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
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Six Degrees North

Six Degrees North

Sri Lanka » West Coast » Ambalangoda

If you’re looking for an unpretentious beach pad – think cosy over cushy – then Six Degrees North is the perfect package for a family or two, or for friends travelling together. Each of the five bedrooms is similarly sized, living space has been well laid out and every essential facility has been thought of, including WiFi internet reception that stretches nearly to the beach. Most of the bedrooms come with twin beds pushed together to make kings (ideal for any group configuration) and certainly, with the soft pillowy king-size linen, felt more like one bed than two. Bathrooms with wonderfully hot showers are attached to each bedroom.    

The villa has an enclosed garden to the front that’s mainly laid to lawn though at the far end there’s a sandy strip designed for kids to build sandcastles and play safely within the confines of the property. A simple timber fence marks the boundary between the garden and Madampe Beach beyond. The villa’s pool has been recently enlarged and incorporates the original plunge pool, great for kids.

The discreet service of the staff at Six Degrees North really complemented the relaxed, homely feel of the villa. Although some staff spoke only basic English, the manager will do anything to help you and make you feel at ease. You can choose to self-cater (there’s a barbecue in the garden for guest use too) or be catered for according to a priced menu. The Sri Lankan food prepared for us was delicious, especially our daily curries.

The pavilion to the front of the house has been added since our first visit, and the owner has recently installed a lounge and small massage area (with herbal steam bath) on its ground floor. The views from the living and dining area on the top floor are great, and this extra space is a real enhancement to the villa.  

NOTE: The owner has recently (2013) converted two buildings next door to Six Degrees North into holiday accommodation with three and four double bedrooms apiece – giving the capacity to sleep an additional 14 people. Access via an unfenced section close to the beach makes these new rooms (each of which is lovely and spacious, with ensuite bathrooms) a good overspill option – we particularly liked the rooms in the front building.
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Six Degrees North

Six Degrees North

Sri Lanka » West Coast » Ambalangoda

If you’re looking for an unpretentious beach pad – think cosy over cushy – then Six Degrees North is the perfect package for a family or two, or for friends travelling together. Each of the five bedrooms is similarly sized, living space has been well laid out and every essential facility has been thought of, including WiFi internet reception that stretches nearly to the beach. Most of the bedrooms come with twin beds pushed together to make kings (ideal for any group configuration) and certainly, with the soft pillowy king-size linen, felt more like one bed than two. Bathrooms with wonderfully hot showers are attached to each bedroom.    

The villa has an enclosed garden to the front that’s mainly laid to lawn though at the far end there’s a sandy strip designed for kids to build sandcastles and play safely within the confines of the property. A simple timber fence marks the boundary between the garden and Madampe Beach beyond. The villa’s pool has been recently enlarged and incorporates the original plunge pool, great for kids.

The discreet service of the staff at Six Degrees North really complemented the relaxed, homely feel of the villa. Although some staff spoke only basic English, the manager will do anything to help you and make you feel at ease. You can choose to self-cater (there’s a barbecue in the garden for guest use too) or be catered for according to a priced menu. The Sri Lankan food prepared for us was delicious, especially our daily curries.

The pavilion to the front of the house has been added since our first visit, and the owner has recently installed a lounge and small massage area (with herbal steam bath) on its ground floor. The views from the living and dining area on the top floor are great, and this extra space is a real enhancement to the villa.  

NOTE: The owner has recently (2013) converted two buildings next door to Six Degrees North into holiday accommodation with three and four double bedrooms apiece – giving the capacity to sleep an additional 14 people. Access via an unfenced section close to the beach makes these new rooms (each of which is lovely and spacious, with ensuite bathrooms) a good overspill option – we particularly liked the rooms in the front building.
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Skye House

Skye House

Sri Lanka » South Coast » Habaraduwa-Koggala

We loved everything about this fabulous house, perched on Habaraduwa’s beautiful beach.  The two upstairs suites are very grand and open directly onto a balcony that wraps around the top floor of the house and reveals incredible coastal views (you can’t really see the sea from the ground floor due to a screen of beach foliage, planted for privacy).  The house is definitely designed for families, and the ground floor twin bedroom works well for independent teens or perhaps elderly relatives keen to avoid the stairs.

The staff team are efficient and we had all of our meals cooked for us.  Most memorable was our fabulous lunch of grilled tiger prawns followed by a delicious tropical fruit pavlova.  Although there is no outdoor dining area as such, the staff can move the dining table onto the veranda or even set up lunch or dinner for you on the beach (highly recommended).  We really liked the L-shaped swimming pool and its visibility/proximity from the dining area and living pavilion, as it made it easy to keep an eye on kids.

