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Hip and Hot -The Insider's Guide to the Best Chill-Out Spots

Harper's & Queen - the Insider's Guide to the Best Chill-Out Spots 
Submerged in the jungle heartland of Sri Lanka, Ulpotha is so remote that, by the time you bump your way down the dirt drive (three long hours from the airport), you could be forgiven for doubting its existence. You soon discover it is most definitely mud-between-the toes real. Living with nature is what the brochure said it was all about, and in Ulpotha they take that literally. It takes a while to get used to the lack of electricity and hot water, not to mention the absence of solid doors to lock out the inevitable bugs and jungle sounds. But by the end of the first day, this rusticity seems like paradise. Perhaps this is due to the allure of diving through lotus leaves into Ulpotha’s glorious mountain lake, or showering in waterfalls, or making your barefoot way back to your mud hut in the sultry night, along a trail through paddy-fields that is illuminated by a multitude of glow-worms and oil lamps.

Ulpotha, nestling at the foot of the Galgiriyawa Mountains, occupies one of the most beautiful spots on Sri Lanka and offers a spectacular freshwater tank in which to swim. With enormous foresight, Giles Scott and his local partner, Viren Perera, have turned an abandoned village into a true paradise.

Guests, who come for a minimum of two weeks, sleep in wattle-and-daub huts without electricity and eat traditionally prepared food. There are excellent teachers for those who are attracted to yoga, but there is no pressure to join classes. Guests range from burnt-out City execs to partied-out Notting Hill trustafarians to writers seeking solace, but all share a desire for more holistic pursuits than simply frying themselves on a beach. Although, after a few days of relaxing in such harmonious surroundings, evenings invariably end in spontaneous party mode.

Hip and Hot

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