Lalin de Mel – General Manager at Ulagalla
What does ‘Uga’ mean?
The word Uga derives from two syllables of the Sinhalese word “ula-galla”, the flagship property of Uga Escapes. Ulagalla itself derived its name from one of the two man-made tanks/reservoirs (construction period unknown but possibly circ 500 – 700 AD) which borders the property.
Ulagalla offers 20 detached villas with private plunge pools, scattered over 58 acres of Sri Lanka’s finest rural landscape
What is it Scott Dunn guests will find most compelling about Uga Hotels?
Each Uga hotel is designed to exude care – infused from the moment of its creation – towards making every aspect environmentally friendly and sustainable, whilst also luxuriously comfortable. Modern conveniences blend into the design, to pamper you whilst immersing you in the surrounding beauty.
The staff always have welcoming smiles, a genuine attentiveness and are eager to share their particular corner of their island home with guests. They genuinely want guests to experience the flavors of their cuisine and the restoration gained from time in nature, not to mention the incredible spa treatments. They will delight in your elation at the sight of their fauna and flora, and feel pride when you choose to explore their local villages and ancient history.
Staff setting up a table for two in the middle of a peaceful “kamatha” (a paddy threshing floor)
Can one visit Sri Lanka and stay exclusively in Uga properties and how would you route such a trip?
Uga Escapes’ properties are located in the north central and eastern block of Sri Lanka. Hence, we currently have options to pick guests up from the airport and transfer to Ulagalla for cultural and wildlife experiences and then to the famed beaches of the east coast.
We’ve also laid plans to have properties in the central hills and Kandy, as well as Colombo and the south coast, of which some are already being developed. Our aim is to have these locations completed within the next two to three years and then offer our guests the opportunity to experience Sri Lanka in full while staying exclusively at Uga properties.
Jungle Beach, set on the unexplored east coast of Sri Lanka
What are the most interesting experiences that can be arranged from Ulagalla?
Since Ulagalla is situated in the middle of the ‘Cultural Triangle’, there’s a wealth of things to do, see and explore. A must see whilst in Ulagalla is the Ancient city of Anuradhapura, the largest and oldest of all Sri Lanka’s ancient cities. Anuradhapura held the royal seat for more than 250 Sri Lankan kings and is aptly recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A bit further afield we arrange trips to Ritigala ancient monastery, Minneriya National Park where visitors can witness the “Elephant Gathering” (5th largest elephant migration in the world) and Wilpattu National Park – which boasts the highest concentration of leopard in Sri Lanka and home to the illusive sloth bear.
UNESCO World Heritage Site – The Ancient City of Anuradhapura
Elephants in Minneriya National Park
Sri Lanka has many adventures to offer, what would be at the top of your bucket list?
Sri Lanka is regarded as one of the best destinations to spot blue whales, sperm whales and even the rare humpback whales. So for a wildlife enthusiast it would certainly be a treat not only to see the largest sea animal but also the largest land animal in one trip. We therefore highly recommend a combined national park and whale and dolphin watching experience.
Also, the famous World War II wreck; the British aircraft carrier HMS Hermes, lies half-entombed by coral at an accessible depth. The wreckage of her escort vessel HMS Vampire, also sunk by Japanese bombers on the same day, has never been found – an opportunity for enterprising wreck-divers! The wreck is one of only very few air craft carriers that are sunk close to the shore.
Both these experiences can be arranged by Uga Escapes making all three of our hotels bases for such expeditions.
Diving the famous wreck in Pasikuda
For more information on Uga Escape properties visit our website or call one of our Sri Lankan specialists on 020 8682 5075