Santani Wellness Resort — Kandy, Sri Lanka

View of hotel suites with mountainous view
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Sri Lanka’s long civil war literally interrupted the travel plans of an entire generation of intrepid travellers. Happily, in the eight years or so since the end of that unfortunate conflict, the country is once more back on the itinerary, and how. 

The Santani Wellness Resort, nestled in an abandoned tea estate in the high central hills of Kandy, is emblematic of a new generation of luxury accommodation that is springing up across the interior, bookended by fabulous beach-side outposts. 

Designed by Thisara Thanapathy Associates, the 18-villa property is both grand and intimate at the same time. Grand, by way of huge public spaces with generously proportioned hollows that, from every side, take in views of the lush green terraces and gently rolling hills, whilst also seeming to disappear into the tableau. Intimate, because of the way thin strips of metal and salvaged timber cocoon occupants within light, airy and minimalist pavilions – inspired by Kandyan architecture – that practically float above the foliage. 

Spread over three floors that include a cedar wood sauna and al fresco thermal salt pool, the spa also makes a lovely counterpoint to the kitchen’s wholesome menu that’s customised to the Ayurvedic dosha (or body and health condition) of each guest.

Balcony over looking the trees

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Dining area with glass panel walls

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Outside seating area on wooden decking

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Inside wooden furniture

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Arantenna Estate 


Daven Wu is the Singapore Editor at Wallpaper*. A former corporate lawyer, he has been covering Singapore and the neighbouring South-East Asian region since 1999, writing extensively about architecture, design, and travel for both the magazine and website. He is also the City Editor for the Phaidon Wallpaper* City Guide to Singapore.