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Asia meets Africa – A Safari Lodge with WOW factor
Directly on the ocean, listening to the roaring waves, splashing in the villa’s own pool, enjoying the best curry and maybe even seeing elephants pass by… this is Chena Huts!
Chena Huts by Uga Escapes is situated on the southeast coast of Sri Lanka and was definitely the highlight of our Sri Lanka tour! This small luxury boutique hotel is located directly on the ocean, has a restaurant, pool, spa and 14 villas each with their own private pool.
Chena Huts belongs to the renowned Sri Lankan group Uga Escapes and is the first luxury safari lodge in Sri Lanka. It directly borders Yala National Park, the oldest national park in Sri Lanka.
We were welcomed warmly and greeted with the hotel’s unique welcome ritual: Each guest places their country’s flag next to the “welcome” written in their home language. So you immediately know where all the guests are from.
The 14 luxurious detached guest cabins, each 105 square meters in size, are evenly distributed in the coastal jungle and offer plenty of privacy, peace and comfort.
Wooden walkways connect the cabins with the restaurant, the swimming pool and the spa.
The spacious “huts” perfectly blend into their natural surroundings. Each cabin is hidden in the dense thorn tree jungle, has a terrace with a 5m private pool and views of the wilderness, the lake landscape or the ocean.
The African safari style pavilions are decorated with rustic lamps, warm colors and lots of wood. Very comfortable and modern!
The focal point is the comfortable bed with stylish fan that is shaped like a lotus blossom just like the Uga Escapes logo.
Behind the bed is an open bathroom with a freestanding bathtub and very stylish wash basins. It has the feel of a safari lodge in South Africa.
I especially liked the African kerosene lanterns! So beautiful!
There is also a 42 “LED TV, a mini bar, a variety of tea and a small Nespresso coffee machine.
Unfortunately, you cannot swim in the ocean here, due to strong currents, but just being at the beach, is already wonderful!
And since there are no fences, you can also encounter some wild animals. Not too worry though, the rangers look after guests!
Interview with Manager Roshan De Silva
General Manager Roshan De Silva comes from Sri Lanka and runs the hotel with a lot of heart. He is also a strong supporter of nature conservation and animal welfare!
Sri Lanka has an ingenious water storage system that was created thousands of years ago by its kings. But if it rains too little, even these lakes run dry. When we visited Sri Lanka in January, it has unfortunately, not rained as much as it actually should have. The lakes were almost dry. That is also why General Manager Roshan is so committed to animal welfare and nature conservation. He tries to fill the lakes by buying water with the help of donations ($ 50 for 1 ton of water) as this is the only way to ensure that the animals will have water.
Although each villa has its own pool, there is also a large pool.
No filter – everything turns this pink in the early evening!
Restaurant “Basses” & Bar
Based on the principle: simply sit back and enjoy everything is included at Chena Huts – breakfast, lunch, dinner, soft drinks, cocktails and all other drinks.
The restaurant is named after the lighthouse, which is very close by.
Fruit and vegetables come from a nearby farm and the rice is planted in Ulagalla, another Uga Escapes hotel. It is all very fresh and really healthy!
You have the choice of either dining inside in an air-conditioned area or enjoy the ocean views outside.
There even is a pizza oven. A highlight for children – they get to bake their own pizza.
Fresh fruit juice for breakfast and lunch and delicious cocktails for dinner are available from the guys at the bar.
The à la carte breakfast is delicious! You try to taste as many dishes as possible and tend to eat much more than you actually can.
We also met Holger, the German Chef at Uga Escapes Hotels. He commutes between the Uga hotels and is responsible for the respective kitchens there. And he does an excellent job – everything was so appetizing. Nice and spicy, but very tasty! Of course, there are also dishes that are not spicy at all!
It is so romantic here in the evening!
After a great aperitif a delicious 4-course menu is served!
On special occasions, it is also possible to enjoy a romantic dinner for two right on the beach.
Safari at Yala National Park
Of course you will not see as many animals as in Africa when on safari in Yala National Park, but there are plenty of elephants, buffaloes, crocodiles, monkeys and birds. And the chances of seeing a leopard are quite high in the national park with the highest leopard population density in the world!
Safaris start in the afternoon or very early in the morning.
We have never seen so many kingfishers as here in Sri Lanka. They are simply beautiful!
Our ranger Vidupa and rider Suresh tried their best to find us a leopard. Even the monkeys helped when they raised their alarm.
There he was – the leopard! Although far away – but still, simply seeing this majestic animal from afar is already an experience!
The spa offers massages and beauty treatments. Unfortunately, we did not have enough time to indulge in any treatments, but it looked amazing! Spa Brochüre
The cuisine in Sri Lanka is very delicious, spicy and fresh. Our Cooking Class with Holger was a great opportunity to be introduced to some of the local cooking skills.
I love the Dhal Curry (lentil curry)! And we were shown exactly how to cook dhal and chicken curry. The spicy versions! If you prefer a milder curry, it can be served with coconut milk or yoghurt.
In Sri Lanka, spices, such as curry, chilli and so on are first fried to release their full flavour. A very important ingredient in the local cuisine is curry leaves. Unfortunately it is not freshly available in Germany. These leaves give Sri Lankan and Indian dishes their distinctive taste!
Of course, dishes that are prepared during class can also be enjoyed afterwards!
Chena Huts is a beautiful secluded oasis of tranquility – right on the ocean. The staff is so friendly and the service very personal (which is, unfortunately, quite rare in Sri Lanka). We really felt right at home in this small jewel of Uga Escapes. It was hard to leave this beautiful and exclusive hotel. The pavilions are very stylish, cozy and luxurious. The food is delicious and the all-inclusive concept is great! In our opinion, it was the nicest hotel in Sri Lanka!
Rooms: 14 Pavilions each with their own pool
Flight duration: 12 hour flight from Germany via Dubai to Colombo Airport
Transfer: 250km from Colombo Airport. It is either a 5 hour taxi drive or you can opt to take a domestic flight from Colombo to Mawella Lagoon Airport, close to the town of Tangalle.
Check-in / Check-out Times: 14:00 / 11:00
Air Temperature: 8 to 27.8° Celsius
Water Temperature: 27 – 29° Celsius
Malaria: Malaria free
Vaccinations: recommended are Tetanus, Diphtheria, Hepatitis A and Measles
Best season: Mid May to late September is best when visiting the east and northeast of the island (in the west and southwest monsoon “Yala”); October – mid-April is best when visiting the west and south-west coast (in the north and east northeast monsoon “Maha”); January to March is best when visiting the mountainous areas.
Time Difference: 5.5 hours
Price: From 790 EUR per night including full board, drinks, minibar & safaris
Features: Complete privacy, pure luxury, great pavilions, best cuisine
Perfect for: Couples, families, nature lovers, animal lovers and romantic souls
In Colombo, we also visited Uga Residence – very classy and a true oasis in the big city! 11 Suites are available from 254 USD per night including breakfast.
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Please note: During our stay we were supported by Uga Escapes. Thank you so much! The opinions expressed in the article are nevertheless 100% our own!