Times Style Magazine
- Spa Special
electric light, hot running water or ensuite bathrooms, it is
not hard to believe that Ulpotha is a tiny rural village three
hours drive from the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo. The bedrooms
have no walls, and guests must bring their own towels. And yet
it is one of the most exclusive, serene rejuvenation retreats
you could ever visit.
early 1990's Ulpotha was transformed into an organic farming village,
and it finances its continued restoration by opening its doors
to a small number of paying visitors for a few months of the year.
in the jungle, wattle-and-daub thatched buildings sit under scented
trees. There is no noise from machinery, just the chirrups and
squeaks of the surrounding wildlife - the perfect backdrop for
kicking off your worries along with your shoes.
no strict spa timetable here - if you want a treatment, simply
ask, and if the appropriate person is around, you can have it
there and then. If not, relax in the cushion-strewn pavillion,
or wander down to swim in the lake with its mass of colourful
the native steam treatments predate Ayurveda. Coated in detoxifying
sandalwood paste, you lie on a mat suspended over pots of boiling
water and herbal infusions, before sitting on a small stone stool
to be washed with warm, herb-infused water.
and a variety of other therapies are always available too, although
exactly what depends entirely on who is staying at the spa. Ulpotha
attracts some of the world's best therapists on sabbaticals, so
rest assured that whatever is on offer will be of the highest
of the visitors though come to practice yoga, as the village is
a magnet for world-famous teachers. The classes, suitable for
all levels, are optional, and take place on a shaded purpose-built
platform surrounded by tropical fruit trees and butterflies.
is completely self-sustaining, and all the food served is vegetarian
and grown organically on the farm. Alcohol is not banned, but
neither is it served. Instead most guests stick to fresh fruit
juices, herbal infusions or spring water.
huts have extremely comfortable beds with mosquito nets, and are
furnished with traditional textiles and earthenware.
is certain - by the end of your stay, you will feel more relaxed
and pampered than if you had spent your holiday knee-deep in fluffy
towels at a five-star hotel.