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Colombo Short Stay – Your Posh Condo in the City

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With a magnificent setting in the 22nd floor of the Emperor Building, itself part of the five-star Cinnamon Grand’s complex, the luxury condo offered by Colombo Short Stay was an incredible place to spend our last night in Sri Lanka. Out on the balcony, with a bottle of red wine and a view that stretches over the Indian Ocean and most of the city, we couldn’t have found a better spot to wrap up our journey.

Rent Apartment in Colombo

The modern condo has three bedrooms and two bathrooms, sleeps six people, and combines the best aspects of a private apartment and a luxury hotel. Within the condo, you’ll enjoy the comforts of home, like high-speed internet (the fastest we’ve had in Sri Lanka), a huge flat-screen TV, BluRay player, washing machine, giant fridge, cozy furniture, and a well-equipped kitchen. Then you can step outside into the world of a five-star hotel — a swimming pool, incredible (and surprisingly affordable) restaurants, a workout room with ultra-modern machines and great shopping.

The Emperor Building is in one of the best neighborhoods of Colombo, right between the Galle Face Green and Temple Trees, which is where the president lives. And you have one of the city’s best shopping complexes, Crescat Boulevard, mere minutes away.

If you’re staying in Colombo for an extended period of time, definitely take a look at the availability in this condo. It also makes a lot of sense for families or small groups, who might otherwise have to rent multiple hotel rooms. We loved our stay here, and were happy to have such a comfortable final home in Sri Lanka.

See More Photos and Check Availability: Colombo Short Stay – The Emperor
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April 30, 2012 at 7:58 am Comment (1)

The Danish Villa at Arugam Bay

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The bulk of our stay in Arugam Bay was spent in the comfortable confines of The Danish Villa. Tucked back far off the town’s main road, this small hotel has just five rooms, all with attached bathrooms and most with air conditioning.

Danish-Villa-Arugam-Bay

With capacity for fifteen guests, the place feels more like an aristocrat’s tropical escape than a traditional hotel, and the staff are always accessible, hovering about somewhere, in case you need anything. During our stay, we were the only ones there, apart from the house dog who walked us up to the gates every morning. (Well, there was one night when a loud Sri Lankan family booked three rooms and really got into the spirit of place — by which I mean, they felt like they owned it. At 5am, the father woke up in a boisterous mood and yelled up and down the hall to rouse his slumbering family for their day’s excursion. I opened our door to glare at him, but he either didn’t recognize the hatred burning in my eyes, or didn’t care).

The Villa — which proves its Danish credentials with a website in the “.dk” domain — organizes competitively-priced tours around Arugam Bay. Our trip through the Pottuvil Lagoon was actually cheaper through them than when we asked on the street. The villa doesn’t do dinner, which is something we actually appreciated. Guesthouse meals are usually too expensive, and we were free to bring home take-away kottu from one of the nearby restaurants.

We had a great stay at the Danish Villa. The internet, although over a 3G dongle, was surprisingly fast and our afternoons were largely spent working on the terrace, over a pot of tea. If you’re looking for an agreeable spot to snooze, away from the noise of the town’s main drag, you could definitely do worse.

Location on our Sri Lanka Map
Link: The Danish Villa Arugam Bay

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April 17, 2012 at 4:07 am Comments (0)

The Back of Beyond Eco Lodge in Sigiriya

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For our three-day road trip that would bring us to Ritigala, Sigiriya and Dambulla, we needed a lot of energy. Luckily, we couldn’t have chosen a more restful place to spend our down hours: The Back of Beyond Eco Lodge in Sigiriya.

Cabanas Sri Lanka

Located just past the temple which sits in front of Pidurangala Rock, Back of Beyond certainly lives up to its name. After arriving at the correct approximate location, we searched for the entrance but eventually had to call for help. Minutes later a kid appeared on a bike, and led us into the woods down a tiny dirt path marked only by a tall stone slab. We’d have never found it ourselves.

We checked in at around 3pm. Having spent the day at Ritigala, we were tired and the sight of the bungalows and quiet forest setting was extremely welcome. Guests get their own cabins, which are nicely decorated, comfortable and very eco-friendly. All of the buildings at the lodge were built without harming a single tree — wherever one might have stood in the way, holes were cut out of roofs, or walls erected at strange angles, to accommodate it.

The first thing I did was hop in the shower, located just outside the cabin behind a set of high walls. It’s not often I get to shower outside, but with central Sri Lanka’s consistently pleasant temperatures, it makes a lot of sense. We had a full board during our stay, and the meals were fantastic — Back of Beyond offers a wide selection of Sri Lankan food to choose from, like rice and curry, string hoppers, barbecue chicken and paratha.

But best of all was the peace and solitude, especially after tiring days of sight-seeing and hiking. Just sitting on the balcony’s porch, with a good book open on my lap (there’s a small library at the lodge), pretending to read while listening to the sounds of the forest… I couldn’t have asked for more.

More info: Back of Beyond Eco Lodges

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March 24, 2012 at 1:09 pm Comment (1)

A Great View at Kandy’s Hotel Casamara

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Guesthouses in Kandy

Kandy is surrounded by mountains and steep hills, so it’s no surprise that there are a number of places from which to gain commanding views over the city. The Bahirawakanda Buddha is one of the most obvious. The viewpoint on Rajapihilla Mawatha (location) offers an unbeatable perspective over the lake and the Temple of the Tooth behind it. The Slightly Chilled Lounge on Anagarika Dharmapala Mawatha (location) serves up great Asian food and sports another excellent view from the east. But for us, the best lookout over the city is right downtown at the Hotel Casamara.

The Casamara doesn’t look like much from the outside but is the tallest building in its immediate vicinity and makes good use of its height with a top-floor bar. The view of Kandy is different from here, less romantic and more lively, because you’re in the middle of the city. Though the tuk-tuk-clogged chaos of the streets can be stressful when you’re down in it, it provides endless entertainment from above.

This was our favorite spot in town for a drink, and it’s largely ignored by both locals and tourists. We were almost always the only people inside. So if you’re in the mood to relax, and look down on the street life of Kandy like a haughty god, check out the Hotel Casamara.

Location on our Map
Views from Hotel Casamara

Hotel Casamara
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Another fun viewpoint, discovered while we were lost during our final days in Kandy, is at the Panorama Resort high up on a hill, on the eastern side of the city. You don’t actually have a view of the city here, but of the verdant valley to Kandy’s northeast. It’s a great place for a drink — I don’t know if I’ve ever had a more generous gin & tonic — and the view is amazing.

Location on our Map
Views from the Panorama Resport

Hill Country Sri Lanka
Panorama Resort Kandy
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February 28, 2012 at 12:33 pm Comment (1)
Colombo Short Stay - Your Posh Condo in the City With a magnificent setting in the 22nd floor of the Emperor Building, itself part of the five-star Cinnamon Grand's complex, the luxury condo offered by Colombo Short Stay was an incredible place to spend our last night in Sri Lanka. Out on the balcony, with a bottle of red wine and a view that stretches over the Indian Ocean and most of the city, we couldn't have found a better spot to wrap up our journey.
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