In Sri Lanka’s deep south, the rustic farming villages round Tissamaharama are divided from the teeming animal and bird life of Yala – Sri Lanka’s oldest and second-largest natural reserve – by a belt of semi-protected jungle running down to the sea. For centuries, people here have farmed small clearings in the jungle called chena, sleeping beside their crops in modest huts to protect them from hungry elephants.
Here today, nestled among dunes and trees at the ocean’s edge, you will find Chena Huts, a Yala Hotel, which is the latest addition to Uga Escapes’ world-renowned portfolio of luxury boutique hotels. Overlooking a beach where sea-turtles come to lay eggs by moonlight and elephants wander down from the nearby jungle to play in the surf, Chena Huts is fringed on one landward side by the tropical jungle and on the other by a saline lake where ibises, painted storks and even flamingos may be seen, wading in the shallows.
For guests at Chena Huts, easy access to these natural wonders involves no compromise with comfort or good taste. At this small, select property, the ‘huts’ are in fact luxurious detached, private pavilions offering fine views of the surrounding wilderness and seascape. Guests enjoy fine dining at the Basses restaurant and sip cocktails at the Bar -. A swimming pool and other amenities for recreation are available. Yet one need to take only a short walk in any direction to find oneself surrounded by unspoilt nature, and find a place to invoke its spirit and calm one’s own.
To intensify the wilderness experience, this spacious 7acre property accommodates only fourteen 1130sq ft guest cabins. This includes a 781 sq ft climate controlled living space. Exteriors, featuring design cues from the vernacular architecture of the region, are designed to harmonize with the jungle environment; interiors gently emphasize the ‘safari’ theme, with log furniture, African-style and rustic motifs that belie the ultra-modern comfort and convenience within. Chena Huts by Uga Escapes truly stands out for the ambiance provided for the guests amongst the Yala hotels in Sri Lanka.
Each of these well-appointed cabins contains of a living area, bedroom, en suite bathroom and shaded outdoor deck with built-in 5m plunge pool. All are equipped with variable-intensity central lighting systems, 42” LED TV, mini-bar and facilities for making tea and coffee. The luxurious bathrooms feature free-standing bathtubs and twin vanity consoles.
Taking its name from the nearby reefs and lighthouse, famed in seafaring history and lore, the Basses restaurant is decorated to an appropriately nautical theme and features urbane fine dining in a spectacularly out-of-the-way location. Should you wish to take your meals under the stars of by the beach near a bonfire these options are also available. With a captivating beach front and an enchanting lagoon bordering the property, Chena Huts, being amongst the most unique Yala boutique hotels, has plenty of unique locations to dine in private.
Common amenities at Yala resorts include a 200m2 swimming pool with poolside bar (concealed behind a waterfall) and electric buggies for guest transport on the premises.