3-bedroom Villas in Habaraduwa-Koggala, South Coast, Sri Lanka

With a long stretch of golden beach, peaceful inland lagoon, fascinating folk museum and famous airfield, Habaraduwa-Koggala is a great little destination 12km south-east of Galle. The golden sands of the three-kilometre beach stretch from Habaraduwa, famed for its turtle hatchery, to beyond Koggala, a Free Trade Zone further east, where big hotels stand shoulder-to-shoulder along the sand.

Habaraduwa’s palm-fringed beach is one of the widest and prettiest in the region, yet as you wander further east towards Koggala, the beach narrows and you see stilt fishermen at work. Things to do in Habaraduwa-Koggala include a visit to Koggala Lake, a meandering island-sprinkled lagoon which is a haven for wildlife lovers. Fishermen traverse the quiet depths, leaving ripples in their wake as they hunt for fish, crabs and prawns. Spice islands and mystical temples also scatter the lake, and an early morning or evening punt atop the water in a traditional fishing catamaran is the best way to appreciate this quietly spoken scene.

Madul Doova, one of the islands in the lake, was the subject of a book written by the late Martin Wickramasinghe, a lauded local author. His home in Koggala is now a folk museum that charts the fascinating story of his life and times. Koggala Lake is also the landing strip for domestic air taxis that reduce journey time to the south coast from Colombo's airport to just 40 minutes. Local restaurants can be found in beach hotels, and ATMs line the main road between Habaraduwa and Koggala.

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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 $345 Special 3br Rate

Bedrooms 5

Sleeps 6

Our
Rating 7.4
Guest Rating 9.1

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Mandalay Lake Villa

Mandalay Lake Villa

Sri Lanka » South Coast » Habaraduwa-Koggala

Mandalay is a rare slice of heaven. Its tranquil setting instantly relaxes the mind and makes work feel like a distant memory. Despite its out-of-the-way location (it takes 25 minutes to drive to Galle), it doesn’t feel completely cut off from the outside world as you can always enjoy the endless theatre atop the lake and watch the enthusiastic play of wildlife in the garden.

Although the villa makes a lovely retreat for a group of friends (it’s a great place for entertaining) there could well be some room-envy as the master bedroom is far bigger and more decadent than the other two (although the soft furnishings in each of these downstairs bedrooms were upgraded in 2013). For families or a decadent couple, Mandalay is an excellent choice. There are beaches within easy reach and plenty to explore in the locality.

The villa has a very generous swimming pool and a flat open garden that makes keeping an eye on the kids a breeze. The lounge in the main house, with TV and DVD player, is great for keeping the kids entertained at night and can also be used to sleep two more guests since the built-in sofas are the size of a single bed whilst the room itself is air conditioned.

The friendly cook (who’s also the villa manager) prepares some great meals; his rice and curry comes highly recommended, and he can prepare western dishes too. The staff leave you to your own devices which heightens the villa’s sense of privacy and seclusion.
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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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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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