Wake up to the melodious sounds of twittering birds, chattering squirrels and croaking frogs every morning, and go to bed to the gentle harmony of chirruping crickets as luminous green fireflies dance in the dark. Walk through an acre of garden filled with many tropical fruit trees, lush greenery and crimson flowers and delight as their exotic scent lingers in the air. Gaze over towards the paddy fields at the farmers carefully tending their multi-hued crops. Without any effort this tranquil rural setting magically promotes relaxation. The beautiful five-bedroomed house provides a refuge for tired bodies and minds looking to recharge their batteries in complete peace and quiet.

    Galle Henna Estate dates back to the early nineteenth century and although extensively renovated, it still retains many period features such as pillars, archways, intricate fretwork, delicate stucco and gorgeous antiques that lend a colonial aspect to its character, despite the elegance of its contemporary interior design. The living room features a soaring timber ceiling and curved cement and mahogany staircase winding elegantly up to three bedrooms on the first floor. Despite this grandeur, comfortable cushion-scattered sofas, coffee tables topped with magazines, well-read books in cabinets and a scattering of artefacts make the house feel very much like home. The generous space both inside and outside of the property makes it highly attractive for families, especially as the beach is only a five minute drive down the road, whilst the two downstairs bedrooms are ideal for less mobile relatives.

    The house and garden are completely enclosed by a wall which provides both privacy and security while leaving the views of the paddy fields unhindered as the house stands on much higher ground. A little pathway leads across the front lawn and down to a sunken swimming pool with wide white terrace scattered with languishing loungers shaded by oversized parasols. A small fan-cooled pagoda is the ideal place for a long, lazy lunch. There are three members of staff at Galle Henna who keep the house in order but very much leave you to your own devices. The manager cooks breakfast every morning, as well as other meals on request (on guest account), and transport to nearby beaches, restaurants, temples and Galle Fort can easily be arranged.


    Galle Henna Estate is located in the sleepy village of Polheena between Talpe Beach and Heenatigala, a verdant jungly hill. The setting is very rural with extensive paddy fields within view making you feel a lot more secluded than you actually are. It’s a very serene place to soak up the tranquillity and warmth of the countryside, although it’s only a five minute drive to the beach. There are a couple of historic temples nearby and Unawatuna’s selection of restaurants, cafes, communications centres and basic shops are only five kilometres away. For banks and a more extensive range of shops, you can head to Galle (10km or a 15 minute drive).

Talpe 1 km
Yatagala 3 km
Unawatuna 5 km
Koggala 6 km
Galle 9 km
Hikkaduwa 29 km
Mirissa 32 km
Matara 37 km
Colombo 127 km
International airport 157 km

About Inland Galle

Escape Galle’s beaches and you arrive at an unspoilt oasis of calm where iridescent green paddy fields are bordered by overhanging palms and patches of jungle that hug hillsides and conceal homes accented by colourful bougainvillea, hibiscus and frangipani blossoms. Into this lush rural scene ancient temples such as Kathaluwa, Yatagala and Pilana are woven. During festival days, white-clothed devotees flock to these important places of worship with hands full of flowers and prayers on their breath. Narrow Dutch canals, mangrove swamps and bumpy hillocks add to the region’s verdant tapestry and its back lanes, paddy bunds and dusty tracks are best explored by bicycle as you meander your way from Galle’s hinterland towards the coast where the majority of the region’s eateries are located. Tea and cinnamon plantations, rainforests and jungle become more prominent the further you go inland.

About South Coast

Stretching between Galle and Hambantota, the south coast is undoubtedly one of the most popular destinations in Sri Lanka. Characterised by historically significant fortified towns, numerous picture-perfect palm-fringed beaches, a sultry turquoise sea, swathes of iridescent green paddy fields fringed by lush green jungle, ancient Buddhist temples, expansive waterways, nature-filled rainforests and tea-carpeted hills it offers enough variety to be a destination in itself; fabulous for families, groups and couples alike.