Whilst the sea here can be rough at times (and there are no lifeguards), bathing is best during the high season (December to April), and for strong swimmers the rest of the year.  If you do plan to take a dip in the sea, let the staff know and they can advise you on the best places for a bathe.
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South Point Villa

South Point Villa

Sri Lanka » South Coast » Habaraduwa-Koggala

There’s plenty to enjoy at this tranquil beach villa: swimming in the sea right outside, the ocean views, the peaceful private garden with its pool and palms, and the comfortable bedrooms with satellite TVs and DVD players; all very child-friendly. The bedrooms are generously sized so that the villa comfortably accommodates the maximum group size of six plus two children (under 12); a babysitter can be arranged with advance notice.  The villa is furnished in traditional Sri Lankan style (planter’s chairs as opposed to squashy sofas, for example) and bathrooms are without tubs, but are modern and spacious.

We felt that its having just three bedrooms also made South Point Villa good for couples; there are plenty of intimate places and the staff are a discreetly pampering presence. And its secluded setting – you are very unlikely to see any other tourists on this beach – would appeal to honeymooners and anyone wishing to escape into their own private hideaway. Rates for just one couple staying are lower, so it also represents good value.

There is a staff of 12 who work between this villa and sister property South Point Abbey, and despite mixed levels of English, the manager, cook and housekeeper understood us – and our needs – well. The chef bakes his own bread (delicious!) and presents the food imaginatively: Sri Lankan dishes and seafood being the house specialities.
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Sri Villas

Sri Villas

Sri Lanka » West Coast » Bentota

This is definitely Sri Lanka’s best choice for large groups and for entertaining as the property has been designed so well for big parties. The genial setup means that villas are placed at just the right distance from each other to allow for conviviality whilst their individual self-containment means that family units within a group can still enjoy a degree of privacy if they need to. Sharing one big swimming pool between the three villas works out better than having three smaller pools, allowing for lengthy swims. There’s a shallow section in front of Nisala that you access directly from the villa’s terrace, making it a focus for families and therefore the busiest area of the pool. Verandas and balconies offer quiet spots for individual moments if you need to get away from the crowd. We found the staff team to be very able; the food was good (there was lots of choice), the smiles genuine and their experienced system of dealing with guests shone through. I liked that fresh juices were left in the fridge for us to help ourselves to (or brought to us in chilled glasses) and that we could order whatever we liked, when we liked. Typically guests choose to pay their food bills via a grocery system (staff doing the shopping and presenting you with receipts), which we did; however you could otherwise opt to pay $40 per person per day for full-board.
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Sri Villas - Araliya (Villa Three)

Sri Villas - Araliya (Villa Three)

Sri Lanka » West Coast » Bentota

Araliya is well-suited for families – either one large or two small – with its double suites upstairs and two colourful bedrooms (including a twin) on the ground floor. There’s a basket full of toys, special menus for the kids, a palm-shaded garden plus an easy-to-watch-over pool. Araliya’s location on a quiet stretch of beach that’s more popular with turtles than people was stunning. If you’re looking for conviviality and don’t mind sharing facilities then Araliya is a good choice. The houseboy assigned to our villa was very polite and helpful, as were the rest of the staff who took over the cooking, cleaning, securing and beautifying while we relaxed and topped up our tans on the terrace. The food was good (there was lots of choice), the smiles genuine and their experienced system of dealing with guests shone through. I liked that fresh juices were left in the fridge for us to help ourselves to (or brought to us in chilled glasses) and that we could order whatever we liked, when we liked. Typically guests choose to pay their food bills via a grocery system (staff doing the shopping and presenting you with receipts), which we did; however you could otherwise opt to pay $40 per person per day for full-board.
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Sri Villas - Nisala (Villa Two)

Sri Villas - Nisala (Villa Two)

Sri Lanka » West Coast » Bentota

We really liked the easy arrangement of Nisala, plus every room’s direct sea views and the fact that the villa’s open kitchen felt exclusively ours as the chef cooked all (Sri Villas) meals in the staff kitchen. There’s loads of space on the ground floor for dining and relaxing and this made up for the fact that its outside areas had less privacy than the other two villas. We had all three Sri Villas properties to ourselves on our visit, which was fantastic. I liked the fact that I could sit on the shady veranda almost dipping my toes into the shallow section of the pool, but wondered how the ambience would have differed had there been some little paddlers around. However, with its basketful of toys, child-friendly staff and a special kid’s menu, we thought this villa would be ideal for families with young children. Nisala’s location on a quiet stretch of beach that’s more popular with turtles than people was stunning. The houseboy assigned to our villa was very polite and helpful, as were the rest of the staff who took over the cooking, cleaning, securing and beautifying while we relaxed and topped up our tans on the terrace. The food was good (there was lots of choice), the smiles genuine and their experienced system of dealing with guests shone through. I liked that fresh juices were left in the fridge for us to help ourselves to (or brought to us in chilled glasses) and that we could order whatever we liked, when we liked. Typically guests choose to pay their food bills via a grocery system (staff doing the shopping and presenting you with receipts), which we did; however you could otherwise opt to pay $40 per person per day for full-board.
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Sri Villas - Sagara (Villa One)

