On my most recent trip to Sri Lanka with my Mum, I was keen to show my Mum some of the most dreamy places to stay around the country, and Living Heritage Koslanda is definitely one of the most unique places to stay in Sri Lanka.
Unlike most countries in the Western World, high quality, excellent service, and drop-dead gorgeous hotels do not equate to bank-balance shattering prices. Luckily for visitors, luxury hotels can be found at relatively budget prices and these hotels will honestly take your breath away.
The thing that impressed us most about Living Heritage Koslanda was the element of surprise! We didn’t know much about it, hadn’t spent hours trawling through photos and Instagram or Booking.com and sort of just organized the stay last-minute through a new friend in Sri Lanka.
We arrived in the evening after dark, having taken a long train journey from Nuwara Eliya to Ella, so as we approached the end of a bumpy road, over an hour south of Ella in an area called Koslanda, we actually wondered for a flickering moment if we were in the right place and if we were, had we made a mistake coming here?! Our driver eventually made contact with the hotel, got better directions than I was giving (I’m pretty awful with maps and directions!) and we eventually made it down the long winding entrance to the impressive tall gates welcoming us into the resort.
REVIEW: Living Heritage Koslanda Eco Resort
After one of the tastiest dinners we ate in Sri Lanka, we asleep in the largest hotel suite I’ve ever stayed in my life. The entrance, living room area and bedroom were honestly the size of a large NYC apartment!
However, it was still very dark and the rain was relentless, so we still had no idea where we were, why they had chosen to build the hotel in such a remote location, or what the surroundings around the hotel looked like. Until we woke up and gasped.
My Mum runs into the bedroom at about 7 in the morning shouting, “Janet, get out of bed! The sun is out and you aren’t going to believe the views. I’ve already walked all over the resort and even spent time chatting with the hotel architect!” typical Mum waking me up at the crack of dawn!!
I jumped out of bed, treating myself to an outdoor shower in our private garden area at the back of our suite and a quick dip in our outdoor jacuzzi – I find no point staying in a hotel with perks like this unless you use them at every opportunity possible!
Once dressed I pushed open the front doors of our unique Sri Lankan-style living room space, to be greeted with one of the most mesmerizing hotel views in Sri Lanka. Yes, a view that even rivals that of Jetwing Lake Dambulla! THIS was why they build their hotel in Koslanda.
The resort itself was set in what felt like a valley, completely surrounded by lush jungle, green meadows, towering mountains and waterfalls pounding the rocks of the nearby riverbed..all while large, puffy clouds sailing past the resort, drifting in between the nearby peaks. A short walk from one of the largest waterfalls in Sri Lanka, the hotel also had their own impressive private waterfall on the grounds.
My Mum and I sat down to eat breakfast in a dreamlike-state, happy to eat al fresco under the warm morning sun sitting silently in disbelief at the breathtaking views before us. Just like dinner the night before, and despite the fact that there were only 4 guests currently staying in the hotel, the food consisted of a heavenly spread of local Sri Lankan dishes and of course the sweet smell of freshly brewed Ceylon tea.
After breakfast, we made our way up to the pool to relax before a full day of adventures. The swimming pool is set in one of the highest points of the resort, an infinity style pool with panoramic views to the valley below full of terraced rice fields and small, winding roads through the fields. It’s a view one will never forget and one I kind of wished I could etch in my memory forever.
We spent the morning chilling by the pool and exploring the resort including the forest, river and small waterfall. The hike was a bit slippery but was very beautiful and it’s hard to believe they have such an enormous hotel grounds.
In the afternoon, along with our awesome driver, hiked up to the top of Diyaluma Falls, a hot and sweaty hike but so worth it thanks to the views and stunning photo opportunities with the waterfall. The starting point of the hike is less than 5 minutes up the road from the hotel. It can be a little tough so be sure to wear proper shoes and bring sunscreen and plenty of water.
There are actually two parts to the waterfall, upper and lower so once you reach the top be sure to keep walking along or you’ll miss some of the best parts. Depending on the season and how powerful the water is, you can jump in and go swimming here!
While at times the resort did feel a little distant from Ella, where there are mountains to hike, tea plantations to visit and waterfalls to hike up to, I think it’s the perfect escape for people who live in big cities and want to be “one with nature”. For the two nights we were there we fell asleep to a jungle full of noises, slowly enticing us to sleep.
I sat outside at one stage just for 20 minutes to record some of the sounds and couldn’t wipe the smile off my face – it really is a very unique place to stay in what feels like the middle of a jungle.
My only advice would be not to visit in rainy season as the weather did get us down by day 2 as the rain was totally relentless. The eating area, while it has a roof over it, is outdoors and we actually felt a little chilly on the first night as we were quite tired, the rain was coming sideways and there was nowhere indoors to sit and relax apart from the bedroom itself.
Rain aside, Living Heritage Koslanda is a magnificent luxury property and its unique location and resort layout make it one of the best places to stay in Sri Lanka by a long shot. Pure magic.