Ayurvedic treatments at the Amaya Hills spaAfter two weeks of fabulous temples, wildlife viewing and more in Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle, Tom and I headed for Kandy, Sri Lanka’s second largest city. Spice village en route? Check. Temple of the Tooth? Check. Tea Museum? Check. Kandy had much more to offer, but we were about out of energy for sightseeing. So, it was time to take a break. What better place to do this, than the hills above the busting city?

Our hotel, Amaya Hills, was built on the grounds of a former tea plantation. Cool, fresh air and a spectacular view from our suite were just two of the pleasures of our stay at the hilltop lodging. A pool-with-a-view, spa treatments and accommodating kitchen staff all conspired to help us put together personalized spa days of downtime, gym time, with delicious and healthy food to round out the day. We’re mostly on-the-go travelers, but for a few days, could not resist making an exception. Come to think of it, every day seemed to be a spa day at Amaya Hills!

There were many reasons our stay at Amaya Hills was one of the most memorable of our two months in Sri Lanka. Here are six of them.

1. Blissful surroundings

Flowers blossom all around the carefully tended hotel grounds.
Amaya Hills
The hotel’s architecture is based on that of the wonderful Lankatilake Temple near Kandy, with pillared walkways and verandas. The pool offers a stunning view of the valley and at night, the lights of Kandy below.
Welcome to Amaya Hills
Our welcome to Amaya Hills was mood-lifting after a tiring drive, as we lit candles and enjoyed a welcome cup of tea on the cool veranda.
art depicting Kandyan motifs
Rooms and suites throughout the hotel are being updated with tasteful silk fabrics and art depicting Kandyan motifs.

2. Gym & walking paths

We strolled the landscaped grounds of Amaya Hills with the hotel’s naturalist, who regularly leads bird-watching and nature walks hereabouts. A track outside the hotel property took us to a nearby village along a path with great views. Back at the hotel, it was gym time.

Amaya Hills gym
Our gym sessions could not begin to work off the delicious curries Tom and I had enjoyed for the first weeks of our journey, but it felt good to flex out the kinks.
Amaya Hills
Stepped paths bordered with flowers in bloom meander across the Amaya Hills hilltop property.

3. Spa & pool for zoning out and tuning in

An Ayurvedic treatment using herbal ingredients matched to my body and lifestyle was a treat one afternoon. Therapist Amara blended leaves and spices for steaming, and made a mask of sandelwood, turmeric, kokum and honey. After a healing massage, I was a new woman! With more time, I could easily be persuaded to try one of the immersive packages (Ayurvedic Spa offers wellness programs ranging from three to 21 days).

staff at the Ayurvedic Spa create a new water sculpture each day.
In a morning, staff at the Ayurvedic Spa create a new water sculpture each day.
Oil lamps
At the start of the day, incense and oil lamps are lit by staff at the Amaya Hills spa, in a purification ritual that we observed all across Sri Lanka. No photos from the soothing treatments received in the Amaya Hills spa, but trust me, they did the trick!
Poolside atmosphere
Poolside atmosphere continued into the evening, with lights from Kandy twinkling in the valley below as we enjoyed an evening dip.

4. Healthy Sri Lankan food

Sri Lanka's fresh
Sri Lanka’s fresh–and refreshing–papaya and pineapple juices can quickly become additive. And a Sri Lankan breakfast to start our day with plenty of zip: egg hoppers, prawn curry, seeni sambol and more.
Executive Head Chef Weerasekara
Executive Head Chef Weerasekara and his assistant Anurangani showed us how to make the perfect egg hoppers for a spa-day breakfast on the terrace.

5. Friendly, obliging staff

From breakfast through until evening, the folks at Amaya were keen to provide top-notch services. With the help of the good folks at Amaya Hills Hotel, we enjoyed pampering, pool time and sampling Sri Lankan culinary delights. Here are just a few of our wonderful hosts who made our stay comfortable and memorable.

Costumes of Kandyan royalty
Desk staff wearing the costumes of Kandyan royalty, and showered us with royal treatment! Front Office Manageress Shantini David and her team were ever attentive to our needs.
Amaya Hills
These smiling faces–and many more– greet guests every day at Amaya Hills.

6. A view to return to!

Sunset over the Hantana hills
Sunset over the Hantana hills bordering Kandy is lush, melding from pink to russet. Scenes like this one, from our suite at Amaya Hills, are a nightly occurrence.

If you go

Amaya Hills is an excellent choice for anyone seeking the fresh air and breezes of a hilltop retreat, or an escape from city bustle. For a splurge, take a taxi or tuk-tuk down to Kandy for a day of temples and exploration. The hotel also organizes outings such as jungle treks, river fishing, night safaris and bird-watching.

Every room and suite at Amaya Hills has its own balcony with mountain or valley views. Be sure to ask for one of the newly refurbished rooms or suites, or if you are feeling really flush, one of the very private–great-for-families, and self-catering–bungalows part-way down the hill.

Lankatilake Temple
A tuk-tuk excursion to Lankatilake Temple in the village of Rabbegamuwa, makes a great half-day excursion from Amaya Hills. The way is tree-lined and cool, and there are not that many tourists.

* * *

In Kandy, we were guests of Amaya Resorts at Amaya Hills. Thank you for a wonderful stay!

To see all our travel stories from Sri Lanka, click here

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