3-bedroom Villas in South Coast, Sri Lanka

Stretching between Galle and Hambantota, the south coast is undoubtedly one of the most popular destinations in Sri Lanka. Characterised by historically significant fortified towns, numerous picture-perfect palm-fringed beaches, a sultry turquoise sea, swathes of iridescent green paddy fields fringed by lush green jungle, ancient Buddhist temples, expansive waterways, nature-filled rainforests and tea-carpeted hills it offers enough variety to be a destination in itself; fabulous for families, groups and couples alike.

Galle is one of the region’s most significant attractions for its sixteenth century Dutch fort filled with an evocatively rich collection of buildings, boutiques, museums and luxury digs that hug a peninsular to the south of town. Galle’s popular beaches are better-facilitated, more developed and safer for swimming than those in and around Tangalle, but the further you travel east the more expansive, deserted and nature-filled they become.

Surfing, snorkelling, diving, whale watching, sailing, fishing and kayaking can all be done along this magnificent stretch of coastline as well as cycling, walking and trying your hand at Sri Lankan cookery. Inland, the scene varies as the westerly wet zone’s lush jungle interior gives way to the arid dry zone plains a little beyond Tangalle. Taking off by bicycle is often the best way to explore the hills, plains, sanctuaries and jungle whilst a boat is a must to navigate the scenic lakes and rivers that wind in between.

Some of Sri Lanka’s most popular national parks – Uda Walawe for elephants and Yala for leopards and bears – as well as a trio of its most accessible rainforests – Sinharaja, Kottawa and Kanneliya - are easily visited on a day or overnight trip from anywhere along the south coast.

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No. 39 Galle Fort

No. 39 Galle Fort

Sri Lanka » South Coast » Galle

Atmospheric, well located and very comfortable sum up our stay at No.39. After the hustle and bustle of the fort, diving in and out of cafés and boutiques, and photographing iconic landmarks, it was heaven to return to our tranquil and comfortable abode, which was right at the heart of everything.

Ajith, the housekeeper, welcomed us in his quiet way, always with a shy smile and, with assistance from a second member of staff, kept the house clean and tidy.  He was also the cook, and although still a novice in the kitchen, we were pleased with his efforts, especially his curries.  The menu is fairly limited but included grilled fish, salads, sandwiches and kids’ meals – all dishes Ajith felt confidant cooking.

Although this is a great family house, the cement stairs (sans stairgates) and minimal kids’ facilities make it less suitable for toddlers.  That said, there are two daybeds at the entrance to the master bedroom that can sleep children up to ten years old.
 
The soft pillowy quilts made the beds very comfortable and we particularly loved the upstairs bedroom for its extra space and breezy rooftop views.  We found the bathrooms to be fairly small, but all were nicely finished in smooth polished cement. Note that Ajith is a live-in housekeeper and spends much of his time in the kitchen or discretely in his quarters, which are located next to the garden bedroom.
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79 Leyn Baan Street

79 Leyn Baan Street

Sri Lanka » South Coast » Galle

There are few homes in Galle Fort that feel as homely and as eclectic as this one.  79 Leyn Baan Street is a long house, stretching between two streets, but the configuration makes it feel very intimate.  Rooms are filled with interesting books, including many coffee table tomes on Sri Lankan architecture and design, one of which features the house itself.  Those looking for an informal home-from-home in the fort will love it here.

It is obvious that this is a family house – there is a kid’s bunkroom on the ground floor and a cupboard brimming with board games and toys – however hazards like the courtyard pond and a steep master bedroom staircase mean that we wouldn’t recommend it for children under 10.  What 79 Leyn Baan Street suits best are decadent couples looking for a private, personal and unpretentious retreat in the fort.

A trusted daily housekeeper cleans and helps in the kitchen, and the management company is on call should you need further assistance (they can also arrange for a chef to cook at the villa for a reasonable daily charge).  But the fort’s plethora of cafes and restaurants are less than a 10-minute stroll away so there’s no shortage of options for lunch and dinner.  Guests will also be kept company by Ruby, the house’s friendly dachshund.   A second entrance at the rear of the house provides nippy access to the ramparts and the little beach beyond.
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From $400 ++

Bedrooms 3

Sleeps 6

Our
Rating 7.0

Ambassador's House

Ambassador's House

Sri Lanka » South Coast » Galle

Ambassador’s House is certainly spacious. When we first explored inside, it just seemed to keep on going back and back. We really liked the roof terrace too – the perfect place for soaking up the sun.

The upstairs bedrooms have recently undergone renovations and now work well as a family suite, and the master bedroom ensuite is very special with its tub, twin washbasins and twin showers – true ‘his-and-hers’ luxury! Be aware though that the bed in the master bedroom is slightly shorter than your average queen-size bed. We liked that the main living areas were wired for sound as this really enhanced the mood (bring your own music or iPod), and the large screen in the TV room made it feel like a cosy mini cinema.

