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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Villas in Sri Lanka by region

Hill Country, North West Coast, South Coast, West 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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From $400 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 $950 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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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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Ocean’s Edge

Ocean’s Edge

Sri Lanka » South Coast » Tangalle

Ocean’s Edge feels very remote, isolated even, but its 23 acres of grounds, not to mention a near deserted strip of tropical beach, more than compensate for any lack of nearby amenities.  Tangalle, the nearest town, is 21 kilometres away and until recently was the only option for eating out, but a slow wave of development along neighbouring Rekawa and Ranna beaches means that hotel restaurants are now opening up closer to the villa.

As if mimicking its surroundings, Ocean’s Edge is very spacious and bright, its tall arched doorways allowing plenty of light and air to infiltrate.  The bedroom configuration is particularly good for families as the master interconnects with one of the guest rooms and all of the upstairs bedrooms can easily accommodate a cot. The master’s anteroom – used as a TV or reading lounge – has its own bathroom (with tub) and could also be used to sleep a child if required.

The beach – which is ideal for walking and jogging – is around 50 metres beyond the front of the villa.  The sea here is usually too rough for swimming but the lovely pool more than makes up for this. If you do want a dip in the ocean we recommend you head towards Tangalle, whose westerly beaches are better for bathing.  The garden is perfect for fun and games (there are a few cricket bats and balls at the villa).  

The staff made sure we had everything we needed.  The kitchen is well equipped so although you do have a cook at your disposal (his Sri Lankan dishes are very popular), self-catering is entirely possible and the staff will shop for anything you require on a cash and receipt basis.

From Ocean’s Edge you can easily embark on half-day trips to nearby bird or turtle sanctuaries and national parks; the staff can arrange transport.
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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 $750 Special 3br Rate

Bedrooms 5

Sleeps 6

Our
Rating 7.4
Guest Rating 9.1

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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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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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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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