One of Sri Lanka’s best-kept secrets is a boutique eco-resort spa called, Santani.
Santani is an exquisite eco-resort nestled in Sri Lanka’s heavenly high hilltops. What makes this paradise destination in Sri Lanka exceptional? Santani offers the best of everything while using environmentally sustainable practices. Sintani proves luxury and environmentalism are not sworn enemies; they can, and do, co-exist in a harmony that may surpass our wildest dreams.
Santani is tucked comfortably into the tea hills of Kandy, Sri Lanka. A location that places it some 2000 ft above sea level. I had high expectations for this trip, because of the amazing photos that I had already seen of the retreat. But like with most things in life, I could not be certain until I saw it for myself.
Paths of Possibility: Getting To Santani Resort Spa
From Colombo, it is a 3.5-hour drive to the resort (1-1.5 hrs from Kandy town). The alternative is to take the train from Colombo to Kandy, however, the train only runs at certain times of the day, thus it is better to take a car to the resort and a train back to Colombo if what you want is to experience a train ride in Sri Lanka.
The drive time may seem long, but quickly flies by, compliments of beautiful scenery, and cute stalls on the side of the road where you can stop at to look around and drink fresh coconut water.
When making our final approach to the resort, we drove through a small windy dirt road that took us through local farmhouses. Very rustic indeed! Finally, after about 5 minutes we reached the entrance of the retreat; there, wild shrubs were met by perfectly manicured, minimalist landscaping.
Welcome to Paradise: Santani offers a view from above
I was greeted by the hotel staff with a warm towel–which was much appreciated because it was quite chilly up in the hills, also because it was raining.
I transferred from the car to the resort tuk-tuk which drove me to the edge of the estate. From there, we continue by foot to the villa. Slowly descending the steps, the majestic view of the valley and hills surrounding it appears.
Boutique Resort Spa uses an Abundance of Space to Create Sylish, Minimalistic, Yet Magnificent rooms
Each room is a stand-alone building perched on the side of the hills. The concept is minimalist luxury. You are provided with the essentials in a clean and elegant way. The rooms are designed to converge your attention to the view. This is done by removing all distractions–there are no other windows in the villa– so the mind can focus.
As you walk into the room you are drawn immediately to the view, which is spectacular. The Internet can be arranged in the room at your request. An unlimited supply of mineral water is provided.
The Joy of Eating: Santani Chef, Wajira Gamage
All meals are served at the restaurant. There is no menu: Everything is prepared according to seasonality and the guests’ dietary restrictions or needs (if any).
Before arriving, you will be asked of any dietary restrictions. The chef will check with you to discuss your meals for the duration of your stay. The day before your arrival, they will share the menu they have in mind for you.
All meals are home-made and prepared on site; sourcing as much as possible from local produce and they grow a lot of their own fruits and vegetables on the property.
Dinners are made from a selection of 4 delightful fine dining healthy food courses designed by Santani’s executive Chef Wajira Gamage.
Wajira found his way to Santani after first spending 10 years as the Corporate Chef at Resplendent Ceylon and overseeing the food at Ceylon Tea Trails and Cape Weligama — The only two Relais & Châteaux properties in Sri Lanka. It did not come as a surprise, Wajira is widely considered as the best fine dining Chef in all of Sri Lanka.
His career began in France and is rooted in classical French cuisine. Eventually, Wijira returned to his motherland where his talents are constantly researching new heights and exploring new grounds. He recently did a secondment at Restaurant Andre. It is rated number one as the best restaurant in Singapore and ranks as one of the world’s top 50.
His masterful cooking talents were evident. Each dish is prepared with a lot of care and attention. Beginning with local produce, then prepared using the 6 taste principals of Ayurveda. The food is beautifully presented and ever so tasty. It leaves one feeling deeply satisfied and content after each meal.
Initially, I was worried about feeling hungry in between meals, and it is not like you can’t just pop to the shops to buy snacks. Not once did I feel the need to snack. At times, I even sensed meal time came around sooner than expected.
Santani, Sri Lanka’s Secret Boutique Eco-Resort Spa: Indulge in Yourself in a Santani Song: Spa, Steam, Sauna
When not eating or sleeping, you can indulge in one of the many Santani spa treatments available. Both international and Ayurvedic treatments are used; alternatively, you can enjoy the complimentary spa facilities, including a steam room, sauna and hot pool.
Or if you prefer something more active, take a dip in the infinity pool.
Santani, Sri Lanka’s Secret Boutique Eco-Resort Spa: Mindful Meditation and Yoga
Or attend one of the complimentary yoga classes in the morning or in the evening by yoga teacher Rahul whose practice includes teaching traditional Sivananda Yoga at the dedicated yoga shala. Alongside teaching a unique style of Hatha Yoga and Meditation, Rahul excels in Rhythmic Flow of Energy and Awareness.
Originally, from the Western Ghats, India, Rahul joined Sivananda Ashram; immediately following Ashram he completed Yoga TTC ( 200 hours) and Advanced TTC (300 hours). Since then, he worked in several Ayurveda and Yoga retreats throughout a variety of countries including India, Russia & Slovakia.
The yoga shala is equipped with the yoga essentials you need such as yoga mats, blocks, straps, bolsters and blankets from MADANA Yoga.
Venture out for Adventures
Excursions to nearby sites or treks downward through the estate to a nearby river can be arranged by Santani, if desired. Just remember to bring a rain jacket. You’re up in the hills where the weather changes quickly; it can be sunny one minute, then pour the next. Although it doesn’t last long, the dampness and wind, it can feel quite cold.
Less Meets More: What Is A Boutique Luxury Eco Resort?
Santani is an Eco Resort. They follow sustainable practices and constantly strive to lower their waste and carbon footprint. There is no air conditioning, but there is no need for it — rooms are designed to encourage cross drafts that eliminate warm stagnant air (even with the doors closed).
Sustainable is nice, but not at all costs. I was very pleased there was hot water. Not one time while there did I feel deprived of comforts in exchange of the pursuit of sustainability. Santani strikes a harmonic balance, achieving both efficiency and satisfaction.
Every morning while there, you will find yourself awaken by the sound of birds and the breathtaking view your bed overlooks. Your body adjusts to nature’s rhythms; you effortlessly wake up early and feeling well nourished, the environment is organically energizing and calming.
Perhaps surprisingly, I never encountered problems with bugs or mosquitos in the room, despite being so close to nature.
The staff at Santani were amazingly attentive and kind. If you are celebrating any special occasions just inform them; they will definitely be able to make your stay at Santani even more special.
Santani, Sri Lanka’s Secret Boutique Eco-Resort Spa: Santafsani Wellness packages:
If you go to Santani on a wellness package you will be in for a treat. Depending on the package you choose and your body’s constitution, a personalized program will be formulated on your behalf by Santani’s Dr. Ravi who serves as the resort’s Head of Wellness and Resident Ayurveda Consultant.
Dr Ravi is an Ayurveda doctor and a health and well-being expert who specializes in wellness, spa and beauty treatments. He has worked at some of the world’s most prestigious international resorts and is highly trained in various wellness and fitness practices such as yoga, international massage therapies, nutrition and beauty treatments such as wraps, facials etc. Santani spa treatments and meals are designed to help you achieve the results you seek.
Santani Wellness Resort