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
When booking I actually did not know what to expect, Santani Resort & Spa exceeded my expectation, nestled in the mountains, if one wants to get away from all the hustle and bustle of the city then this is a place, you can't help but to feel relaxed, the hotel staff is very warm and welcoming like one big family, the facilities are simple but amazing, if you go there you have to try their massage one of the most relaxing things I have done. The food was incredible highly recommended.
I have been waiting since Santani opened in 2016 to go here and it took a bout of Typhoid and becoming really run down to get me here. Its a long drive from Colombo and some people fly, but if you are not good with tiny planes in rainy season - drive! Stop at the buddha temple in Kandy and ask your driver to take the Lake view, not the hwy. Its roughly the same driving time and the Lake is spectacular. There are so many things I need to cover... A huge celebrity hang out, for a reason. Its luxury at it's finest. Some things to note. Not a great place to go alone or after a break up. Honeymooners and lovers don this famous retreat centre and it may be a little confronting seeing (hearing) the lovebirds. Note the amazing Pods are not that soundproof. Those sounds in the night are not crickets. Speaking of crickets the Pods are very open so you will have ants and bugs. We had ants in our kettle so its best to ask for tea from the restaurant. Also another thing to note, the loo is open. Perhaps consider this if you are a new couple and have not fully been initiated into the "going to the bathroom in front of each other" stage! These may seem like minor points but worthy of a mention. Try to ask for the pods behind the pool as these are quiet. The ones near the kitchen fan are noisy and on the main in road. Very minor but I cant sleep with a kitchen exhaust fan going on top of me all night. Make it a must to take a tour with the ranger in the morning at 10am. Its a great workout down to the river and he knows EVERYTHING about the land. Bring covered shoes, there are snakes, most non poisonous.The land is 47 acres and it is magical. It is organic tea fields and has a very special energy, similar to that of Ubud in Bali. THIS energy can not be fabricated or bought. It is very, very sacred. The people who visit Santani range between very cool artists, to Instagram selfie goers. This may not be everyones cup of tea. This was not the case for us. We had a very social time and loved the guests, super fun from all parts of the world. Famous chefs, Pakistani actresses, Italian Artists and Yogis were the crowd we had and we socialized into the early hours.
The manager is very down to earth and it makes you feel no request is too large. Lets face it, Santani is very imposing. Its like walking into an Art Gallery. You almost don't want to sit down it is too perfect! The views are breathtaking. So to have management make you feel welcome and at home is very important. Especially if you visit at a time when the "beautiful people" are there. We found, even though it was full, we had the Spa, Sauna and steam room to ourselves all weekend. There is an Ayurvedic Dr in house. The yoga teacher from Kerala was amazing and they have Kundalini Yoga teachers in house in July and August which is very progressive. It is a yoga destination. Now to the food, wow. So. Much. Food. The menu is really flexible, while set, if there is anything you want to replace, nothing is a problem. We had so many meals, I give them all Michelin Star ratings. I trained under Michelin Star chef and I am very, very fussy. There is a reason Nigella Lawson comes to Santani. While it is also a weight loss centre, don't do this. Come for the food, and rest. Don't starve yourself, its a waste of a journey to Santani! The pool was a little cool for us in June and it was stormy but we loved watching the rain clouds come in each day and night. Pack some sweaters and socks. It gets REALLY dark at night - take your torch everywhere. The bugs also come at night so make sure you lock up before turning the lights on. Watch the glass doors, my friend smacked his nose and broke it walking into the spotless glass! The manager came running with ice very quickly. Take advantage of everything Santani has to offer. The spa, nature walks and Yoga. You will not be disappointed. One big bummer for me was the smoking. You come to nature and a wellness retreat to cleanse. For a non smoker this was a big turn off. They need to make Santani wellness Non Smoking. Alcohol is extra on your package price and it is not cheap. Its a good time to eat clean and detox anyway. I did not get bitten once my mosquitoes and they normally love me. The sun can be strong when out so bring a hat. Santani is absolutely worth the price tag!
We have recently had a 2 night stay at Santani and wow, it was amazing!
The rooms are simple yet charming, the food is healthy yet absolutely delicious and the staff are always smiling.
