Polannaruwa is one of the three ancient cities that we here at WoWasis feel everyone visiting Sri Lanka should see. The star attraction is the multicolored, stratified, monumental reclining Buddha, but there’s enough everywhere else to make it a one-day stop. And it can be one hot, sweaty day, too. So we here at WoWasis just jumped when we heard there was an ayurvedic spa in town, right at the hotel we were staying, too.
For 4,500 rupees (about $36 USD), we got a world-class spa experience, including head-to-toe body massage, face massage, herbal steam bath, and herbal hot bath. The spa is located a few feet down a slope from the hotel. After disrobing, the process begins with a rubdown using thick, aromatic ayurvedic oil, said to improve circulation, make muscles flexible, etc. We’re not sure of any of that, but it sure felt good. And so did the facial, steam bath, and hot herbal bath that followed it. For good measure, we left the oil sitting on our bodies all night, just in case the claims proved to be correct.
We’d recommend this spa if you need a relaxing break in Polannaruwa. The modern hotel it’s attached to is fairly common, and unexceptional (for the $120 USD price, the hot water should have been working). The spa, however, is fantastic, and you don’t need to be staying at the hotel to use it.
Hotel Sudu Araliya
Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka
Open daily, 8 am – 9 pm