Having visited Kandy a few years back, it was clearly apparent that much of the charm of the city was in the surrounding hills and on a return visit we were determined to seek out a hillside location. We wanted to take in the last of the Perahera and were pleased when we were able to get a reservation at Villa Rosa; our choice was made on the reviews of the TA Forum. Reviews favourably indicated a great Sri Lankan experience in a boutique lodge like setting and of course the wonderful food- we were not to be disappointed! Before arriving there was very good communication from Volker over our booking and all questions were promptly and succinctly answered.
We travelled from Dambulla- the place we had been at was pricey and sadly lacked the Sri Lanka experience we were after. So many establishments in the country serve western style food that has come frozen from thousands of miles away and is tastelss and flavourless (and expensive). Not so at Villa Rosa!
Kandy during the Perahera is a bustling noisy place; a sharp contrast to the peace and tranquility of the Villa. When you first arrive the road up is quite daunting but you soon come to realise that it forms a barrier between your sanctury, the Villa, and the rabble outside. One of the many charns of the place is the resident tuk tuk service and although geographically it may be a distance between the Villa and dowwntown Kandy, you can get into town anytime you like on the tuk tuk - we never had to wait and it is only a few minutes into town even at the hight of the Perahera. Getting back is very easy- all the tuk tuk drivers know Villa Rosa; it costs but a few dollars and is so much fun!
Others have reviewed the Villa. Think Somerset Maugham; a large, very quiet residence, perhaps from the Edwardian Era, beautiful parquet flooring. high ceilings, great common spaces. Our room overlooked the Mahaweli River- a wonderful vista. It is a very comfortable and intimate place; we felt totally relaxed- it was great to chat with other guests in the lounge and as so often is found at places like Villa Rosa, there seemed to be like minded travellers keen to share their Sri Lanka experiences. While there we met couples, families, solo travellers- most there for the Perahera. You can be as social or private as you like. The area is surrounded by vegetation; the peacefulness at dawn and dusk is only interrupted by the distant chanting from the nearby monastry, the birds and the insects. Some will fault the place and perhaps it is not for everybody; yes, the view of the Sydney Opera House is not the best, the 2 hour drycleaning service was not available during our stay, and only the 06 Dom Perignon was avialable. Volker assured us that these minor deficiencies would be recified before our next visit! Any requirement we had was quickly met by the team and the Villa provided everything we needed.
Perhaps the feature of Villa Rosa is the food. The curry served at dinner is to die for and by far the best food we had in Sri Lanka. I am writing this review from a very expensive lodge (3 times the price of Villa Rosa) near Hatton where the food is not a patch on Villa Rosa. Take the half board package- it is extremely good value for money. We had the opportunity of going with Nilanka to the market in Kandy to purchase the food for the Villa. It was a great insight into the vast array of wonderful local ingredients available and one struggles to understand with what Sri Lanka has,why so many places keep serving up smoked salmon and steak. Villa Rosa seems to be one of the very few who have got it right. I am convinced that the success of this place is due to the European/Sri Lankan cooperation; maybe this is what is not found elsewhere?
We enjoyed a swim at the property nearby that has a large pool- the Villa has a great arrangement with this place. Nilanka took us down in the tuk tuk and on the way back he stopped to let us have an up close experience with one of the Perahera elephants cooling off in a roadside stream- something we will never forget!
If you chose to stay elsewhere on your Kandy visit then you will be missing out, We really enjoyed Villa Rosa and wished our stay had been longer. Thank you to Volker, Nilanka and the Villa Rosa team- you people do it so well!
- Also Known As:
- Villa Rosa Hotel Asgiriya
- Rosa Hotel Asgiriya