Galle, Sri Lanka

Kahanda Kanda

Rates from (inc tax)$259.53

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (USD335.00), via, using today’s exchange rate.


Serene Sri Lankan


Tranquil tropical gardens

Kahanda Kanda in Galle is an eight-room residence on a lush green tea plantation, popular with peacocks, parakeets, mongoose and monkeys. (And discerning tourists, too.) We have British owner George to thank for the cosy colonial charm, and after trying chef’s Sri Lankan curry breakfasts, you’ll scorn cereal forever.


Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A cooking class for guests staying one night; a cooking class and head-and-shoulder spa treatment if you're staying two nights; a cooking class and deep-tissue spa treatment for three or more nights, and a bottle of champagne, too, if you're a GoldSmith

Need flights?

For exclusive packages, call

1 800 464 2040


Photos Kahanda Kanda – Galle – Sri Lanka

Need to know


10 suites, each in a separate building.


12 noon but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.


Double rooms from $259.53, excluding tax at 29.08 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional service charge of 10% per room per night prior to arrival.

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (USD335.00), via, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates usually include breakfast (Continental and full English) and WiFi.


Take part in a cookery class at the hotel, so you can treat the folks back home to Sri Lankan feasts. Just let the chef know what you want to cook (perhaps one of the curries that you had for breakfast). British owner George is an interior designer and it shows: he's responsible for the rooms' colonial elegance, and chose all the antiques and nick nacks.

At the hotel

Gardens, library, mini gym, home cinema. In rooms: radio, iPod dock, minibar, hair straighteners, bathrobes, slippers.

Our favourite rooms

Peacock, Tamarind and Mango each have a veranda surveying the garden. Ornithologists should book the former, which is named for the attention-seeking birds that strut down to the balcony, hoping for a feathered female audience (roosting parakeets and peacocks like Tamarind and Mango’s balconies, too). Honeymooners should opt for the Dubu Suite, set on a hillside all by itself and with its own large lawn (ok, you might have to share it with the monkeys, too) and private pool, perfect for parties or horizontal sunset smooching. Dubu is the only room with a TV.


The inky-green rainwater infinity pool curves around an ancient tree in the gardens, overlooking Koggala Lake and flanked by sleek black sun loungers.

Packing tips

This is the perfect place to quietly learn a new skill (aided by G&Ts, of course): bring bridge, a pack of cards or a Sri Lankan phrase book. Come with cat treats in your pockets for Rosie, the sociable resident tortoiseshell.


Be rubbed with scented oils in the plantation-spying massage pavilion, set in the pretty gardens.


Over-12s are welcome. Extra beds are $60 a night.

Food and Drink

Photos Kahanda Kanda – Galle – Sri Lanka

Top Table

As close the pond as possible.

Dress Code

White linen; leather sandals.

Hotel restaurant

Sit and admire the lily pond and its darting mandarin-coloured fish from the open-air restaurant, which serves up fragrant, spicy dishes featuring fresh produce from the gardens. The chef often rustles up Sri Lankan curry buffets, so guests can gallop through a range of different local favourites. Should you be after something more familiar, Western options can be requested.


Hotel bar

The airy Lounge Pavilion is open all day: start with tea here and return for something more potent, an Arrack Sour perhaps (a local twist on a whisky sour, featuring arrack, lime juice, sugar syrup and soda water). By night, the bar flickers with candlelight.


Last orders

You have until 9.30pm to order dinner; the restaurant closes at 10.30pm. Drinks are served in the bar until 11pm.

Room service

Dishes from the restaurant menu can be brought to your room between 7am and 11pm.


Photos Kahanda Kanda – Galle – Sri Lanka
Kahanda Kanda
Sri Lanka


Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport ( is 150km away. Sri Lankan Airlines ( is the only carrier that flies direct from Sydney and select European destinations.


Galle station is 15km away, with services connecting to major cities including Kalutara and Hikkaduwa. The three-hour rail ride from Colombo’s Fort Station to Galle ( is a lesson in cultural immersion, both inside the carriages and out.


Galle is a 25-minute drive from Kahanda Kanda. Don’t worry about wheels, though: the hotel has a car to get guests around in, and a tuktuk.

Worth getting out of bed for

Borrow bikes and go free-wheeling around the tea plantation, or also borrow Alex, who will take you on a guided ride to or from Wijaya: start with a swim and lunch at Wijaya and cycle back to Kahanda Kanda, or start at the hotel and finish with cocktails and a swim at Wijaya. Go on a Koggala Lake boat trip: you’ll start by visiting Talathuduwa Temple Island, and can go on to visit Spice Island, where you’ll learn about how spices grow and are used in Ayuverdic treatments. You can continue on to an island where cinnamon is harvested, and then visit the sanctuary on Bird Island. Learn about tea by going tea-leaf plucking with the female pluckers, before visiting the local tea factory to see how tea is made, and then on to Kahanda village to drink tea the traditional way, at one of the tea plucker’s houses. If you want to explore the fort, staff will give you a map and a list of the best local restaurants. Go looking for blue whales and spinner dolphins (January until April).


Local restaurants

Why Beach (; +94 91 228 2922) is a chic little two-bedroom resort with an excellent Italian restaurant at Uyana Bandarawatta, on Matara Road. Try the fresh pasta and the tuna carpaccio (dip into the sea first, to work up your appetite). Dress up for the beautifully restored Amangalla Hotel (; +94 91 223 3388) and its Zaal restaurant, styled with colonial elegance. Come here for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea or dinner. Sample classic Asian cuisine in the Verandah Café and Dining Room at the Galle Fort Hotel (; +94 91 223 2870), set in the heart of the fort.



