Forest themed Sapphire Holiday Resort Ratnapura, Srilanka

When I planned by Srilanka trip, I planned an overnight stay in Ratnapura, Srilanka. The reasons for staying at Ratnapura were as below:
  1. It was mid way between Horton Plains National Park and Mount Lavinia/Colombo. It was more comfortable to stay overnight and proceed next day
  2. There were few possible attractions that could be visited nearby- Peak Wilderness Sanctuary, Kitulgala (where Bridge over River Kwai was shot, rafting adventure is also available)
When I was searching for budget options to stay in Ratnapura, Sapphire holiday resort came up prominently on Booking.com. It was priced in budget, looked good on photos and reviews, so I booked. After spending a night here, I think it was a good decision to book Sapphire Holiday Resort. Read this detailed review and decide for yourself.
Rooms at Sapphire Holiday Resort
The entire campus had a rustic/forest theme, which gave it a unique feel. The beds at tree trunks as pillars on four sides


 
Rooms were well equipped with drinking water, kettle, coffee sachets and other such essentials. The Sapphire Holiday Resort has only about 6 rooms. The corridor looks like below.
 
Great and custom ordered Food:
Sapphire Holiday resort arranged us Indian dinner and breakfast. We'd selected the cheapest option hence breakfast was extra at 300 LKR per person, so was dinner. The food is custom prepared for each guest/group, not a generic buffet setup. We got good veg food, could taste idli, masala dosa and other south Indian items there, so full marks on the food service to Sapphire Holiday Resort

The cat walk
The resort had a cute little white cat. After some hide and seek I managed to hold it and within minutes it grew comfortable with us. Went for a walk with it- it sat comfortably on my shoulders. We went to main road- it would fear a lot if an auto or other vehicle passes by, shivering stopped once we came back closer to resort campus and cat recognized the territory. 

The garden
Sapphire Holiday resort has a very small garden outside the rooms 
Sapphire Holiday home provided free driver accommodation to our driver.

Few drawbacks to be aware of while booking Sapphire Holiday Resort
  • 3-4 kms from town, 2 kms from main road. Do carry whatever you may need. No shops nearby
  • Approach road is wide enough for a mini van but not for mini bus
  • They list price in USD but prefer payment in LKR, use a conversion rate favorable to them. Costs us a few bucks extra compared to listing price directly in LKR- not a big deal but a point to be noted.
  • There is a bit of mosquito issue- but this is not hotel specific and may be applicable all over Srilanka. Use mosquito nets provided
Some old artefacts are kept in campus. A wedding photo shoot was going on on the morning we checked out
Rooms cost us about 2200 INR + food extra.  We paid close to 9000 INR including food for 6 people/3 rooms for one night. There is a AC rate and Non AC rate it seems.

What to explore in Ratnapura?
1. You can visit gems mining and processing unit. I had visited one during my previous trip, enroute to Galle. Check this post. However there may be a fair amount of cheating if you're buying- exercise caution.

2. There's a clock tower in town and a old dutch fort which is now being used as government officers, including office of Superintend of Police.

3. Kitulagala is some 80-90 kms from Ratnapura- you can explore the area where 'Bridge over River Kwai' movie was shot, try some watersports/forest camping and other adventures here. I had thought of going there and try rafting but the operators didn't respond to my email queries and even my guests preferred to visit Galle than going to Kitulagala hence I skipped it.

4 Peak Wilderness sanctuary is nearby, so are some waterfalls.

5. Places like Pinnawala elephant sanctuary, Adams Peak, Galle etc are about 100-150 kms from Ratnapura. Colombo is about 80kms.
Ratnapura is not a hot spot town like Kandy or Nuwara Eliya or Galle, so it may not appear on the plan of many tourists. However if it does, you can certainly consider Sapphire Holiday resort for your stay

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