Close enough to the heart of the city but tucked neatly away up a narrow winding road, Earls Regency hotel was the perfect place for a jaunt around the Kandy area.
After a three hour drive from Colombo airport we were welcomed by the softly spoken and professional lobby staff with a glass of passion fruit juice while the check-in took place in a refined manner. After 15 minutes or so we were taken to our compact, double room where we were to stay for two nights.
The room was well worn, which wasn’t such a bad thing with excitable twin 10 year olds. The kids managed to create the standard family disaster area once we had unpacked whilst I scurried around trying to put things in order as if we had guests arriving any minute. The AC was definitely not Dubai standards i.e. Arctic but a teasing cool that just wasn’t enough for the four of us in one room. This was to become a common moan throughout the trip.
The hotel decor is heavy on woodwork and brown with a touch of cultural features. I was expecting more of an ethnic vibe and modern facilities but it was more of a middle of the road, safe design with no real character. The views however were fantastic.
There are limited dining options in the hotel but the main buffet restaurant had enough choice for the whole family. My husband is a keen curry man so as you can expect with Sri Lankan food, he was in his element with the range of mains but alas the rest of us are still only just at the Korma level so it was slightly more challenging but enjoyable nonetheless.
Every night the theme of the restaurant is changed to offer a twist on the previous spread (strangely similar dishes though) – in our time there we trawled the Mediterranean and the Seafood offerings – including BBQ’s, specialty dishes and the traditional local dishes on offer like string hoppers (made from hot-water dough of rice meal), Lamprais (rice boiled in stock with a special curry) and Kothuthu Roti.
The ‘Mountbatten Lounge’ is a great spot for the hands-free adults or a pre-drinks however the service staff was lacking the basic attentiveness you would expect from a top hotel in the region. Another option, close to the other restaurants, that seemed popular was Royal Spice, a Northern Indian restaurant with a menu offering dishes like Murgh Malai Tikka, Mutton Rara Ghosht, and Kashmiri offerings. Not sure what the Indian food connection is but it was a common theme in many of the hotels.
Some of the website information suggests that you can walk into Kandy but unless you are planning a hour long hike into town, you will require wheels.
As we were still on day one of our holiday in Sri Lanka, my hubby and I ventured into the slightly outdated but does-the-job gym for a bit of guilty exercise to work off the previous nights gorge of numerous dishes from the buffet. The children had the U-shaped pool and adjoining Jacuzzi all to themselves so big tick for all of us for keeping up with the calories so far.
Overall, this was an enjoyable experience for all of us with no complaints.
General tip: Kids menus were few and far between in hotels and restaurants we visited in Sri Lanka, so I would recommend bring along some familiar and healthy snacks with you, especially if you have picky eaters.