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The best hotel room in the world?

April 1, 2010

I’ve been lucky enough to stay in some amazing five-star hotel rooms over the years. Hotel rooms with pillow menus, water menus, and once, even a bubble-bath menu. I’ve stayed in hotel suites so decadent that at times it felt like I’d wandered into a mid-80s Duran Duran coke-excess video shoot by mistake… Hotel rooms with en-suite helicopter pads, hot-and-cold running butlers and sheet thread counts that ran into four-figures. But all of it pales into insignificance (OK, except, perhaps the place in Mexico with its own in-room Jacuzzi and towel-swan water tableau – really) when compared to the Best Hotel Room in the World, in Sri Lanka.

The best hotel in the world ever?

Possibly the best hotel in the world...

OK, so it wouldn’t win any prizes for luxury. It was made of wood, like an over-grown treehouse, and perched next to a river.The “bathroom” was accessed via a step ladder through a trap-door. The shower was a stone with a pipe bored through the centre. Turn the “tap” and freezing cold water from the river gushed out. Of course, the lack of air-con meant that an icy hosing-down was exactly what you wanted. And the toilet? Well, let’s not discuss that here.

Water straight from the river

Icy water straight from the river

I got to Rafter’s Retreat in the evening. Kitulgala, is a few hours drive from Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo. After a blissfully simple barbecue supper,I  slipped away from the others and went to bed early. I hopped in and out of the frosty shower, trying to muffle my shrieks from the shock of the cold. I batted away the bugs who gathered around the swinging lightbulb, all seeming far too interested in trying a bite of the dish of the day Boiling Hot Hackette…

The best hotel room in the world?

The best hotel room in the world?

My skin was rosy from the day’s sun and the heart-pounding cold dip I’d just taken. I pulled a T-shirt over my damp head and wriggled under the mozzie net to lie on the bed. I turned the light off and lay there, listening to the sound of night-time in the jungle. The river was running high and it was splashing rhythmically just beyond the porch door. I’d tried to peer out earlier, but it was too dark to see. I could hear crickets chirping and the distant sound of laughter from the patio-barbecue. So rarely do you get to hear the sounds of the night when you’re away traveling. The drone of the air-con drowns all sound. Windows which aren’t designed to open or let in the sounds or smells of the city, seal us into hotel rooms. The chance to lie there, in the pitch-black darkness and listen to unfamiliar noises was an incredible treat. I was lulled to sleep by the babbling water and woke with the dawn. Time to investigate that other door which over-looked the river. A tangle of trees – the jungle? – with a splash of river crashing past and a wooden bench to sit on. I sat back silently, watching the sky wake up. Pink, orange and apricot as the sun blushed into life. The best night’s sleep. The best view in the world. And the best hotel room in the world? I think so.


From → Tips

One Comment
  1. Jon permalink

    Sounds magical. Apart from all the bugs. I could do without that.

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