To visit Anuradhapura is to relive some of our country's past glories. We file past bricks and foundation and conjure up the palaces and princes written about in our history books. What better place to stay, then, than one which has the same sense of history about it?
The Tissa Wewa Grand Rest House in Anuradhapura is the oldest rest house in Anuradhapura and travel writers throughout the years have praised it. For them, this was the only place to stay. There are many more options now but, for us, Tissa Weva is still the best.
That you can literally walk to Ruvanveliseya is part of the attraction. But what makes the biggest difference is its wide open character. In many of the other Anuradhapura hotels we visited (Nuwara Wewa, Miridiya Lodge, etc) there is a sense of claustrophobia: the narrow hallways feel as if they are closing in on you and the rooms, assuming you make it past the corridors of terror, are small and have low ceilings.
Here, the rooms have high ceilings and the corridors are open up to the verandah and garden. The recent refurbishment has, thankfully, maintained the colonial charm of the rooms with wooden floors, high ceilings and four poster beds. The bathrooms are also newly done in keeping with the design of the rooms: the fittings resemble those from a planters' bungalow.
The dining area is also quite decent but we chose, being lazy, to have our meals (from the very reasonably priced a la carte menu) delivered to our room. The service overall was excellent: the waiters uncomplainingly came over and over again to deliver our various requests, bring items they'd forgotten the first time and pick them up once done.
As Tissawewa is on a former government botanical garden, the grounds are huge and understandably unruly. But with a cup of tea at dawn on the verandah, they take on a new, unusual character and there are WT Keble and all the travellers of colonial days, gazing with you at the Ruvanveliseya through the "fine collection of trees." (Ceylon Beaten Track, WT Keble, 1940)
Hotel Name: Tissa Weva Grand Rest House
Address: Sacred City, Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
Directions: Follow the signs to the sacred city area and ask at the checkpoint.
Phone: +94 25-222-2299. Book ahead on long weekends as there are only 14 rooms.
Rates (half board): AC/New Wing (6 rooms) LKR 6,300. Non AC Old Wing (8 rooms), LKR 3,750
More Photos: See slideshow below or visit Tissa Wewa Grand Resthouse Anuradhapura Sri Lanka on Picasaweb