About 200km north east of Colombo, away from the city’s irrepressible din and dusty streets, lies Anuradhapura, the birthplace of Buddhism and one of Sri Lanka’s former ancient capitals. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it makes up one third of the country’s cultural triangle, with the spectacular rock fortress of Sigiriya in the centre and the city of Kandy to the south.
In the middle, among the verdant planes of the region, and within close proximity to each of these locations, is Ulagalla. Deep within the countryside, off a dirt track, the resort is set over 58 acres of land that centres around a grand 150-year old house, once the ancestral estate of local Anuradhapura nobility, and that has now been renovated to accommodate the hotel’s public spaces.
Scattered among the dense foliage and rice paddies, 20 glass-walled, raised private villas each come with their own plunge pools, providing the perfect refuge to hole up and attune yourself to the seductive sounds and sights of nature.
This is further encouraged at the Liya Wela restaurant, where a flowing, open design provides the perfect platform from which to watch the abundance of exotic birds and grey langurs dancing in the treetops.
The food - an offering of both local and western dishes - is so palatable, that it’s best to work off any indulgence with one or two of the resort’s activities, which includes horse back riding and archery.
And after a day spent exploring the ancient ruins of the nearby sites, we suggest a dip in the pool, before stopping off at the spa for a treatment that uses Uga Escapes’ specially blended oils and scrubs, featuring Sandalwood powder.