Asia Travel

Santani, the luxe Asian wellness resort winning awards

Santani, the luxe wellness resort winning piles of awards in Asia

In the digital era, being instagram friendly is one of the most important parts of a resort or retreat, and Santani Wellness resort in Sri Lanka has got this one sorted.

The architecture and location of the place is one of the many, highlights, particularly the use of natural light and the surrounds within the tropical jungle in which it sits.

Located outside Candy, a town about 5 hours drive from the capital, Colombo, this wellness resort is designed for relaxation and yoga, and the majority of the structures are wooden and concrete and sitting in the middle of a lush, tropical Sri-Lankan forest.

There are no schedules here apart from the one set by the rising and falling of the sun.

When I was there, luckily for me, lauded Indian yoga instructor Sushant Pandey was in residence, and I was fortunate enough to be able to work with him throughout my stay.

He’s a man who (amongst man other things) has taught Russian scientists to increase their productivity – through yoga and meditation.

This is the place to go to be pampered in nature and to escape the world.

The food is unebelievably good, and consists of 3-4 course meals at every sitting, and the chef meets with every guest every day to tailor the menu to suit their precise meal requirements.

Unlike many retreats, the menu has alcohol.

Meals are served in a stunning space where shoes must be removed and natural light pours in.

The sauna and spa area are incredible, and encapsulate that indoor, outdoor feel, with a hot spa and massage rooms overlooking a tropical jungle where monkeys play. The therapists have been hand-picked and are exceptional.

There is a deliberate strategy here not to put you into a schedule

“We believe living a highly scheduled life is the root cause of the stress, people are already following a schedule in their daily life, and if we have one here,  there’s no difference to your daily life,” explained Vickum Nawagamuwage, the CEO/founder of Santani.


“The expansive, open style rooms with bathrooms with no roof have either a garden view overlooking a paddy field, or are mountain view chalets which have a view of the mountains.

Renae Leith-Manos at Santani Health Retreat in Sri Lanka.

“The concept of the rooms are open rooms, places that help make you comfortable with yourself. Once you are in that space of your own, you take yourself as what you are.

“In regular daily life, there’s always a door, a block but here you are not blocked by doors & windows at every step. It’s just in the mind, it’s just a mental block.”

Days consist of morning yoga, long walks through the rain forest, the occasional wild pig wandering onto your path on the property, monkeys dancing in the trees and afternoons by the gorgeous swimming pool overlooking the view.


Renae travelled to Santani, Sri Lanka with Health & Fitness Travel, 1300 551 353.

Renae  Says:

Who should Stay here: Solo travellers, couples, groups of friends.

Who shouldn’t Stay here: Children – this is not a place for children.

Location: About 4 hours  drive from Colombo Sri Lanka – try and book the train in advance or a light plane.

Best culinary delight: The food is out of this world.

The Highlight: The architecture and tropical jungle setting.

The lowlight: It’s quiet – you have to be ready for that, but that is why you go.


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