TV Times

Saffron Hill House : Hideaway in the hills

By Sanath Weerasuriya, Pix by Chanuka Kulasekera

Destination status is a key player in the hospitality industry. Destination is the location, where the traveller settled down for more than a couple of days and explores the surrounding. Bentota, Hikkaduwa, Trincomalee, Galle, Arugam Bay and Negombo are some of the top beach destinations in Sri Lanka.

Bandarawela was not a popular destination for excursions for many years. Sri Lankan travellers go there for just relaxation and enjoy the mild whether. But since lately, perception of the place changed to better picture with the hoteliers and tour promoters. The industry player started to change the face of Bandarawela from just a relax holiday spot to a center for adventure and excursions.

Set about 3800 feet above the sea level, Bandarawela is a popular place among foreign and Sri Lankan holidaymakers. Surrounded by high mountain ranges, forests, steep peaks, scenic waterfalls and archaeological sites with rich farmland and tea plantation, Bandarawela is a centrally located place.

It is certainly not only an ideal place for a relaxed holiday, but a center for adventure tourism. Saffron Hill House, one of the leading holiday resorts in Bandarawela, contributed greatly towards changing the face on tourism in Bandarawela.

Lipton’s Seat in Dambetenna Estate off Haputale, Pilkington View Point at Poonagala and St. Catherine’ Seat in Nayabedda are top view points to see the Southern plains from the central hills. Lipton Seat, with the elevation of about 5700 feet, is the only point in Sri Lanka from which one could viewed six districts.
Bogoda Bridge off Hali Ela, Buduruwagala ancient monuments in Tanamalwila, Dowa Rock Temple, Horton Plains, Uda Walawe, Adisham Monastery, Bambarakanda, Diyaluma, Dunhinda and Rawana water falls are other popular places for day excursions. These places can be reached within one to two hours of drive and really an adventurous experience.

Located on a hilly slop of one and half acre land on Attampitiya Road, Saffron Hill House is an eighty yearsold holiday mansion built by Dr Leo Fernando of Panadura. It was a neglected property until two years ago, when the grand son of Dr. Fernando- Indika took an interest in the property and restored the old glory.

‘This is my ancestral property and I always wanted to recreate my dream on this project. After completing the total refurbishment with new additions, Saffron Hill House started to operate slowly’ said Indika Fernando, who is a talented designer apart from his professional career in the flying field.

Saffron Hill House has four tastefully designed bed rooms- two triples and two doubles.
In total 12 adults and up to five children can be accommodated as all four rooms are typical colonial style large bed rooms with all modern amenities, including bath tub, telephone and hot and cold water’ he said.

Apart from the location, the most important in any holiday resort is cuisine. At Saffron Hill House, I experienced one of the tastiest cuisines in the hills. ‘We mainly cater authentic Sri Lankan dishes to our guests but always we serve according to guest’s choice. Our aim is guest’s satisfaction and personalized service is our motto. Our Bungalow is highly popular among families, who wants to have home away from home due to our personalized service’ said Caretaker/ Manager Mahinda Fernando, who is an experience chef with overseas exposure.

With the high demand, Saffron Hill House is planning to expand on accommodation by adding few more chalet type rooms outside the bungalow. ‘This will begin early next year and hope to complete by mid year. The new rooms will come toward the mountain side of the property blending with the nature and with all modern amenities’ Indika added.

‘We are more keen on promoting adventure excursions with expert guidance to travellers so that they could enjoy their tour to the maximum’ he said Horton Plains (thro’ Ohiya and Non-Perriyal Estate in Upper Belihul Oya), Yala Wild Life Sanctuary, Uda Walawe Park, Tea Plantation in Nuwara Eliya, Mountain biking, trekking and walking are some of the long journey excursions.

‘These places are mainly three to four hours drive away from Bandarawela and require an over night stay out. Camping, trekking and trails are other popular activities on the cards to be promoted’ he expalined the adventure part of the Bandarawela holiday.

Bandarawela was known as just a relaxing vacation venue for years but now it has turned the table from lazy holiday plan to active vacation plan. For more details call 0777908262, 0383396544 or 0572222341
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