Living Heritage Koslanda

Koslanda, Yala & Southeast, Sri Lanka Book from

Reviewed by Emma Boyle
Secluded edge-of-forest retreat in the tranquil Koslanda hills, with traditional architecture and a superb pool
Few hotels celebrate Sri Lanka as joyfully as Living Heritage Koslanda, a bijou boutique hotel set in 80-acre grounds in the island’s southeastern Hill Country. From the authentic timber and stone buildings - each created in harmony with astrology by local craftsmen engaging age-old techniques - to the communal ambalamas, jaw-dropping scenery and standout local food, this place lets Sri Lanka’s traditional style and spectacular scenery sparkle.

Living Heritage is a feast for mind, body and soul, and ideal for couples and families seeking peace and seclusion. Edging a sacred forest grove that's home to migrating elephants during the summer months, it has just 4 spacious rooms, each with a distinctly Sri Lankan aesthetic. Cresting a hillock, the swimming pool is incredible, and its far-reaching views over paddy fields, hills and rural estates are some of the best you’ll find anywhere in Sri Lanka (the area is known locally as God's Country). The extensive grounds provide plenty of motivation for activity, including treks to a secluded waterfall for wild swimming, river walks, tree planting and spice-garden tours. Tea estates are a short drive away.


  • A perfect balance of authentic local hospitality and an informal atmosphere, allowing you to really relax and unwind. If you need a little time out, this is the place to do it
  • Swimming in absolute seclusion in the crystal-clear waterfall
  • Enormous suites with lovely verandas (ideal for yoga) and private plunge pools
  • Great Sri Lankan food (eg chicken and beetroot curry, with zesty grated coconut sambol) plus Western options
  • Plenty of wildlife to see: monkeys, mongoose and birds, plus elephants in the summer


  • The hotel is remote, and feels it, which might not be to everyone’s taste; it's a 45-minute drive from the nearest train station (Haputale)
  • And there are no shops or other restaurants within walking distance
  • No air con, but we found ceiling fans sufficient
  • Expect leeches on walks during the rainy season

Best time to go

Koslanda is lush and green year round. The summer months of May to September are dry, with warm but not scorching temperatures - much like an idyllic European summer. This is a great time for waterfall bathing and trekking, and also coincides with the elephant migration season. During the rest of the year, expect sunshine and showers, although Koslanda is generally drier than the rest of the Hill Country.

Our top tips

Pack a few good books, hiking boots, and you might want to bring your own alcohol/snacks as the selection available is very limited.

Great for...

Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 4
  • Restaurant (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Nature walks


The 4 guest rooms are spacious and charming, crafted from roughly hewn granite and local timber. Three Suites sit side-by-side on the hillside above the restaurant and share a long veranda sprinkled with rattan planters’ chairs. The Deluxe Double, which is smaller yet more private, sits in isolation in a gatehouse, close to the swimming pool. All feel refreshingly uncluttered inside.

Our end suite had a lovely terrace gazing out over the mountains, as well as a private outdoor courtyard with an alfresco shower and a plunge pool. Inside lay our comfortable bedroom with its emperor-sized bed beneath graceful timber arches, plus a massive ensuite shower bathroom.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Cd player
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Internet access
  • Ipod dock
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Mobile phone
  • Phone
  • Plunge pool
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • Tv
  • WiFi


We came down to dinner to find the pagoda-roofed open-sided restaurant illuminated softly with candles, and the table festooned with flowers. We had opted for traditional Sri Lankan food, and particularly loved the chicken and beetroot curries and the zesty grated coconut sambol - though the whole spread was a treat, and the setting magical. A small selection of wine and other drinks were available to wash down the meal.

There's also a daily 5-course Western dinner menu, and the all-day menu, featuring dishes such as garlic prawns, fish and chips and sandwiches, is ideal for lunch. A ‘local’ breakfast of hoppers, sambols, curries, tropical fruits and buffalo curd makes a fitting alternative to a typical English breakfast, though for those who prefer the familiar, this is on offer, too.

The hotel is very secluded and there are no other restaurants nearby.

Features include:

  • Children meals
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cooking classes
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Organic produce
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu


  • Staff will guide you through the forest along a root-gnarled pathway to a river where you can swim in a secluded waterfall
  • Or you can stay dry with a wander along the river bank or a guided nature walk
  • Take a cooking class with the hotel chef - he'll teach you about the ingredients and methods used to prepare fabulous local dishes
  • Tour the hotel’s spice garden, visit the bijou on-site Hindu temple, or assist in the hotel’s conservation efforts by planting a tree
  • The area is ripe for trekking and exploration; top sights include Diyaluma Falls, Ella Gap, Poonagala Tea Factory and Buduruwagala’s 7 Buddhist statues carved into a sheer rock face, near Wellawaya
  • If you have a day to spare, make for Udawalawe National Park for memorable encounters with elephants on a game drive

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cooking classes
  • Hiking
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Private guided tours
  • Safaris
  • Traditional cultures
  • Trekking
  • Wildlife
  • Yoga


The hotel welcomes kids of all ages, and provides a fantastic natural environment for them to explore and enjoy. However, there are no real child facilities and the hotel’s restorative atmosphere is generally more conducive to adult guests.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available


Available during the day.

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cots
  • High chairs

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

The all-day menu has child-friendly options including fish and chips and panini sandwiches, and the chef will accommodate special requests for favourite meals.

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Hill walking
  • Tea-estate tours
  • Scenic train journeys
  • Udawalawe National Park (elephants and birds)

Families Should Know:

There are many steps and unprotected drops, and the pool is unfenced; young children should be supervised at all times.


  • Airport: 146km
Kid Friendly:

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