Ulagalla is one of Ampersand's Top 10 Eco Retreats.
Arguably the top property in Anuradhapura, this sophisticated hotel is formed of 25 spacious villas scattered around 60 acres of natural Sri Lankan jungle and lush paddy fields, where peacocks wander and exotic flowers line the pathways.
Right upon arrival at this oasis you will feel relief from the crowds that horde the popular Cultural Triangle sites as you are greeted by fragrant frangipani trees and lily pads at the entrance. The 'welcome ritual' of lighting a traditional candle and ringing an ancient bell adds to this calm atmosphere, too. Inside the soaring lobby, the simple yet stylish architecture and interiors stay true to the 150-year old ‘Wallawwa’ (Sri Lankan manor house) design with dark wooden details, colonial furniture and locally-inspired artwork.
Each of the secluded villas follow this elegant and understated look, with a minimalist colour scheme of mahogany brown and white, which highlights the verdant jungle outside. Designed to make the most of their striking surroundings, they feature floor-to-ceiling windows and wrap around terraces that offer panoramic views and help blend the boundaries between indoors and outdoors. Also, each one comes with a comfortable living area and a marble en-suite bathroom; not to mention an inviting plunge pool, which shines a beautiful bright turquoise against the bright green leaves. Our favourite villa is number one as it offers the most impressive view of the sunset.
Complimentary bicycles are provided should you like to explore the vast grounds independently, or a golf-buggy can be with you in a matter of minutes to take you wherever you’d like to go within the resort. If you’re tempted to venture further afield, you can cycle to nearby villages with a resident guide to get a taste of local life.
You may well recognise this luxury hotel for its large swimming pool flanked by pretty plants and sun loungers, which really is a treat. A fitness centre and a relaxing spa can also be found here, as can an organic garden, which guests can use while taking a cooking class. We love dining on Ulagalla’s sumptuous menu at the first-floor restaurant overlooking the gardens and pool among the other well-heeled guests during meal times. However, if you would prefer more privacy, you can enjoy room service in the comfort of your own villa. Or, you can opt for a wonderful al fresco dining experience; be it in the centre of a paddy field, on the edge of the lake or under a canopy of banyan tress illuminated by candlelight.
Ulagalla offers an excellent range of activities including horse riding, archery, and kayaking on the nearby lake; as well as guided nature walks and cookery classes. Its prime location also makes it the perfect base for exploring Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle, as it is located less than 30km away from Anuradhapura and Mihintale and approximately an hour and a half from Dambulla and Sigirya by road.
Features in the following itineraries
When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.
- Anonymous, India
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India
- Jaime Benitez, South India
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
- Matthew Annable, Rajasthan, India
- Leslie Siben, India
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
- Mr David Wallace, North India
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka