“A small collection of superbly designed modern chalets, stilted over a lake and surrounded by beautiful paddies, offering total seclusion”
The Bakmee Chalet, Damunu Chalet and Kumbuk Chalet are dotted around a lake, nestled between mangrove trees. We loved their glass window walls, making wonderful vistas from the beds. There are also shutters and blinds, but we chose to leave them unobstructed so we could wake up to misty mountain views.
The Bakmee Chalet has 2 large yet low-key bedrooms, focusing on wood, cement and brick textures. They’re pretty similar, but Upper Bakmee is slightly smaller and ground-floor Lower Bakmee has the added luxury of a private Jacuzzi.
Damunu Chalet houses the Nika and Ehela rooms plus the larger Damunu Suite. Booked together, they make a great option for groups or a family.
Honeymooners and romantics should opt for the secluded Kumbuk Chalet which has its own living and dining area, a balcony with a Jacuzzi plunge pool and panoramic views across the lake.
All bathrooms are gorgeous and spacious, with small dressing areas where you find fleece dressing gowns. In ours, a glass door led to twin sinks with a rain shower over stone tiles.
Meal times are scheduled entirely around your itinerary. You can dine wherever you like and we found it nice to vary our eating spots - romantic lantern-lit dinners over the lake, on the deck for lunch, breakfast overlooking the paddy fields. There is also a lovely summer hut with grass roofing, in the middle of a lush paddy.
The menu is a mix of Sri Lankan and Western, using ingredients freshly picked that day form the hotel’s own vegetable and fruit gardens. One night we had Caesar salad with the huge king prawns followed by succulent lamb chops served with creamy potatoes and crispy vegetables. The second night we had a succulent fish curry with red rice from the estate’s paddy fields. Small side dishes included dhal, fried gourd, beetroot curry and a melt-in-the-mouth pumpkin dish. For pudding we tucked into delicious homemade sorbets - the soursop was our favourite.
Breakfast can be either Sri Lankan or Western. The latter came with pineapple, freshly picked bananas and a papaya juice. Then came lots of tea, rounds of toast and eggs any style.
Although children are welcome, it's not ideal; there's a lot of water around and the remote setting means older children might get bored.
Children (4-12 years)
Booking exclusive use of the Bakmee Chalet (2 double bedrooms) or Damunu Chalet (3 double bedrooms) is the best option for families as you get extra living space; it will also feel more relaxed as you won't be as worried about disturbing the peace for other guests.
If booking an individual room, all but Nika and Ehela have space for extra beds (no baby cots or highchairs are available).
Parents need to be very vigilant with small children given the open-plan nature of the building, which is surrounded by water.