Sensible For Seniors Villas in South Coast, Sri Lanka

Not great on stairs or need lifts, ramps and bathrooms for wheelchairs? Asia is not famous for catering for travellers with mobility issues. These villas at least try. If you do need more help though do contact us and we will do what we can.

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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 $280 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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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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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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The Beach House

The Beach House

Sri Lanka » South Coast » Tangalle

The Beach House is a total retreat from the outside world. Its tranquility is heavenly and it’s an excellent choice for a family who are looking for simple back-to-basics beach living without the distraction of TVs and other mod cons. Artists, writers and anyone with a creative mind or reclusive leanings will, unsurprisingly, find much to adore here, and guests get plenty of pampering from the barely-there staff headed by Dhammika, the shy chief houseboy.

The house has a unique design that suits its environment and embraces both the views and the sea breezes. It’s ridiculously quirky and we loved how Johnson’s eccentric artwork ensured that his presence lives on. The two studio rooms are quite secluded – great for adventurous teens wanting independence from their parents, or a couple looking for a little extra privacy. Do note though that The Blue Room is very small.

Although the Beach House is as characterful, timeless and restful as ever, it is looking a little run down since our first visit. A lick of paint would do it good, weatherworn soft furnishings could be replaced and we noticed that some of the mosquito screens above the windows were clogged with dust. For its price, this is a bit of a letdown – reflected in our revised value score.

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Coconut Grove

Coconut Grove

Sri Lanka » South Coast » Ahangama

Coconut Grove is a wonderful retreat which, despite its privacy and modern additions, including a swimming pool, offers a chance to experience life in an authentic Sri Lankan village. That said, we noticed on our recent visit that the area is seeing quite a lot of development in terms of small hotels and villas; the plus side of which being that the number of tourist-friendly restaurants is likely to increase.

The cottage is perfectly set up for families, especially as the two rooms to the front of the house have smaller double beds (or large singles), which would be perfect for children. However, it would be an equally good choice for a group of friends wishing to stay a little off the beaten track. The living areas – both inside the house and outside in the garden – offer plenty of cosy places to relax and private pockets for escape.

The wildlife is magical here, and right on your doorstep. Whilst sipping afternoon tea in the poolside pavilion we watched monkeys playing in the trees as birds twittered melodiously overhead. The large lawned garden is a fansasyland for roaming kids but supervision is necessary around the pool as it quickly gains depth.

The staff kept the house clean and tidy during our stay, and were on hand to assist us with anything we needed. The staff do not stay in the house at night although the gardener/watchman lives in a small building tucked independently to one side of the property. If the housekeeper is not needed to assist with making afternoon tea or dinner, you can dismiss her early and enjoy the run of the house all to yourselves.
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The Dutch House

The Dutch House

Sri Lanka » South Coast » Galle

A favourite with visiting celebs – Sting once stayed here – the Dutch House manages to be both majestic and homely at the same time. It’s a true refuge, not only because of its large garden and hilltop location, but also because of the discreet, warm nature of the staff who keep the house so perfectly in order. Attention to detail – from the banana leaf-wrapped soaps in the bathrooms to sun hats and wicker bags in the suites – is an obvious source of pride. The house’s serene location made it hard to believe that we were staying in Galle. Everything is within walking distance, though three-wheelers are recommended to transport you up the steep hill back to the house! The large garden has plenty of outside seating (we loved the double lounger on the veranda) and was looking particularly lush on our recent return visit. The management told us that more and more weddings are being hosted at the house (for up to 200 people). Although the staff are very capable, the management team work with an experienced local events company for larger affairs. The wonderful vintage Rover parked outside the front door is an atmospheric companion to the house, and although this particular model is not roadworthy, vintage car hire can be organised for a colonial-style tour of town. Note that there are no TVs or DVDs (instead, hundred of books) but there are CD players – one in each suite. Whilst breakfast, lunch and snacks are served at The Dutch House, dinner is at sister property the Sun House (boutique seven-room hotel) just across the road. Here, three-course set dinners are served, with menus changing nightly. Guests can request to dine privately at ‘home’ on occasion, but we felt that although the food is unquestionably good at the Sun House, the Dutch House is a slightly let down by the fact that it doesn’t have its own private full-time chef.
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IF Villa

