A remarkable stay at a 5-star zoo.
Posted Aug 19, 2015 on Hotels
Vil Uyana is an incredible hotel; it's a place where you can access a huge part of what makes Sri Lanka such an extraordinary country. It's built in a restored wetland, so is a bit like staying at the zoo, in the best sense: on the way to breakfast or back from dinner, you see peacocks, langur monkeys, giant water monitor lizards, eagles, bats, civets, frogs, iguanas, lorises. As we left the hotel one day, a wild elephant was right by the roadside, having breakfast. (If you've seen Disney's "Monkey Kingdom", you'll have some sense of the amazing animals; it was filmed at Polonnaruwa, which is close by). The food is good, the public spaces beautiful, the location close to many astonishing ancient sites nearby (as well as several national parks, where you can see elephants by the dozens or hundreds, depending on the season). The staff is warm, courteous, and extraordinarily helpful. There are a few extremely minor bumps because of the remote location -- there is wi-fi everywhere but it is medium-speed, not high-speed (but how do they even manage to have internet access in this wild place? That's a miracle in itself). And during a particularly strong downpour, the power went out twice for two seconds each time. It was barely noticeable. We give this our highest possible recommendation.