By Dimithri Wijesinghe
Photos Krishan Kariyawasam
Where the hill country meets a heritage city, OZO Kandy offers easy access and an escape from everyday city life.
Just minutes from the renowned Sri Dalada Maligawa and only a two-hour drive from Bandaranaike International Airport, the hotel is conveniently situated to be the perfect Kandy getaway.
More suited for a good night’s sleep than a luxurious hotel stay, OZO Kandy can easily become your home away from home if you travel with a purpose in the city of Kandy. Here are three observations from our most recent visit there.
1. Make your way up to Wasgamuwa
When you think of Kandy, history, culture, heritage, and the temple of the tooth relic come to mind. But would you ever associate Kandy with a safari? A fully-fledged elephants-and-leopards, Sri Lankan-style safari?
That’s one of the services OZO provides its guests. The hotel has an extensive repertoire of such services at their dedicated travel desk. They’ll take care of everything – from your wake-up call to a neatly packed lunch for your journey and comfortable transport to and from.
We had a grand old time making the drive up to Wasgamuwa from Kandy, making a stop at the starting point of the 18 bends to grab a sky-view picture for the gram.
Many of us go so far as to stand on the ledge for that perfect angle, but you must be warned, it’s certainly not for the faint hearted or those suffering from vertigo.
2. The lowdown on OZO’s eats and drinks
OZO has its in-house dining space, their main restaurant named “EAT”, and their rooftop restaurant and bar “BOMMU”.
While the main restaurant was pretty similar to every other in-house restaurant at any hotel ever – with an outside seating option and comfortable seating arrangements for even very large parties to be accommodated together at the table – the real star was BOMMU, OZO Kandy’s bar.
The kitchen utilised for the bar was the same as the restaurant downstairs and so the food, of course, was good. It fit the bill of any business restaurant of this calibre, which was satisfactory.
The bar however featured a host of interestingly creative cocktails and mocktails that really amaze. This coming from someone who pretty much abhors any and all fruity and sugary cocktails with the only go-to being the Bloody Mary on almost any drink menu, however, BOMMU truly surprised us with a lovely new twist on the traditional drink.
If you’re ever at OZO Kandy and are not into the sweet stuff, a must-try is the Thai Mary with garlic-infused vodka, tomato juice, and Tabasco sauce.
Additionally of course, the rooftop bar provides a fantastic view of the city of Kandy and at night, the city truly comes alive. If you’re seated by the poolside, despite the freezing cold of the night air, it’s worth being surrounded by Kandy’s beauty.
3. A good night’s rest
The rooms come fairly equipped with the basic amenities. OZO Hotels are midscale properties which fit the bill with smooth and organised service.
At this point, other than excessive amenities that may come off as oddities, most hotel rooms carry a standard list of supplies, and at OZO Kandy, all was accounted for except an iron and ironing board, which struck us as wanting for this style of hotel. However, that may be considered rather nit-picky of us as there is an efficient laundry service through which you can have your clothes pressed.
OZO Hotels pride themselves on providing of a great night’s rest, and while their claims of signature beds, noise-free rooms, and blackout curtains rang true, they all felt like they were basic amenities of any hotel room, rather than anything spectacular.
The rooms come with a small balcony perfect for the night time as it provides the perfect atmosphere for a leisurely chat or to simply absorb Kandy’s gorgeous surroundings.
The use of power-saving methods and reusable containers were noteworthy.