The villa is particularly well set up for kids – each staircase is fitted with a safety gate, and there are loads of toys and games. The staff love kids and we found them all to be warm and welcoming. The chef will ably cater for all your dining requirements (groceries on guest account) and the management team, who drop by daily, are very helpful and friendly and will happily arrange onward travel, excursions or activities.
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From $420 Special 3br Rate

Bedrooms 5

Sleeps 6

Our
Rating 7.8
Guest Rating 9.0

Real-time Availability

Mandalay Lake Villa

Mandalay Lake Villa

Sri Lanka » South Coast » Habaraduwa-Koggala

Mandalay is a rare slice of heaven. Its tranquil setting instantly relaxes the mind and makes work feel like a distant memory. Despite its out-of-the-way location (it takes 25 minutes to drive to Galle), it doesn’t feel completely cut off from the outside world as you can always enjoy the endless theatre atop the lake and watch the enthusiastic play of wildlife in the garden.

Although the villa makes a lovely retreat for a group of friends (it’s a great place for entertaining) there could well be some room-envy as the master bedroom is far bigger and more decadent than the other two (although the soft furnishings in each of these downstairs bedrooms were upgraded in 2013). For families or a decadent couple, Mandalay is an excellent choice. There are beaches within easy reach and plenty to explore in the locality.

The villa has a very generous swimming pool and a flat open garden that makes keeping an eye on the kids a breeze. The lounge in the main house, with TV and DVD player, is great for keeping the kids entertained at night and can also be used to sleep two more guests since the built-in sofas are the size of a single bed whilst the room itself is air conditioned.

The friendly cook (who’s also the villa manager) prepares some great meals; his rice and curry comes highly recommended, and he can prepare western dishes too. The staff leave you to your own devices which heightens the villa’s sense of privacy and seclusion.
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Pointe Sud

Pointe Sud

Sri Lanka » South Coast » Mirissa

Pointe Sud is wholly romantic. If I was lucky enough to have my husband ask me to choose anywhere in the world to build my dream home, I would also choose this fabulous spot! Superlative views and heart-warming history aside, the swimming pool here is definitely my favourite in Sri Lanka. It’s one that you feel an urge to swim (proper lengths) or wallow in day and night and has a lovely curved edge that you can comfortably lean on and look out to sea. Its to-the-side situation also gives a degree of privacy without separation from the rest of the house. The property is secure and the level of privacy here is unlike anywhere else around, and you get all of this without losing the amazing sea views or accessibility to the beach. A flight of 70 or so steps down from the pool terrace (this is not the best house for the less mobile) takes you to a lawn beside the beach that offers an attractive daytime alternative to the upper levels of the house; you can’t really swim in the sea here but there are a couple of paddling spots where you can have a soak. I loved that the house had numerous nooks for quiet time and loads of spots for dining (making it great for extended groups) with the option of daytime BBQs beside the beach. The bathrooms are modern though small, and the cosy colonial-style bedrooms purely for sleeping; admiring the views and lounging are best done from the front veranda. The staff of six were gentle, welcoming and really very discreet. Nothing was too much trouble and the lovely cook (who’s also an experienced nanny) will shop and prepare meals for you, presenting you with bills (for both food and drink) daily. At the moment it’s seafood and Sri Lankan cuisine only, so if you like curries this is a great place to enjoy them. We can’t fault the maintenance of the house, the presentation of the food and the staff’s responsiveness to our requests; they were excellent. However service is leisurely and suitably reflective of a practised home rather than the mechanical efficiency of a hotel.
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From $500 ++ Special 3br Rate

Bedrooms 5

Sleeps 6

Our
Rating 8.2

Villa Pooja Kanda

Villa Pooja Kanda

Sri Lanka » South Coast » Habaraduwa-Koggala

Villa Pooja Kanda is located a few kilometres from the beach. It feels well off the beaten track and is extremely tranquil. We thought that the villa would suit families very well – there’s certainly enough space for two families travelling together – or a group of friends.  The garden will enchant adventurous youngsters and the air-conditioned TV room with its big screen (and good selection of DVDs) will keep them occupied for hours when its time to head inside. The pool (which is enclosed by timber fencing) reflects its natural setting; built amongst the surrounding boulders and incorporating a little waterfall.

Since our first inspection in 2010, Villa Pooja Kanda has had quite a facelift. All the bedrooms now boast four-poster beds and vibrant soft furnishings. The first floor bathrooms have been refurbished and, like those on the ground floor, are now finished in smooth cement, making them feel much more up to date. The villa is filled with some lovely colonial antique furniture, and a good stock of books in various locations make it feel more homely. In 2015 the villa’s formerly jungly garden was severely cut back and this has opened up views of the lush surrounding countryside, as well as improved airflow.

The efficient management team drops into the villa daily – or on request, and the management company’s office is just at the foot of the hill, out of sight of the main house. If you’d like to eat out, there are a few good restaurants within a 10-15 minute drive. If you need an extra bed, two can be arranged for kids for no extra charge (note: these are mattresses with mosquito nets).
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From $343 Special 3br Rate

Bedrooms 5

Sleeps 6

Our
Rating 7.4
Guest Rating 9.1

Real-time Availability

Villa Saldana

Villa Saldana

Sri Lanka » South Coast » Habaraduwa-Koggala

We enjoyed three wonderful days at Saldana and adored the villa’s cosiness. Its design is grand but homely with the sea nearly always in view. The living room was especially comfortable and the front veranda is best sited to soak in the ocean vistas – drag a few chairs out there or even the dining table for a wave-chorused lunch as you count the lumbering ships on the misty horizon. The house and the swimming pool appear to float above the lawn and this aspect improves the airiness of the property.

