Cinnamon Lodge is hotel for animal lovers, hidden away in the Sri Lankan jungle in the centre of the country’s cultural triangle. Many people that travel to Sri Lanka come to visit the cultural triangle that is made up of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Kandy, but often move from location to location, staying in a new hotel every couple of nights. We decided we wanted to visit the area in a different way, so instead we found a lovely 4.5 star hotel to use as our base and hired a driver to take us to one of the many must-see locations each day. This was actually a great way to explore the area, and our chosen hotel made the experience even more memorable for an animal lover like myself. I love to get close to nature as much as possible, but I do like my comforts and Cinnamon Lodge offers both! 137 wonderful apartments are spread across 27 acres of lush forested land and you share your stay here with so much of the local wildlife.
The vast grounds are home to two separate troops of monkeys and with pathways across the area you’ll regularly meet up with a family or two just hanging around. The hotel is designed to give them the ability to explore, with chains hanging off many of the main buildings for them to climb up and play you’ll often find them leaping around the roofs of the restaurant and reception teasing the hotel staff and causing monkey mayhem. This might not be everyone’s idea of fun, but I loved being a part of their world, often chilling by the pool with a monkey perched on the recliner next to me. You also find after a couple of days there that the monkeys do have little routines, which includes their mid afternoon crazy playtime where you’ll find them running down the pathways by your rooms en mass, chasing each other. It was so much fun to watch!
Wildlife at Cinnamon Lodge
But Cinnamon Lodge is not just home to monkeys. The woods are home to over 150 different breeds of birds, with the hotel dedicated bird walk pathways to help you get a glimpse at even more wildlife. During one of our walks we wandered past several water monitors and even saw a wild elephant walking along on the other side of the hotel’s lake. One day I came upon a couple of iguanas during a stroll, including one that got himself stuck in a termite mound that he was trying to raid. It was a hilarious sight, but I can happily report that he eventually managed to free himself and escape the bites from his would-be snacks!
Cinnamon Lodge’s beautiful butterfly garden
Cinnamon Lodge has a strong focus on being eco-friendly and has its own small farm where it grows fresh fruit and veg for the restaurant. Staff there have also cultivated their own beautiful butterfly garden, brimming with plants that the creatures love. Whenever we headed in that direction we’d often find one of the team invite us into the garden and they’d guide us around explaining all about plants they’ve chosen and point out and name all the different breeds of butterfly that would be fluttering gently around us. It was a truly lovely experience.
My wildlife highlights
As well as watching the squirrels play along the poolside every morning at breakfast, my wildlife highlight took place every day at dusk. Sitting outside the bar, overlooking the pool and the palm trees something caught my eye and I looked up to see a magnificent fruit bat flying above us, circling for food. Surrounded by much smaller bats it was beyond amazing to watch this beautiful creature in its natural habitat and from that moment I made sure we’d be in that bar as the sun went down every evening so I could sit back and watch it fly around.
Facilities at Cinnamon Lodge
As you can clearly see, what made Cinnamon Lodge so special to me was the wildlife and the wonderful grounds, however the rooms and facilities were also lovely. Some areas of the hotel had two floors, but there are also standalone deluxe bungalows, such as the one we stayed in. These rooms are cool, spacious and sunny, with separate bedroom and living areas and all the facilities you’d expect. It’s also a very pretty hotel to stay in, with the architecture actually inspired by the remains of Ritigala – a monastery that dates back to the 6th Century.
Eating at Cinnamon Lodge
There aren’t many options for food in the local area as it’s not really set up for tourists staying more than a couple of days, but the hotel had a good selection of meals available at different prices, across three separate restaurants on the grounds. It also offers special meals, including lakeside and treetop dining. On our last night here we treated ourselves to this experience and had a tasty BBQ dinner on a treetop veranda that overlooked the lake. We had our own chef and waiter that cooked our meal and were able to choose our own menu. It wasn’t cheap, but was a great, fun way to end our stay in this wonderful wildlife haven of a hotel. If you’re considering a trip to Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle, why don’t you consider doing as we did, and instead of living out of a suitcase for your entire trip book yourself into the Cinnamon Lodge. The majority of the main sites are within an hour’s drive from the hotel and you’re unlikely to find a more beautiful, and wildlife focused resort anywhere in the region.