Holidaying at Sigiriya

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I find travelling therapeutic and I am hooked. Recently, I decided to get away on a relaxing holiday. I wanted somewhere quite close by and with ample activities. I came across, Hotel Sigiriya and I immediately knew that this was the spot. Vitalised by the majestic view of the iconic Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Sigiriya is located within the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Featuring the best view of the Lion’s Rock, the property is owned by LOLC Group’s leisure sector investments clustered under Browns Investments. Hotel Sigiriya creates a comfortable dwelling for travellers enthusiastic about Sri Lanka’s history and heritage.

The staffs were well prepared and greeted me with warm smiles and a welcome drink. Observing the property, I instantly noticed the open courtyard overlooking the stunning Sigiriya Rock and the contemporary interior; the wooden trinkets and decorations add an elegant touch and charm to the place.

The luxury hotel is a perfect hideout from the hustle and bustle of city life, surrounded by the heaven of nature featuring lush greenery and a rich ecosystem. The interior is adorned with light colours and woodwork that make it alluring to the eyes; the ceilings are pretty high which leaves the place airy.

With 78 Superior Rooms, Hotel Sigiriya offers one of the best accommodations in the near vicinity of Sigiriya. The rooms have a spacious area, large windows overlooking the garden, a private terrace and an opening to the garden. The room was neatly arranged and well furnished, the environment and ambience have a homely appeal and complement the surroundings well. Each room is equipped with a minibar, tea/coffee making facilities and a TV with satellite channels.

The rooms are tastefully furnished with interiors that complement the design echoes of the hotel. Earthy colours have been used throughout which reflect the hotel’s closeness to its natural habitat. The rooms are of generous proportions with equally spacious bathrooms.

The tranquillity of the resort blends with the pristine beauty of the surroundings; it felt relaxing to wind down from my hectic lifestyle and let nature rejuvenate the body, mind and soul. The restaurant offers à la carte, a set menu and a buffet on weekends. The cuisine ranges from local to international fare. Local produce is used in abundance and the flavours are fresh and exciting. Focusing on international and Sri Lankan fresh seasonal produces, where the traditional meets the contemporary West. The restaurant opens out to the large garden and overlooks the pool area with a glimpse of the Sigiriya Rock.

There’s a great deal of history that lies within these walls. Whilst the current style and aesthetic is contemporary, there are traditional flourishes as mentioned that give it a combined homey and intimate air. The atmosphere is relaxed, warm and comfortable.

While the property has become part of the fabric of the landscape surrounding Sigiriya for years, it underwent some changes during the pandemic. Hotel Sigiriya Assistant Hotel Manager Thilanka Chandimal said that the property has invested significantly in elevating the numerous offerings at Hotel Sigiriya, most notably by upgrading its rooms and undertaking renovations from August 2021 to update fittings, amenities, and the overall look and feel of the property.  Thilanka shared that the hotel resumed receiving guests at the end of 2021, despite experiencing some challenges. Some key renovations and new additions at the property include the dining area and the Ayurveda Centre which offers a total of five therapy rooms complete with a steam sauna and a couple of rooms. It also has a resident Ayurvedic doctor available for guests to have consultations.

While many people visit Hotel Sigiriya to visit the rock fortress and climb Pidurangala, the hotel is ready to expand your horizons well beyond what you may have planned. The property has a resident naturalist who will guide guests out on excursions and bush walks in and outside the property. There is a nearby lake called the ‘Thalkote’ Lake, which is a key point for locals. While staying at Hotel Sigiriya, you can also do bike rides and experience authentic village lunches in a village only about two-and-a-half kilometres away from the main property.

I also spoke to the hotel’s General Manager (GM) Suresh Athukorala. He stated that Hotel Sigiriya is one of the first green hotels in Sri Lanka, being especially notable for its wildlife-friendly practices. “We do not do night safaris and such in consideration of the welfare of the animals, and we have received certification for being a bird-friendly hotel,” he added.

He shared that there are many educational opportunities for locals owing to the hotel’s unique location. Especially if you come with children, there are many temples, historical sites, and lakes that you can visit to learn about Sri Lanka’s heritage.

With a heavy heart, I packed my bag; it was time for me to head back to Colombo.  It was undoubtedly a perfectly relaxed stay.

By Shafiya Nawzer