Kahanda Khanda, Sri Lanka
Nestled in its own little forest and tea plantation a short tuk tuk journey from Galle Fort lies Kahanda Kanda, a beautifully eclectic and elegant collection of ten bungalows spread discretely over this verdant property. Each room is individually decorated with a unique style, and this beautiful boutique hideaway is the perfect eco escape for those looking for a unique and secluded spot but still want to explore Galle. Overlooking its own tea estate, it is also a short drive to their new beachfront property so you can have the best of both during your visit. A highly intimate and personalised service completes this stunning property.
On arrival through winding country lanes you cannot help but notice the individual style and serenity of the property. Bold yellow walls lead down to the pool and the restaurant and sitting area is full of antiques and design touches from around the globe and the owner George Cooper's extensive travels. Touches of Europe, Asia, a hint of Central and of course Sri Lanka infused together to give a totally individual style. With views across the KK tea estate and down to Koggala Lake, the scenery and setting is immersed in nature and is a wonderfully well thought out this property for luxury and privacy. The main area flows seamlessly into the swimming pool overlooking the same scenic backdrop amongst a lush tropical garden.
Small paths lead you to the individual bungalows, three of which have private pools, that are scattered throughout the grounds. Exotic names such as the Tamarind or Heliconia Suite give a hint into the classic and uniquely sophisticated aesthetic of each room. Inspiration again is drawn from around the world to create the beautiful interiors. The Dubu Suite is an antique wooden joglo house that was imported from Java, Indonesia with its private curved pool in your garden. The interiors are dominated by a huge four poster bed and traditionally carved ceiling and a huge outdoor bathroom where you can shower or soak under the stars. The ultimate in romantic sustainable luxury set back from the main hotel.
The Garden Suite is another richly decorated bungalow set in a small garden shared with the Tea Suite that has a completely different feel with quintessential 18th Century English Interiors. Decorated with portraits and floral prints the large canopied four poster bed. A large terrace is the perfect place to have a relaxing lunch or read your book whilst overlooking the lake below. All the suites have such different decor and feeling, it is a totally unique experience depending on which one you stay in. There is an air of relaxation that permeates through Kahanda Kanda that is you can either use this as the perfect little bolthole to simply relax or explore the fascinating area that surrounds it.
The countryside in this area is lovely and a mix of rice fields, tea and forest with little villages dotted about. An escorted bike ride is the perfect way to explore the area and even go and visit the new sister property on the coast, the KK Beach which is perfect to split your stay or go and enjoy lunch, maybe some surf or simply relax by the pool overlooking the sea with palms swaying above. This is the latest edition to the Kahanda Kanda family and has a more modern Mediterranean feel on Koggala Beach. The beaches here are very relaxed and have few tourists and some fishermen going about their daily business. It is a beautiful spot to learn how to surf in the good season away from the busier and more popular destinations up and down the coast.
Back in the hills at the Kahanda Khanda Estate the night is quiet surrounded by nature and a perfect time to try the excellent cuisine by the specially trained chefs who travelled to Thailand, so there is an amazing array of traditional, Thai and fusion dishes on the menu. All the fruits, herbs, spices and vegetables used are grown on the property to guarantee they are absolutely fresh and organic and the rest is locally sourced. Such delicious dishes as freshly caught Mahi Mahi with wasabi mash or a red prawn curry are specially prepared for a new menu everyday. For desserts a chef also travelled to the organic chocolate factory in India so why not indulge yourself in the amazing skills honed there with a mousse or brownie with ice cream. Mealtimes are at the discretion of the guests here and special bungalow or garden dining can be arranged.
The wonderful thing that sets Kahanda Kanda apart from other boutique properties in the area is their dedication to sustainability and the environment. Not only the environment that is property is based in but also the community that it works within and the community at large. Not only does retaining the traditional environment and building sympathetically within it, but it also produces organic tea. Employing as much as possible from the local community and surrounding villages and sympathetic to local community and their traditions and religious beliefs. The Kahanda Kanda Collection, a shop in Galle itself also sells clothing and jewellery from around the world of which some of the profits go into community projects helping with disadvantaged children, schools and orphanages. Your stay will not help the local community but have a trickle down effect through this very grass roots and subtle philanthropy that is at the heart of the KK philosophy.
For a completely exclusive and sophisticated eco escape then Kahanda Kanda is a private little oasis, and the perfect place to explore or simply pass tranquil days in the Southern Galle Province of Sri Lanka. With its rich tapestry of design, tastes, tea and scenery it blends together to create a perfect remote and romantic spot amongst the green palm fringed countryside, yet invisible from the bustle below. A wonderful secret little secluded property to explore Galle and beyond this is the ideal place for people who love individual style, a sustainable ethos and fabulous food and service.
Photos Courtesy of Kahanda Kandra & Electra Gillies