Photos Kahanda Kanda – Galle – Sri Lanka

Anonymous review

Retracing our steps of 30 years prior, we were visiting Sri Lanka’s ancient cultural sites north of Kandy. A day’s more travelling would take us down to the coast to Kahanda Kanda. We set off early, heading south via the new toll road, avoiding Colombo; quick and convenient, yes, but we soon wearied of the lack of action and detoured to join everyone else on the bustling – and at times still perilous – Galle Road.

Picturesque and architecturally fascinating, Galle remained familiar though busier and slower to navigate; we headed for the Galle Fort area, which had changed a lot. Now a World Heritage site the level of investment in the historic buildings and infrastructure is astonishing. Our old haunts were still there, some enhanced through sensitive development, others, not so much. We wandered happily down memory lane, and took more photos that morning than we shot in the whole time we lived there in the mid-80s.

The walls that define the thriving Galle Fort area seem to define the extent of the investment in this historic city. The rest of Galle appears untouched by the outside world – great produce markets, never-say-die lace hawkers, beautifully turned out schoolchildren, tempting gem hawkers… Our Singhalese came back in fits and starts, but got us into more trouble than speaking English.

After a sensory overload and mangled language attempts, we drove out east along the south coast stopping briefly at the beach town of Unawatuna, which we hardly recognized. Next we turned inland and climbed through villages, which had hardly changed. We got pretty close to our target just via the map but then resorted to asking directions at caddies – our kids taking every opportunity to disembark, befriend aunties, get close up to children and puppies, to emerge from these village shops with exotic local biscuits and fruit. We arrived later than expected at the gate, tackled a steep incline through prettily planted tea, ending up at the stone staircase that takes you to the summit and the collection of carefully appointed pavilions and ponds that is Kahanda Kanda.

Here it was all calm, serenity and sophistication, the perfect rejoinder to the irrepressible Galle which lay somewhere behind us. We looked out over the treetops trying to locate ourselves, and we could see across valleys south, east and west – to the north the green was thicker. A troupe of normally shy monkeys broke through the canopy and fed unperturbed by us being there. We’d dawdled in the villages and now dusk was arriving, the sound of evening prayers drifting across from the temple on the adjacent valley, the cranes and herons gliding down to roost by Koggala Lake and wood smoke billowing gently up from village fires – we were won over before we’d even checked in.

The main reception building sets the scene well: open architecture, nature understood and celebrated, piles of books everywhere, Sri Lankan authors Michael Ondaatje, books about Sri Lanka, Leonard Wolf’s classic Village in the Jungle, Dominic Sansoni’s sensuous and scholarly photographic studies of the architecture of Geoffrey Bawa… I reminded myself to come back but there was no need as our Peacock Suite had almost as many tomes, and a perfectly appointed window seat.

The suite was just what we’d hoped for: a stand-alone pavilion with views out over the planted tea and a spacious, tasteful monochromatic scheme with an imaginative private garden and two walled outdoor bathrooms. The architecture and interiors throughout Kahanda Kanda are sensitive to location, obviously created by someone who intimately understands how life here ought to be.

We’d been feasting on Sri Lankan cuisine and arrack cocktails but our first evening here had us tempted to detour – especially now that we knew we were in good hands and set up for a memorable couple of days blissfully isolated on the top of a tea plantation. The tranquility, the pool, and the food would have been enough to have us smitten – then came the wild peacocks. I’d seen a Sri Lankan peacock dance from a distance away, deep in Yala National Park in 1985. It’s a fond memory but one totally eclipsed by being roused by the exotic bird’s cries here one morning when we witnessed a spellbinding display from the children’s Tamarind Suite balcony that stunned one of our Miss Smiths into total stillness for about 15 minutes.

On hot and humid days at Kahanda Kanda, you can slide into the cool, dark infinity pool, and you don’t mind if the monkeys perching on the ancient tree drop a few leaves on your head. You don’t mind if you wake early to the sounds of the jungle – the chatter of birds and the chirrup of crickets – or it you hear the music of the bakery van as it drops off bread to the hotel each day. You don’t mind anything, here: it’s so relaxing, you slide into a state of grace as easily as dipping into that pool. Sri Lankan curries as hot and colourful as the local landscape punctuate your days (we recommend string hoppers, egg hoppers, Seeni Sambol, Paripou, Pol Sambol, Kiri Hoddi for breakfast), along with ice-cold G&Ts expertly mixed. Of course, for livelier moments, there’s Galle and the fort a drive away, or Sri Lanka’s beautiful beaches within easy reach. Kahanda Kanda arranged a trip on the lake for us, a visit to an island temple and a bike ride through the villages to the beach, stopping for king coconut (tambili). But if you just stay put and do nothing, we wouldn’t blame you – memories of our time at Kahanda Kanda with the wildlife will stay with us forever.


The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith Hotel with us, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Kahanda Kanda’s Guestbook below.

We loved

The location. The room. The pool. The views. The tuk tuk ride into Galle. 40 mins each way. Beach at Welligama

Don’t expect

Too much excitement. Varied gourmet food.


Stayed on 14 Jan 2016

We loved

Everything about our stay was wonderful .Room was better than we expected. It's a very classy,beautiful,way to see Sri Lanka. We loved having our own pool.Staff were very accommodating. Meals all brilliant. A great stay.

Don’t expect

Don't expect a buzzy night life.Its quite remote,and set apart in a suburban village area.


Stayed on 13 Jun 2015

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