5-bedroom Villas in Tangalle, South Coast, Sri Lanka

Tangalle is a sleepy fishing port in the island’s deep south where villagers go about their daily chores with an unhurried charm, stopping frequently to chat with relatives and friends. Its main attraction are the many beaches that surround the town to the east and west – some of the island’s most picturesque, tranquil and unspoilt. Reached along narrow tracks from the main road and hidden by rocky headlands which ensure that they remain undiscovered, many of these beaches, such as Seenimodera, Mawella and Nilwala, are flanked by beautiful patches of jungle and overhanging palms. Coves, rocky outcrops and bursting blowholes dramatise them whilst the rolling surf of the deep blue ocean provides an endless melody to accompany the picture-postcard scene. Inland from Tangalle, the scene is very rural; while the beaches are scattered with colourful fishing catamarans, the plains inland are carpeted with vast paddy fields where farmers are hard at work tending to their golden crops. Only lush jungle, palm tree islands, lotus-filled lakes and a few rocky outcrops vary the landscape, whilst breathtaking cave temples such as Mulkirigala are hidden within their midst. Tangalle has a supermarket, a handful of banks and a fresh produce market whilst eating out is a low-key affair; the region’s delectable ocean cuisine is typically enjoyed in a rustic restaurant overlooking the beach.

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The Beach House

The Beach House

Sri Lanka » South Coast » Tangalle

The Beach House is a total retreat from the outside world. Its tranquility is heavenly and it’s an excellent choice for a family who are looking for simple back-to-basics beach living without the distraction of TVs and other mod cons. Artists, writers and anyone with a creative mind or reclusive leanings will, unsurprisingly, find much to adore here, and guests get plenty of pampering from the barely-there staff headed by Dhammika, the shy chief houseboy.

The house has a unique design that suits its environment and embraces both the views and the sea breezes. It’s ridiculously quirky and we loved how Johnson’s eccentric artwork ensured that his presence lives on. The two studio rooms are quite secluded – great for adventurous teens wanting independence from their parents, or a couple looking for a little extra privacy. Do note though that The Blue Room is very small.

Although the Beach House is as characterful, timeless and restful as ever, it is looking a little run down since our first visit. A lick of paint would do it good, weatherworn soft furnishings could be replaced and we noticed that some of the mosquito screens above the windows were clogged with dust. For its price, this is a bit of a letdown – reflected in our revised value score.

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Kadju House

Kadju House

Sri Lanka » South Coast » Tangalle

We thought that Kadju House would be ideal for anyone looking for some serious R&R – especially as it comes with its own ayurvedic spa: an excellent addition, especially as the villa’s location is so tranquil. A locally-renowned Ayurvedic doctor can come and consult guests, and prescribe treatments based on his findings. Relaxing massages and herbal baths can also be arranged.

Not only is the location very intimate and private, the pool enchanting and the rooms cosy, but the staff really pamper you during your stay. The villa adapts itself well to many types of holiday; bliss on the beach, a secluded retreat, or a base from which to explore the local area. The conviviality of the lounge and bar makes Kadju House a great choice for a group of friends, and nature lovers will appreciate the visiting wildlife  – we saw kingfishers and humming birds, and heard peacocks - and many of the southern wildlife parks and reserves are within easy reach. The villa’s proximity to the beach makes it a good family villa too, though possibly better suited to older children as the steps and railings might be a worry for toddlers and young children (or, indeed, for some more elderly visitors). Although the suites are quite similar in style, the views and bathroom set up of each is unique; we loved the tropical bathroom design that merges inside with out – just be prepared for the occasional visiting frog!   

A staff of five effortlessly kept the house in order and offered us a high level of personalised service, carrying out our requests with ease. Staff were discreet though friendly, and their charm seemed to be a reflection of the instinctive hospitality and warmth that comes naturally to the people of this deep south region. On our most recent visit a new cook had joined the staff. Her Sri Lankan cuisine was great, and she is experienced in a number of western dishes as well. Many herbs and vegetables are grown in the villa’s increasingly large home garden, and where possible, used in your meals. Meals are charged to guests at cost price.

Although the house works very well for larger groups, it’s also suitable for couples or small families, as it can be rented as a two bedroom property for a special discounted rate. This makes it great value.
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Maya

Maya

Sri Lanka » South Coast » Tangalle

Maya is so refreshing; it’s easy to wax lyrical about how great this property is. What we really loved though was its uniqueness; it’s a labour of love that’s been designed with so much thought it’s like no-where else in Sri Lanka. The quality of the craftsmanship really complements the owner’s striking designs, and great care taken over even the smallest of details. The result is a property that’s sophisticated, unpretentious and completely in its own world.

We thought Maya’s staff were excellent too. Most have quite a few years experience within the boutique hotel industry in Sri Lanka and it shows as they worked efficiently as a team, and anticipated our needs. The chef was one of the best we've encountered of any villa in Sri Lanka. His dishes – full of flavour and artfully presented – really added to our stay. Since ingredients can sometimes be tricky to find in Tangalle, he creates a daily menu based on what’s available, although you’re welcome to make suggestions.

People come to Maya not only because of the above, but also for true peace and quiet, which you really find here. Many rare birds have been spotted in the garden, and national parks such as Yala and Uda Walawe can be visited easily on day trips from here. There are very few restaurants less than 15 minutes’ drive away, and no decent shops or nightlife, so it really is a place to relax and unwind. It would be superb as a yoga retreat (yoga and tai chi instructors can come to the villa to carry out three classes a day for a minimum of five days, for a fee, and during the months of May, June, October and November special yoga packages offering daily classes, special meals, massages and daily excursions may be booked) and would also suit two families holidaying together as the two parts of the property each have their own living and dining areas. There's a cable TV and a DVD player, two CD players and iPod docks, WiFi throughout, and lots of pool toys plus cricket bats, croquet, badminton racquets and body boards to keep all ages amused.
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