HOME AND AWAY
SRI Lanka’s most celebrated architect, Geoffrey Bawa, worked on hotels as well as private residences and public buildings in his homeland, so travellers can bed down amid his striking, and frequently groundbreaking, designs. His Heritance Kandalama property is the prize pick for several reasons. Its location is superb, in the Cultural Triangle of central Sri Lanka, close to the World Heritage-listed 5th-century rock fortress of Sigiriya and the Buddhist caves of Dambulla and about 170km from Colombo. The design is dramatic, and certainly visionary for its time (it was built in the early 1990s); the 1km-long hotel is built into a cliff like some kind of jungle hide-out and is so thoroughly tangled in creepers and banyans that from certain angles the exterior is barely visible. Guestrooms open off winding cement walkways patrolled by bats, and don’t be surprised if a monkey hops on to your balcony. The decor is minimalist to the point of bare and it’s believed Bawa imagined Heritance Kandalama would simply ‘‘bio-degrade’’ in time. The hotel looks over a reservoir built 1700 years ago as part of an elaborate irrigation system. Australian operator Wildlife Safari includes Heritance Kandalama in a range of its tailored itineraries. More: 1800 998 558; wildlifesafari.com.au.