You’ll find Clingendael in the kingdom of Kandy. It’s where adventure, history and opulence meet. Cocooned in the hills of the beautiful Victoria Golf Club, the hotel is both intimate and luxurious.
Words Nawya Ponnamperuma | Photographs Vishwathan Tharmakulasingham
Heavy wooden doors open up to reveal a landscape of lush greenery, blooming flowers and the trickle of flowing water. The butler, eager to show off what Clingendael is all about, will lead you through the garden to the living space where the magic of this boutique hotel begins.
Striving to give its clientele an honest taste of the colonial era, the hotel excels when it comes to service, décor and atmosphere. The theatrical welcome of the surroundings – including the Victoria Golf Course and Knuckles Mountain Range – is balm for the eyes of both adventure travellers and those in search of pampering. The concept behind the hotel, “dream of the past”, creates the exclusive mood of a tea planter’s home.
The breathtakingly beautiful accommodation at Clingendael is all about comfort. Five suites boasting modern amenities, colonial furniture, en-suite bathrooms and extravagant décor are the ideal place for a serene stay in the kingdom of Kandy. Privacy and elegance, plus outstanding attention to detail make Clingendael stand out from the crowd.
A gorgeous lawn set up for evening games of croquet is also a lovely spot to unwind with a cup of Ceylon’s finest beverage, tea. An à la carte menu is served throughout the day, with guests able to dine wherever they wish. Small bells on each table are a convenient way to call for service; alone time is valued at the hotel – whether on the verandah, in the garden or in any other common area – but the butler is only a ring away. With warm smiles the entourage of friendly staff is welcoming to one and all.
Antique coffee tables and glass cabinets stand as still as time does at Clingendael. Thick white pillars and wooden beams evoke the opulence that the once royal city of Kandy is known for. Gentle breezes keep the curtains in motion throughout day, and after the busy traveller returns from her day of sightseeing, the tinkle of glassware and crockery resounds through the hotel as dinner is served.
An infinity pool tucked away on the estate shimmers under the sunlight, while the bubbles of the hot tub beckon guests in for a relaxing dip. Trees laden with temple flowers and hibiscus give Clingendael the feel of a little piece of Eden.
A spa for those in search of healing hands is located next to the hotel’s entrance and there’s easy access to one of the best golf courses in the world, as well as lessons by the course’s resident pro. Clingendael is the only five-star golf boutique hotel in Sri Lanka, in fact, and it’s the little touches that make the difference, like a fruit punch or beverage of your choice ready and waiting for you after your game.
Situated in the heart of Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle, Clingendael is convenient for sightseeing and will enthuse the culture buffs. A home that came to be one of Sri Lanka’s finest boutique hotels is a place of real class and old world charm. It is an intimate getaway offering a journey back to an epic era.