When we arrived in Kandy after the incredibly beautiful (yet incredibly long) train ride from Ella, we had no idea what a treat we were in for. We already had high hopes for Aarunya resort from seeing the photos on their website and scrolling through their awe-inspiring Instagram feed, but somehow our expectations were still exceeded.
Aarunya is located just a quick half hour tuk tuk ride from the station – it’s hard to believe this luxurious, peaceful resort could be so close to the hustle and bustle of Kandy town. Situated atop a mountain peak you truly feel a million miles away. Simply arriving at the resort gates and seeing the lush greenery was a jaw dropping moment. From there, a friendly staff member picked us up in a golf cart to take us to the foyer where we were greeted with freshly squeezed passionfruit juice and cold face towels to refresh after the journey.
We were taken to our villa (Villa Cinnamon) which was just breathtaking. It was so spacious, beautifully styled and best of all, we had our own jacuzzi overlooking coconut trees. It also had possibly the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept on, where they had written “Welcome to Aarunya” in flower petals upon our arrival.
We spent the first afternoon settling in, drinking tea on the terrace in our Aarunya uniform *bath robes*. Later on we ventured to the main dining area where we played a few games of pool whilst sipping passionfruit mojitos before dinner.
Our dinner was the most delectable Sri Lankan spread (possibly the best traditional food of our entire trip). In true Sri Lanka style there was a large selection of curries, a variety of roti bread and hoppers (egg and plain – if you’ve been to SL you’ll know what I’m talking about). We’re going to create a few recipes inspired by the trip which we’ll be sharing very soon!
The Aarunya grounds were so beautiful that we decided to treat ourselves and spend the entire next day relaxing at the resort. Their website refers to Aarunya as a destination, and after experiencing if for myself I can say that I whole heartedly agree. We had breakfast delivered to our room which consisted of dahl, vegetable and fish curry, as well as some roti, string hoppers and rice – it took me a little while to warm up to the idea of curry for breakfast but with curries this good I’d eat them any time of day. You can also opt for a Western breakfast which includes a yoghurt and cereal parfait, fruit platter and eggs (any style).
Our slow start was followed by a long session by the infinity pool which had spectacular views of Knuckles mountain. We caught up on reading, went for a dip and sipped on refreshing mango smoothies. Just before sunset we indulged in a hot stone massage at the Aarunya outdoor spa. The outdoor element really enhanced the experience with the fresh air and calming sounds of nature.
We contemplated hitting the Aarunya gym which had beautiful panoramic views but decided we were a bit too zen. Instead we did some yoga on our terrace and went for a walk around the grounds (the villas are scattered over 7 acres of tea, fruit and spice plantation). What I loved most about the grounds was the fruit & vegetable garden which had everything from medicinal spices to tropical fruits. Their aim is to have the majority of ingredients used in the restaurant sourced from the Aarunya garderns.
If you have a few more days to spend here, you can also chat to the staff about organising day trips. They provide tailor made experiences and excursions from waterfall hikes, temple visits and trips to Kandy village/markets, to full day excursions to Sigiriya, National Parks and Sunrise over the famous Adam’s Peak.
Whether you’re looking to rejuvenate by the pool and indulge at the day spa, or have an action packed few days seeing the sights of Kandy and its surrounds, there is no better place to base yourself. It is world class luxury with boutique and personalised service to ensure you have a holiday you will never forget.
I will be sharing another Sri Lanka blog post soon with some suggestions for where to go, where to stay and of course – where to eat!