IF Villa

Sri Lanka » South Coast » Talpe

IF is one of my favourite villas in Sri Lanka; it has such a lovely feel to it and benefits from a great layout, not to mention a fabulous beach. I’ve been here a few times and have experienced it à deux as well as with a group of friends. Like any large villa this one welcomes company and is better when full . On each occasion that I’ve stayed at IF the huge living room was rarely used and perhaps this was because there were a number of alternative, more personable, sitting spots, some of them pleasingly outdoors; the ocean-side terrace was wonderful at sunset whilst the dining pavilion’s open-sided design was delightfully breezy and sitting in here felt sociable, even when alone, as it overlooked the entire property. I like the position of the TV area as it is in a sociable spot near the bedrooms which, themselves, were breezy and comfortable (although the skylight in bedroom 1 didn’t allow us much of a lie in). The smallest double room is perhaps best for a single traveller than a couple since its bathroom is separated from the sleeping area only by a partition wall. On our stay, fishermen came to the gate to sell fish, lobster and prawns which we got the chef to cook exactly to our liking.  Meals were discussed rather than chosen from a menu, and the curries and seafood come highly recommended. The staff shop on your behalf here if you give them cash, and you can check receipts with the cook every day. Because the kitchen is set back in its own building away from the house, it gave us privacy from the staff; but even so, we found them discreet and helpful.
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Illuketia

Illuketia

Sri Lanka » South Coast » Inland Galle

We thought Illuketia was a charming villa in a delightfully peaceful, rural location. The house has a fabulous colonial design, is airy and spacious and filled with an interesting collection of art and antiques. The wraparound veranda is a great feature and perfect for informal dining, especially as each side offers a different view of the garden. The four double suites are cosy and well-presented however a couple of the bathrooms are a little dated and Waterlily’s (Bedroom 4) intimate size is better suited to children or just one adult.

The villa staff were quiet but efficient. They swept the house and lawns every morning, assembled huge arrangements of flowers and served up well-presented meals of Sri Lankan and eastern cuisine (they can do western cuisine too). On our most recent visit we spied aubergines, gourds, chillies and other fresh produce neatly planted in rows in the organic garden. It’s lovely to know you’re eating fresh produce from the estate (and be able to go see it growing!). This, combined with the villa’s efforts at water recycling and their use of solar power, makes Illuketia an attractive eco friendly choice.

Manager Chathuri is delightfully helpful, but since she also manages Apa Villa Talpe (where she has an office), she’s not always on-site. Illuketiya is a great villa for friends, families, groups, nature-lovers and couples, and also makes a glorious setting for small weddings, which the staff are well versed in hosting. Despite the swimming pool being a 100m walk from the house, the staff will set up tables down here underneath the great boughs of the trees for lunch or dinner; nothing seems too much trouble for them. Note that the villa is a good ten minutes inland from Galle and can be tricky to find.
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Ivory House

Ivory House

Sri Lanka » South Coast » Galle

The rural setting of Ivory House is undeniably idyllic.  Often when you stay on the coast you miss out on experiencing the island’s lush, rural hinterland.  Here you can enjoy the best of both worlds as beaches are accessible in 10-15 minutes (there are plenty of local sprays of sand for sunbathing).  Families will find this house suits them well; the gentle lawns and shallow ledge of the pool are both child-friendly.

The villa’s wraparound veranda makes the most of the rural environs, and although it is scantily furnished with only a round table for six, there are loungers in the garden and beside the pool.  Wide folding doors bridge the gap between indoors and out, and thanks to their location to the front of the house, the huge living room and the front master suite benefit most from the rural vistas.  The second master bedroom is tucked behind, but has its own side veranda, whilst the remaining two bedrooms – one of which is very small and would suit a single traveller, a child or perhaps even a nanny – open onto the living room.

The staff looked after us well and we were happy with the chef’s cooking – amongst other items, his sweet potato and coriander soup was delicious.  We’d also recommend the Sri Lankan breakfast.  Also try to visit the nearby Kahanda Kanda hotel for afternoon tea or a meal at least once during your stay.
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