Deer Park, Giritale
The luxurious Deer Park Hotel at Giritale is the ideal base from which to explore the history and mystery of Sri Lanka’s ancient city of Polonnaruwa, one of Sri Lanka’s eight UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Also nearby is the famed Sigiriya rock fortress, the Lion Rock built eons ago as a ‘palace in the sky’, and accessible only by a tortuous route following the nooks and crannies of the natural rock face.
And the Dambulla Cave Temple, with its magnificent paintings and sculptures, plus the awe-inspiring ancient ruins of Anuradhapura, an historic former capital city, are also must-visits for sightseers and cultural adventurers alike.
With its 80 bespoke lakeside villas spread throughout the hotel grounds, Deer Park allows guests to commune with nature while enjoying all the amenities of 4-star accommodation.
The beautifully landscaped gardens and panoramic views over Giritale Lake are set among ancient royal hunting forests, where kings and courtiers held sway for 1,000 years.
But the highlight of your stay must be climbing the spectacular Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Built by King Kashyapa in the 5th century, with giant lion’s paws guard the entrance, it has 1,200 steps, most cut from the living rock.
At the top are wonderful terraced gardens and the ruins of what must once have been the world’s most inaccessible palace. Half-way up you will find a gallery of frescoes depicting some of the beautiful women who once graced this royal court.
Meanwhile, nature lovers can enjoy jungle safari through wildlife sanctuaries such as the Minneriya National Park and the Kaudulla Nature Park, which have several hundreds of elephants all year round.
But for art lovers and those interested in the history of Buddhism, the spectacular Dambulla Cave Temple, built by King Valagamba in 1st century BC, will be the highlight of their visit.
With its 150 Buddha statues and beautifully painted inner walls, Dambulla’s five magnificent caves have been a place of pilgrimage for over 2,000 years. Close by is Dambulla Golden Temple, with its 100ft golden Buddha statue.
All the cottages have garden, pool or lake views; 40i LED TV; air-conditioning; high-quality linen and towels; complimentary toiletries; hair dryer; complimentary tea/coffee; complimentary bottled water
Suites, Deer Park Cottages, Duplex Cottages and Deluxe Duplex Cottages are ideal for singles and couples, the latter being single-unit blocks with separate living areas.
King Deluxe and King Superior offer more spacious accommodation, with either balconies or terraces.
Superior Cottages, either single or double, are ideal for families who require connecting units. Ground-floor cottages include outdoor open-air garden bathrooms.