The Elephant Stables, Sri Lanka review: Handy in Kandy

Read our writer's views on this property below

India's classic retro wheels, the Ambassador, may have sadly run out of juice with its manufacturer announcing recently it had halted production of the beloved though anachronistic car.

But in the hills of Kandy, Sri Lanka's second and holiest city, there's an effort to push-start the old sub-continental vehicles of yore. At a new six-room boutique hotel, the Elephant Stables, guests can be chauffeur-driven around town in a restored blue and white Austin A55 Cambridge from the mid-50s along with an Austin A12 and a Ford Prefect.

The Elephant Stables (which its operators claim is on the site of actual erstwhile pachyderm stalls) is, by contrast to its fleet, brand new, having only opened last year.

Set atop a hill affording stunning views of the surrounding densely vegetated city, the hotel is built around a restored colonial-era bungalow once owned by Adigar Sir Cudah Ratwatee, a Sinhalese nobleman and the first Kandyan to be knighted by the British.

Inside, there is a combination of original mid-century tea planter-style furniture teamed with contemporary touches including bright, though tasteful, wallpaper as well as generously sized rooms decorated with old Ceylon travel poster reproductions.

There's also a decent deck-chair and umbrella-lined swimming pool overlooking Kandy's hillsides, perfect for lolling in the tropical heat. It's all a little hard to leave, even if there is an Austin waiting outside to take you for a nostalgic spin.

Rooms from $299. See elephantstables.com; classicsafaricompany.com.au.