Vil Uyana is an ambitious and impressive development in Sri Lanka's cultural triangle, more an exclusive rural holiday village than a hotel, and as such is highly recommended. Situated on extensive flatlands immediately to the west of the Sigiriya Rock, Vil Uyana – meaning a garden of ponds - is envisaged as a natural extension to the efforts of ancient Sinhala kings who developed and irrigated this area. Spread over 28 acres, at its heart is a wetland system consisting of paddy fields, marshes, and waterways reintroduced by the hotel. Individual dwellings, luxuriously appointed within, and blending seamlessly into the rural landscape, are located over lakes, marshes and paddy fields. The wilderness provides a natural habitat for birds and butterflies. The Vil Uyana experience captures the heritage and natural wonders of this island nation all in one place. The sound of crickets on a quiet moonlit night, the sight of a peacock strutting by with its glorious wings trailing behind, fruit bats wheeling overhead at sunset, the haunting sound of a flautist coming from the restaurant, and the Sigiriya rock as it emerges from the misty sky at dawn are all sights and sounds that will forever be etched in your memory.
Accommodation is in the form of 36 individual dwellings on stilts situated in five distinct habitats. These huge, luxurious paddy, marsh and water dwellings are connected by wooden walkways. They have timber floors, ceilings of rattan and bamboo and sloping roofs thatched with coconut palm. Forest dwellings are two storey; Garden dwellings are at ground level, Furnished with luxurious king size beds, each dwelling has a private outdoor deck with scenic views and an outdoor dining area. Some have plunge pools on the deck and even private swimming pools. The bathrooms are spacious and elegantly designed with a large sunken bathtub and rain showers. Other facilities include a/c, IDD telephone, mini bar, 32" flat screen TV and satellite channels, coffee/tea making facilities, Bose DVD Home Entertainment system, electronic safe, and even your own sarong, pair of reed slippers and umbrella.
Water dwellings: The four water dwellings (each 1,240 sq. ft) are built over a waterway filled with lotuses. Each has a timber decks that juts out over the water providing a picturesque view of the numerous water birds that inhabits the area. A separate dining deck overlooking the water provides for dining under the stars.
Paddy field dwellings: These 12 dwellings (each 1,240 sq. ft) are built over paddy fields and have small plunge pools on the deck. The village farmers harvest the paddy fields during the season providing a special insight into paddy cultivation.
Marsh dwellings: Six dwellings (each 1,240 sq ft.) are situated over the marsh area. Two have plunge pools on the decks.
Forest dwellings: Bordering the wilderness are the ten luxurious Forest dwellings (each 2,110 sq. ft.). Each of these two story villas has a 22 ft x 10 ft. private swimming pool. The ground floor consists of an open cemented lounge area with plush floor cushions overlooking the swimming pool and the scenic views beyond, an indoor courtyard, and elegant en suite toilet with bath tub and rain water shower. A large spectacular bedroom with an attached toilet with a w/c, and private balcony, occupies the second floor.
Garden dwelling: Five dwellings are built on ground level which seek to re-unite nature with man within an eco-friendly and harmonious backdrop.
Vil Uyana has several dining options including two restaurant areas: Sulang café, surrounded by water, and Apsara fine dining restaurant with magnificent view of Sigiriya. Other dining options include Spa dining at the Island Spa, Signature dining on the deck within the privacy of your own dwelling, Cellar dining at Vil Uyana's excellently-stocked wine cellar, and outdoor dining at the Kamatha, Parker’s Peak Dining Experience, Tree House Dining, Island by the Lake Dining, Spa Dining. Sri Lankan rice and curries, international cuisine and a special vegetarian menu are available.
Vil Uyana's tranquil library has a lotus-filled pond on one side and a waterway on the other. The Island Spa & Wellness Center consists of a fully-equipped a/c gym surrounded by water and a wellness center headed by an Ayurvedic Physician. A wide array of relaxing massages, wraps and body works are on offer. An in-house naturalist can take guests on guided nature walks and excursions.
Why we like it
A wonderfully imaginative upmarket hotel blessed with wildlife and with a real environmental commitment.
Jetwing Vil Uyana is set amidst 28 acres of fertile agricultural lands and has been committed to preserving this environment since its inception, through projects that reduce carbon and energy use, reuse water for irrigation and increase the biodiversity of the hotel’s man-made wetland habitat. Jetwing as a hotel chain have also established the Jetwing Youth Development Project, through which they train school leavers from disadvantaged families in order to give them better employment prospects.
Vil Uyana is just minutes away from the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. The historic sites of Dambulla, Anuradhapura, and Polonnaruwa are all within reach. The journey from Colombo’s international airport takes 4-5 hours.