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“Stunning! ”

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Heritance Kandalama
Ranked #1 of 15 Hotels in Dambulla
Certificate of Excellence
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
“Stunning! ”
Reviewed 15 June 2014 via mobile

Absolutely stunning hotel overlooking the lake. Beautiful architecture which has been carefully integrated into the landscape. Great staff and certainly the best hotel we stayed at in Sri Lanka.

The food and dining experience in the Alle carte restaurant was excellent, highly recommend.

Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
Helpful?
Thank Will D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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München
Level 4 Contributor
21 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 June 2014

Since I am a great admirer of the architect Geoffrey Bawa, I was very much looking forward to spending two nights in his masterpiece hotel. Upon arrival you are welcomed with a hot towel and a drink, nice. But hey, the hotel claims to be a premier 5 star hotel! To make sure to get a nice room, even though it was low season, I booked a panoramic view room in the Dambulla wing. The view was gorgeous! The room was nice and stylish, but not at all five stars, stained curtains and upholstery, leaking shower, floor and carpet not so clean... Ok, it's not easy to maintain such a hotel under these climate conditions. Unfortunately there was some wedding or convention going on just the floor above my room, they were playing loud and bass driven music. You simply couldn't sit and read on your 'private balcony'. When I came back from breakfast the next morning (9 a.m.) the music started again. I was very frustrated and complained. Without any hesitation the management offered another room in the Sigeriya wing. They upgraded me to a luxury room down in the basement without any view. The room was also very nice, with a wooden floor, a bit bit bigger and in much better shape. Alas, no view at all. So I enjoyed the view from the public area, I spent the day at the stunning pool with sight to Kandalama lake and Sigiriya rock. In the late afternoon I ordered some tea at the poolside cafe, they served one (!) cup, of course charged like a premier 5 star hotel. Sorry folks, I am not a cocktail & BLT sandwich person. I like to have a decent cup of tea in the afternoon, i.e. a pot of tea, usually served with a little biscuit.
I know that single travelers except from business hotels are not always most welcome. But in a five star hotel they shouldn't give you the impression that your place is at the side table... All in all very mixed feelings about Kandalama hotel. No complaints about the staff, extremely friendly and obliging. The hotel is an unique work of art, breathtaking. But still, there is a sour taste. Maybe I just had my sour days...

Room Tip: Sigiriya-wing seems to be in better condition, though more expensive. Be sure to have a room in uppe...
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled solo
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1 Thank CKnecht
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney, Australia
Level 6 Contributor
263 reviews
98 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 125 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 June 2014

I spent one night here with my wife on our trip to Sri Lanka. I could have easily done another few nights - it's a fantastic hotel. Cut into the side of the jungle, the hotel is hidden away by the jungle. Backing onto Kandalama lake with an impressive infinity pool, the location of this hotel is truly breathtaking. Sigiriya Rock casts a shadow in the distance whilst wildlife roam around the lake.

The rooms complement the location well, with a lot of natural light. Large and spacious, our room also offered a great view over the lake and plains. The bathroom offered a fantastic waterfall shower and a large hot tub which unfortunately we didn't have the chance to use.

Whilst we encountered quite a few buffets on our trip to Sri Lanka, this was by far the most impressive. A great range of food including food cooked on the spot for you means it would be difficult for anyone to go hungry.

Lastly, the pool offers a great view over the lake and plains. If you're lucky, you'll be joined by some local monkeys who play around the edges of the pool. They're teeth look sharp, so probably best to keep some distance!

Heritance Kandalama is a beautiful and unique spot. You won't be disappointed with this Bawa special.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank jdmiller83
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Timaru
Level 6 Contributor
554 reviews
133 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 342 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 June 2014

