What immediately stands out about the Elephant Corridor,
is its sheer size.
Sprawling over 200 acres of shrub jungle in the vicinity
of Dambulla, the hotel is easily the largest resort
property in the country.
grounds encompass rolling plains, dense shrub, in-house
lakes, and dozens of water holes, all frequented by an
extraordinary range of wild life.
peer into the undergrowth outside your room and you
might spot a prickly porcupine, a brooding boar or a
preening peacock, and if you’re particularly lucky even
an elusive rusty spotted cat.
of water buffalo wallow in the hotel’s water courses and
stare longingly at your private plunge pools but the
resort’s show piece is the moving monolith that is the
Asian elephant, dozens of whom gather frequently on the
far side of the in-house reservoir.
such a spectacular amount of space and so much resident
wildlife the hotel is at times more reminiscent of a
private game reserve than a regular resort — and no
great feat of imagination is required to transport
yourself mentally to the Kenyan bush, or the midst of
the great game parks of southern Africa.
fact the more adventurous members of the herd sometimes
make appearances in the midst of the resort and after
dark it is not unusual to find thirsty elephants taking
a quick drink from the main pool.
the idea that pachyderms wonder freely through the
resort might seem alarming — the experience is perfectly
safe as the hotel’s vast grounds are populated by an
equally large army of staff. Over a hundred members of
staff are constantly busy around the resort which means
that there is always someone on hand to offer fizzing
cocktails, deliver canapés and of course, when necessary
ward off the odd elephant.
makes the resort that much more special however is that
amidst all this space, and surrounded by this legion of
staff, stand just 20 suites, artfully secluded in the
tall grass and low shrub of the dry zone jungle — this
is exclusive luxury.
resort’s immense size not only gives wildlife the space
to roam freely but also allows for some extraordinary
architecture. The vast foyer is sufficiently large that
its towering columns perfectly frame Sigiriya’s
spectacular rock — and the view from the elevated main
restaurant is a breath taking expanse of scrub, seasonal
tanks, and low hills.
Every conceivable amenity
course, like almost everything in the resort the rooms
are astonishing in their scale — each occupies more
space than an average house, vertiginous ceilings, and
every conceivable amenity — not one but two televisions,
deafening surround systems and of course plunge pools
with views over the surrounding scrub, are standard.
rooms however are far from uniform and the 20 suites are
divided in to several classes from interconnecting
family suites to the extravagant presidential villa — a
compound of several sprawling buildings and pools, that
offers enough space to hold a president and his retinue
in almost regal luxury.
romantic suites feature oversized indoor plunge pools
and you can alternate steaming hot baths with dips in
the cool plunge pool while watching elephants emerge
from the distant scrub in the evening — an almost
utterly surreal extravagance however it’s hard to beat
the main restaurant’s improbably fine dining — seven
course meals on sterling silver ware, accompanied by a
selection of wines and sorbets, are somehow served in
the midst of a sprawling and pristine wilderness.
A genuine mystery
and smoked salmon canapés precede multiple courses of
lamb, beef and the finest sea food — how such a
comprehensively epicurean experience is achieved at such
distance from civilisation is a genuine mystery….
Elephant Corridor is a true boutique hotel in that it
offers all the facilities of a major resort to just a
handful of discerning guests. Dotted around the vast
grounds are several restaurants, bars, pools, a luxury
spa, riding stables, and even archery facilities —
there’s also a helipad for serious VIPs.
fact the range of facilities available at the hotel is
so vast that despite the close proximity of World
Heritage Sites at Sigiriya and Dambulla as well as the
— it is extraordinarily difficult to find the motivation
to leave the hotel premises.
to a wildlife park when at the Elephant Corridor the
wildlife will come to you ?
ultimately despite the absolute luxury and the
overwhelming range of facilities on offer the heart of
the resort’s appeal lies not in its plunge pools and
billiard room but in the opportunity to lose yourself in
its acres of wilderness.
a bicycle you can discover glades, and pools that seem a
million miles from everywhere, take tea under a distant
tree and listen to the sounds of a jungle’s silence. You
can also let your mind transport you to any of the
worlds arid wild spaces, and its only seeing the sunset
explode over Sigiriya’s unmistakable rock that will
remind you that you are in fact in the heart of Sri
the Elephant Corridor offers famously exclusive luxury,
current promotional rates are extremely competitive —
rooms start at Rs.20,000 a night.