I have made no secret of the fact that I adore outdoor showers and think they are pretty much the sexiest thing alive. Sexier than champagne and four-poster beds. Mind you, I haven’t put that theory in practice, so far the only company I had in my outdoor showers was wildlife, but I am not giving up hope quite yet.
The reality is if you are very squeamish an outdoor shower in your hotel room might not be ideal for you, romantic as it sounds. It usually comes with the company of the creepy crawly kind which may or may not impose on your room as well. Personally, I am not deterred by geckos, rats or other unidentified sources who like to gnarl on my products. An outdoor shower is always also an adventure even if you are staying at a luxury hotel. I like that and so I was delighted when I found such an adventure at Kahanda Kanda, the perfect green hotel in Sri Lanka just a short tuk-tuk ride outside of Galle.
The drive was already an event: Finally, proper Sri Lankan countryside with its lushness and cows to get me excited (why is it that I find cows so much more exciting and picture-worthy when on a trip than back home??) and a quick lesson in cinnamon from my driver.
Usually, a hotel check-in is especially special when you receive an upgrade to a suite. That is never the case at Kahanda Kanda as all their rooms are suites but I was told mine was the Peacock Suite instead of the one I had confirmed before. Comparing one fabulous room to another just seems silly, and now they even had, without knowing my predeposition, given me the suite with not one but two (!) outside bathrooms.
Now I honestly don’t quite get the point of having two of those. I do get the point of having an extra toilet, but I would assume that even the longest married couple wouldn’t be able to resist the appeal of a communal outdoor shower. But for me, alone again, it didn’t matter, I just randomly picked the bathroom on the right (they were identical) and made myself at home.
The owner, George Cooper, has created a little green oasis surrounded by tea- and cinnamon plantations overlooking the Koggale Lake. Being eco-friendly is a big part of Kahanda Kanda, so trees have been left uncut, and guests are not only reminded to keep their showers short but are also given a detailed list of which activities will use what amount of water. Drinking water in your room is not offered in little bottles but filtered in a watercooler. I love when a place makes it as easy as possible for their guests to be just a little greener!
Offseason in Sri Lanka comes with quite a bit of rain, something I don’t mind as long as it is warm and there is enough sun to dry me off afterward. In season the hotel has a variety of different excursions available from market visits to tree planting and boat rides on the lake. While I almost had the whole resort to myself – another perk of offseason – it also meant no activities were going on which I didn’t mind. I was quite content to do absolutely nothing at all but take two daily showers (very short ones!!). I also used up the entire infinity pool and didn’t stop swimming when it started pouring. Even almost losing a contact lens because it was raining so hard was worth it. Best swim ever!
While there were no organized yoga classes, the staff was more than happy to clean the yoga pavilion for my personal use as well as get the kitchen to make me special curries. I didn’t know that I was meant to feed an entire army of friends with one curry dish, but I appreciated it nonetheless and wouldn’t have minded eating my leftovers with my hoppers for breakfast.
You can explore the grounds and plantations on your own, and there are some stunning little walks. I recommend you take one of the friendly Great Danes as the mounts you will see on the side of the road are indeed cobra holes. Information I sincerely hoped got lost in translation when the guard told me, but no such luck – so yes, you may see a cobra or two. Luckily I didn’t.
Instead, I got a peacock on my roof (fitting to the name of my suite) and a monkey banging on my window. Those two I didn’t mind though they did wake me from a rainy afternoon nap. I did, however, mind the spider I found underneath my closet. It had snuck in through the bathroom (I had high hopes it would be smart and stay there) and was too big to sleep with.
I did what every independent traveler would do: I called the front desk and asked for help. A few minutes later my rescue team arrived – three men and one broom. Unfortunately, the spider didn’t live to tell the tale, one of my rescue teams however did. And while management even apologized for my inconvenience through the spider, he was keen to remind me over breakfast that he helped with the spider. I will admit that I have no idea what killing a spider with a broom is worth in tips these days. Anybody knows??
I will admit on my final morning I showered a bit quicker than before. I was still hoping for a monkey to join me but was now dreading some spider relatives coming for revenge. But then, isn’t that the beauty and the downside of an outdoor shower – you may just have company you never knew about and thus have a mini adventure before you have even left your room.
Getting to Kahanda Kanda:
From Galle it will take you about 30 minutes by tuk-tuk and Kahanda Kanda can organize tuk-tuks back to town.
Order your specialty breakfast dishes like hoppers the night before. There is a small lunch menu available and dinner consists of a three-course meal that needs to be pre-ordered. The kitchen was kind enough to substitute this for a Sri Lankan curry for me one night. Alternatively, you can take tuk-tuks and go for dinner down to the beach or Galle.
What to do:
During season book one of many activities that will show you more of the Sri Lankan countryside, nature and traditions. You can do yoga, swim and yes, fellow travelers, there even is a little bit of wifi (for those like me who get nervous twitches without)!
Thank you, Kahanda Kanda, for hosting me for this wonderful stay, my two outdoor showers and for taking care of that spider for me!