Chena Huts has a reputation throughout Sri Lanka as being one of the best hotels in the country. Found in the heart of the Yala jungle region (the nearest town is 25km away), this boutique property hosts guests in ultra-luxurious huts. There are just 14 in total, ensuring the service is totally personalised and bespoke. Needless to say, we felt special from the moment we arrived on site.
The iPad check-in is swift and is accompanied by a refreshing citrus drink and a flag ceremony (where each guest is invited to put a flag from their country on the Welcome entrance board – a fun touch). Within minutes we were enjoying the air-conditioned haven that was our hut… spacious and lavish, decorated with dark wood expensive furniture, soft refined furnishings and with an alluring cinnamon room scent. Outside, a private plunge pool and sunbeds provided a quiet place to relax.
The intelligently designed open plan room concealed a modern and indulgent bathroom, dual sinks, freestanding bath, separate shower and toilet rooms. Chena Huts provide ample amenities and have their own branded toiletries for guests to use.
During our short stay we managed to squeeze in two safari trips (one the afternoon we arrived, and another the next morning), with knowledgable and enthusiastic ranger Sudheera Mendis. After exploring the tea plantations and paddy fields of central Sri Lanka, it was exciting to experience a completely different side of Sri Lanka’s landscape.
Yala National Park is just 15 minutes from the hotel and is known best for its population of Sri Lankan leopards, but if you are lucky you may also see an elusive Sloth Bear. Yala also have their own version of the Big Five, which includes these two animals along with elephants, samba deer and saltwater crocodiles. With Sudheera’s expert guidance, we saw a wide range of amazing animals and beautiful birds including four of the Yala Big Five (the rare Sloth Bear sadly didn’t make an appearance!).
Each night, after returning from their safari, guests enjoy dinner at the Basses Restaurant, which is attached to the reception and hosts all meals. There is also a bar for complimentary pre and post dinner drinks. Following our afternoon safari, we enjoyed well-made G&Ts and chatted to other guests before settling down to eat. The dinner menu offered a select choice of dishes, with both Sri Lankan and international cuisines represented.
The next morning we enjoyed our second safari (which included a special encounter with a family of elephants and a thrilling leopard sighting) before an appetising breakfast. We feasted on the freshest tropical fruit, pastries, omelettes and sampled Chena Huts’ take on French toast with caramelised apple and local honey. I was also thankful for a hot cup of coffee after the early start!
From the moment you arrive until when you depart, Chena Huts aim to make you feel at ease and looked after… included in the room rate are all food and drinks (including alcohol), daily laundry service and safari drives. It is a beautiful hotel with immaculate service and my stay here was one of the highlights of my week in Sri Lanka.
More information and book a stay at Chena Huts here.