The rooms have no air conditioning but that wasn’t a problem at all. The sound of nature through the evening and night took a little getting used to but quickly became a soothing sound and views and breathtaking.
The yoga was amazing - like nothing I’ve ever done before but something I hope to continue.
The food however is the real star of this hotel - it’s incredible!! You have to try it to believe it!
We checked into Santani for a 7 night Ayurvedic retreat and what an amazing retreat it was.
Accommodation: absolutely beautiful. Clean and perfectly located looking over the Candy Mountains. Bed was extremely comfortable and thanks to the smart design, we really felt like we were living amongst nature but with luxury that Santani living brings. We’d read from other reviews about privacy concerns, this is definitely not something to be concerned about due to the attention to detail Santani put in positioning their rooms. Yes it is true that the toilet in the room has no door but it is housed behind polished concrete walls and discretely positioned to not cause concern of being overlooked. There was no iron in the room, however we were delighted to discover complimentary laundry and ironing service. What we would say though is they need to perfect their ironing as we had to send several garments back for a second attempt. This is us being ultra picky but what I can say is that they delivered on the second attempt, perfect and on hangers.
View: the morning wake up call by nature was dreamy. The animals letting their voices be heard, the mist floating down the mountains and the sun lighting the tips. Best wake up call one could wish for
Food: chef is so talented. Having agreed to a Ayurvedic diet aimed at increasing energy and losing weight, it was a shock the first day when our mainly liquid diet turned up. The green soup for breakfast was ‘interesting’ and at first I thought it was gonna be too tough to do a week of such food. Of course, it only got better. The chef and house doctor worked together taking into account our dietary requirements, goals and preferences and as the days progressed, the food only got better. The initial days is a bit of a shock but well worth it as by day 3 we were eating like queens (clean cleverly crafted delicious dishes) and we felt fantastic. Bloated feeling had passed, energy increased and thoroughly enjoying our meals. The final day, the chef put together a combination of our favorite ingredients and served us an amazing array of Sri Lanka Curry’s. Having said all this, you don’t have to decide a programme until you meet with the Doctor or in fact go on a program at all. The food will still be fresh and healthy enough and you always have a choice between a Western or Sri Lankan meal. The manager always asks you at breakfast. We would recommend trying a few days though on a cleanse. As there are no menus for food or drinks, we would have appreciated to understand what was on offer in terms of drinks. We missed out on the wine on the first night when we weren’t on the Ayurvedic diet and therefore only had a drink on our last night.
Staff: well-trained attentive and good sense of humor. They consistently kept us on track with our duet despite hinting at bribes for a coffee, almost daily. Overall very well mannered and caring.
Activities: we participated in yoga knots every morning which was fantastic. Yogi Rahul was knowledgeable and took into account all abilities. A few days we stayed behind for a private 30 minute meditation tutorial which really helped our understanding of the practice.
One day we took the walk down to the river which was a dream. Normally sets off at 10am, however we requested a 6:30am walk and the manager arranged without hesitation.
The pool is relatively small but more than sufficient for the 20 room retreat. Temperature perfect, beds comfortable and view breathtaking. Our only small criticism is that they need to consistently serve the pool area as there’s long periods and even a day when we had no service at the pool. I’m sure our feedback at the time will have already changed this for future guests.
Spa: where to start?! Our 7 day package included a 90 minute daily treatment. What a blessing. Each treatment unique and the therapists are so well trained. The manager for me was the best. I’d consider ourselves quite well versed and blessed with treatments, however the deep tissue was truly amazing.
In summary, we can’t recommend Santani enough. The staff, accommodation, food, knowledge, location, treatments and activities are world class. We will be revisiting and looking forward to booking again very soon!
This place was everything and more - the property is stunning, the staff are amazing, we had treatments that were incredible we soaked in the warm salt bath, enjoyed the steam and Sauna room, practiced yoga with a wonderful teacher, did a tour of the tea factory, and hiked the mountains. The staff were really great and the food we ate during our stay was some of the best food we had ever eaten anywhere in the world. I highly recommend this property it’s simply divine and like us you will not want to leave.