“Eco pioneer hotel with top-of-the-range chalets enclosed by nature and wildlife, and close to Sri Lanka’s ancient citadels”
There are 19 stilted chalets and 1 Villa set over 58 acres so each maintains a sense of privacy and space. Inside you get a bedroom and living area with a dining table, a 40" television and an L-shaped sofa scattered with cushions. A dressing room area has a large mirror and dressing table. There's a lovely tea-making area, too, showcasing Sri Lanka’s best tea: Nuwara Eliya BOP, Earl Grey and green tea.
The bedroom has a kingsize four-poster bed with white drapes. Wicker chairs face the panoramic view, and a door leads to the outdoor deck with loungers, pool towels and a private plunge pool with a Jacuzzi option. There is also an outdoor table and chairs plus the luxurious double lounger with a big umbrella. We had a wonderful view of the scrub, which was a magnet for wildlife.
Bathrooms are lovely and big, with a dinner-plate sized rain shower, and twin basins on a marble slab. Shampoo, conditioner and bath soap are provided as well as bathrobes and slippers.
Chalets are set in the Ulagalla Wing and just 2 chalets are without plunge pools, with bathtubs instead, and are closest to the main swimming pool. Some chalets are more private than others, so honeymooners might like to specify their preference when booking. Fo a great view ask for one of the chalets that look onto the distant reservoir. Two chalets are twin bedded - request when booking.
Nikawewa Villa is suitable for a family or group as it has 2 bedrooms and a large communal area with a 180 degree view onto the lush paddy fields. The plunge pool is really a small pool (10x12ft) flanked by ornamental ponds with stepping stones. The master bedroom has a stunning cinematic vista of the paddy plus a gorgeous bathroom with corner tub and an outdoor shower. The smaller second bedroom has an equally good view but a smaller bathroom with shower only. If travelling as 2 couples or a family it makes economic sense to hire this one.
Meals times are very flexible and there's an all-day breakfast menu plus 24-hour room service with cheese and tomato sandwiches and Asian spring rolls. Breakfast can be served to your chalet, but Ulagalla prefers guests to come to the 1st-floor restaurant. It’s a calm spot, and we loved the view over the pool and frangipani trees.
Breakfast has 5 set options and a fantastic fruit platter including sour sop and papaya. The 'Sri Lankan' offers string hoppers, a beef or chicken curry and sambol. My 'Healthy' included muesli, yoghurt and an egg white omelette, although good intentions were swayed by the pastry basket which accompanied my husband's 'American', filled with mini doughnuts, muffins and banana bread.
At lunch choose from the 5 course or a la carte menu. Starters include a delicious tumble of Parma ham and artichoke. Our main was a succulent filet of kingfish speckled with capers and crunchy vegetables from the garden. Other choices included tom yum soup, tiger prawn and melon salad for starters and beef fillet with mushroom sauce or pork medallions for mains.
After being transferred to dinner by golf buggy (just ring and one appears), we tried the epicurean 5-course menu. We ate very well: chef’s salad with smoked salmon and quails eggs, mulligatawny soup, passion fruit sorbet then breaded fish with béarnaise sauce followed by an avocado cheesecake on caramelised pineapple. It was great to see the cheerful chef come out and talk to guests at coffee. There's a good choice of international wines, although it was disappointing there was only one choice of wine by the glass, a South African chardonnay or cabernet sauvignon red.
Ulagalla has ambitious plans for signature dining where guests can have a romantic table laid in a paddy field or lakeside. We couldn’t help wonder how well soup and sorbet would travel! We liked the sound of the DIY berbecue in your chalet (accompanied by a chef and waiter).
Children are welcome. Baby cots and highchairs can be organised for babies and toddlers. Only one extra child is permitted per chalet - extra beds are available. There is also a babysitting service.
There is a family chalet suitable for up to 4 people, with 2 double bedrooms
Highchairs on request
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking