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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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From $280 Special 2br Rate

Bedrooms 3

Sleeps 4

Our
Rating 7.2
Guest Rating 8.9

Real-time Availability

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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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

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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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The Anandita

The Anandita

Indonesia » Lombok » Northwest Lombok » Tanjung

Anandita is exactly what a ‘destination villa’ should be.  It was lovely to be surrounded by calm seas, very comfortable lodgings and a team of staff who really know what they are doing.  Everything is laid on and we really had no desire go out, feeling so relaxed and content that all we did was swim, eat and sleep in the sun, with a little bit of volleyball and billiards thrown in for good measure.  The beach is ultra safe making it a great place for children to paddle and play; we felt that families would love this place given the choice of activities, and the room layout and bed configuration.  That said, the rooms would work equally well for four couples.

Something that really impressed us was the way the staff stopped what they were doing when we invited them to make up the numbers for a game of volleyball. It is rare to find a villa where the owner has encouraged his staff to go the extra mile to please guests in this way.  To quote from the visitors’ book, “The staff are truly the heart of Anandita”.  The kitchen produces some fine meals, with the emphasis on fresh fish and local produce - but remember that (if you wish to order from the suggestion menu) you need to give a bit of notice when ordering your meals or making your grocery list as the villa is a long way from the nearest shops.  An easy alternative is to opt for the all inclusive meal package offered at the villa which includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and afternoon tea.

Nothing changes very much in Lombok, so when we returned to Villa Anandita for our three-year-update we were delighted to find that everything was very much as it had been, including most of the staff who remembered us from our first visit.  Gusti the manager/activities manager delighted us with his energy and enthusiasm, taking us out for a long bicycle ride across the golf course and along rough tracks through the fields to the traditional market at Tanjung.  Since our last visit, the complement of bicycles has gone up to 13 and the owners have added a spa pavilion with two massage beds (professional therapists will come to the villa to deliver soothing treatments).  We were also pleased to find that the villa now has a WiFi internet connection, so it doesn’t feel quite so detached from the world.  The property has been well maintained but the beach bordering the garden has suffered from a bit of erosion so it has got narrower, but it is still beautiful to look at and you only have to walk a short distance to reach a wider section of sand.  Oh yes, there’s a new international airport in Lombok now, which is further away from the villa, so the journey is longer but you’ll see some gorgeous rural countryside en route.

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From $750 ++ Special 3br Rate

Bedrooms 4

Sleeps 6

Our
Rating 8.6
Guest Rating 8.8

Real-time Availability

The Anandita

The Anandita

Indonesia » Lombok » Northwest Lombok » Tanjung

Anandita is exactly what a ‘destination villa’ should be.  It was lovely to be surrounded by calm seas, very comfortable lodgings and a team of staff who really know what they are doing.  Everything is laid on and we really had no desire go out, feeling so relaxed and content that all we did was swim, eat and sleep in the sun, with a little bit of volleyball and billiards thrown in for good measure.  The beach is ultra safe making it a great place for children to paddle and play; we felt that families would love this place given the choice of activities, and the room layout and bed configuration.  That said, the rooms would work equally well for four couples.

Something that really impressed us was the way the staff stopped what they were doing when we invited them to make up the numbers for a game of volleyball. It is rare to find a villa where the owner has encouraged his staff to go the extra mile to please guests in this way.  To quote from the visitors’ book, “The staff are truly the heart of Anandita”.  The kitchen produces some fine meals, with the emphasis on fresh fish and local produce - but remember that (if you wish to order from the suggestion menu) you need to give a bit of notice when ordering your meals or making your grocery list as the villa is a long way from the nearest shops.  An easy alternative is to opt for the all inclusive meal package offered at the villa which includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and afternoon tea.

Nothing changes very much in Lombok, so when we returned to Villa Anandita for our three-year-update we were delighted to find that everything was very much as it had been, including most of the staff who remembered us from our first visit.  Gusti the manager/activities manager delighted us with his energy and enthusiasm, taking us out for a long bicycle ride across the golf course and along rough tracks through the fields to the traditional market at Tanjung.  Since our last visit, the complement of bicycles has gone up to 13 and the owners have added a spa pavilion with two massage beds (professional therapists will come to the villa to deliver soothing treatments).  We were also pleased to find that the villa now has a WiFi internet connection, so it doesn’t feel quite so detached from the world.  The property has been well maintained but the beach bordering the garden has suffered from a bit of erosion so it has got narrower, but it is still beautiful to look at and you only have to walk a short distance to reach a wider section of sand.  Oh yes, there’s a new international airport in Lombok now, which is further away from the villa, so the journey is longer but you’ll see some gorgeous rural countryside en route.

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Baan Puri

Baan Puri

Thailand » Koh Samui » Lipa Noi

Our visit to Baan Puri involved two families and the kids had an absolute ball, which meant we did too. Water plays a major role at the villa, with ponds, waterfalls - that huge 30m pool - and the waters of the Gulf of Thailand a constant influence. A particular joy is that, despite the villa's opulence, it remains refreshingly simple and focuses on what matters most during a beach holiday: comfort, privacy and the opportunity to enjoy the location to the full.

The staff were an absolute delight with the villa manager taking the kids under her wing as only the Thai’s know how and a superb chef who could cater for all tastes.Every room is designed to keep you all but physically attached to the view and the options for outdoor enjoyment are countless. A particular pleasure was the large circular daybed on the terrace in front of the beachfront bedroom, reclining with a chilled drink, breathing in the breeze with the pool and ocean before you can only be described as sublime. Versatility is another advantage.

The sheer size of the property, combined with its sensitive design, mean Baan Puri can happily host several families. There's even a table tennis table, beach toys, a Kayak, bikes and DVDs to keep the kids entertained when not in the pool or on the beach. But the villa would also be perfect for a large gathering of friends or a special celebration. Who could resist a party on the lush beachside lawn? Of course, not even high-end residences escape the odd architectural over-indulgence, but at Baan Puri, the few there are add character rather than inconvenience. A cliché I know but the only real disappointment was leaving.

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From $1,200 ++ Special 4br Rate

Bedrooms 6

Sleeps 8

Our
Rating 8.4

Real-time Availability

Baan Puri

Baan Puri

Thailand » Koh Samui » Lipa Noi

Our visit to Baan Puri involved two families and the kids had an absolute ball, which meant we did too. Water plays a major role at the villa, with ponds, waterfalls - that huge 30m pool - and the waters of the Gulf of Thailand a constant influence. A particular joy is that, despite the villa's opulence, it remains refreshingly simple and focuses on what matters most during a beach holiday: comfort, privacy and the opportunity to enjoy the location to the full.

The staff were an absolute delight with the villa manager taking the kids under her wing as only the Thai’s know how and a superb chef who could cater for all tastes.Every room is designed to keep you all but physically attached to the view and the options for outdoor enjoyment are countless. A particular pleasure was the large circular daybed on the terrace in front of the beachfront bedroom, reclining with a chilled drink, breathing in the breeze with the pool and ocean before you can only be described as sublime. Versatility is another advantage.

The sheer size of the property, combined with its sensitive design, mean Baan Puri can happily host several families. There's even a table tennis table, beach toys, a Kayak, bikes and DVDs to keep the kids entertained when not in the pool or on the beach. But the villa would also be perfect for a large gathering of friends or a special celebration. Who could resist a party on the lush beachside lawn? Of course, not even high-end residences escape the odd architectural over-indulgence, but at Baan Puri, the few there are add character rather than inconvenience. A cliché I know but the only real disappointment was leaving.

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From $1,450 ++ Special 5br Rate

Bedrooms 6

Sleeps 10

Our
Rating 8.4

Real-time Availability

Baan Puri

Baan Puri

Thailand » Koh Samui » Lipa Noi

Our visit to Baan Puri involved two families and the kids had an absolute ball, which meant we did too. Water plays a major role at the villa, with ponds, waterfalls - that huge 30m pool - and the waters of the Gulf of Thailand a constant influence. A particular joy is that, despite the villa's opulence, it remains refreshingly simple and focuses on what matters most during a beach holiday: comfort, privacy and the opportunity to enjoy the location to the full.

The staff were an absolute delight with the villa manager taking the kids under her wing as only the Thai’s know how and a superb chef who could cater for all tastes.Every room is designed to keep you all but physically attached to the view and the options for outdoor enjoyment are countless. A particular pleasure was the large circular daybed on the terrace in front of the beachfront bedroom, reclining with a chilled drink, breathing in the breeze with the pool and ocean before you can only be described as sublime. Versatility is another advantage.

The sheer size of the property, combined with its sensitive design, mean Baan Puri can happily host several families. There's even a table tennis table, beach toys, a Kayak, bikes and DVDs to keep the kids entertained when not in the pool or on the beach. But the villa would also be perfect for a large gathering of friends or a special celebration. Who could resist a party on the lush beachside lawn? Of course, not even high-end residences escape the odd architectural over-indulgence, but at Baan Puri, the few there are add character rather than inconvenience. A cliché I know but the only real disappointment was leaving.

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From $1,700 ++

Bedrooms 6

Sleeps 12-14*

Our
Rating 8.4

Real-time Availability

Baan Surin Sawan

Baan Surin Sawan

Thailand » Phuket » Surin

With a warm yet elegant style, caring staff and a peaceful location on a lush hillside, Baan Surin Sawan is an all-round superb tropical holiday villa. Though the Surin hills area is becoming more built up, this villa remains well out of the fray and we were delighted to see many birds and butterflies flitting over the pool, even a squirrel scampering around in the palm trees. The trickle of flowing water and the light tinkling of brass temple bells in the breeze, made a soothing soundtrack to our stay.

The friendly, efficient service by the villa manager and chef (overseen by a professional management company) is complemented by the care of the owner’s long-term live-in maid. Thoughtful touches included being welcomed with a cold coconut drink, refreshing towels and a garland on arrival and being offered the owner’s own homemade muesli mix at breakfast (quite tasty by the way). The full-time chef specialises in Thai cuisine and we were given the chance to try some of her Southern Thai specialties including the delicious poh-pia pak (spring rolls with spicy dipping sauce). We selected our dishes individually but there’s a fixed-price set meal menu, too, which we’d recommend as a good sampler to try for guests unfamiliar with Thai cuisine. The dining room is rather grand in design and perfect for evening meals. For outdoor dining there’s a table in the back garden barbecue area and the poolside sala could be used for an informal meal. If we’d stayed longer we would have probably arranged to have the garden table brought out to the pool terrace so we could enjoy the sea views while dining alfresco.

The overall layout of the villa offers a good set-up for two families or an extended family. The entertainment room and pantry plus two ensuite bedrooms on the bottom floor give the feel of being in a separate apartment with plenty of privacy, though we expect couples might battle for the upstairs master suite, which sits majestically in its own poolside pavilion with the best sea views!
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