Galle is one of the region’s most significant attractions for its sixteenth century Dutch fort filled with an evocatively rich collection of buildings, boutiques, museums and luxury digs that hug a peninsular to the south of town. Galle’s popular beaches are better-facilitated, more developed and safer for swimming than those in and around Tangalle, but the further you travel east the more expansive, deserted and nature-filled they become.

Surfing, snorkelling, diving, whale watching, sailing, fishing and kayaking can all be done along this magnificent stretch of coastline as well as cycling, walking and trying your hand at Sri Lankan cookery. Inland, the scene varies as the westerly wet zone’s lush jungle interior gives way to the arid dry zone plains a little beyond Tangalle. Taking off by bicycle is often the best way to explore the hills, plains, sanctuaries and jungle whilst a boat is a must to navigate the scenic lakes and rivers that wind in between.

Some of Sri Lanka’s most popular national parks – Uda Walawe for elephants and Yala for leopards and bears – as well as a trio of its most accessible rainforests – Sinharaja, Kottawa and Kanneliya - are easily visited on a day or overnight trip from anywhere along the south coast.

Our review   Overall Rating: 7.90

This house scores points for its location, which is tranquil and rural but also not far away from restaurants, beaches and shops. It has a wonderful garden full of fruit trees such as mango, banana and avocado that you can enjoy for breakfast and its large size offers plenty of scope for children to run around and play. Loads of birds visit the garden along with the occasional monkey so it is also a haven for nature lovers. The sunken swimming pool has a generous sun deck and is walled so that you can swim and tan in privacy, however windows in the wall allow you to look through into the paddy fields beyond which makes it feel a little less enclosed. There are three members of staff, but you hardly see them as they let you enjoy the house and make yourselves at home. The house itself is beautiful and has been very sensitively restored. It has also been decorated in such a way to make it feel very much like home. There’s lots of spots to relax both inside and outside of the house, as well as in the privacy of individual bedrooms which is a highlight for groups. The fifth, single, bedroom is very useful for a nanny or a child and has a lovely balcony overlooking the paddy fields and garden. Parents should keep an eye on children using the stairs as the steps are made from unforgiving polished cement. There’s an equipped kitchen to the rear which is ideal for self-catering, however the very friendly and helpful manager (who lives in the house next door) can also prepare lunches and dinners for you with advance notice. He will shop on your account so it’s best to give a wad of cash at the start of your stay and top it up when necessary. Unawatuna Beach and lots of restaurants are a short drive away, and the staff can arrange transport for you on request.

  Overall Rating: 7.20

We enjoyed our stay at Polheena. If you are looking for an inland villa option, it's location is ideal, overlooking the rice paddies and a short tuk tuk ride to the beach. Galle is a good 20 minute tuk tuk ride though. The gardens and pool are well kept and in a nice setting - there are some steep walls though which are not ideal if you have young children. The downstairs bathrooms and bathrooms are very well done and are better designed and fitted than those upstairs. The staff are friendly and helpful. Overall good value.


Bedroom:  5
Sleeping Capacity: 9
Location:  South Coast

Master Bedroom King
Bedroom 2 King
Bedroom 3 King
Bedroom 4 King
Bedroom 5 (Nanny's Room) Single


  • Chef/Cook (All meals)
  • Housekeeping (Full time)
  • Manager
  • Security
  • Service Staff
  • Shopper

Key Amenities

  •   Air-con
  •   Internet (WiFi)
  •   Swimming Pool (Private)

Other Amenities

  • Baby Cot
  • BBQ
  • Bed Linen
  • Board Games/Toys
  • Book Selection
  • Car Parking
  • CD Player/Stereo System
  • Ceiling Fans
  • DVD Player
  • Equipped Kitchen
  • Hairdryers
  • iPod Dock/Speakers
  • Laundry Service (Extra)
  • Main Dining (12 persons)
  • Microwave
  • Oven/Hotplates
  • Towels
  • TV (Local channels)
Galle Henna Estate
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