Many years ago, I was having an innocent conversation with a friend of mine regarding architecture. Out of the blue, he said to me that if I got myself to Sri Lanka one day, I MUST visit Geoffrey Bawa's creation. It so happened that I was passing by Dambulla and I told this story to my guide and without missing a beat, he did a U-Turn and drove me into a mud road. Ananda, my guide had a wry smile on his face and few minutes later, I arrived at the front step of this hotel. He spoke Sinhalese to the attendant there and instead of showing me hostility, he took the liberty to show me around the WHOLE complex. All this while, he knew that I wouldn't be staying there but he did it anyway. Not only that, he waited patiently for me to take pictures of this awestruck piece of masterpiece. The attendant told me that it's going to celebrate its 25 years anniversary soon. This hotel proved one point that a well-executed design will last the test of time. I noticed that the place has very limited artificial air conditioning unit and honestly, you don't need to considering that Geoffrey Bawa, the much-loved architect designed it in a way that wind tunnel ventilates the public area. The hotel is designed horizontally and it co-exists with its natural environment. Bushes and trees are placed strategically to blend in with the building. The floor and certain walls are painted black in order to have the form receded into nothingness whilst Mother Nature takes over. Every and each areas are overlooking the lake and points of interest. There are infinity pools, lounge areas, conference rooms, various wings to cater for different segment of the clientele. It's obviously popular with honeymooners and everything is spot on and not out of place or dated at all. This hotel is truly a tour-de-force and to think back about 25 years ago, when Geoffrey Bawa was brought to this area on the helicopter and looked at a blank piece of canvas, I truly have to applaud this great Master to have contributed a piece of heritage to Sri Lanka. If there's this hotel that you need to stay in this world before you perish, it will have to be this one. It's such a rarity to see nature and human-made structure live side-by-side. We should do it more often. Highly recommended and a must-do in Sri Lanka!

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank wiredfrog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nelson, Nelson, New Zealand
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 June 2014

I'm not sure about how the people who rated this Hotel so badly could have had such a bad experience. My own was fantastic. I elected to have the free breakfast as my main meal and have just a bar snack in the evening after returning from sightseeing. The breakfast is an epic affair, all the usual stuff plus the ability to have custom cooked omelettes with chillies and crispy bacon on the side - ecstasy!
The Hotel itself is the most extraordinary piece of architecture and civil engineering - merging into the rock face. Like a real life Tracy-Island. yes lots of bugs and monkeys and other wildlife but that is what this place is all about! The most amazing swimming pool that even though was posted as opening at 8 am, after a request to the manager they opened it especially at 7 am to watch the sunrise from the end. That's service!!
The beds are the most comfortable I have ever slept in.
Only issue wa stye taxes on taxes that added nearly 30% to the expected bill. But this is common in SL I found out ;(

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled solo
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Helpful?
2 Thank RR2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Moscow, Russia
Level 5 Contributor
42 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 June 2014

We were staying in Heritance Kandalama for 2 wonderful days! It was an amazing experience of co-living with nature. Wonderful view from 6th floor giving to the lake (we had the Panoramic room). Both room and bath-room had huge balcony/ window with a view of lake upon the forest. The rooms are quite spacious, comfortable and quite. Adapters, anti-mosquito machines are available in-room or upon request. Breakfast is variable, including both prepared and on-cooking dishes. Try the waffles – they are great  the territory of hotel is huge, 2 pools (small with lake view and bigger on the other side)? Bif conference-room with lake-view. When staying you can meet the monkeys on your balcony, deer chilling in front of lobby, lot’s of birds and gekkos and cross several elephant paths on your way to the hotel from main road.

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Review collected in partnership with Anywayanyday

Helpful?
Thank Alexa C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney, Australia
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 June 2014

This hotel is a true sanctuary in the paradise island of Sri Lanka. This is my forth stay in this hotel but the first review. I first stayed in the hotel in the year 2000, 14 years ago. For the past 14 years I cannot see much change in the hotel. They have managed to maintain the hotel in good standards fully preserving its luxury status. Rooms are spacious with superb views to the lake and Sigiriya. The hotel has two wings (Dambulla Wing and Sigiriya Wing). My preference is the Dambulla wing. But both offer great views.
The hotel has been added with a new conference centre which is spacious and functional. The only issue is the frequent power outages experienced at the conference centre. Although there is back generator the transition is not smooth. I hope the hotel will address this in the near future. The hotel provides very good Wi-Fi facility.
The main Kanchana restaurant is fabulous offering a wide choice of food for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The hotel is built on the ecological tourism theme with minimal disruption to the natural habitat surrounding. The infinity pool and other swimming pools are really great.
I have travelled a lot and stayed in many hotels, but this is the favourite of all. One of the best hotel in the world.

Room Tip: The hotel has two wings (Dambulla Wing and Sigiriya Wing). My preference is the Dambulla wing. But b...
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  • Stayed May 2014, travelled on business
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Srinath P
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
Region: Sri Lanka > Central Province > Dambulla
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre 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 Spa Hotel in Dambulla
#1 Luxury Hotel in Dambulla
#1 Romantic Hotel in Dambulla
#1 Family 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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