Stay: Kalundewa Retreat – Dambulla, Sri Lanka

This eco-oasis near Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle may perhaps be the region’s best kept secret. Spread across 100 acres and framed by lush mountain ranges, the Kalundewa Retreat is an impressive feat of unity between architecture and nature. Two chalets and one bungalow are are stilted above a marshy lake amidst the mangroove trees, providing an all-day show of the surrounding wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for frogs leaping around the patio, look up for glimpses of rare birds (we even spotted a wild peacock), or listen for the sounds of water monitors making a splash. Wildlife is plenty here, and Kalundewa is committed to keeping it that way.

The resort maintains a minimal human footprint. More than 50% of their electricity is produced through solar panels, and the part of their agriculture land is irrigated by ground water pumped through a windmill. Their on-site garden harvests one of Sri Lanka’s largest collections of herbal plants and variety of fruit trees, while equally employing residents of a nearby village and serving guests fresh and seasonal fare.

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Waking up inside the Kalundewa Retreat feels like a lingering dream. Glass floor to ceiling walls collect steam from the humidity and act as a permanent window to the outside world. A draft of cedar and cinnamon breezes by while light begins to fill the room. Guests can spend the day at Ulpatha – the retreat’s natural spring pool, bike around the lake, walk through the rice paddies and fruit trees, or head into Dambulla to explore the temple caves.

Ideal for couples or individual soul-searchers looking for some peace and seclusion, the Kalundewa retreat promises an unforgettable nature-immersed experience. You’ll leave this oasis feeling rested and refreshed.

Book your stay via i-escape here.

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