The Kandy House

Gunnepana, Near Kandy, Kandy & Hill Country, Sri Lanka
Book from GBP Book from £295 per night

The Kandy House

Gunnepana, Near Kandy, Kandy & Hill Country, Sri Lanka

Striking historic manor house outside Kandy, converted into a small luxury boutique hotel with an infinity pool

Striking historic manor house outside Kandy, converted into a small luxury boutique hotel with an infinity pool

It may sound like a sweet shop, but it's actually the former home of an aristocratic Sri Lankan family. After a sensitive and stylish restoration, The Kandy House was the region's first (and much needed) high-end boutique hotel. Set within a 6-acre estate on a forested hillside just a few miles from the ancient city of Kandy, it's a quiet, luxurious place to spend a few days near Sri Lanka's cultural capital.

From the outside it's an impressive building, striking in its simplicity with white arches, pillared verandas and rooms set around a central courtyard. Inside, it's comfortably furnished with Dutch colonial antiques, sepia photographs, hand-woven silks and claw-foot baths. Peace and quiet abound, broken only by Buddhist chanting from a nearby monastery and the colourful parrots that dart from tree to tree.

With just 9 calm, elegant bedrooms, friendly hosts and personal butlers, you'll be well looked after. Explore the lush jungle gardens, spot birds and butterflies, and cool down in the large infinity-edge pool overlooking the surrounding paddy fields. Take a tuk-tuk into Kandy to visit the botanical gardens and the famous Temple of the Tooth (the hotel's English-speaking staff can assist you with your plans) and return for afternoon tea or a cocktail and dinner on the veranda.


  • Still Kandy's finest boutique hotel
  • Incredibly peaceful location away from the hustle and bustle of Kandy's congested centre
  • Beautiful freshwater infinity pool overlooking vibrant paddy fields and the jungle (many small hotels in Kandy don't have a pool)
  • The mature botanical gardens that surround the hotel attract all sorts of colourful birdlife and butterflies
  • Every room has a personal butler who will arrange excursions and onward travel


  • Only accepts children over 12 years old
  • The temple nearby has now purchased speakers so on holy days the noise of chanting may carry
  • Mozzies are around at dusk, but you will find a natural repellent in your room and mosquito nets on the bed (but no screens on the windows)
  • Rooms don't come with all the mod cons (including TVs) - a plus for some
  • It's a 20-minute drive into town to find restaurants

Best time to go

Any time of year - the average afternoon temperature ranges from about 28C-35C but generally hottest in March/April. The wettest months are October and November. Come in July/August for Sri Lanka's most important festival, Esala Perahara, with its spectacular evening processions (dates vary each year).

Our top tips

Indulge in a head and neck massage to iron out all those aches and pains. The bar also features a fabulous range of house vodkas in a dazzling array of flavours. Popular with honeymooners are the candlelit dinners for two on the veranda.

Great for...

  • Boutique Hotel
  • 9 rooms
  • Breakfast (+ other meals on request)
  • Over 12s welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • Beach Nearby
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Car not necessary
  • Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • WiFi
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service


Named after the butterflies that flutter through the grounds, the rooms differ in size and outlook, though most have large four-poster beds with soft white linen, colourful cushions and Victorian bathtubs (except Pioneer and Monkey Puzzle, which have showers only). Dark hardwood floorboards hint at the past, white-washed walls create a light and airy feel, and polished concrete in the bathrooms adds a contemporary touch.

The largest are the 4 Ultra Rooms. These include spacious Peacock Royal and Red Spot Duke, which both open onto the wide veranda surrounding the outside of the house. We stayed in the latter, and loved having afternoon tea and cakes on our veranda while watching the birds and butterflies. There's also the beautiful Black Rajah Garden Suite, with a private massage area and octagonal double bath set in the middle of the room. When booked together with the small adjoining twin room (Monkey Puzzle), it's ideal for families with older children.

