The National Parks
Cinnamon Wild Yala

Experience the thrill of living in the wild at this rustic resort which sits on the edge of Yala National Park, bordering a massive lake – home to crocodile, pelican and deer, all living in perfect harmony with the hotel.

Cinnamon Wild’s location also means that elephant, wild boar and other feral friends regularly visit from the park next door – and if you’re really lucky, you might just spot a leopard. Stand still, hold your breath and feel your heart pound in your chest.

Facilities & Activities

At Cinnamon Wild it’s all about the safaris and immersing yourself in the acres of natural habitat that lie just beyond the doorstep. Early morning or late afternoon game drives are conducted by experienced in-house naturalists who are a mine of information and excellent trackers. The resort also offers unique infra-red night drives, created as a result of work with the National Geographic, and resulting in fascinating new excursions into the wilderness to watch the nocturnal escapades through your night vision goggles.

There are also guided nature walks, coast walks (it’s too rough for swimming here) or explore the rural fishing communities and local village on an excursion.

When it’s time to relax head to the hotel’s pool – a serene and quiet haven, disturbed only by the rustling of the delightful grey langurs who’d share your towel if they dared to come down from the surrounding trees. The lovely Azmaara Spa is just the tonic between safaris.

Finish off a fabulous day at the unique bar built in the treetops where you can relax with a refreshing drink.

Please note that whilst the resort is still open, Yala closes between September and October to allow the wildlife to move from waterhole to waterhole so activities during these months are more limited.

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Dining

The dining settings here are enchanting. The main restaurant, Tuskers, overlooks the pool and the croc-filled waters of the lake beyond and is set amongst the treetops of the jungle. It offers a large selection of locally sourced delights, served up buffet style. The Sri Lankan corner offers authentic home-spun fare, warmed in traditional clay pots and there are western options such as lamb hotpot and pasta dishes.

The pool bar, Pugmarks, serves up an a la carte menu all day. Choose from a selection of light bites, ranging from sandwiches to grilled fish to fresh salads whilst you are serenaded by the sounds of the great outdoors.

At sunset, head to Peacocks, the rooftop observation deck with is panoramic views to watch the blazing sun dip into the tree-topped canopy below.

For an even more unique experience choose to have one of the Bush-style dinners out in the wilderness or by the shores of the lake. You may even be joined by an inquisitive elephant or two. Alternatively, the chef will make you a mouth-watering picnic to savour in a spot of your choice.

Rooms

The chalets are cosy and rustic yet have all the comforts of a luxury hotel with rain showers, king-sized beds and furnished terraces or balconies from which to enjoy the views.

The unique Beach Chalets are, as per their name, right beside Yala Beach. Built onto stilts a few metres above the ground – just high enough for a glimpse of the glittering ocean between the foliage and the eye-height of elephants passing by – they are safari-style with warm colours, textured furnishings and smooth warm wooden or terracotta tiled floors. Drift off to sleep listening to the restful sounds of the wild and waves on sand.

The slightly larger Jungle Huts are dotted around the tropical woodland. Designed to blend into the natural landscape, you are kept close to nature and you’ll spot all manner of wildlife passing by. Warm and cosy, they provide a haven of tranquillity after the adventures of the day.

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Family

Children are very welcome here and will love the exotic setting, the wildlife, the tree-top settings and the lovely pool. There is a children’s menu available and plenty of western dishes, such as sandwiches and pasta, for the less adventurous.

The Jungle Chalets are a good choice for a family stay; they have a single sofa-bed and there are interconnecting options.

Please do note that this resort is rural, the grounds and pool are un-fenced and wildlife wanders freely. As a result, running free is not an option and guests are escorted to their chalets after nightfall. Similarly, the ocean waters are unsafe and guests are warned not to walk on the beaches (although it is all stunningly beautiful) so this is the not the place to come for a bucket and spade holiday. However, older children are sure to be utterly captivated by the wildlife that surrounds you and this more than compensates.

Sustainability

Cinnamon Wild have adopted many sustainable practices and engaged in projects to help the community they operate in. ‘Project Leopard’ is now in its 4th year and has been set up to support the livelihoods of cattle farmers while at the same time protecting the leopard population living in and outside the boundary of the parks. Steel pens have been distributed to local cattle farmers, enabling them to protect their cattle from leopards in the area.

Location

The hotel is just outside Yala National Park, on the South-East coast of Sri Lanka. The setting is wild and rural – a nature lover’s paradise.

Transfers to and from Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport take approx. 6 hours. The nearest local village is Kirinda, famous for the rock-top Buddhist shrine and its cheeky monkey inhabitants.

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