Among the top hotels on the island - possibly the best - the Uga Ulagalla is a pristine rural sanctuary built around a 150-year-old mansion. A sprinkling of spacious villas are peppered around the estate’s 58 acres, each with their own private plunge pool. The grounds are beautiful and semi wild, and the resort is highly committed to elephant conservation, ensuring that the surroundings are kept safe with the wellbeing of the island’s elephants as a high priority. There are often monkeys scampering about, and it’s sometimes possible to see the elephants in the distance, which is breathtaking. Shimmering water, lush paddy fields, giant lilies… this is a real Sri Lankan fairy tale.
The property prides itself on its flexible dining approach, which means you are able to eat anywhere from your private veranda to a nearby paddy field. For those feeling a little more old school, a quick call to reception will see a golf buggy dispatched to whisk you to the restaurant. It’s all about the service: nothing is too much trouble.
In the heart of the Cultural Triangle, this wonderfully secluded hotel is in a great location for exploring some of the best sites that the area has to offer.
Private plunge pools
Large central pool
Bicycles for each villa
This was the best hotel experience in all of our extensive travels. There really is something for everyone, and the whole family were delighted.
Discover what to expect from staying at Uga Ulagalla
The Ulagalla really means what it says in terms of keeping conservation at the heart of their operation. Having taken on board the fact that elephant-to-human interaction can be a problem where rural resorts are concerned, causing conflict and stress for the elephants, they have taken proper steps to ensure that these magnificent creatures are kept safe in the resort surroundings. They have partnered with eminent local experts to learn how best to preserve the rich ecosystem around the resort, while at the same time minimising human-to-elephant interaction. Though they are still on their journey, it’s truly inspiring to see their commitment to this cause.
The Ulagalla is beautiful, stylish, well located, fun and welcoming. Every aspect shows meticulous attention to detail, and the food is delicious. Is that enough?! But seriously, who wouldn’t want to spend time here? A stay here offers more than just somewhere to rest your head; it forms a big part of your experience of the Cultural Triangle. Not only will you enjoy private experiences and tours, but return to a plunge pool, private villa, exquisite dining, and dark night skies studded with starlight.
The Cultural Triangle is full of places to see and your chosen selection of private experiences will be worked into your itinerary, your way. However, you don’t need to feel you’ve got to fill every spare moment, as you can easily spend plenty of time enjoying what the resort offers onsite. There’s archery, guided tours by tuk tuk and bicycle to nearby villages, horseback tours of the estate, and kayaking in the waterways. You might even schedule in extra dedicated time to fit it all in!
The property has been sensitively designed to fit with its surroundings, with the beautifully-restored the main mansion complementing the ever-evolving grounds. As well as maintaining an admirable commitment to elephant conservation in partnership with local experts, the hotel has established a clean water plant to provide safe water for the local community, champions the employment of local women, and prides itself on training their guides to the very highest ethical and conservation-aware standards. Currently 50% of the property’s power comes from an on-site solar farm, and much of the produce served onsite is sourced super locally.
Combine the island’s top wildlife crowd pleasers with some magnificent hidden gems and cultural highlights before spending some time on the beach.