentive, and the conversations with Chana, the manager, over mealtimes were informative and fun. We were given the run of the place, and enjoyed exploring the surrounding area. This is, in many ways, an eco-paradise, where the ponds have been created using the same ancient technology as was used to build Sri Lanka's tanks centuries ago, where elephants wander through the grounds, and where kingfishers, peacocks and countless other birds can be seen up close.
The food is superb, and you certainly won't go hungry. The chance to have a try at making string hoppers ourselves was great fun (harder than it looks...
It probably isn't for everybody; if you're going to be upset by having land-snails in the bathroom, by sleeping under a mosquito net and by having no choice in the food, then don't go. Save it for the people who really appreciate getting away from it all, and enjoying the tranquility of a very special place. We would definitely go back.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located in the Cultural Triangle in Sri Lanka and within 30 minutes from Sigiriya World Heritage Site, Back of Beyond Dehigaha ela is situated in a circular clearing at the base of a hill, ringed in by the thick forest on the sweeping curve of the two streams. It is a small secret place for all forms of wildlife - elephants, sambhur, deer, birds, butterflies - to visit. It is an ideal location for those who dream of sleeping under the stars, of exploring the jungle and streams on foot with all its joys and little discomforts. We have of course, added the comforts and care. The entire retreat is powered by solar energy. A backup generator is also provided. All hot water is also supplied via solar energy. A biogas generator has been installed to convert kitchen waste to bio gas for cooking. All tree houses and boulder cottages in this retreat are designed to be very open to nature, with coconut thatch roofing, wooden floors, and folding bamboo tats. Each lodge maintains standards of comfort by providing fans, mosquito nets, and modern toilets. The eco-retreat consists of a 2 tree houses and 4 boulder cottages. Each of the tastefully furnished units, is designed to maximise the impact of the surrounding environment. The reception, living and dining areas are separate, and the staff and drivers quarters are also housed separately to allow maximum privacy to guests. The surrounding forest is a haven for birds, smaller mammals and larger mammals such as deer, sambhur and even elephants. Guests enjoy bathing in the two streams that meet at the border to our property. One stream starts closeby hence has icy cold water, whereas the larger stream has warmer water. The crystal clear water of the nearby stream is full of small fish that provide a natural, free foot spa to the delight of our guests. A nature trail is also available in the property. The property also boasts of a large man-made pond that is full of lotuses and water lilies. This too attracts a wide variety of bird life and small fishes. A butterfly garden has also recently been started at Dehigaha ela. The retreat offers many activities including bird watching, hiking, cycling and excursions to Minneriya and Kaudulla National Parks, Polonnaruwa, Dambulla, Kaludiya Pokuna, Wewela tank etc ... more less
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