An Idyllic Wildlife Escape – Uga Chena Huts

Sometimes we need to slow down and breathe, take a moment to commune with ourselves in the quietest place possible. Especially when it comes to relieving ourselves of stress, a pleasant respite away from the city avails. Uga Chena Huts provides just that, a place to soothe our body and soul. 

Tucked away in the jungles of Yala in Tissamaharama, a property is vying to be Sri Lanka’s preeminent wildlife destination. Uga Chena Huts —the love child of Uga Escapes—is set on seven tropical acres and features fourteen luxury “casitas” in perfect harmony by vast wilderness for one with nature. The property epitomises today’s sense of luxury with its distinctive amenities and idyllic location.

There’s an argument to be made that a perfect stay at Chena Huts begins with arriving at night. From the bustle of the roads, one may find themselves winding through the cool climates of the jungle atmosphere, fireflies in the air, scattered huts and homesteads before emerging on the other side to one of the most breathtaking wildlife hideouts. While arriving on the property feels wonderfully distant from everything, you’ll find yourself catching glimpses of the golden dune and tropical beaches, the lights of the august casitas twinkling gently. The real treat, though, is the following day when you pull open the blinds to reveal those views: The horizon perfectly bisecting the dusty blue skies and sparkling seas. 

In keeping with the movement, the architecture of the Chena Huts encourages interaction with nature. Curvilinear wooden structures are open to the elements and cooled by swirling fans and perforated screens, all chiaroscuro light and shadow. The property itself is the product of a collaboration that prioritises exclusivity and isolation to enhance an authentic wilderness experience unlike any other five-star hotel in Sri Lanka. 

The accommodations are built into the natural foliage, linked by pathways and a single road by a meandering lake, so it’s easy to navigate one’s stay on this vast yet nifty serene property. The interiors of these huts are designed to harmonise with the natural surroundings, with wood furniture and African-style rustic elements. Ample living areas, restful bedrooms, en suite private bathrooms with free-standing bathtubs and twin vanity controls, as well as shaded outside terraces with built-in private 5m plunge pools, are all included in these well-appointed cabins. These affluent residences also have variable-intensity central lighting, a 42″ LED TV, a minibar, tea and coffee making facilities, and daily housekeeping. All that said, the property wears all this design know-how lightly. Chena Huts deliver the utmost comfort, with beds decked out in linens and products in the bathroom that capture the scent of citrus so closely associated with the wildlife experience. 

For dining, The Basses Restaurant offers a range of experiences from gourmet tasting menus featuring locally-sourced ingredients to hearty plates of flavour. The restaurant takes its name from the bordering reef and lighthouse, and its nautically themed interior architecture provides the pristine setting for its delicate dining dishes. Guests can even dine under the stars on the beach next to a utopian campfire considering the hotel offers a variety of options not found in other Yala restaurants. Uga Chena Huts provides various dining options to suit their guests’ moods, thanks to its different settings and isolated location. While the mouthwateringly fresh seafood or the crystal clear waters of a private swimming cove are indisputable highlights, it’s the sheer natural beauty of the property—and yes, those views—that has led to its ubiquity. 

Delving towards amenities, wellness is a skin-deep concept at Chena Huts as it is an exquisite spa resort set amidst the shelter of the Sri Lankan wilds, where one can indulge in some personal treatment. The property also provides a selection of calming treatments, including aromatherapy and rejuvenating beauty treatments, as one of the most deluxe spa resorts in Yala, Sri Lanka.

While each component of this property is alone swoon-worthy – it’s the welcoming and personable service, fuelled by a gracious and accommodating staff that stands ready to fulfil every getaway wish, that makes Chena Huts greater than the sum of its parts. The property is a place that embodies everything when you think of a private island – the feeling of seclusion and all the beauty of a tropical destination. It’s no coincidence that the “huts” of the hotel’s name means something closer to a hamlet or a village than a building in and of itself. Spending a few days at Uga Chena Huts allows one to feel the jungle’s incomparable energy while still being removed from it—it’s a small world of its owner’s meticulous making, offering so much that it ensures one may have little reason to leave. And as you open the blinds on another bright morning in Yala, why would you want to?

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