Vil Uyana

Epicureans, Historians and Eco Warriors

PRICE: Affordable

RATING: Big thumbs up

Uniquely situated amongst the reed beds and paddy fields in the shadow of mighty Sigiriya, in Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle, Vil Uyana was described by the discerning hedonists at Harper’s Baazar magazine as the best eco luxury hotel in Sri Lanka. It’s got some pretty stiff competition, but it’s not an accolade we can take issue with.

The remarkable thing about this hotel is how seamlessly the hotel blends with its surroundings. By employing timeless vernacular architecture, the creators have ensured nothing looks out of place. If you didn’t know it was a hotel, you’d take it for a traditional local village. Which makes it all the more impressive when you discover what lies behind the facade once your driver has delivered you to the door.


There are five room locations: water, marsh, garden, paddy and forest. And a number of the categories have their own private plunge pools. All are tastefully furnished using local materials, with a heavy accent on bamboo and teak wood. The roofs are thatched using a combination of reeds, palms and jute.

All this makes for slightly dark interiors but the spectacular contrast of the verdant green lowlands and Sigiriya rock beyond make picture windows that make more compulsive viewing than any telly blockbuster.

And while rustic in appearance, the rooms feature a plethora of modern amenities, including luxurious bathrooms and mini-bars.

One of the most wonderful things about staying at Vil Uyana is eating in the evening at the Apsara restaurant – the food is divine – while gazing out at the views of the lake and the looming, iconic Sigiriya rock.

Yonder Insight

The Vil Uyana spa has an excellent range of genuine high quality Ayurvedic treatments. It is worth trying ancient Ayurvedic healing at least once whilst in Sri Lanka.

On your doorstep

Go on the loris night trail. The Loris is a small nocturnal primate and Vil Uyana is famous for its conservation efforts, with the preservation of the loris central to its strategy.

Thoughts on a postcard

We climbed up to the treehouse to discover our table laid for two in the little nook. It was the most perfectly romantic evening in the most extraordinary setting.

Every great journey starts with one small step

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Vil Uyana: The Map



In the heart of Cultural Triangle and up close with nature: ecologically constructed villas spread across 58 acres where you can encounter monkeys, peacocks and lumbering elephants. Think sustainable luxury in paradise, with space, privacy and huge glass walls.

Cinnamon Lodge

Spread across 37 acres, home to 138 species of birds, two species of primates and 2,000 trees, this hotel is modelled on an ancient royal palace. Liberal use of ebony wood in large bungalow style rooms looking onto verdant gardens.

The Mud House

Top experiential hotel deep in rural SL, surrounded by lakes and untouched nature. Ornithologist’s paradise. Rooms are open-sided huts with mosquito nets and charming outdoor bathrooms. Organic food cooked over open fire in clay pots.