Escaping the stress of modern life to this ultra-luxe jungle retreat in the heart of Sri Lanka
The resort is designed to work in harmony with the environment, creating an atmosphere of complete tranquility
The most incredible cuisine on the island
Watching the sun set from their underground, Ayurvedic salt bath
The world-class spa area and traditional health treatments
Santani Wellness was recently named by Vogue as one of the top ten Wellness Resorts in the world, and for good reason. It's an unrivalled escape from the chaos of modern life, designed to refresh and revitalise. Co-owner Vickum Nawagamuwage has travelled to numerous wellness spas around the world, and his goal was to bring together the best elements to create his own Sri Lankan paradise. Goal achieved.
Luxurious simplicity at its best, where all guests will have a completely personalised stay. It starts with a welcome drink and meal, followed by a visit to the on-site ayurveda doctor.
The rooms, dining area, spa and relaxation areas are kept minimal - which has been inspired by the surrounding ancient buddhist caves, where less material distractions are said to help slow the mind.
Every single guest is treated according to their own goals, and a team of medical and health experts will help guide you to the best plan tailored just for you.
Deep in the central Sri Lankan rainforest and tea plantations, Santani Wellness sits on Arantenna Estate - an old tea plantation.
It's an hour and a half drive from the historical town of Kandy, through lush tropical jungle. The resort is perched on top of a hill overlooking the jungle, with the famous Knuckles mountain range in the background and in the valley below, you'll find one of the most beautiful rivers in Sri Lanka - the Hula river.
Each chalet has an unobstructed jungle view - and that's it. They're designed so you can't see anything else.
In the morning, you'll witness the mist rising from the river below, travelling up through the valley and revealing the glistening jungle below.
Breakfast has an equally tranquil vista - in a completely glass restaurant where you'll enjoy 360 views of the surrounding nature.
The rooms are called ‘Ambalamas' which is translated from the Sri Lankan meaning to have a ‘place of rest’.
Santani Wellness is the only resort in Sri Lanka, and one of a very few in the world, where the architecture and design of the entire premise is built to be part of the wellness programme.
Sixteen stand-alone Ambalamas for 1 or 2 people overlook the valley below, and 2 larger rooms for friends or families are set amidst tropical jungle and gardens.
All are centered around the philosophy of minimalistic luxury and are intentionally built to draw the eye to the nature outside.
Ayurveda and spa treatments are the main focus here, along with overall relaxation, rejuvenation and nourishing food. If you opt for an Ayurveda package, you will have daily treatments included in the price.
The resort has an incredible salt bath, heated to a perfect temperature to prepare your body for massage. There's also a sauna with a glass window looking out to the jungle.
The infinity pool overlooking the iconic Knuckles mountain range is another highlight.
You can also take a walk to the waterfalls, rivers and hiking trails, guided by an extremely knowledgable naturist. He will guide you to some breathtaking viewpoints and tell you about the wildlife and edible herbs found along the way.
There are also external activities available, including day trips to the historic town of Kandy, mountain biking, wildlife safaris, or golf at the best course in Sri Lanka. The resort is so exquisite though, you probably wont want to leave.
Rather than menus, a health and wellness expert will help you decide what kind of food you would like during the stay.
Essentially you can have whatever you please or be surprised by some of the best food you’ll have in your lifetime.
The chef is exceptionally skilled - one of the most talented people we’ve met on our world travels - and you won't have the same meal (unless you want it of course) during your entire stay. An example of an evening meal could sound something like this:
Pumpkin brioche scroll with tomato pesto
Tree tomato with fresh bocconcini, olive oil and freshly picked garden leaves
Organic, greenhouse grown broccoli and roasted almond Soup
Pan fried Grouper with green goddess sauce, organic spring vegetables and herb salad
Chef's selection of Santani Truffles
Buttermilk and vanilla bean Panna Cotta with raspberry couli & chewy honeycomb
Santani constantly offers special retreats featuring yoga and healing gurus from around the world. Check their website for the latest offers.
Book a hike to the river in the morning, after breakfast - it's the best time to have an enjoyable walk before the heat sets in!
The resort has a digital detox ethos, meaning there's no wifi (unless you want it, then you can get a router delivered to your room).
Make sure to treat yourself and book at least a week. The programmes aim to take you out of your structured routine and flush away stress. This takes time. And you really won't want to leave.
Santani is accessible from Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport (137 kilometres/4 hours away) via the well-maintained Kandy – Mahiyangana Road. Finding the resort can be a bit tricky, so transfers are best arranged with the hotel.
For a spectacular beginning to your trip, take a seaplane from Colombo and land on a lake nearby the resort.
Prices start from $450USD per night (double) depending on package options and length of stay.
All rates are inclusive of meals, and you can add on inclusions such as a massage programme.
Check the Santani website for more information.
For the latest specials, click on the link below to go through to Santani's booking page on our favourite site, Agoda: