Uncovering the Historical Charms of The Grand Walawwa

Jul 04 2023.

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Nestled amidst the scenic region of Kegalle, Sri Lanka, The Grand Walawwa, a new venture by Shri Nadika Gem & Jewellery, offers a retreat that combines history with luxury. This colonial villa, now transformed into a hotel, invites guests to immerse themselves in its rich past and enjoy a comfortable stay. You're transported back in time when you step into The Grand Walawwa. The villa’s architecture and design reflect its historical significance, creating an ambience that resonates with the past. It’s evident that every corner of the property has been carefully preserved, allowing visitors to experience the charm of a bygone era.

Originally known as Wickrama, this mansion was commissioned by the late Albert A. Wickremasinghe and has seen the presence of notable figures, including Royalty and influential personalities. The British architectural firm Edward, Reid & Begg, once associated with renowned architect Geoffrey Bawa, played a role in crafting the grandeur of The Grand Walawwa. The attention to detail and craftsmanship by Walker & Co, the civil engineering company of the era, is still visible today.

The historical significance of The Grand Walawwa extends beyond its architectural marvels. Hosting significant events and welcoming influential figures throughout its illustrious history, the property had hosted the British Royals represented by the Duke & Duchess of Gloucester during their visit, who represented the King for Sri Lanka’s independence in 1948. The Crown Prince of Japan and esteemed Prime Ministers, including D. S. Senanayake, Dudley Senanayake, S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike, Sir John Kotelawala, and R. Premadasa, also graced this residence. 

The rooms at The Grand Walawwa are thoughtfully designed to provide comfort while retaining the colonial character. Antique furniture and decorative artwork add a touch of elegance to the spaces. During my stay, I resided in the distinguished Presidential Room, which exuded a sense of grandeur and refinement. The room was thoughtfully designed, featuring separate spaces for sleep and seating. This arrangement provided a distinct sense of privacy and comfort. To my delight, each section was equipped with two televisions, allowing for entertainment at one’s leisure.

One aspect that truly impressed me was the spacious and convenient layout of the large toilet. Divided into two sections, it catered to different needs seamlessly. The showering area boasted a generous bathtub and a refreshing stand-up shower, providing a luxurious bathing experience. On the other hand, the separate toilet area ensured privacy and convenience. This thoughtful design allowed for utmost comfort and efficiency, enhancing the overall stay.

The property’s surroundings are a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. 
The expansive gardens provide a serene atmosphere, while the pool offers a refreshing respite. The veranda, with its awe-inspiring views, is an ideal spot to unwind and soak in the natural beauty of Kegalle. The combination of lush surroundings and gardens created an ambience of tranquillity that permeated throughout the property.

The attention to detail at The Grand Walawwa was evident in every aspect, from the resplendent antique furniture to the intricate artwork and decor. The preservation of its colonial character added a touch of authenticity to the overall experience. The property effortlessly blended comfort and luxury, ensuring that guests could relish in its historical significance without compromising on modern amenities.

Moreover, I cannot overlook the accommodating nature of the staff at The Grand Walawwa. From the moment I arrived, they displayed a genuine warmth and willingness to cater to my requests. Their attentiveness and willingness to go the extra mile enhanced my stay and made me feel like a valued guest. Their exceptional service added an extra layer of satisfaction to the overall experience.

When it comes to dining, The Grand Walawwa offers an in-house restaurant that caters to a range of palates. The menu features a fusion of Western and Eastern flavours. Executive Chef Kamal Perera and his team aim to create a culinary experience that reflects the sophistication of the property. During my visit, I enjoyed the diverse selection of dishes, which showcased the culinary skills of the kitchen staff.

While The Grand Walawwa offers a glimpse into the past and provides a comfortable stay, it is important to note that the property may not appeal to everyone. However, for those with an appreciation for history and seeking a peaceful retreat, The Grand Walawwa can be a suitable choice.

In conclusion, The Grand Walawwa offers an opportunity to immerse oneself in history and enjoy a comfortable stay in Kegalle, Sri Lanka. The property’s historical significance, attention to detail, and serene surroundings create an atmosphere of tranquillity.

Pics by Kushan Pathiraja


Rihaab Mowlana

Rihaab Mowlana is a journalist specializing in feature writing. With a commitment to authenticity and a genuine love for her craft, she brings stories to life by delving deep into captivating subjects and offering unique perspectives. Beyond journalism, Rihaab is a content creator, entrepreneur, and educator. Stay connected with Rihaab on Twitter & Instagram: @rihaabmowlana



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