Nestled away, deep in rural Sri Lanka, is the newly opened small luxury hotel Palmstone Retreat. Open since June 2015, this niche property offers an essence of Sri Lanka that is largely untapped, an inland escape that combines luxury with nature and best of all…a river runs through it.
The hotel is plush, offering every creature comfort imaginable and the best of living standards, in the middle of nowhere. That is its charm and certainly its strength, because it does not rely on convenience of access, focusing instead on privacy, nature’s considerable gifts and all the comforts of home away from home. Small, intimate and well managed, Palmstone Retreat has much to offer the discerning traveller.
This is Kitulgala, but not as we know it. Off the beaten track, this retreat has a million dollar location, tapping all that is still wild and unpolluted about our magnificent rural areas, maintaining a careful footprint yet not compromising the many luxuries of modern living. If one is to escape to where you cannot be found, or disturbed, then this is a destination experience worth considering.
Access isn’t easy, windy roads take you on an adventure around stunning vistas, before you arrive at the gates of opulence. Only a few kilometres from Kitulgala, when you do reach the destination, you are cut off from all other forms of civilisation, which is what I loved most about it.
Palmstone Retreat has 3 chalets, each with 2 independent rooms, which in total comprises 6 luxurious suites, 3 with outdoor private pools. No expenses have been spared on the fittings, as each room features glass walls offering panoramic views of the gushing river a few steps away from it. Each chalet is at a comfortable distance from the other, giving guests privacy and open areas to lounge in to commune with nature. The bathrooms are expansive and plush, and special mention must be made of the monsoon showers, they are the most powerful we have experienced, after countless reviews for LT!
Food & Beverage
It is in this area that Palmstone Retreat has more development to undertake, as is the problem with most out of reach hotels. Fresh produce of the land could be utilised more, because Sri Lanka has such an abundance of unique tropical fruit and vegetables. The Sri Lankan food is definitely the better option to select here, and the rice and curry is excellent. In terms of dinner options, the set menu varies from the fancy to the average pasta but more attention is paid to presentation than flavour. We hear that a new F & B consultant will be on board this year, so there is much to look forward to because the potential is certainly there. The service is exceptional, all the way down from the experienced GM Tyrone Morrison to the junior waiters in training.
What LT Loves
The River! We walked down, under the advise of management to the recommended spot at the foot of the property and there were rock pools and fast flowing water. An enthusiastic swimmer, this was one of the most refreshing and breath-taking river swims of my life!
The Communion with nature was another opportunity we can never take for granted. From the sound of gushing water to the cries of insects at night and the magnificent landscape, Palmstone Retreat makes the most of a truly stunning and distinct slice of Sri Lanka.
The waiting staff are in training and eager to please. Bright smiles from our eager waiters at each meal and a complete desire to do their best was incredibly endearing. It is great to see young staff being trained so well and it was hard not to hug them goodbye when we left! It really was exceptional service and all credit to the GM for his guidance in this area.
Things To Do
Some of us work hard and therefore like to do nothing on holiday! So this was an opportunity to relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of the river and all that comes with it. For those less inclined to vegetate, options are plentiful.
The management will happily offer excursions and recommend adventure sports providers in the area – which then opens up a host of opportunities for thrill seekers, from kayaking to canyoning and white water rafting – Kitulgala is surely the adventure sports epicentre of Sri Lanka. There are TV’s in each room but we look forward to DVD’s and perhaps a mini library for guests as on rainy nights, the lack of movie channels can force you to talk to your partner for longer than necessary! I jest of course, because the lack of anything to distract is also great for romance, but not so fun if you are travelling alone.
Address: Koskanuwala Watta,
Mahabage, Kithulgala, Sri Lanka.
Phone: + 94 364932111