Villas in Sri Lanka

There are few islands in the world where the scenery is so diverse, and so quickly varied. Visitors who come to Sri Lanka cannot fail to be moved by this irresistible chameleon-like charm, her warm-hearted people and her rich multi-cultural vibe. And, despite the island's popularity with visitors, it still feels like an untouched paradise.

Sri Lanka offers something for everyone. There's the ancient Sinhalese ruins of the Cultural Triangle; the Hill Country's colonial plantation bungalows, misty peaks and endless tea; Kandy's revered Temple of the Tooth; national parks where leopards, elephants and bears roam free; and the warm turquoise seas where you can see whales and dolphins, and scuba to coral reefs.

This island's endless swathes of unspoilt palm-speckled beaches are its biggest draw. The sultry south-west stretch linking the water sports capital of Bentota, the historic 17th century fortified city of Galle and the rustic shoreline of Tangalle is the most developed, accessible and popular, and also where most of the island's villas – many atmospheric heritage homes - can be found.

Both the island's geography and its multi-ethnic community are reflected in the national cuisine. Spices, particularly cinnamon, attracted overseas traders many years ago, and they feature strongly in the island's wonderful curries, which tend to be much hotter (and better!) than their Indian equivalents.

Sri Lanka's relatively small size means that you can take in the best of the island's attractions within a few weeks. The south-west coast and hill country are at their climatic best between December and April, which is when the majority of visitors come. The inter-monsoonal northern summer months are not to be avoided either as quick downpours intersperse long sunny days.

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Villas in Sri Lanka by region

Hill Country, North West Coast, South Coast, West Coast
Search Results: 73 Villa(s) in 8 page(s)
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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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41 Lighthouse Street

41 Lighthouse Street

Sri Lanka » South Coast » Galle

41 Lighthouse Street is a fabulous house that feels lived in and loved. Shelves bulge with books, artwork adorns the walls and photographs are scattered all over. The pool table and pink-lit bar give the house a youthful appeal whilst the many lounging areas offer scope for both sociable or solitary occasions. Kids can let off steam in the back garden which has been extended slightly since our first visit to allow for a deeper lawn area for sun bathing and a slightly larger ambalama as well.  Bedrooms are all equally comfortable and adequately furnished, but we felt that the master bedroom outshines them all in space, design and décor. It also feels the most private. Groups might feel compelled to pick straws to decide who gets to sleep here!


The three staff are lovely. One of them can stay in the house at night if requested, otherwise you’re left to your own devices. You can either choose meals from the extended menu – which lists a fabulous array of dishes adapted by the manager/cook from the many cookery books lining the kitchen shelves – or self cater. Shopping can be done for you if you provide a float. The owners often host dinner parties so the staff are familiar with what’s required, making the house a great place for entertaining – the bar alone warrants company. 

Lighthouse Street is located in the middle of Galle Fort so all the main attractions are within walking distance: the owner’s two dogs, Cricket and Polo, love nothing better than joining guests on afternoon strolls atop the ramparts.  Talking of cricket, the house has been visited by many renowned cricketers over the years and if you can book it when a big match is playing in Galle, you’re very well-placed as it’s only a five minute walk to the test ground.

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Nightly Rate
$500-600

Bedrooms 3

Sleeps 6

Our
Rating 7.7
Guest Rating 9.5

5 Middle Street

5 Middle Street

Sri Lanka » South Coast » Galle

5 Middle Street is a great family friendly base in Galle Fort that distinguishes itself from the crowd by its eye-catching design.  The rammed-earth pillars and walls of the rear wing, combined with innumerable teak shutters, louvered panels and smooth timber floors, piqued our interest.  This house might not suit purists looking to stay in a more typical Galle Fort house, however it will inspire anyone interested in innovative architecture and sustainable building techniques.

All of the bedrooms are on the first floor and the living/dining areas on the ground.  That this is a family house shows; a children's bunk room, kids bicycles, a paddling pool, DVDs and games and a layout that involves the staff of three (the kitchen is incorporated into the open plan living and dining areas), enabling them to keep an eye on the youngest members of the family.  The formal lounge in the cavernous front living/dining room isn't quite as comfy (sofa space is limited) as the built-in open-sided lounge off the garden, and chairs are limited in the TV area. 

The villa chef has worked for over 20 years in kitchens across Sri Lanka and has a good repertoire of dishes, many of them fish- and seafood-based.   We enjoyed our meals, tucking into fresh tuna with coconut beans and pilaf rice for dinner followed by home-made sorbet.  There are plenty of restaurants in Galle Fort, just a few minutes walk away, and a few of our favourites include Fortaleza, the Galle Fort Hotel, Crepe-ology and Pedlars Inn Café.   You can roam the Fort's atmospheric streets and ramparts, and there are many little boutiques within its walls.

