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Living Heritage Koslanda – forest pavilion review 

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I’m of the firm opinion that everyone should spend at least one night at Living Heritage Koslanda while exploring Sri Lanka. But be warned, you’ll be tempted to book more. We originally planned a two night stay at this boutique hotel in the Hill Country. But after just one sleep, we asked if we could stay for a third. 

*This post contains affiliate links*

Koslanda is a very special place where you can immerse yourselves in nature, switch off from the tourist trail and enjoy a bit of luxury. Oh, and it welcomes families too – not something you might expect from a place that could easily market itself as a couple’s retreat.

Everything is stunning, from its hand-built forest pavilions to its private waterfall. No wonder I took more photos here than anywhere else during our Sri Lanka itinerary. 

For this reason, and because of the number of DMs I received on Instagram while we were in Sri Lanka, I thought I’d write a well overdue blog post about it.

However, I also want to point you I the direction of Travelynn Family’s Koslanda review. If it hadn’t been for Jenny I’d have never known about this hill top haven. She visited when her kids were younger and stayed in a family suite, so her review comes from a different angle.

View above our two forest pavilions at Living Heritage Koslanda

I’m going to be very open from the beginning and say that the pavilions we stayed in are not pre-schooler friendly.

But if you have teens or kids of an age where you are happy for them to be in a separate room, albeit in ear shot – then you might like to consider the forest pavilions.

About Living Heritage Koslanda

Our eight year old swimming in the pool at Koslanda. Behind her is a pool pavilion and seating

Living Heritage Koslanda is a five star hotel modelled on traditional Kandy rest stops with pavilions where you can hang out and meet other travellers. 

There are just nine rooms set within an 80 acre estate that you are free to explore to your heart’s content. There’s so much space that you might not see your fellow guests apart from at meal times when everyone comes together to dine in the small open-sided restaurant.

Koslanda is a nature-lover’s paradise. The only sounds interrupting the buzz of the forest are monkeys theatrically falling through the trees, the early morning melody of the choon paan truck delivering fresh bread and the odd rumble of thunder.

Toad sat on plug socket in our forest pavilion room in Koslanda

You’re also bound to meet some of your wild neighbours. We had a couple of frogs in our pavilion while the girls spotted a giant squirrel sat on theirs.

Away from our pavilions we saw monitor lizards and evidence that an elephant had wandered through the estate.

This is also the only place we stayed in Sri Lanka where sustainable tourism was in evidence. There’s no plastic water or toiletry bottles, and the estate grows a lot of its own produce. During our stay pepper was being harvested.

Peppercorns drying on a sheet on the lawn at Koslanda

The team is employed from the local area. Everyone and I mean everyone, from the gardeners to the waiting staff and the managers, welcome you like old friends.

Accommodation

So what did we think about the accommodation at Living Heritage Koslanda?

We stayed in two forest pavilions which are dreamy en-suite tree houses. There are also a couple of family rooms and connecting rooms. They’d already been snapped up when we booked.

Koslanda’s forest pavilions

Our two forest pavilions at Living Heritage Koslanda

I made my booking on booking.com* and it was only later that I looked at Living Heritage Koslanda’s website and saw that the Forest pavilions are described as not being suitable for children. 

But my booking was accepted and when we arrived the team were happy to accommodate us. They also didn’t expect us to spilt one adult and one child in each pavilion. 

Obviously you know your children and whether this will work for you. Our girls were 10 and eight-years-old when stayed. We have booked connecting rooms and rooms next to each other quite a few times, so knew it would be OK for us.

We stayed in Forest Pavilion 1 and 2 which was ideal for us as the doors were a few steps apart and made it very easy for the girls to call us or come to us if they needed to.

The entrances to our two forest pavilions at Living Heritage Koslanda

It’s also worth mentioning that you can’t add extra beds to the pavilions – two people is the absolute max occupancy.

Each pavilion has an en-suite with shower, fridge, safe, seating, ceiling and floor fans, and a balcony. You are separated from the wildlife at night by bamboo blinds, canvas and cheese cloth drapes. 

