Being able to connect with nature is key to staying balanced in an otherwise tumultuous world, and this week The Brunch checked in with Hanthana Eco Lodge, a peaceful hill-country oasis located in the outskirts of Hanthana, about 7.5 km from Kandy. Hanthana Eco Lodge is the perfect nature escape for those looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, with a villa and cabin sets designed to balance eco-living and modern comfort in the middle of the lush greenery of the Hanthana hills.
The Hanthana Eco Lodge story
We spoke with Hanthana Eco Lodge Owner and Founder Harsha Samaranayake to learn more about what makes this destination truly unique. A nature enthusiast and ardent traveller, Samaranayake balances a full-time career in the corporate world with his passion for eco-travel, and created Hanthana Eco Lodge to share this passion with the world. “I am someone who enjoyed travelling from a very young age. I go exploring waterfalls, trekking mountains, etc. It provides a great deal of peace and serenity,” he shared, adding that Hanthana Eco Lodge was built for like-minded people to enjoy and connect with nature. “When I first opened Hanthana Eco Lodge, I did it simply for myself. I am someone who enjoys nature. I am extremely attached to the beautiful landscape and the pleasant climates Sri Lanka has to offer, and so I bought this property because it was perfect for soaking up the essence of Hanthana. I own a 1972 International Scout, so I was just happy to have a nice adventure in my Scout and enjoy the cool climate.”
Hanthana Eco Lodge was initially intended to be Samaranayake’s personal adventure getaway, but in order to maintain the property, Samaranayake had to employ staff, and since the property came with a lodge that had been built and maintained as a rest house by its previous owner (who is currently attached to Hanthana Eco Lodge as the accountant), he eventually decided to make Hanthana Eco Lodge available to the public as an idyllic ecocentric getaway. “The Eco Lodge was built before 2009 but I purchased the property in 2020 and under my management, I converted the rooms into luxury rooms without altering the structure. This is when it picked up in popularity,” Samaranayake said.
A beating heart for the local community
Hanthana Eco Lodge is managed by a small team of dedicated people carefully selected by Samaranayake to keep Eco Lodge running at its maximum potential. His power team includes: Hotel Manager Nandana, a well-rounded individual with 22 years of experience in the hotel industry; Thennakoon, the chef at Hanthana Eco Lodge who has 22 years of experience including extended experience working at five-star hotels; Joseph, who handles housekeeping and hails from the village of Hanthana; Raja, the resident driver, who also comes from Hanthana; Piyasinghe, a retired banker and the previous owner of the Eco Lodge who serves as the Eco Lodge’s accountant; and Vajira and Manjula, also from Hanthana, who are on call to support the Eco Lodge.
In addition to its direct staff, Hanthana Eco Lodge also provides employment to many others from the surrounding village, working in symbiosis with the local community who provide things like fresh produce and milk to the Eco Lodge daily.
The Eco Lodge and its amenities
There are three different types of rooms available at Hanthana Eco Lodge – The Mountain Room Villa, Nature’s Bliss and Rocky Cove – and each of these options offer their own unique ways to experience and bond with nature. The Rocky Cove, for example, features an attached bathroom built into rock with a shower that opens to the starry skies, giving you an unexpected way to connect with and enjoy the natural essence of the area.
We also chatted with Hanthana Eco Lodge Hotel Manager Nandana Kumara. Before joining Hanthana Eco Lodge, Nandana was the Hotel Manager at Amaya Hills and Amaya Bungalow, and has long-standing experience in the hotel field. Born and bred in Kandy, he appreciates the beauty of the hill country and has been part of the Eco Lodge family since its initial renovations.
Sharing with us that the Eco Lodge can accommodate up to 11 people at a time, he told us what kind of arrangements the Eco Lodge makes for its guests. “Depending on the requirement we provide a buffet spread or private dining facilities to our guests,” Nandana said, adding that with the expertise of the Eco Lodge’s highly skilled chef Thennakoon, they are capable of providing a wide variety of local and international cuisines for their guests and always do their best to accommodate any culinary request their guests make.
The Mountain Room Villa and Nature’s Bliss can accommodate two people while the Rocky Cove has a capacity of three occupants. Each of these rooms are currently priced at around Rs. 10,000 per night (room only), with further rates available based on full board, half board basis and other guest requirements.
The Hanthana Eco Lodge experience
With its close proximity to Kandy Town, Hanthana Eco Lodge offers the perfect opportunity to enjoy nature while still being close to the attractions of a city known for its amazing cultural heritage while the nearby Hanthana mountain range makes it an incredible spot for those adventurous travellers looking to hike the mountain range. The climate of Hanthana, which is colder than Kandy but midler than Nuwara Eliya, also makes it a versatile getaway for those looking to enjoy cooler climes, sit back, and enjoy nature.
For more information on Hanthana Eco Lodge or to make reservations, please contact the Eco Lodge via their website or social media.
Facebook: @Hanthana Eco Lodge