4-bedroom Villas in Talpe, South Coast, Sri Lanka

Stretching a distance of less than ten kilometres between Unawatuna and Koggala, Talpe’s swathe of golden sand is fringed by the island’s most concentrated collection of upmarket beach villas that stand almost shoulder to shoulder facing the sea. With an idyllic position overlooking the Indian Ocean and close to the many facilities of Galle, Talpe is a small seaside village with little more than a handful of local provisions shops and local eateries to offer in terms of commerce, although tuk-tuks are aplenty and the friendly local people are well used to the sight of visitors enjoying its long stretch of sandy beach. Swimming in the sea is possible in some areas along the coastline here and is best at Dalawella whose tiny bay is protected by an offshore wall of rock that creates the inviting vision of a turquoise lagoon. Talpe’s rustic, laid-back charm invites people looking for a quiet out of the way sun spot whilst the sweeping bay of Unawatuna and all her facilities are never far away.

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Ambalama

Ambalama

Sri Lanka » South Coast » Talpe

We found Ambalama to be a very flexible beach villa, suitable for families, groups of friends and even decadent couples. It is spacious enough to host larger groups and its sociable layout maximises party potential (as does the iPod docking station and Bose sound system). Each bedroom is similarly sized which saves arguments about who sleeps where (although the bedrooms to the far sides of the villa perhaps offer the most privacy and are a little more special with their tropical outdoor showers). There is plenty of space inside the villa and outside on the pool terrace for dining, and every meal is an occasion, reflecting chef Roshan’s five star hotel training in a wide range of delicious fusion cuisine. Ingredients (on guest account) are bought fresh from the market each day.     

The staff at Ambalama are proficient and present service with a smile; offering to unpack our suitcase on arrival and serving us chilled G&Ts on the pool terrace overlooking the sea at sunset. A pair of non-resident managers drop by to welcome guests and make sure they have everything they require, and are on call if advice is needed about where to eat out, or to help with any travel arrangements (Roshan doubles up as an in-house manager and can also assist with most guest queries).

Whilst there isn’t a TV or DVD player at the villa, these can be organised with prior arrangement – although it’s probably best to bring your own DVDs with you, as well as childrens’ games if needs be. Whilst the narrow beach outside Ambalama isn’t great for swimming, you only have to walk five minutes to the nearest swimming beach. That said, there are few villas on the Galle coast better located than Ambalama; beaches, restaurants, shops and attractions are all within a short walk or drive.
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Footprints Villa

Footprints Villa

Sri Lanka » South Coast » Talpe

Since it didn’t look huge from the outside, we were delighted by how spacious Footprints actually was. With living areas spread over two floors, it’s big enough for large groups to scatter themselves about, and the overall feel of the place is very personable and homely. To one end of the pool is a shaded dining area that’s a breezy (if slightly gloomy) all-day sea view spot to sit, and there’s bench seating so you can squeeze quite a few people around the table. The swimming pool area currently (March 2012) looks a little bare, but the management told us that they are soon to spruce it up with lush greenery.

There’s a small staff team of a cook/maid and a security/maintenance man who also doubles up as a waiter and gardener. The cook is shy to speak English and service is fairly laid back, yet both are friendly and when large groups stay at the villa another staff member is drafted in to help. There’s a small menu, which continues to grow as the cook learns more dishes; our evening meal of chicken korma was delicious. Two managers (a couple) drop by every now and then to ensure the smooth running of the villa and assist with any enquiries, which really helps; WiFi wasn’t working when we arrived, however they quickly arranged for the appropriate people to come and fix the problem.

We felt that Footprints would particularly suit groups of friends looking to chill out and spend time together within treading distance of restaurants and bars (there’s a very popular one just 100m down the beach). Anyone who lusts after air conditioning would also be happy here – there are few fully air-conditioned villas along this stretch of coastline. It’s a good family house too (although some may grow tired of wandering up and down stairs to reach the bedrooms). Note that one of the bedrooms is fitted with waterbed. Although it looked (and felt) comfortable, we opted for a more traditional mattress!

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Satin Doll

Satin Doll

Sri Lanka » South Coast » Talpe

Satin Doll is a very well balanced villa; spotless, comfortable bedrooms, plenty of living space and a lovely, private front garden with sea views. The villa’s manager Thushara was also extremely eager to please and dealt with any issues that arose, quickly and discreetly. The contemporary artwork scattered around the villa, including the potentially authentic ‘Rage – The Flower Thrower’ Banksy by the dining area (the owner has no clue who painted it!) – also caught our eye, as did the beautifully soft palm-motif Indian bedspreads and cushions that were handpicked by the owners.

The villa has its own chef, and for lunch we ate gazpacho soup and tuna nicoise salad (our request; something light) and for dinner the staff prepared a house speciality, fish biryani, with brinjol pickle and salad. The suggestion menu was enticing, and included crispy pork belly, Thai curry, seafood options, and whole roast chicken. All food and drinks are charged at cost price (plus a 20% mark up), or you could opt to pay LKR 2,500 (around $20) per adult per meal (half price for kids). Breakfast is included in the rate.
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