Santani Wellness Resort & Spa
What We Love
- A buzzed-about destination spa on a former tea plantation, with an all-inclusive wellness programme The one-to-one guidance of internationally trained wellness experts
- Knock-out views of the forest, mountains and rice fields from every angle
- The design concept of minimalist luxury, allowing the idyllic scenery to do the talking
What To Know
- This health retreat has holistic programs, an in-house Ayurvedic doctor and a customized meal plan of raw foods, juice cleanses, and even biodynamic wine
- Bliss out with hydrotherapy spa treatments or a dip in the infinity lap pool
- Gorgeous minimalist architecture puts the views front and center
Located in the green heartland of Sri Lanka on a vast former tea estate, the setting of this hilltop sanctuary is alone enough to refocus frazzled minds. But Santani takes the concept of wellness to new heights – 2,800 metres above sea level, to be precise – with an architecturally striking retreat overlooking rice paddies and distant mountains.
It’s been described as the country’s first fully-fledged destination spa – and what a debut. With minimalist interiors and a staunch eco conscience, Santani Wellness Resort & Spa guides guests towards inner calm with holistic programmes that are completely bespoke. At a basic level, you’ll find all the core features of a serious health retreat here: juice bar, raw foods, detoxing (digital and otherwise) and yoga. To that, Santani adds the services of an in-house Ayurvedic doctor, a custom meal plan devised for your individual goals and, if you like, the odd glass of biodynamic wine – it’s about balance and not extremes, after all.
When it comes to relaxing, descend level-by-level into the spa for hydrotherapy or take a dip in the infinity lap pool with the wilderness for a view. In fact, the indoor-outdoor design means there’s an impressive vista to gaze upon from just about every corner – not least, the private balcony of your elevated ‘Ambalama’, or ‘place of rest’. An understatement, we’d say.
How to Get There
We left feeling so relaxed and spoilt. The food is absolutely amazing and all the staff are world class (both in terms of how well they have been trained and how friendly / attentive they are). I really can’t remember experiencing better staff at a hotel, and perhaps only had this level of service at visits to 2/3 Michelin Star restaurants in the past certainly not for a while stay. It was a very special couple of days for us as part of our honeymoon and we couldn’t recommend it highly enough for anyone wanting to relax and be pampered.
This was a perfect place for us to relax inbetween sightseeing in other locations (hotel is a decent drive from anywhere and secluded - perfect for switching off from the rest of the world, but would not personally advise as a sightseeing base if that is what you are after given the seclusion).
Meals are tailored individually and the chefs were always very happy to do something bespoke or send food or drinks to the room. We had a wonderful private dinner for two which the staff had laid on as a surprise. The views are spectacular and we loved the whole setup. Hard to fault anything really..
We too stayed here as part of a large English cricket group, meaning that our experience was not exactly the traditional Wellness one! However, the place was amazing. Very minimalist (more of that later) but beautifully relaxing and with outstanding views from all the rooms and restaurant. I’m a bit of an insomniac, but just loved watching the vista from our room as it got light.
The food was amazing. We had a choice of Sri Lankan or western, but chef was happy to do discuss what you wanted and the curries were delicious. I had a couple of days off from the cricket and chef put together lovely salads for my lunch.
The pool was lovely. The spa (although very minimalist) was comfortable, a lovely hot salt bath before your treatments, steam room or sauna afterwards. My massage was outstanding, following a discussion about my requirements and needs. Open treatment rooms meant you could enjoy the view of the gardens and listen to the birds. Bliss.
Probably the highlight for me was my two yoga sessions. Once in a thunderstorm, with monkeys playing in the trees, it was exceptionally spiritual, and the chanting of the yogi so calming. So much more so than my yoga here at home in a studio within the gym!
So why only four stars - well, the bedroom was rather too minimalist for our liking. Nowhere to put our cases, inadequate storage, nowhere to sit as the two chairs were covered in our stuff. No loo door! Rather a lot of polished concrete. This place is very expensive, and we feel that with just a little care the rooms could be transformed. Noise also carried and you could clearly hear your neighbours conversations.
Also, the steps were (in our opinion - probably older than the average guest) were poorly lit at nighttime, and the track from the top of the steps to the restaurant was bumpy and with large stones and not easy, even with the torch supplied. There were 120 steps from our room to the dining room, albeit quite shallow ones. We felt fit at the end of our six day stay! It would have been nice to have slightly less polished concrete in the rooms and slightly more on the tracks.
