All is Well at Amaya Hills
When you’re in a place called “Kandy”, you can imagine there’s only good times ahead. This is certainly true for Kandy, Sri Lanka. Located in some hills not far from town, Kandy offers enough quiet to let you have your own space. As Sri Lanka’s second largest city, there are lots of tourist places in Kandy where you can go sightseeing. But really, the entire place offers a lot of beautiful views that pretty much anywhere is a tourist spot!
But the highlight of our Kandy stay was our time at Amaya Hills, a hotel built atop an old tea plantation. Here, the view was much more splendid than ever. The air was cool and fresh, and you can watch the clouds roll by like a sea of mist. Talk about eye candy!
As soon as we finished the journey through the winding and congested road that led up to the hotel, we were greeted by warm smiles from the staff. They were really into the service, asking how was my day and how they can help (they did this each time I met them!). It was a promising start, and things just got better the more I stayed.
Amaya Hills: Inside it’s even BETTER!
Built as it is on old grounds and with a pretty dated structure, the modern amenities that filled the rooms were a pleasant surprise. They were pretty big, and all rooms had their own balconies. You can choose from mountain or valley views, and there’s also the option to ask for the newly-refurbished rooms. Those committed to a vacation grande can also rent bungalows partway down, which are great for families or larger groups.
The design of the rooms are distinctly Sri Lankan, containing wooden carvings and silk fabrics woven with Kandyan motifs. Sure, you get all the modernities like TVs and air conditioning but you will never forget where you are in. That’s a great way to really get into the groove of the place.
The rooms also have big bathrooms, but sometimes there is a stale smell that has to be aired out. Overall, though, the rooms are pretty fantastic!
The hotel has a good number of amenities for its guests. There’s a gym for those looking for a workout, and there is also a spa for those looking for further relaxation. The spa is a traditional one, using both traditional equipment and treatments. It may not be to everyone’s taste, but the ayurveda massage is pretty good!
A walking path is also present, where you can stroll around by yourself or with a group to watch the local birds. In fact, the hotel even has its own naturalist that leads bird-watching walks. It’s perfect to while away a lazy afternoon if you don’t want to go outside.
For those looking for a little friendly competition, there’s a pingpong area for guests. And, while it may make you a bit chilly (it’s not heated), it’s good to pay the 170-foot long pool a visit if only just for the outstanding view of both the hotel and the Heerassagala Hills! Night swimming is also great. The pool is open daily from 7:30AM to 9:30PM every day.
FOODTRIP! Dining Options at Amaya Hills
On the way to the hotel, you can pass through a spice village which would tell you that food occupies a good place in Kandyan culture. The Amaya Hills restaurant proves that, with its great selection on its menu. My friend Patrick noted the variety, and I realized that this is the perfect place whether you want to try something new and local or something familiar like your comfort food. They have salads, bread, Western cuisine, meat, seafood, pasta, Indian cuisine, and traditional Sri Lankan desserts!
Of course, there’s a bar that had indoor and outdoor seating. Outdoors can be chilly, though, so before hitting the drinks you may want to pick up a sweater first. The violinist playing outside is a pretty nice touch, especially for people who love music like me!
Of course, aside from Amaya Hills itself, the greatest attraction here would be the various tourist spots around! The hotel is the perfect base for this. We had a driver take us down and up the hotel, but if you don’t have one, you can always get a taxi or tuktuk. Or, you may join the treks and outings organized by the hotel itself!
Don’t miss the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, located in the Royal Palace complex. This is said to contain a relic of Buddha’s tooth. There’s also Lake Kandy, which is a man-made lake. On the way here, you can pass the Queen Hotel which is a curious structure from the Sri Lankan colonial past. Then there’s the Botanical Gardens, the Gem Mine, and more!
At Amaya Hills, you can either keep yourself on your toes with all the sights, or keep yourself relaxed with all the views. It’s your vacation, so it’s your pick!
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