4-bedroom Villas in Bentota, West Coast, Sri Lanka

Bentota's sandy beaches, extensive lagoon and exciting water sports have made this resort town famous. Located on Sri Lanka's west coast, its palm-fringed beach stretches along a dramatic sandbar washed on both sides by water; that of the Indian Ocean and the Bentota Lagoon. Jet skis whizz atop the tranquil waters of the lagoon dodging windsurfers and kayakers as well as speed boats pulling jet skiers, wakeboarders and inflatables topped with soaked sun-seekers. Many diving companies also operate from Bentota during the west coast season (November to April) whilst boatmen offer eco-adventures further upriver.

What many do not know though, is that its best beaches can be found towards the south, near Induruwa. The crowds rarely head this way and the food is incredible in every aspect. Inland from Bentota, the scene is engulfed by rice fields, palm jungles, waterways and the odd hillock, often topped by a bright white Buddhist dagoba. Things to do in Bentota include visits to two very special gardens, both of which belong to the late Bawa brothers; Bevis, the artist and Geoffrey, the architect extraordinaire. Bevis' Brief Garden is at Kalowila and comprises intimate walled gardens plus a very special collection of art, whilst Geoffrey's Lunuganga is a bigger Italianate garden with views to die for.

Connections to Colombo and Galle can be made from Aluthgama train station, which is just a couple of kilometres north of Bentota. Here banks with ATMs, bakeries and pharmacies can also be found. A holiday in Bentota is sure to tick all the right boxes.

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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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