Madulkelle Tea & Eco Lodge in Kandy: Recharge in Sri Lanka’s Tea Country
“If you are cold, tea will warm you; if you are too heated, it will cool you; If you are depressed, it will cheer you; If you are excited, it will calm you.” – William Ewart Gladstone
Green. Everywhere you look. Green. This is what was waiting for us after waking up at 4:30 am and traveling for nearly seven hours (read more about traveling through tea country by train here!). We traveled from Nuwara Eliya, and it took us two tuk tuks, two trains and one car to get to this haven high up in the hills of Kandy, and boy was it worth it.
Madulkelle Tea & Eco Lodge is an hour’s drive away from the heart of Kandy, and offers 18 safari-like lodges with the most incredible views over Kandy’s mountain ranges. Each room has its own private balcony overlooking the tea plantations below and the breathtaking sunsets and sunrises. The climate, unlike coastal Sri Lanka, is dry and much milder, so expect warm days and cool nights (thinking of visiting Sri Lanka? Read this!).
I found out about this heavenly resort through none other than Instagram, and the visual wanderluster in me knew right there and then that I had to visit this place the next time I was in Sri Lanka. Have you ever been to a place where everything is perfect and you’re ready to pack your bags and move in? This is one of those places. We stayed for two nights and I could have easily stayed for ten – nay, twenty!
The rooms at Madulkelle are spacious and are what I would describe as eco-luxe, dahhhling. Comfortable and classy, but not pretentious or pompous – make sense? You can’t see the bathroom, but it’s behind the separating wall and has a standalone shower and toilet, with a sink area in the middle. The water is heated through solar powered heaters so while hot water is limited, you’ll be fine as long as you don’t shower in the dead of night. Make sure you keep the “front doors” of the tent shut at dusk, because the mosquitoes in tea country are straight outta X-Men.
We also had a sneak peek into the honeymoon suite, which has its own jacuzzi-style bathtub on the balcony, TV (what for?), lounge area and in-room wifi (there is free, high-speed wifi in the restaurant, but not in the deluxe rooms).
How do you put a price tag on these kinds of views? Simply put, you can’t, but if you had to, we paid $250 a night (including taxes) for our stay in March. Every afternoon, we sipped tea (naturally) on the balcony and watched the sun go down over the misty mountains and in the morning, we were offered out-of-this-world views of the sun rising and illuminating the hills, little by little.
The spa is the epitome of serenity and relaxation. As soon as we walked in, my boyfriend and I were greeted by the lovely staff and beautiful nature mandalas created out of flowers floating on water. We opted for a full body aromatherapy massage and while the pressure was a little too gentle for my liking, my boyfriend was in heaven. That being said, I am a masochist when it comes to massages. There’s one thing we both loved and that was the amazing scalp massage: for the last 10 minutes of the massage, we were asked to move to a chair where the ladies proceeded to give the most divine scalp and head massage while we gazed out into the mountains. Dreamy.
The infinity pool is what other infinity pools aspire to be when they grow up one day. The lounge chairs are the perfect setting for a lazy afternoon lie-down, and the pool is perfect for cooling off after a hot day and looking out to the Knuckles mountain range (the mountain formation resembles knuckles – get it?).
The main reception building houses a bar, snooker table, lounge area and indoor/outdoor restaurant. There really aren’t any dining options outside of the hotel, and while many other hotels would take advantage of this by charging their guests extortionate prices for meals, Madulkelle has kept their drink and food prices extremely reasonable, without compromising quality – I’m talking $15 USD for a delicious three course dinner. $15!!! Breakfast was massive and delectable, with eggs cooked to order, sausages, crispy bacon, freshly baked croissants and the most finger-lickin’ good banana and butter cakes, baked onsite.
The best part about the food at Madulkelle? Most of the ingredients are grown in their own organic vegetable and herb garden!
Things to Do
The hotel offers a number of activities for its guests – waterfall excursions, treks, tea factory tours – but we did none of that. Oops. The kind of head space I was in was more conducive to recharging by sitting back and soaking in all the hotel had to offer (with a glass of wine in hand), rather than putting on my walking shoes and getting all hot and sweaty. So sue me!
You can, however, explore and take a leisurely stroll around the hotel’s premises and tea plantation to your heart’s content. The hotel is surrounded by tea plants and the plants are picked regularly by women dressed in delicate saris. If you ask nicely, they’ll be happy for you to take photos (always ask!). If you’re not the laziest person in the world like I am, here are all the excursions the hotel offers.
There are a number of ways to get to Madulkelle – we took a car from Kandy town (hour-long drive, $30 USD) followed by a 15 minute ride in a tuk tuk (200 rupees – about $1.5 USD!) once the roads were a little too rough for the car. If you’re feeling ~fancy~, the hotel can be reached by sea plane or a helicopter!
If you’re interested in seeing the sights in Kandy (Temple of the Tooth, Royal Botanical Gardens etc.), I would actually recommend that you find someplace to stay in Kandy town, and visit those landmarks either before, or after, your stay at Madulkelle to save yourself the trouble of driving up and down the mountain range.
All-in-all, I am counting the days until my next visit to Madulkelle Tea & Eco Lodge. I’ve always been a glass-half-empty kind of person (I know, I know, I’m working on it!) and if there’s something to nitpick about, chances are I’ll be the first to pick that nit – but truly, this place was wonderful and the staff (Hello Kithsiri! You’re the best!) were so friendly, helpful and accommodating. What’s even better is that they donate $1 from each booking to their children’s development program and a portion of the hotel’s proceeds back into community projects. What’s not to love?
Are you thinking about visiting Sri Lanka or have you stayed at Madulkelle before? I’d love to hear from you below!
I stayed at Madulkelle Tea & Eco Lodge as a paying customer, the opinions on Yogawinetravel.com are, and always will be, my own!
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