The 5 slightly cheaper Deluxe Rooms are set around the large 2-storey central courtyard. Of these, Monkey Puzzle and Pioneer (a turquoise-hued room with its own swing seat in the garden) have twin beds, while Sunbeam, Lime Butterfly and Cornelian have double beds. These rooms are a bit smaller, darker and less secluded than the Ultras, so on balance we'd recommend paying the extra for the bigger rooms - assuming budget and availability allow, of course.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • In room treatments available
  • Mosquito net
  • Safe box
  • WiFi


Guests can dine in style in the colonial dining room or on the less formal veranda overlooking the garden and hill country. For a more romantic setting, dine à deux in a romantic poolside gazebo.

Breakfast, served whenever you like, is a tasty selection of fresh juice, fruit, porridge, granola with treacle, eggs, hoppers and toast. Picnics can be arranged for lunchtime if you are out and about; alternatively there is a small snack menu of sandwiches, spring rolls and a special salad of the day.

Every evening, there is a set daily menu limited to a choice of 2 starters, 2 main courses and a dessert. We began with chili calamari and watermelon salad, followed by pork wrapped in crispy bacon, and completed with a zingy passionfruit tart. Any lack of choice is made up for by the quality and freshness of the ingredients, which are selected by the chef every morning. Special dishes can also be arranged to cater for particular dietary needs.

The Kandy House also hosts twice-weekly Sri Lankan curry feasts. With 10 different dishes followed by fresh mango and homemade kulfi (a kind of ice cream), it was memorable for the delicious array of flavours such as okra, ginger and even hibiscus.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian options


  • The hotel is a short drive from the ancient lakeside city of Kandy, Sri Lanka's cultural and religious heart. Visit the Temple of the Tooth, stroll around the nearby Botanical Gardens, or follow your nose into the hills, past tea plantations, old colonial mansions, paddy fields and temples

  • Book early if you want to experience Sri Lanka's most important festival (and one of the most famous in Asia), the Kandy Esala Perahera, a spectacular 10-day event in July/August

  • Golf can be arranged (the Victoria Golf Club is one of the finest in Asia); so can bicycle tours and elephant rides

  • Yoga classes can be arranged; ask the staff for details of yoga retreats

  • A nearby hotel offers its tennis courts to Kandy House guests

  • Further afield (2 hours north by car), you can climb the famous Sigiriya rock; and don’t miss Dambulla for its magnificent Golden Temple - 157 incredible statues of Buddha and imperious ancient wall paintings - which has been a sacred site for pilgrims for over 2000 years and is Sri Lanka’s largest and best-preserved cave temple

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cycling
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Hot air ballooning
  • Museums / galleries
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Traditional cultures
  • Yoga


Children over the age of 12 are welcome. An ideal room for families is Monkey Puzzle, which has twin beds and adjoins with the Black Rajah. The Indian Admiral and Cornelian rooms are also next to each other but do not connect, as are the Peacock and Redspot Duke rooms.

If you have just one child, an extra bed can be added to Indian Admiral and the Black Rajah, but if you have 2 or more, the managers prefer children to take their own room.

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Extra Beds Available

Kid Friendly:


The Kandy House is located a few miles outside Kandy's town centre in the middle of Sri Lanka. It's a 3-hour drive from Colombo's international airport.

By Air
Colombo Bandaranaike (100km away) is the closest international airport.

From the Airport
The Kandy House can arrange a transfer from the airport - see Rates. Alternatively you can take the train from Colombo, which takes half the time (you might want to upgrade to first class, which has an observation car), but bear in mind that many flights arrive late in the evening, after the last train has left.

Budget permitting, you could also catch an internal flight from Colombo to Kandy with Sri Lankan Airlines' air taxi service.

Getting Around
You can take the train on from here to Ella and Nuwara Eliya – a beautiful scenic journey. Staff can also arrange tuk-tuks or cars for day trips.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through


  • Colombo Bandaranaike International 100.0 km CMB


  • Beach 100.0 km
  • Shops 6.0 km
  • Restaurant 6.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests


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Rates for The Kandy House

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