Surrounded by thick rainforests, mesmerizing waterfalls and streams, Kithulgala is a well-loved location among adrenaline junkies. 

The Oscar-winning 1957 David Lean movie, Bridge on the River Kwai was also filmed at Kithulgala, giving this region more popularity. According to the locals, the remains of the train that blew up in the final scene can still be found in the Maskeliya river.

Tucked away in a dense rainforest, is a small luxury boutique hotel named Palmstone Retreat where your love for nature and adventure is combined.


From the Kithulgala main town, you will have to travel 6km up the hills to reach Palmstone Retreat. The road to Palmstone Retreat is not the smoothest. But you will be treated to a picture perfect view on your way to the top.

If your vehicle has less ground clearance it would be pretty challenging to travel on this road. An SUV or a 4×4 with enough ground clearance is strongly recommended.


At Plamstone Retreat, there are three Chalets. These Chalets are built among thickets, overlooking the lush waterfall. Each Chalet has two connecting suites named as Nelum and Araliya.

Confusing? Think of it as a simple cottage that has two rooms and can be accessed through a passage. Each Chalet can accommodate up to a maximum of 04 people.

We stayed in a Nelum suite and this spacious room is equipped with a King Sized bed, a mini couch, a vanity, a 40” Flat screen TV with Satellite TV, a closet, an iron+ironing board, a hairdryer, a safe, a mini-bar and bathroom slippers. The en-suite bathroom is also spacious and has an inbuilt Jacuzzi. Also, there is a private deck built in each suite, facing the gushing stream.

You will receive the same amenities at Araliya suite except for the inbuilt Jacuzzi. Instead, you will get a private plunge pool as well as a sauna for further relaxation. Palmstone Retreat is a perfect place for you to literally disconnect from the virtual world as there will be no mobile phone coverage. Nonetheless there will be complimentary Wi-Fi in each suite.


The Chalets at Palmstone Retreat are built in a way to blend in with the lush greenery at the property. All the suites are spacious and designed in a way to get plenty of sunlight during the day. The wooden floors perfectly match with the walls and the large windows give a fantastic view of the beautiful waterfall. Unfortunately, the suite we stayed in, the view was blocked by the neighbouring rubber trees.

Due to the bad weather, the pool was not in its best condition. Nevertheless, the staff at Palmstone Retreat did try their best to clean it up but the heavy showers kept them from succeeding.


The lobby which also acts as the main dining area is built right by the pool. You can either enjoy your meals at the restaurant or dine in at the deck in your suite. For lunch, we had Sweet Corn Soup followed by Egg Fried Rice with Devilled Chicken and Chopsuey. For dinner, we were served Chicken Minnestroni Soup for a starter. For the main course, we had Caper Marinated Chicken with Cheese on top followed by a decadent serving of Chocolate Mousse.

Other Activities 

Palmstone Retreat is built, bordering an enchanting waterfall. Right towards the end of the garden, there is a natural pool that will literally call you for a dive. You can also visit the popular Mannakethi Ella which is located just 30 – 40 minutes away from the Retreat. The hotel staff will accompany you on your trek and will provide you with life jackets upon your request. Apart from these sites, white-water rafting, jungle trekking, bird watching and cave exploration are some of the most popular activities in Kithulgala. The staff at Palmstone Retreat will arrange any of the above-mentioned activities upon your request. A TV lounge, as well as a pool table, are also available if you wish to spend your time indoors.  

Kithulgala is home to some of the densest rainforests in Sri Lanka. If you are an adrenaline junkie, visit Kithulgala from January to July as the weather in these months favor all the water sports activities such as white water rafting and abseiling. However, if you are looking for a place to rejuvenate and unwind, September would be the best month to visit Palmstone Retreat as the weather would be calmer and inviting. 

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5 replies on “Palmstone Retreat – An idyllic hideaway

  1. Such a balance with nature! I was at Kithulgala recently and how come this did not appear on my radar 😦 spent 2 days in a pretty basic hotel


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