“A stunningly minimalist mountain retreat in the Kandy countryside that delivers big on spa facilities, cuisine and epic panoramas”
Still, it’s not just the setting that takes the breath away. This is a first-rate wellness destination with world-beating facilities. The tri-level spa, which appears to be carved out of a hillside, has an open-fronted design (inspired by the region’s monastic cave dwellings) that houses an impressive array of international therapies (like deep tissue and lomi lomi massages) and Ayurveda treatments by a resident doctor. Free sunrise and sunset group yoga, use of the sauna, steam room and thermal salt bath are also included in your stay, and the thoughtfully curated cuisine – based on the ancient yet au courant concept of '6 tastes' – aims to nourish from the inside out. With time on your side, take a meditative walk through the surrounding countryside, then follow with a brisk swim in the local river – it will enhance your wellbeing like never before.
- The dramatic mountain setting lets nature nurture your ruffled feathers, and is very calming
- It’s peaceful without being overly quiet – fall asleep to chirruping crickets and frogs, then wake to vibrant birdsong
- We loved the spa, its hydrotherapy facilities and the gentle healing hands of our Keralan therapist
- The food is exceptional – nutritionally balanced yet gourmet at the same time
- No children under 12 - so no distractions
- Don’t come for two nights expecting a quick jaunt out to Kandy – it takes an hour to get there
- The rooms aren't soundproofed (the focus is on having natural ventilation), so you can hear your neighbours if they're chatty. However, it's serenely quiet by 11pm or earlier
- Expect a few leeches while walking the local trails
- The hush-hush atmosphere won’t suit everyone – leisure guests are just as welcome as wellness guests, but this is a 'WiFi optional' resort, and WiFi is only available in your room on request
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Hotel
- Full Board
- 12+ year olds only
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Bicycles Available
Simplicity is key here. The cabin-like rooms are furnished with the barest essentials: comfortable kingsize beds wrapped in mosquito netting, timber framed armchairs, cupboards (with drawers for your suitcases) and open plan bathrooms with walk-in rain showers. The mixture of grey cement, off-white furnishings, glass and timber add to the minimalist aesthetic, while the air con (which isn’t needed) is eschewed for natural ventilation and ceiling fans.
The 16 Mountain View Chalets jut out from a steep grassy hillside and feel like modernist treehouses. Their obvious draw is the panoramic views across the valley which you can survey from bed, or from a floating balcony furnished with deck chairs.
A further 4 Garden View Chalets are located in a secluded grove and conceived for families, since each pair of rooms share a living area. These rooms have traditional bathrooms as opposed to the open layout of the Mountain View Chalets.
- Coffee / tea making
- Mosquito net
- Safe box
Santani follows the Ayurvedic principle of ‘six tastes’ (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent) which serves to harmonise food cravings by ensuring a balanced nutrition in all meals. Dishes tend to be light on carbohydrates yet still very appealing, so even after a gourmet 4-course dinner you’re not left feeling uncomfortably full. The restaurant sits on the first floor of a light-bathed, glass-framed modernist building that surveys the valley and hills.
Note, the resort has no menus. Instead, the chefs share the day’s lunch and dinner choices with the guests. These meals are flexible – dietary and personal preferences are taken into account while those staying on wellness packages will have meals curated for them. Breakfasts include tropical fruit, vegetable and fruit juices, granola, and eggs cooked any way. Lunch might be a vegetable soup followed by grilled tuna with couscous and greens, and a pudding of rhubarb crumble. Sri Lankan curry is always an option, too.
- All meals included
- Coffee / tea making
- Make a beeline for the spa – treatments range from massages, scrubs and wraps to Ayurvedic treatments by Keralan therapists.
- You can also indulge in the hydrotherapy facilities – a thermal pool, steam room and sauna – and join one of the twice-daily yoga classes (or book a one-on-one session with a visiting master).
- Included in your stay is a 2-hour guided nature walk down to the Hulu River for a refreshing dip in its clear waters, or you can trek a little further to the Hanging Bridge of Narampanawa and visit a Buddhist temple.
- Float in the free-form outdoor pool, meditate on the hillside, or practice yoga anywhere on the resort.
- Visit a handloom workshop or watch the intricate goings-on at a local tea factory.
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Historical sites
- Well being
No children under 12 are allowed due to the tranquil nature of the resort. Families with older children are welcome, though independent children able to appreciate the quiet surroundings are best suited.
Teens (over 12)
Family friendly accommodation:
Families are offered the Garden View Chalets which have 2 pairs of rooms connected by a central passageway. The rooms are airy and shady, and offer a degree of privacy and isolation, but lack the views of the Mountain View Chalets.
Santani Wellness Resort perches on a remote hillside amid 120 acres of wild grassland, tea fields and forests, around an hour’s drive northeast of Kandy in central Sri Lanka.
Colombo Bandaranaike is the closest international airport (140km or 4.5 hrs' drive); an alternative is to fly with domestic airline Cinnamon Air to Kandy’s Polgolla Reservoir Airport (1 hr’s drive from the hotel).
From the Airport
The hotel offers a transfer service by luxury van from either airport. Alternatively, you can take a train from Colombo to Kandy (2 hrs' ride) and then a taxi (1 hr's drive).
The hotel has its own trishaw for short trips. Staff will help arrange transport for longer excursions.
Detailed directions will be sent when you book through i-escape.
- Colombo Bandaranaike International 100.0 km CMB
- Beach 100.0 km
- Shops 13.0 km
- Restaurant 30.0 km