The two master bedrooms both have sea-view terraces, but the bedroom opening onto the swimming pool terrace is less private - fine if you’re a single family grouping or a couple but maybe less so if you’re a group of friends. It’s ideal for midnight skinny dips though! The twin bedroom is ideal for children although the high beds might be a worry for parents with younger kids.

The kitchen is great and comes with everything that you’ll need if you’re looking to self-cater. The small staff team includes a cook who’s more confident in cooking Sri Lankan cuisine and simple snacks than elaborate western meals, but learning fast. The staff were always very discreet and gave us privacy, which we liked, although they were a little bit shy at times. Knowledgeable managers are on-call however, and they can help with restaurant bookings, massage appointments and onward travel. The turtle hatchery (0.2km) will be a delight for young children who can learn about the five species of marine turtles in tanks that come to lay their eggs on Sri Lankan shores. They’ll also have the opportunity to set new hatchlings free into the sea.

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Walatta House

Walatta House

Sri Lanka » South Coast » Tangalle

This is one of those fabulous finds you really want to keep for yourself.  We loved Walatta House – from its eco-chic concept to its beautiful ocean views and tranquil hillside location – and no sooner had we arrived than we were working out when we could come back again with friends.  The design is simple and the size manageable, even for two people, and the house is furnished with an eye-catching collection of design-orientated furnishings and fittings – the bulb installation above the dining table caught our eye.

The 20m swimming pool is a treat for long leisurely swims, and the air-conditioned TV room is a top addition as it provides the perfect snug for watching movies (bring your own) or catching up on the news and sports.  There’s a desk and computer here too.  We wandered down to the pretty beach, but currents can be strong so the staff advised us to head for Seenimodera Beach (over the hillside, and accessed via road) if we wanted to swim or jog as the beach here stretches for a few kilometres.

There’s a small staff team at Walatta House, including a chef who also acts as the manager.  Having worked in various Middle Eastern countries he specialises in Middle Eastern / Arabian food, however you won’t find it on the menu, so if you fancy some hummus or tabbouleh, make a special request.  The kitchen is not located within the house (there is a little pantry with drinks cooler, coffee machine and tea making facilities) but is adjacent to the main building, and can be used by guests.
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From $500 ++

Bedrooms 3

Sleeps 6-8*

Our
Rating 7.9

Wetakeiya House

Wetakeiya House

Sri Lanka » South Coast » Dickwella

You could easily hole yourself up for weeks on end here. As a writer, I thought Wetakeiya House felt like the perfect bolthole for composing and relaxing. It’s clearly a cherished home, and we loved the oversized daybeds, the interesting photographs and prints, and the eye-catching antiques artfully scattered throughout the house. There is loads of living space for six people and we liked that the pool was out of sight of the house as it gave yet another private spot for chilling out. The garden eventually leads to a collection of huge rocks smashed by the sea – a great scene for photographing but definitely not for swimming!
 
With three bedrooms, Wetakeiya House is ideal for a family, but since the garden drops off in places and slopes down towards the rocky beach, it’s probably more suitable for children over three. Since the two guest bedrooms are situated to the back of the house, and the master opens straight onto the main veranda, the house would also work really well for an indulgent couple looking for a little extra privacy and space. With a garden ripe for barbecues, fairly equally sized bedrooms, convivial living spaces and a good music system, groups of friends (singles or couples) could have lots of fun here too.
 
There’s a small staff team of four, and the lovely couple who manage the villa have recently returned from over 30 years in the Middle East and Greece. One of the pair, Chris, who is also the cook, prepares the usual Sri Lankan fare along with dishes she’s discovered on her travels. We dined on baked cheese gnocchi with salad, and for breakfast, tried her amazing pol sambol (grated coconut with lime, chilli and tomato).
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From $450 ++

Bedrooms 3

Sleeps 6

Our
Rating 7.8

32 Middle Street

32 Middle Street

Sri Lanka » South Coast » Galle

Once the doors of 32 Middle Street were closed behind us we felt instantly at home. The property felt secluded and its courtyard swimming pool and rooftop sundeck offered plenty of scope for relaxation. Indoors, we loved curling up on the squashy sofas in the living room and admiring the Asian artwork, owners’ photographs and interesting reading material that personified the property. Each room is large, although the master bedroom with its balcony overlooking the pool and sumptuous en-suite bathroom is easily the most exclusive. The house is well set up for families (best for older children), groups of friends and couples who will love the seclusion and privacy. The open-plan design of the two downstairs bedrooms, with the bathroom forming part of the room, albeit behind a concrete screen wall, might not suit everyone.

The helpful villa staff can prepare meals at cost price with prior notice, and Marloni’s delicious rice and curry was a real treat. The villa’s good management team can also assist with local travel arrangements.
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* Additional charges may apply for maximum occupancy
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