Indulging in Kandy. Pampered at the Amaara and Offerings at the Temple.
High on the Bahirawakanda mountain range stands a tall, glass-encased building with an amazing view of the city of Kandy down below. We make our way up steep and winding roads, and as we climb higher and higher, the chill in the air gets nippier at this early morning hour. But it is a welcome respite from the scorching heat in Colombo. We follow small name boards and, after a few wrong turns finally get to our destination- the Amaara Sky Hotel in Kandy.
Warmly welcomed and immediately made to feel at home, we refresh on cold towels and fresh juices before going up to our Suite on the 3rd floor.
The Suite, our abode for the weekend is tastefully furnished and comfortable. The sitting room leads to the large bedroom and en suite bath, all of which are furnished comfortably. A mini fridge, a large television with cable TV and DVD player makes this suite extra nice! But the best part of this room is the fantastic view of distant mountains, and the city below. We linger on the balcony that gives us a 180-degree view of Kandy. A thin mist covers the distant mountain range.
After a delicious continental breakfast, I head off to the spa to indulge in a soothing head and shoulder massage. Forty minutes later, feeling totally de-stressed, I am now ready to face the rest of the day!
Back in the heart of Kandy town, shoppers throng the streets and the pavements are bursting at the seams. Kandy never fails to amaze me as tradition blends in seamlessly with the modernity of trade and the emerging trends of the younger generation. We make our way slowly to the Kandy City Center. This buzzing ultra modern mall has many premium brand names, leading banks, a supermarket, numerous restaurants, an entertainment zone and a very popular food court. We start with a Baskin Robbins soft cone ice cream before we mingle with the crowds!
Right across the street from the KCC mall is the Temple of the Tooth Relic and we want to pay homage. Appropriately covered in a hastily purchased shawl (at the KCC) and a tray of lotus flowers (outside the Temple premises), we shed our shoes and wander inside this highly venerated sacred ground. From the entrance, the Mahawahalkada with its moonstone carved in typical Kandyan architectural style and stone elephants and exquisite paintings that line the inner walls of the entrance, the Temple of the Tooth Relic is shrouded in the sanctity of the Lord Buddha’s teachings and relic. The smell of jasmines mingles with the scent of incense and the sounds of quiet murmurings echo the stanzas from the inner temple. We offer our flowers at the alter and move along, gingerly stepping over people, in deep in prayer.
We return to the Amaara Sky later this evening. The chill is back in the air and we are starving. The ala carte dinner menu has a range of mouthwatering options and we settle for grilled fish and chicken kebabs. Needless to say, both dishes are delicious. A nice glass of white wine tops it all off. We are ready to call it a day.
But not before we sit out on the balcony that now overlooks a city that is lit up for the night. House lights sparkle down below us like twinkling stars. The honk of a distant car horn is the only sound that disturbs our reverie.
Ahintha Amerasinghe, Managing Director and his son, Danukh, who is the Director of Sales and Marketing are obviously devoted to Amaara Sky. Father and son insists that all their visitors ‘feel at home’ and go that extra mile to ensure their guests are welcomed and treated well. This is true. The smiles and the sincerity is something rare in big hotels. Actually this is what makes smaller establishments better options than big hotels.
This 12-roomed hotel has all the trimmings for a relaxing and refreshing stay. Room service is at your beck and call with no restriction on time. The chef is always obliging to customize food orders to our satisfaction. The front office staff is well versed in advising on what to do and see in Kandy. Special tours are also arranged if required.
The service is courteous and respectful. The food is fantastic and the menu is substantial. Bar drinks are on order as the management has yet to receive a liquor license. During mealtimes guests have the option of sitting out on the terrace or indoors in the dining area. We have our breakfasts and dinner out on the terrace. Another unique feature about the Amaara Sky Hotel is the art that decorates every wall in every room, passageway and facade. According to Ahintha, the Amaara Art Gallery will continuously showcase works of art by different artistes.
Now imagine indulging in a Spa in the sky! Located on the topmost level, this glass encased Spa is so inviting and an absolutely must as you can sit back and enjoy a spectacular view whilst in the Jacuzzi.
But word of caution, the insignificant signboards can be easily missed and one wrong turn can mean another five minutes of driving along these narrow roads to find a suitable spot to turn the vehicle. But this is no fault of the management as they are still awaiting Municipal Council permission to erect bigger boards.
Despite the temptation to stay longer, we have to pack up and leave. The road ahead does not seem so daunting. After all, we are have had a great weekend.