Sri Villas - Sagara (Villa One)

Sri Lanka » West Coast » Bentota

Sagara was our favourite of the three Sri Villas; it’s intimate, comfortable and – being the furthest away from the main staff area – seemed the most private. It also has the most ‘hidden’ living and dining areas plus a kitchen that we had all to ourselves (the staff/chef have their own) making self-catering easy. There’s little true privacy outdoors and if all the properties were occupied I could imagine the ambiance would feel more like a small boutique hotel (certainly around the pool) than a villa, but if you don’t mind sharing then this is a good villa for you. If you’re a small group (maybe even a couple) looking for the personality of a villa, or perhaps are new to villa renting, this communal setup works well as having extra people around (if there are any) provides a little more atmosphere so that you don’t feel completely alone. The houseboy assigned to our villa was very polite and helpful, as were the rest of the staff who took over the cooking, cleaning, securing and beautifying while we relaxed and topped up our tans on the terrace. The food was good (there was lots of choice), the smiles genuine and their experienced system of dealing with guests shone through. I liked that fresh juices were left in the fridge for us to help ourselves to (or brought to us in chilled glasses) and that we could order whatever we liked, when we liked. Typically guests choose to pay their food bills via a grocery system (staff doing the shopping and presenting you with receipts), which we did; however you could otherwise opt to pay $40 per person per day for full-board.
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Strathdon Bungalow

Strathdon Bungalow

Sri Lanka » Hill Country » Hatton

It’s always a joy to stay in such evocative surroundings and take a trip back in time. Strathdon Bungalow manages to combine the sensitivities of yesteryear – both in terms of ambiance and hospitality – with today’s essential comforts and modernities. The bungalow dates back over a century, however the current management performed the latest refurb back in 2010 so plush sofas, thick duvets, dozens of cushions and bedspreads all nestle nicely into a setting reminiscent of days gone by. The caretaker of the bungalow has worked on the estate since 1983 so if you need to know something about the house, or indeed the estate, he’s your man and more than happy to tell a tale or two! He’s also incredibly courteous and did all he could to make us feel at home. Since he’s also the chef (his curries are absolutely delicious), he loves nothing more than seeing his guests’ plates empty. The bungalow has an unusual layout. Most of the bedrooms and living rooms lead off a central passageway (some with windows into it) and the dining room tucked to the back of the house is not particularly atmospheric as it feels a little out of the way (as does bedroom 2, the smaller of the two triples). You may find it nicer to either sit out on the front veranda to eat (weather permitting), which is a wonderful place for breakfast, or ask for the tables to be set up in the sociable hallway, as this setting feels much more convivial. The manager of Strathdon Bungalow, Siri, also manages two neighbouring sister-properties and he pops in to visit guests regularly and can be called upon anytime. He’s a friendly character and a wealth of knowledge on the local area.
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Talaramba Reef Villas - Villa Sulanga

Talaramba Reef Villas - Villa Sulanga

Sri Lanka » South Coast » Mirissa

What an excellent holiday home! Villa Sulanga is exceptionally spacious, tastefully furnished, well facilitated and, even more importantly, dreamily peaceful. Accompanying the steady sounds of the sea were the gentle melodies of birds and the chirruping of squirrels, but little else. Situated away from the road (yet only 1.5km from the pretty bay of Mirissa) in a residential area, Villa Sulanga really is a true escape, and with a good cook on the staff team who prepared wonderful curries for us and a delicious evening barbecue, we felt little need to head out. Kids will love the huge swimming pool and flat grassy lawn, with its gateway leading to the beach. A pétanque court and croquet set offer further outdoor diversions.

Having bedrooms all of equal size, presentation and décor means there’s no reason to squabble over a master suite, and each has a trundle bed for sleeping extra kids. Bathrooms are partly open to the bedrooms and the built-in tubs have super sea views. The only TV and DVD player is located in the ground floor bedroom (could be moved if needed), and wildlife handbooks and binoculars are provided in the living room for nature lovers. 

An advantage of booking the two Talaramba Reef villas together is that they make an excellent event venue (although, for large numbers, a professional organiser would be required).

With breakfast and afternoon tea (from a local tea plantation which welcomes visitors) and cake included in the rate, we felt that Villa Sulanga offered excellent value for money.

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