A secluded eco-luxe retreat tucked away in Sri Lanka’s lesser-known Dambulla, Kalundewa is a hideaway for lovers or anyone looking for a touch of the clandestine. At the same time, while intimacy is harnessed, astounding scale is a given: guests have more than a hundred acres of private property to explore on bike, canoe, or by foot. This handsome landscape is guarded by Kalundewa Mountain, and covered by a brilliant expanse of paddy fields and natural water bodies. The only human occupants of this land are the hotel’s guests (a dozen or less, at any given time), the staff who double up as naturalists, and rural farm workers who knowledgeably cultivate the earth. At any time, walking around the retreat is a lesson in natural biology, and with each excursion comes a reward – be it a sighting of a jungle cat or a taste of a freshly fallen pomegranate.
Between these explorations-- or during a thunderstorm -- the hotel’s chalets are utopic retreats. Built by a Sri Lankan architect, each residence comes with a distinct feature: some include delightful plunge pools; others are duplexes that embrace family living. The rainforest-style bathrooms are spacious and open, making showering during a heavy downpour a spectacular delight. Each light-filled chalet is built to so that the outdoors is seamlessly brought inside, and the divide between man and nature is collapsed, creating a hotel without borders.
Finally, if guests should ever feel limited by the world on-site --- though this is very difficult – many wonders await beyond the hotel gates. Here, you’ll find ancient caves temples, charming villages, and tiny shops that remind you that you need fewer things than what you consider your ‘basics.’