Well placed for trips to Sigiriya Rock, Kaudulla National Park and Minneriya National Park, the very security-conscious Cinnamon Lodge is a sprawling resort overlooking some picturesque marsh land. Built around ancient and atmospheric trees, home to troops of monkeys, and a small lake with mini-islands, scores of two-storey chalets each house a couple of en-suite bedrooms. They are generally designed and well-equipped, but the odd one may be missing a safe and it can be a bit of trek to the Lodge's large swimming pool and the massive restaurant.
Both the breakfast buffet and the dinner buffet (3,000 rupees a head) offer a very broad selection of dishes, ranging from authentic Sri Lankan rice and curries to western dishes, such as slow-cooked lamb and pasta carbonara. On the first evening, you'll probably end up sampling lots of different morsels and eating far too much, but you'll learn. A large chilled room is dedicated to fruit and yoghurts in the mornings and creamy deserts, ice cream and truffles in the evening. On the whole, the food is excellent, but the service can be a bit too attentive and eccentric - securing a well-lit table in the heart of the dining area can be tricky for no obvious reason. You can burn off the calories by jogging or walking around the track that encircles the lush resort and provides fine views across the surrounding countryside. Although the Cinnamon Lodge is a bit impersonal by Sri Lankan standards, it is a picturesque and comfortable base from which to explore a really rewarding part of Sri Lanka's cultural triangle. 7/10