Ulagalla Resort

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Cultural Triangle

Ulagalla Resort, located near Anuradhapura and 175 kilometres from Colombo Airport, is perfectly positioned to explore the many wonders of the Cultural Triangle. This Sri Lankan eco-boutique hotel, one of the Small Hotels of the World, is the epitome of luxury in a beautiful setting.

Once the ancestral estate of local Anuradhapura nobility, it features a 150-year-old mansion at its centre. 20 spacious and luxurious chalets are scattered across 58 acres of land, offering the maximum privacy in the tranquil surroundings, with views across rice paddies or over a reservoir. Beautifully furnished to the highest standard with state-of-the-art amenities, each room features a four-poster bed, plunge pool and terrace, as well as two bicycles for guests to use. Electric cars are used to take guests around the property.

With a reputation for its exceptional cuisine, dining at Liya Wela, Ulgalla’s restaurant is a remarkable experience; gourmet dishes are influenced by Sri Lankan, Eastern and Western cooking. There are no set meal times, you simply eat when you’re hungry.

The resort can arrange tours and excursions depending on your interests. For a glimpse of Sri Lanka’s past, visit the Abhayagiri Monastery and Dagaba. The sacred Sri Mahabodhi Tree is also worth seeing. At the end of a busy day, relax and revitalise with an Ayurvedic treatment at the spa or with a cocktail by the pool. Archery and kayaking is available and a highlight is horse riding through the fields.

 Lightfoot Travel provides tailor-made itineraries that include daily tours and excursions, restaurant recommendations and bookings, and can incorporate Cultural Triangle into a greater Sri Lankan holiday. Take a look at Tea Plantations and Coastal Hideaways as an example of a bespoke itinerary that we can create for you.

Ulagalla Resort Information

Location & Getting There

Tucked away in an exotic and secluded corner of the Cultural Triangle, this luxury resort is a 3-hour drive from Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo and a 30-minute drive from Anuradhapura Domestic Airport.


Ulagalla offers 19 one-bedroom villas each over 850 square feet in size with glass-walled panoramic views of the lush scenery just outside. The private deck and plunge pool are ideal for admiring the surrounding nature and hearing the call of the multiple birds in the region. Families will be very comfortable in the Nikawewa Villa, a 1200 square feet abode with two bedrooms located in the middle of rice paddies. The glass walls boasts a 180 degree view over the 20 acres of paddy fields, which can also be enjoyed in the villas private length pool.


- Gym
- Spa
- Infinity pool
- Library
- Pool table
- Dining: 1 restaurant, 1 wine cellar


Guests can rent kayaks for a leisurely cruise across the lake, bicycles to visit the local villages and horses to canter around the property. The Abhayagiri Monastery and Dagaba provide a glimpse of Sri Lanka's history, while attractions like the sacred Sri Mahabodhi Tree is also worth a visit. Animal lovers should also visit Wilpattu, the country's second largest wildlife sanctuary, and go dolphin or whale watching at Trincomalee.


The hotel has plenty of activities for junior adventurers, such as horseriding. Baby cots are free and babysitting can be arranged.

Ulagalla Resort Price Guide

2 out of 5

Notes on our prices

Ulagalla Resort Testimonials

Dear Elgin,

As I said earlier, we had a brilliant time and it could not have gone better. Mrs F was unfortunately not feeling too well but I know she hugely enjoyed herself. If you can enjoy yourself when feeling ill it shows it must have been a well organised trip – and we have much to thank you for.

The flight, both ways was good and the way Sri Lankan Airlines deal with Business Class passengers at Colombo Airport outstanding – all completely hassle free. The Wallawwa is the perfect place to start a holiday from.

You were quite right to recommend Ulagalla as the better of the 2 Cultural Triangle options. Originally you advised 2 nights and I am glad we decided to go for a third. It is a lovely place!! The game drive was good, although the park was very crowded with local sightseers (we went on a Sunday). I did an early morning bird watch which was successful.

We spent 7 nights at Kahanda Kanda and all felt that, for a stay of more than 3 or 4 nights it is way ahead of any Galle alternative. The whole place has a wonderful feel about it – I could go on for ever in praising the place.

With renewed thanks for aranging such an excellent holiday,

RP – March 2014

Ulagalla Resort Offers

Tried & Tested

Kieran exploring Cultural Triangle

Home of early Sinhalese civilisation, the Cultural Triangle – or King’s Land as it is traditionally known – offers grandiose monuments, showcasing the golden age of Sinhalese civilisation. After exploring these former capitals, Kieran’s Lightfoot Travel unwound at Ulagalla, a beautiful eco-boutique hotel and explains what makes this property a Lightfoot fave.

Ulagalla is located a stone’s throw from the Cultural Triangle. Describe the location and how to get there.

Ulagalla is about an hour’s drive from Anuradhapura, situated on a large piece of land centred on an historic, colonial wallawwa (manor house). If you want to splurge you can helicopter in from Colombo, as the property has its own helipad. Otherwise, you can drive from Colombo (5-6 hours) or you can fly via Cinnamon Air seaplane from Colombo to Sigiriya followed by a 1-hour drive. Due to the fairly long travel times required, I recommend spending three nights there, and using it as a base to visit Anuradhapura, Sigiriya Rock Fortress and Dambulla. The hotel provides a really nice biking tour of Anuradhapura. From Ulagalla I recommend going on to Kandy, which is a 5-hour drive.


Describe the layout and feel of the property.

All of the villas are scattered around the property, and are quite isolated with a huge amount of privacy. Aside from two villas, the rest all have their own private pools which is very nice. The two without are just a short walk from the main building and pool, so it’s good for families who don’t want to be too far away from everything. Not having a private pool isn’t a huge deal as it’s literally right next to the main pool, which is massive! You really have the sense that you’re in touch with nature here, which I personally loved. The villas are all raised on stilts, and as you walk down from your room in the morning there are peahens and peacocks roaming around the grounds. When I drove through to the main building for breakfast, I passed a group of monkeys playing in the trees. While you can walk from place to place, it’s about 2km all the way round, so some prefer to take golf buggies from their rooms to the main areas. You can also ride bicycles.

What about the 20 private ecologically-built villas that were added, do they fit in well with the original structure?

The new villas are obviously not historic, so you’d think they might clash somewhat with the original structure. However, this isn’t the case at all. The eco-lodges just kind of blend in with the whole jungle feel and are hidden amongst the landscape.

Ulagalla is renowned as being one of the best properties in Sri Lanka. In your opinion, what makes it so special?

  • The villas are exceptionally spacious
  • You really get a sense of history with the colonial manor house
  • The grounds are extremely well kept with lots of nature
  • Fantastic staff who really go out of their way to make you feel at home
Breakfast by the pool, Ulagalla
Breakfast by the pool, Ulagalla


Ulagalla Resort