The cottage nestles in a little hollow, surrounded by the ancient trees of a tiny virgin forest – the Udawattakale Forest Sanctuary, a name that means “the wilderness above the garden”. On first impressions, the cottage is a kaleidoscope of green and mellow gold: sunlight filters through the canopy of trees from early dawn until late afternoon, and pools of dappled light dance in enchanting patterns across the gardens. The fragrance of jasmine permeates the cottage, and in season, the coffee blossom jostles for an airing of its fragrance. Bird calls and the chirruping of insects enfold the cottage, which lies on the daily route of a tribe of chattering monkeys. In the serenity of these surroundings, the cottage welcomes you to rest and contemplate – to imagine, to be and to become. Located just 10 minutes from the centre of Kandy, it offers also the perfect location to explore the people and the culture of the city, and discover the hidden beauties of life within and around.
When we acquired Kandy Cottage nearly two decades ago, we hoped to create a home-away-from-home that would to afford city-weary folk and itinerant travellers alike a place to rest, contemplate, and imagine new possibilities. We did not want to create yet another hotel, but a unique experience – a place that would refresh and nurture, and the space and peace to reflect upon (as Douglas Adams once put it) Life, The Universe, and Everything. Most importantly, we wanted to create an environment that was based upon an ethos of understanding, trust, friendship and peace between different communities. At the time, Sri Lanka was still in the throes of a seemingly intractable civil conflict, and we hoped that Kandy Cottage would offer a rare space for reflection and serenity.
While much has changed in the island nation today, the values that Kandy Cottage was built upon remain as important as ever, and we work hard to reflect these principles in the way we run our business. Our staff, for instance, are conversant in all three languages spoken in Sri Lanka: English, Sinhala and Tamil. Our employment terms for the staff take into account the necessity for a sense of ownership and vision, as well as personal accomplishment. We encourage mutual respect and fairness in relationships between managers, investors, and staff through a policy of transparency, and a portion of our profits is directed towards the staff. We believe that our business should be one that benefits and excites all involved, and local residents contribute to many aspects of the functioning of the cottage. We use Sri Lankan and natural products as far as possible, and promote the conservation of the environment and sustainability through responsible recycling.