Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Rainforest Edge Kalawana Sinharaja Sri Lanka Hotel Review - Ecolodge / Hilltop Mudhouse
Despite the Sinharaja rainforest being the single most popular destination among local tourists - or maybe because it is? - there are very few hotels there. I've already reviewed Rock View Motel near Sinharaja which is a basic, low-priced experience at around LKR 5,000 full board double. And here is a review of Boulder Garden, a posh but occasionally dank experience, at above LKR 15,000 full board double.
If you're like Goldilocks, Rainforest Edge Sinharaja is like the baby bear. Not too expensive and not too basic.
Rainforest Edge is perched at the top of a tea hill in Kalawana, 8km past the Sinharaja forest entrance. It is not really easy to get to at all but the drive is worth it. It is what they call a luxury eco lodge. What this oxymoron means is that, while the bedrooms have mud walls, thatched roofs and lacquered wooden beds, the mattresses are better than you have at home and the bathroom has better fittings than many hotels in Colombo. The rooms are airconditioned too. It is unnecessary: being open to the tea mountain breezes, the rooms are cool enough that even a fan is unnecessary.
Food is basic but good Sri Lankan rice and curry. It's served like a buffet but cooler. And you end up with Sri Lankan desserts like sago that you used to try to avoid as a kid.
RE has electricity but, at night, the place is lit with storm lanterns giving it a radiant low key glow.
The ayurveda spa has an innovation: the tub is perched on a outcropping on the edge of the hill. So what you see as you lie there is a vertiginous view of the surrounding hills.
Service at Rainforest Edge was excellent; it is managed by the same company as Boulder Garden. But they went beyond the call for us, to the point where they biked to Kalawana town to get me some jumper cables for a dead battery.
What I love about this place is that you get two experiences in one trip: the rainforest and, after a day of trekking, tired and famished, you get to lie down on really comfortable beds with good linen and eat a hearty meal.
Not that we did that, of course: we spent the whole day in the room watching DVDs. But it was still good to think we could have.
Hotel Name: Rainforest Edge Sinharaja
Address: Kalawana, Sri Lanka
Directions: 8km past the Sinharaja entrance is the beginning of the road upwards
Phone: +94 45 225 5912.
Rates (full board double): LKR 9,800
More Photos: See slideshow below or visit Rainforest Edge Sinharaja Kalawana Sri Lanka on Picasaweb