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Nightly Rate
$400-700

Bedrooms 4

Sleeps 6-8*

Our
Rating 7.5

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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Nightly Rate
$700-1,300

Bedrooms 4

Sleeps 8

Our
Rating 8.0
Guest Rating 10.0

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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Nightly Rate
$525-825 ++

Bedrooms 5

Sleeps 10

Our
Rating 7.8
Guest Rating 9.0

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Anilana Craigbank Nuwara Eliya

Anilana Craigbank Nuwara Eliya

Sri Lanka » Hill Country » Nuwara Eliya

Anilana Craigbank is wonderfully warm and welcoming. Décor is contemporary colonial as befits this 160-year-old house which was expertly renovated and modernised by a previous French owner who lived here for many years. Despite the grand feel of the house and the enjoyable formalities of a good staff team, the atmosphere is relaxed. Each of the bedrooms is very comfortable with wonderful garden views. A selection of magazines, books, board games, DVDs and satellite TV kept us well occupied in the evenings. The Drawing Room is a cosy place to curl up with a book, and the DVD library in the TV room will keep the kids amused. It can get quite cold at night, so rooms are heated by working fireplaces whilst heavy curtains, knitted bedspreads and draught excluders all help to keep you toasty and warm.

The staff are friendly, warm and eager to make your stay as comfortable as possible; their natural hospitality also adds to the charm of staying at Anilana Craigbank. On our most recent visit, the house had come under new management. They have refurbished the house, replacing soft furnishings – the dusky walls of the bedrooms are brightened up by a contrasting collection of vibrant Sri Lankan artwork, colonial prints and Ceylonese maps; installed WiFi and brought in a few new staff. There are now a selection of priced menus for all meals, including breakfast. Two to three-course set menus for lunch and dinner always list a local and a western option, and tend to change daily. There is also a snack menu available. No alcohol is served at the house, however guests can bring their own tipples and no corkage will be charged. The house’s two tubby yet adorable labradors – Gin and Tonic – are still popular characters on the property, but can be shut away if guests would prefer. Hot water still takes a little time to work its way through the pipes!

During Sri Lankan New Year in April (typically the 13th and 14th) many Colombo residents flock here for family holidays. During this time the town is in full bloom and has a carnival atmosphere with many events – horse racing, car rallies, motor cross, golf tournaments, garden competitions and discos – being held. Prices often triple during this period and the town can get very noisy and busy. Unless you would particularly like to be here for this occasion, it is probably better avoided.

 

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Nightly Rate
TBA

Bedrooms 4

Sleeps 8-9*

Our
Rating 7.5

Apsara

Apsara

Sri Lanka » West Coast » Bentota

What a wonderful villa! Apsara offered us plush comfort, an excellent chef and a wonderful riverside location all within easy reach of Bentota’s long sweep of beach. We enjoyed the company of the staff who always greeted us with a smile and made us feel so welcome. The chef, in particular, stood out for his conviviality and amazing food. The house and garden were both immaculate: it felt as though we were the first ever visitors. The lighting was also especially good. The bedrooms and living areas are all air conditioned, although we just left the doors open as there was always a refreshing breeze coming off the river.

There’s a wall-mounted DVD and Blu-ray disc player in the living room (loads of DVDs) and a surround-sound music system with iPod dock set up so you can hear your favourite tunes inside or by the pool. There’s also a good WiFi connection throughout the villa so you can easily get online if you bring your own kit.

Apsara has its own private jetty and is well connected with a locally renowned water sports outfitter who can come and pick you up from the villa in their boat. There’s a good supermarket just up the road from the villa that stocks loads of imported goods and the fresh produce market is right on your doorstep too. The staff will buy groceries for you though, and with such an amazing chef to feed you (and a wonderful menu) it’s unlikely you’ll be doing much more than ‘window’ shopping.

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Nightly Rate
$389-775

Bedrooms 3

Sleeps 6

Our
Rating 8.0
Guest Rating 9.1

Auraliya

Auraliya

Sri Lanka » South Coast » Talpe

This is a fabulous villa. Standouts include the stunning sea views, gorgeous beach, expansive outside space and heartwarming team of staff, not to mention the great food. Everything about the villa is very family friendly and group orientated - the sky blue swimming pool with its shallow ledge; the huge garden with plenty of space for the kids to indulge in cricket or football; the interconnecting rooms; and the lovely beach with calm sea ideal for paddling.