The staff were without exception delightful and helpful. I loved our guided walk down to the river. I don’t want to give an unfair review because, as stated, we were there for cricket and not the Wellness experience, and were most likely very different from the normal guest. However, I feel quite strongly about the negatives I have mentioned, hence the four stars.
This is our second visit to the resort and there will be a third after this! This is one of the best resorts I have been to and one of the best places to unwind! It was absolute heaven. We stayed 3 nights but could have easily done ten. The rooms are simple yet exquisit and the food is healthy and absolutely delicious. For dinner you could chose the Western menu or traditional Sri Lankan. I had a few spa treatments and each one was bliss. I went on a guided river walk with a group of guests which took us down a dirt path below the property for the opportunity to swim in cool fresh water. Amazing. This is a place where you can completely switch off and just chill whether it's in the spa, the swimming pool or on your own private balcony with mountain views.
We will definitely be back soon!
Where do I start?!.. These past four days have been very interesting to us, unfortunately not in a good way. We are a couple who is used to traveling and which likes to explore different places. From high end to average places we enjoy exploring other cultures and accommodations. To come straight to the point: the price we invested into Santani-Resort is not acceptable!
For over 700 USD a night you at least expect some benefits like an ayurveda introduction or a well equipped spa. In fact one massage with a “discount” of 25% is even more expensive than getting one in Europe with the same Ayurveda-treatment. The staff is kind and friendly, unfortunately though not used to fulfill the needs of western expectations in in this price category. We haven’t been served our dinner at the same time once for the past four days due to the service. In addition to that the staff seemed to have a hard time to understand to bring us some plain tomatoes or avocado for our breakfast. Things we thought were basic seemed to be groundbreaking requests here.
Besides that the food and the view from the resort were lovely. Western standards which meet the local cuisine.
The spa unfortunately was like the rooms: Disappointing! The spa-staff seemed mostly confused and not really knowing how to consult us when it comes to Ayurveda or basic massages. Also every guest is “welcome” to spend another 150$ per person to be consulted which treatment and which diet is appropriate for them. By spending over 700 USD a night you would at least expect these kind of “consultancies” being included in the price.
The beds in the rooms are ok. The open toilet, the dark bathroom lighting and no air conditioning takes time getting used to though. Friends of us and ourselves haven’t been able to sleep through the night due to a temple which is close by and where loud noises and prayers come from every morning around 6.
All in all we are leaving this place disappointed. The reason for us writing this review is due to our final experience at Santani where we have been told by the guest manager to receive a lunch before our departure which will be covered by the hotel. When we came to the restaurant to receive the lunch - one hour before leaving - exactly the same manager informed us that he will charge now 32$ for a meal (the meal would have included a soup and a quinoa salad). That is unacceptable!
This place feels like a total rip off and by having spent more than 4000 USD for four nights, we definitely wont recommend it to anyone nor come here again.
The hotel is quite far from kandy and the drive from the Colombo airport takes around 4.5h. But it's worth it. The view from the mountain chalets is just beatiful and unique.
The area is more than relaxed. The facility is quite simple with its big room for yoga which is beatiful as you are surrounded by birds songs and trees. The spa facility is quite huge, the massage takes place in a covered room with view to the garden, hearing the nature sounds during treatment is great. The level of massage treatments is really high. The therapists are working on excellent quality level.
Going back to the rooms, they are embedded in the nature, there is no firm sidewall on the top of the chalet, means you hear the sounds of your neighbors. I personally was missing a bether roller shutter to dim out the room better as sunrise is very early. But might be that the hotel wants their guests to be awake for morning yoga session starting at 07am :-). The rooms are rather small, there is no door to close the toilet room.
Now let's come to one of the best points: it's the hotel's kitchen, there are no words to describe the ecxellence of the menues. We have rarerly had such delicious food. And the service level is again very high.
The only thing we had to get used a little bit is that you had to tell them after breakfast what you want to have for lunch and dinner. But again, for sure there is several reason behind this, not to forget logistic constraints and to avoid food wastage.
If you wanna go for a walk on your own you can, but there are some constraints (leeches, snakes and scorpions). So be careful.
We really can recommand this great place and we would come again!