Vil Uyana, Sri Lanka

This is truly ‘back-to-nature’ bliss. Traditional Maldivian water villas perched on stilts over an idyllic lagoon and paddy fields make up this authentic, luxury hotel. Designed by award-winning environmental architect, Sunela Jayawardena, Vil Uyana is the ultimate in ‘green’ luxury. The wetlands and paddy fields were reintroduced by the hotel to encourage the wildlife here, and the staff are even trained in energy and water conservation. Luxurious and environmentally friendly: pretty impressive, we think.


In the centre of Sri Lanka, Vil Uyana is set among acres of flatlands with perfect views of the 8th wonder of the world, Sigiriya (a colossal rock fortress and palace ruins) – a pretty inspiring sight to say the least. You’ll be surrounded by paddy fields and forests with uninterrupted views no matter where you look for a countryside experience in the middle of the Cultural Triangle.

Your room

The 25 self-contained villas are set in three different habitats – water, paddy field and forest. We love the authentic rattan and bamboo ceilings and coconut palm thatched roofs for that rustic touch above your anything-but-rustic room. With huge king sized beds, flat screen televisions, Bose entertainment and amazing sunken bathtubs, you’re not exactly roughing it. They even give you your own sarong, slippers and umbrella. Is there anything they haven’t thought of? We don’t think so. In the larger villas you can even indulge in a private plunge pool on deck to soak in while you watch the local peacocks wander by.  Hang out on your deck for a seriously intimate experience under the stars accompanied by the music of a few hundreds crickets. Perfect for that back-to-nature feel.

Why we like it

We love the fact that you can eat where you like, when you like and there are enough perfect settings to dine with a new incredible view every night. How about dining on fresh local food with views of the 8th Wonder of the World? Or at the spa after an Ayurvedic body wrap? Perhaps on your private deck, in the amazing wine cellar, or by the paddy fields with rice and curry served in a banana leaf. Vil Uyana can make it happen. We rarely see so many food options in one place. It’s definitely far away from the same old hotel restaurant every night.