Sri Lanka is the most beautiful country I’ve ever visited, and I can’t stop telling people about it! In September 2014 we flew there for our honeymoon – 9 days of touring a completely new country with our own driver and a packed itinerary of amazing sights. We had some beautiful hotels booked for our stay, but my favourite by far was a gorgeous eco luxury hotel in Sigiriya. Here’s my Jetwing Vil Uyana review.
True beauty in a nature reserve
Vil Uyana is an eco-friendly luxury retreat that counts Sir Paul McCartney as a past guest (and he might have even stayed in our villa!). When we arrived, a little damp and dusty from an elephant ride, we could tell we were in for an incredible stay. I mean, to even get to the actual hotel you get a lift in a golf cart to the front desk! As with all the hotels in Sri Lanka, we got a fresh fruit drink and hand towel to cool off with – then they told us we’d scored a free upgrade to a Forest Dwelling villa! This felt like the best thing ever. We hadn’t managed to bag an upgrade with the airline, but this more than made up for that.
The grounds of Vil Uyana are incredible. We visited in a particularly dry season, so we didn’t get to see how lush the forest is when it’s green, but even dry the place is full of wildlife. The hotel is actually inspired by the habitat of the London Wetland Centre, and is of course even more beautiful. Typically, when I checked Instagram a week after we left the rain had fallen enough to bring out all the grass – damnit!
Luxurious Forest Dwelling villas
We got the golf cart to our villa and I swear I almost cried with excitement when we got there. Our villa was the most incredible place I’ve ever stayed in. And if given the chance to live there forever, I’d be gone without even packing a thing.
We spent about 45 minutes looking around the whole villa – snapping photos of the private pool, opening all the boxes to find fresh coffee and teabags, trying on the free sun hats and sarongs, and saying hello to all the cute wildlife hanging around our roof.
One of my favourite bits about the Forest Dwelling was the bath. As part of our honeymoon package, we got a floral bath drawn for us one night and it was so cute! While we were soaking up all the bubbles, our friendly roommate bat fluttered in and out of the roof and a mouse scuttled along the floor and into the shower cubicle. I don’t think I’ve shared a villa with wildlife as cute as this before!
All the little touches
I love it when hotel really make their mark by offering all the little touches to make your stay memorable, and Vil Uyana definitely leave you with memories. They left us a little message on the bedsheets, brought a chocolate cake up to the bedroom as a treat, and were just generally amazing hosts. All of the staff were incredibly friendly and generous, and took the time to chat to us when we walked past on the way to the restaurant. They stopped to talk to us about the history of the hotel and all the animals that live in the grounds too. Nothing is too much trouble for the staff and they pop in every now and then to top up refreshments and check everything is ok.
Delicious food in the calmest restaurant
Vil Uyana is the place I lost my Sri Lankan curry virginity – and I’d give any limb to eat another one. The restaurant has a lovely relaxing vibe in the morning for breakfast and a romantic setting for the evening. The servers are super attentive and were more than happy to explain anything on the menu we’d never heard before. Plus, they walk through the restaurant barefoot, which weirdly makes you feel at ease and chilled out. Maybe it’s because it’s a fairly quiet place anyway and the clip clop of shoes would spoil the atmosphere. Anyway, I ordered the veggie traditional Sri Lankan curry and was amazed at the amount of food put in front of me! I tried everything from all 8 bowls and pretty much fell in love with okra instantly. I’m trying to get hold of it at home and not having much luck, but that just means I’ll have to go back to Sri Lanka for it instead. The food at the hotel was spot on every time and I’m still craving the breakfast pancakes! Next time…