I was inspired to visit this gem of a place located in Katugastota after reading Valley of Green Memories by Samudra Ratwatte. The book mentioned that the Walawwa that the book is based on is now being run as a home stay by the same family that has owned it for over a century. Since home stays are becoming quite the trend in the travel scene I thought I would try one out for the first time.
I was warmly invited to The Kandyan Manor by Suzanne Ratwatte. Located just a few minutes away from the busy town of Katugastota The Kandyan Manor lies down a quiet lane at where this busy town begins. As I walked into this beautifully preserved walawwa I could see that the owners them selves had a great sense of style and have travelled extensively judging from how the decor was done. Even though this was a walawwa that was over 100 years old you did not feel as if you were in a old home or a walawwa. I felt as if I had entered a mediterranean home with the colors and unique furniture this place was decorated with.
Rooms - They offer rooms and chalets to their guests. Since I was interested in the history of the house I requested for a room inside the walawwa and was give then Red room. I was escorted into the room by the owner him self Mr.Bhathiya who I had read about in the book so I felt as I was living the book. I was very impressed with the size of the room. It was large with a double bed and 2 large single beds. This room could easily accommodate a family of 4 or 5 people. I loved that the room was decorated with tastefully selected antiques together with some furniture that was passed down the family. I also liked that the bathroom was the same as it was back in the day. The bathroom it self was large enough to be a room and I loved that it still had the original floor.
Restaurant - After I had settled in I was invited to 'Suzy's Kitchen' it was a Sri Lankan cookery demonstration done by Mrs.Suzanne for the foreign guests. Even though my Sri Lankan cooking isn't too bad I learned so much from her session. She goes into detail with back stories about certain herbs, condiments we use in our cooking and also the heath benefit in almost everything added into a Sri Lankan dish. I usually find these demonstrations a tad bit boring but her style of presenting was so interesting and entertaining I learned a lot more than I expected.
Once lunch was prepared we were invited to their restaurant. I must admit that I was quite surprised at what I saw. I have been living in Kandy for 4 years and was ashamed to say that it took me this long to discover this treasure. Their elevated wooden restaurant had a spectacular forrest view. The tables were made out of antique sewing machines by Bhathiya himself. This restaurant was the story of their lives. It had images of their children, souvenirs from their travels, funny notices for the guests and so much to read and look at while you enjoyed your meals. We were served rice and curry prepared by Suzy herself and it was absolutely delicious!
The homestay - After lunch I took a stroll in their garden and explored their house which was like a little treasure chest. It had antiques and memorabilia passed down generations and collectables from around the world.
Their chalets named after their children were cute little cottages built away from the walawwa which consisted of a large room, spacious bathroom and a little verandah to your self. It looked like a little chalet from Greece. Their pool had to be the icing on the cake. I did not expect to find a pool at this property but they have a newly built beautiful swimming pool for their guests to use as well.
Summery - Even though they run it as a homestay I did not feel as if I was staying in a home but in a villa. The level of service here was really great, the room are extremely clean, the general layout was not like a home stay but like a villa which I liked. The food was exceptional and so was general atmosphere of the place. Its not everyday that you get to live the stories you read so I am so glad that I visited this place and was able to relive everything I read in the book.