Set high in the hills on verdant land near the Victoria Golf and Country Resort, Clingendael is perfect for those who want to discover this storied part of Sri Lanka and play 18 holes as well. The hotel is designed to evoke a ‘steeped-in-history’ feel and experiences range from the tea museum to nature trails in the shadows of the Knuckles Mountains.
We felt the temperature drop immediately on our ascent into the Kandyan Hills, just 30 minutes away from Kandy. Clingendael – a homely property – is located high on the hillside, meaning that stunning views of the surrounding greenery overlooking the Victoria reservoir are on offer. And for those with an interest in golf – although we preferred not to see it ourselves and focus on the real nature – won’t miss one of Sri Lanka’s top championship golf courses and country clubs.
Each of the five rooms at Clingendael is individually appointed and named after a colour, except ours – The Master Suite, the best in the house – decorated with a quirky collection of artwork, period antiques and furniture in old-world style (including a large four-poster bed). While the aesthetic is representative of the past, the amenities on offer were contemporary. Every suite is positioned to make the most of the magnificent sweeping views.
Escapism is high on the agenda here. Clingendael definitely offers tranquil seclusion for those looking to get away from it all and down pace. There isn’t a lot to do on-site admittedly, but we found ourselves lounging by the pool a lot (again with a spellbinding view – you get the picture now, right?), which was exactly what we needed to recharge our batteries.
Dining was all on-demand and informal – the kitchen and (almost) private chef stood by ready cook up anything we wanted from an international menu … what we wanted; when we wanted; to be served wherever we wanted. No club sandwiches for us, we opted for mouth-watering local classics at every meal.
We were told that there was a group before us that bought-out the whole resort for a celebration. We thought that was a great idea, but even as single-room guests while Clingendael was close to full, we felt as if we had the whole place to ourselves.
Right on time
While you’re Out There
Head to the funnily named Knuckles Mountains, it’s a biodiversity and conservation hotspot with trails that induce anything from an amble to a far more strenuous climb. It’s called so because its five peaks form the shape of a clenched fist.