We thought the staff were excellent; friendly, experienced and capable. The chef was particularly enthusiastic and his cooking was fabulous. He’ll even make snacks for kids such as jammy dodgers, an all-time favourite. He will also stock the kitchen with basic provisions prior to your arrival, and prepare your first two meals so that you can arrive relaxed and at ease. There’s a Nespresso coffee machine in the villa, but as you can’t buy the capsules in Sri Lanka, you’ll need to bring some with you. If we needed anything else, the staff shopped for us and they were able to arrange transport for us to visit attractions, restaurants and the fort at Galle.

Visiting in March 2013, three years after our original review, we were pleased to discover that the villa has the same lovely staff team and is as immaculately presented as before. Each master bedroom has its own mini fridge and the villa is also now equipped with a generator.


 

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Nightly Rate
$1,200-1,500

Bedrooms 6

Sleeps 10-13*

Our
Rating 8.3

Blue Heights

Blue Heights

Sri Lanka » South Coast » Dickwella

For a lazy, languid holiday where you come armed with a stack of books and great company, Blue Heights is the business.  The simple design and minimal interiors are unfussy and free of distractions so that you focus on the job at hand – relaxing, catching up with friends and family and absorbing the restful environment.  The ocean views and hilltop locale create a feeling of space and the convivial pool area, with sunset-worthy jacuzzi, soon became one of our favourite spots.  The open-sided dining area made the most of the views and even from the glass-walled lounge you can spy the sea whilst watching TV.  Those staying in the master bedroom do get a lot more value as the room is huge and is attached to a little private lounge with pergola roof, although the bathroom is rather narrow.  The bedroom in the main house works well for elderly relations or independent couples.

The staff, a husband and wife team, plus houseboy, were very welcoming – as was Timmy, the house's loveable dog!  Service is casual and their English was limited so communicating was a bit of a struggle at times.  However, the villa is looked after by a management team whose area manager is always at the end of the phone.  The kitchen is basic and uninspiring, however there is a little pantry with sink and fridge for making drinks.  In any case, a cook prepares all of your meals (Sri Lankan cuisine mainly, plus a few fried rice and noodle dishes).

Note that the beach is not at the end of the garden – you need to go through the gate, turn right along the road and then wander for five minutes to the beach.  Swimming is best in the middle of the bay.
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Nightly Rate
$450-850

Bedrooms 4

Sleeps 8

Our
Rating 7.4

Brockenhurst

Brockenhurst

Sri Lanka » Hill Country » Nuwara Eliya

Brockenhurst is a good private base for visiting Nuwara Eliya town and nearby attractions. Although there are few facilities – the kitchen is basic and there is no swimming pool – Brockenhurst does represent very good value.

The house can accommodate up to twelve guests; since the master bedroom has space for five (rather like a dorm room we thought) and the second bedroom can sleep three, it’s a great house for a couple of families. We felt that the ground floor bedroom would be suitable for elderly relatives who weren’t keen on stairs, making the house a good choice for extended family holidays too. Whilst the number of bathrooms equals the number of bedrooms, only two are ensuite, but this doesn’t really pose a problem. We felt that the house reflected bygone days when entertainment was made, not provided, which is certainly part of its charm.

Whilst Brockenhurst has probably changed little aesthetically since its colonial days, it has been updated; bathrooms are modern and have scorching hot showers (although the bathtubs could do with a few touch-ups here and there), and whilst the bedrooms are comfortable, they are sparsely furnished. The Sri Lankan-style kitchen is practical for staff use only. There are no menus, you can discuss meal requirements daily with Godwin, the chef, and buy your own groceries or give money to Karu, the multi-tasking caretaker of Brockenhurst, to buy them on your behalf. The chef lives in and his English is good so we didn’t have any difficulties.

Brockenhurst has been refurbished since our first visit. The hallway and living room floors have been laid with timber, which feels much warmer underfoot and more homely than the previous cement flooring. The sofas in the living room have been replaced, and the fireplace here has also been remodelled. These upgrades all make the room feel more sophisticated than it did before.

There’s a new flat-screen TV, a DVD player (although no DVDs) and WiFi internet (works best downstairs). Karu and Godwin are both still there, and were as warm and friendly as ever. They have a third team member helping them out now too. The kitchen remains fairly basic (although with Godwin cooking there’s really no reason to use this room at all) and we noticed that two of the bathrooms have been slightly upgraded.

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Nightly Rate
$420

Bedrooms 4

Sleeps 12

Our
Rating 6.8

* Additional charges may apply for maximum occupancy
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