Sir John’s Bungalow is a refurbished century-old planter’s bungalow set in the remote village of Riverston within Sri Lanka's Knuckles Conservation Range. It is surrounded by picturesque mountains and is well-liked for its simple but comfortable accommodation. Originally the residence of a British tea planter who managed the surrounding estate, this colonial-period bungalow is now a five-bedroom guesthouse blessed by numerous birds and other wildlife, including wild buffalo, barking deer, fishing cats, mongoose and occasionally the elusive leopard. During the dry season from June to September, wild elephants wander about the estate in search of water. Sir John’s Bungalow retains its old-world charm, with hardwood floors and a fire place in the living room, and has comfortable bedrooms and courteous service. The property follows a strict eco-friendly philosophy, harnessing solar energy for electricity and using water channelled from a spring in the mountains.
There are five bedrooms, furnished with twin or double beds, which have spectacular mountain views.
Veranda Wing Rooms: Of the three bedrooms, two are triples and one is a double. All three rooms open onto the veranda where breakfast is usually served. The attached bathrooms have h/w showers.
Sirigiya View Room: A spacious family room furnished with three single beds and a double bed. Equipped with a flat screen TV with satellite channels. The attached bathroom has a cast-iron bathtub and h/w shower.
Sir John’s Room: This master suite has one double bed and a single bed. The bathroom with a cast-iron bathtub and h/w shower is located a level below, accessed via a wooden staircase, so this room is not suitable for those with mobility difficulties. There is a flat-screen TV with satellite channels.
Traditional Sri Lankan rice and curry and western cuisine are on offer, prepared with fresh vegetables and other produce from the nearby town. As Sir John’s Bungalow is in a remote area, it is best to discuss your meal preferences ahead of time with the chef who will ensure that tasty meals are prepared to your liking. Whilst breakfast is served on the veranda, lunch and dinner is hosted in the main dining room which has a ten-seater table and some smaller tables. Fresh juices, Ceylon tea and coffee are on offer and guests are welcome to bring their own alcoholic beverages. Other facilities include books on Sri Lanka’s wildlife and nature, board games, room service and a doctor-on-call. Mobile phone connections tend to be erratic in this mountainous area, but there is a landline in case of an emergency. Sir John’s Bungalow has a team of helpful staff, headed by the manager who is also an experienced naturalist. He has a thorough understanding of the fauna and flora of this region as well as other parts of the island and is ever-willing to share his knowledge with guests.
Why We Like It
This slightly dated colonial-style bungalow gives a satisfing sense of isolation deep in the Knuckles mountain range
Sir John’s Bungalow, about 1,000 feet above sea level, lies in the remote village of Riverston within the Knuckles Conservation Range, about 45 minutes north east of Matale. It is about two hours from Kandy.