The monkeys are known for visiting rooms uninvited, so there’s a wooden box where you are advised to store food and anything they might find interesting, such as electronics. 

A monkey in a tree next to our pavilion room

There are no TVs but you do have wifi and are given a mobile phone at check-in to speak to reception or order room service. This comes in handy for ordering food and drinks to come to the pool too.

Considering the forest pavilions are pretty much open to the elements, the standard of the accommodation and furnishings is above and beyond what I expected. Everything was clean, comfortable and truly beautiful.

And the views speak for themselves.

The balcony of a forest pavilion in Koslanda with a mountain view at sunrise

Family rooms at Koslanda Living Heritage

If you think you’d prefer a dedicated family room check out Jenny’s review.

Check rates and availability for Living Heritage Koslanda*.

Getting there 

Koslanda is well off the beaten track – a good hour from Ella – and is accessed along a winding mountain road. This leads you to a short section of very rough track which takes you to the estate entrance.

There wasn’t very good signage when we stayed so make sure you have downloaded the location on Google maps in advance.

Things to do at Koslanda 

With its remote location, we decided to treat Koslanda as a destination in itself rather than exploring further. We still easily filled a couple of days.

On our first morning we walked to the estate’s private waterfall and spent three hours swimming in the pools below it. It felt like an untouched tropical paradise.

Mr Tin Box and daughters sat on rocks beside a waterfall

In the afternoon we had lunch beside the resort’s infinity pool. It was hands down the most beautiful pool we swam in during our two weeks in Sri Lanka (maybe ever) with views of the tea plantations and refreshments just a phone call away.

It is honestly as dreamy as it looks. While we were there we saw monkeys, a giant squirrel and a chameleon sunning itself beside the water.

There are also all kinds of games to play in the communal pavilion and on the lawn. We made a right hash of playing crochet but still had a lot of fun.

Mr Tin Box and daughters play board games in the communal pavilion at Koslanda

After dinner, a fire was lit on a corner of the lawn and we toasted marshmallows until the kids couldn’t keep their eyes open any longer.

If you want to find out more about the estate’s wildlife there are extra tours you can book.

Food at Living Heritage Koslanda

We found the food to be outstanding. On our first night there was a buffet of traditional Sri Lankan curries with soup to start and a selection of desserts. On the second night we had set menu with a choice of Sri Lankan, Asian and Western mains.

Breakfast was three course and served at our table with juices, coffee and tea.

We started with fruit, yogurt and granola, then there were sausages and bacon with a choice of eggs cooked to order. Alongside this there were Sri Lankan roti, savoury pancakes, curry, cakes and toast.

The service was excellent. No glass was left unfilled and we always got a friendly ‘hello’ from staff whether they were in the restaurant or tending to the grounds.

Phew! Belts needed to be loosened.

A vegetable salad and a half drunk glass of lager with the Koslanda pool in the background

Breakfast and dinner were included in our room rate. We also ordered from lunch from the all day menu when we are beside the pool. There’s a wide choice from soups and pizzas to salads and curries. Oh and the juices are delicious.

The food is all freshly prepared so our al a carte lunches took an hour to come, but was worth the wait. If you’re around the pool in the morning the staff take your lunch orders and preferred dining time in advance.

Summing up our stay

I’m beyond grateful that I saw Jenny’s review of Koslanda. It was the absolute highlight of our time in Sri Lanka and is somewhere I’d love to return to one day.

After less than 24 hours we’d extended our stay so we could make the most of the incredible forest pavilions, food and service. This was one of the pricier places we stayed so we were hoping for as much. But even then, we felt we’d gotten very good value for money.

Two bouquets of wild flowers

On the morning we left the girls and I were given bouquets of wild flowers from the estate. I got a bit teary. I know they do this for everyone, but it felt like a very personal farewell.

If you are looking for a tree house hotel in Sri Lanka I can’t recommend Koslanda Living Heritage enough.

If I’ve tempted you, check rates and availability*.

Have a read of our Sri Lanka family holiday itinerary to find out where else we stayed.

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links marked with *. If you click on one of these and make a purchase I may earn some commission. This does not affect the price you pay.

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