Cannot even begin to describe what a wonderful place this is...
I suppose I could write that as a lone female traveller looking to do a yoga retreat this place was secluded, beautiful, lovingly built with attention to every detail by the beautiful Elke and her husband as their dream house of marble, white pillars and carved wood on top of a hill table tea plantation surrounded by jungle. I could write that the rooms are spacious, with granite floors, walk in showers, beautiful carved four poster beds with the softest white linens and large double windows looking out onto the jungle and hilltops around. With just seven luxury rooms for guests, the entire stay feels like you have the whole house to yourself complete with fish pond in the large open air hall.
I could write that the yoga offered every morning and evening in the purpose built yoga room looking out through a wall of huge floor to ceiling windows onto the jungle was not just well taught (technically a great mix of challenging and relaxing, noticeably tailored to your level) but more importantly taught with enthusiasm and passion by Elke, who has an extensive background in dance but whose baby is yoga. I could mention the sunrise rooftop guided meditation to sounds of birds and not much else with a 360 view of the sun cresting around the mountains, or Elke's lovely lilting voice sending you off to a dream like state. I should say that it's also possible to do yoga courses combined with hollistic health therapies such as juice cleanses and as the whole house is thoughtfully built with wooden carved panels to create a breezy feel and therefore avoid harsh air con not a single detail pertaining to the health of their guests has been overlooked.
I could mention the friendly catering staff, dressed in gorgeous peacock blue uniforms, appearing like from a dream and always courteous and willing to serve your curry or king coconut or authentic Sri Lankan tea from their excellent kitchen in front of the infinity pool and jungle. I should probably write that the food was a delightful variety of fresh curries of various vegetables (I could not name half of them but I could eat all of them ten times over), chicken or fresh fish, and that there is a selection of Western food as an alternative and a Sri Lankan breakfast spread to fill you up until dinner, with a variety of juices and cocktails and king coconuts. I could insist that you try the pumpkin and ginger soup.
I could mention that I didn't wear a pair of shoes or even flip flops for 8 days while I walked the granite floors and wood carved staircases and rooftops (except once to take an excellent tour around the tea plantation to taste cinnamon bark and pepper and papayas fresh off the trees all around - be careful not to step on the resident tortoise).
I could say that the location of the place, while always feeling utterly secluded due to vast green foliage all around, is actually only a short tuk tuk ride away from popular South coast beaches and attractions - barely twenty five minutes into Galle.
It would be an oversight not to write about the vast blue pool looking out onto the jungle, always warm and clean without chlorine, or the availability of traditional aryuvedic massage and therapy.
Just in case I haven't portrayed the overwhelming sense of peace and wellbeing, coupled with the tasteful, elegant luxury of this marble and carved wood palace I'd better state it again.
I could write all of that. I almost don't want to because this place is a rare and as yet undiscovered jewel. But none of that is really the point. Because what makes this place truly special - a gem in a sea of paradise resorts - is the sheer kindness and generosity of both Elke and her husband, without which my stay wouldn't have been possible, and without which my stay wouldn't have been as utterly charming and memorable. The warmth and sweetness with which they run Niyagama House is the reason to stay here.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Niyagama House is a retreat with seven luxury rooms in the middle of a tea plantation. Situated only 9 kilometer inland (a 20 minutes tuktuk drive) from the beaches at the Indian Ocean and the charming World Heritage Site Galle Fort, it is a perfect place for relaxation and rejuvenation. ... more less
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