Getting personal and respecting mother earth in a luxury eco resort.
There are many luxury hotels in the world. From the frozen north of Canada to the sweltering south of Namibia, you will find top class hotels with excellent service. The trouble with a lot of these places is that they are just too similar and lack in personality.
From the bell boy right up to the manager, the staff at this hotel have a pride in their work and clearly care about what they do and where they work. When we arrived we were greeted like old friends. This was not your standard professional 5 star service, this was a genuine glad to see you moment. We instantly felt at home.
When we actually got to our room, we didn’t want to leave. With beautiful wooden furnishings throughout and surrounded by lush gardens, this was a room where you can finally tackle War and Peace. What with it’s inside and outside bathroom, you could stay in your room and never see the rest of the hotel.
The hotel sits on a man-made lake and wetland area that was inspired by the London Wetland centre. Instead of building lots of rooms and villas, the team at Jetwing decided to build their own nature reserve instead. You see what I mean about a hotel with personality! All of the rooms are near fields, the lake or paddy fields. Half a hectare of the Hotel’s land is used to grow paddy using traditional and organic harvesting methods; three hectares are dominated by wetland habitats and their associated flora and fauna; two hectares have been reforested using species native to the dry zone.
Having this environment right next to your room is a nature lover’s paradise. So far over 112 species of birds, 20 species of mammals, 36 butterfly species and 35 species of reptiles and amphibians have been recorded at Jetwing Vil Uyana. You wont need to travel far to see the local wildlife! Egrets, Kingfishers, Storks and even crocodiles have popped up by the lake from time to time.
The team at Jetwing were in the process of building more villas and rooms when Chaminda the in-house naturalist identified the grey slender Loris. Knowing how endangered these animals are, he put a stop to the planned construction and asked the head office to come down from Colombo. The owner of the Jetwing chain came down himself and after hearing what Chaminda had to say, decided to cancel the planned expansion and keep the habitat for the Loris instead. If only all business owners had such vision.
Chaminda now does night-time walks at Jetwing Vil Uyana to observe the Loris in its natural habitat. It was one of the highlights of our stay in Sri Lanka observing these cute little primates and knowing their back story.
Another highlight of our stay in Sri Lanka also coincided during our visit to Jetwing Vil Uyana. Coincidence? Probably not.
It was harvest season when we were there and the manager of the hotel invited us to an early morning ceremony for the harvest. It was amazing. First there was a shaman that chanted while boiling rice milk over a wooden fire. With smoke billowing up all around him, it felt like we went back in time. Most of the hotel staff were with us as were some of the local villagers. After the shaman had finished his offerings we all went into the rice field to help with the harvest.
Karen and I were crap at cutting the rice! We realised this after looking at the manager’s pile of neatly cut rice next to us. Our “pile” on the other hand was really just a bump that was scattered all over the place. We thought we did so well too! After the rice cutting, we all helped ourselves to a traditional breakfast next to the fields. It was such a special moment. How often can you say that you helped with the harvest with the staff at a 5 star hotel and then shared breakfast together? There is that personality again!
The Jetwing Vil Uyana is truly an eco-resort. From construction to energy conservation, the hotel strives to be as green as possible. This is not just about reusing your towels. To see a full list of the conservation practices the hotel uses, please click here: Green Directory.
It’s not all about being green though. The hotel has 4 restaurants serving delicious food in stunning settings. The spa is spectacular. We had a lovely massage overlooking the lake with candles all around us. It was bliss. The library sits on the lake with day beds for ultimate indulgence. I could have stayed there all day reading and watching the birds fly by.
So you see, at Jetwing Vil Uyana you get all the typical 5 star treatment like great service, fantastic facilities and beautiful rooms but you also get wildlife on your doorstep, harvest rituals and the grey slender Loris. In a word: Personality.
We were kindly invited to stay at the Jetwing Nuwara Eliya by Jetwing Hotels. As always, opinions are our own, especially about the wonderful eco practices the hotel is involved in.