Need to know
Nine, including three suites.
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Check-in, from 2pm.
Double rooms from $135.00, excluding tax at 25 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of 6.4% per on check-out.
Rates usually include breakfast (Continental or American).
Have a cookery class with chef Lal for US$20 a person; you'll learn how to make perfect Sri Lankan rice and curry, hoppers (pancakes made with rice batter and coconut milk), rotis, pittu (rice layered with coconut), sambals and other local dishes. You can even spend some time with Lal in the kitchen garden, selecting the produce you want to cook with. Pluck some home-grown pepper while you're there.
At the hotel
Swimming pool; library; stash of on-loan CDs; WiFi in the restaurant (the other common areas are WiFi-free zones). In rooms: TV, DVD player, local bath products. The Pepper Garden Cottage and Suites have WiFi (but the Forest Pavilion does not).
Our favourite rooms
Villa One, housed in the main building, has its own little courtyard with mountain views; it's a spacious, simply designed haven from the heat. For maximum privacy, opt for the Garden Villa, set away from the main building and tucked in the undergrowth, close to the pool. This room is smaller and cheaper than the other options, but it has a private courtyard and the same timber- and stone-styling.
To get to the pool, you’ll need to stomp up a hill, but you’ll be richly rewarded when you do: Koslanda’s jaw-drop hilltop infinity pool surveys the valley below. Staff will also point you in the direction of a secluded waterfall and river that you can swim in (depending on the season), close to the hotel.
Waterfall-proof swimwear; sturdy shoes for walking on the rough paths around the hotel; your notebook for cookery lessons.
Wondering where the hotel gets its architectural good looks from? It was designed by the late film-maker Manik Sandrasagra, in collaboration with renowned Sri Lankan architect Channa Daswatte. After Manik’s death, his wife Lucy completed the project.
Little Smiths aged six and above are welcome, but parents should note that this is a grown-up affair, with few distractions. Extra beds can be added to rooms for US$50 a night.