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 un-spoilt 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.
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.
This grand 4-bedroom fully staffed villa sits in extensive gardens and offers true escapism beside a blissfully isolated beach visited by turtles. Ideal for families, groups and nature lovers, the house is spacious and has a big, fenced T-shaped pool. There are plenty of exciting national parks to visit nearby.
Fabulous Balinese-inspired beach villa in an excellent location on the Galle coast close to shops, bars, attractions and restaurants. With 4 bedrooms, Ambalama is ideal for families, groups and couples alike. This fully-serviced tropical villa comes with an infinity swimming pool, large grassy garden, cosy lounging areas and superb chef.
A superb 6-bedroomed beach villa with extensive lawned gardens, magical fibre-optic-lit swimming pool and spectacular sea views. Perfect for families and group get-togethers, Auraliya features sociable living and dining pavilions, a sunset bar and lounge, a full staff team and direct access onto one of the region’s best swimming beaches.
One-of-a-kind Geoffrey Bawa-designed 5-bedroom hillside house, dating back to 1984 and set in eight landscaped acres near Dickwella with fantastic panoramas over Kudawella Bay. Each bedroom has a sea view and there are two swimming pools, a dedicated staff team and direct access to a lengthy palm-fringed beach.
Dalawella’s famous swimming beach is just a 100m stroll from this contemporary 4-bedroom seaside villa, eight kilometres from Galle. Ample living space spreads across two floors and the villa also features a TV room, two dining areas and a six-metre swimming pool. Footprints is staffed and completely air-conditioned.
Sited on the most desirable section of beach in Talpe, IF is a gorgeous Dutch-colonial-style villa with verdant garden, spacious sundeck, panoramic ocean views, private swimming pool and spacious dining pavilion. The property comes staffed with a cook and is perfectly set up for families and groups of friends.
Oceanfront Indisch is superbly located on a picturesque curve of sandy coastline south east of Galle and features a large swimming pool and an expansive lawned garden with kid’s playground. Ideal for families and groups, this hugely spacious villa comes with an exceptional staff team, and is very private and secure.
This idyllic 2-bedroom beach pad on Sri Lanka’s tourist-scarce north-west coast is perfect for couples, families and even groups as daybeds increase capacity to ten. Khomba House is staffed and comes with a huge beachside garden and access to two swimming pools, a water sports centre, restaurants and a spa.
This fabulous 1-bedroom beach house bursts with colour, energy and soul. It’s perfect for couples who will love its privacy, intimacy and blissful comfort. Enhanced by the services of a housekeeper who’s also an excellent cook, Kikili Beach has a great location within sight of Unawatuna and close to Galle.
Comprising just two bedrooms, a living–dining area and kitchen (complete with great cook); this idyllic beach pad near Tangalle is without pretensions. Revelling in its sensational seaside situation, contemporary Kurumba’s emerald lawn is scattered with comfortable recliners, a hammock and a deeply cushioned ambalama just footsteps from the beach.
Wide access onto an almost deserted sandy beach near Ambalangoda coupled with a large palm-shaded garden are highlights of 5-bedroom Max Wadiya. Relaxing, spacious, comfortable and full of colonial antiques, this villa is ideal for extended families, two individual families or groups of friends. Rates include all meals.
This vibrant 4-bedroom beach house is just around the corner from Dalawella’s tranquil beach and restaurants, near historic Galle. Expansive living areas spill onto a convivial pool terrace and tropical garden, a staff of four includes a chef, and 10% of Mihiri House rental rates go to a local charity.
Lush palm-shaded lawns topped with loungers soaking up the serenity of sun and sea stretch generously in front of this five-bedroom beach pad that feels spacious even when full. There’s a swimming pool and loads of living space whilst Olanda’s staff of four graciously tend to your needs.
This exclusive, elegant and exceptionally located cliff-top villa boasts the most panoramic ocean vistas of any in Sri Lanka. Fully-staffed, 5-bedroomed Pointe Sud bursts with character whilst the tropical 5-acre garden, set above a deserted stretch of beach, features a stunning infinity pool, sunset-view pavilions, lookouts and manicured lawns.
An elegant 4-bedroom beach villa, with a near-symmetrical design, which works well for two families holidaying together. The ocean views are shared from every room, living and dining space abounds – both inside the house and out in the garden – and there’s a pool, TV snug and enthusiastic staff team.
This idyllic 2-bedroom beach pad near Galle sits before an impressively wide strip of south coast sand. Featuring a huge ground floor living space bedecked with loungers, which spills onto a deep dining veranda and beyond, to an azure pool, there’s also a west-facing pavilion topping the lush green lawn.
Boasting absolute beachfront on a delicious slice of sand south of Ambalangoda, Six Degrees North is a chilled tropical retreat for a family or group of friends. Homely, relaxed and fully staffed, this 5-bedroom property with palm-peppered garden, pool and garden pavilion also offers a variety of Ayurvedic treatments.
Standing on an idyllic sandy swathe of beachfront near Galle, the fabulous 4-bedroom Skye House is blessed with a lovely pool, tropical gardens and a full complement of staff. An additional kids’ bunk room (sleeping 6), plus a dedicated playground and plentiful toys make this house exceptional for families.
Elegant, fully staffed 3-bedroom seaside villa on small private headland in Kathaluwa, footsteps from a gorgeous reef-protected swimming beach. With a selection of living and dining areas both inside and out, plus swimming pool amidst a grassy garden, South Point Villa works well for families and groups as well as couples.
Sri Villas, a fully-staffed trio of boutique seaside properties, share a tropical garden, a large swimming pool and direct beach access. Sleeping 18 in total, these villas are perfect for large groups and for entertaining. Each is fully self-contained with its own living areas, dining space and kitchen.
The largest of Sri Villas’ trio of contemporary beachside holiday homes that share a big, sunset-view swimming pool and tropical garden, 4-bedroomed Araliya is fully-staffed and great for one or two families. If booked in conjunction with its two neighbouring villas it’s also an excellent choice for extended groups.
Nisala shares a big pool and beachfront garden plus spectacular sunset views with its sister Sri Villa properties. Fully-staffed, it has expansive living and dining space plus two serene sea-view suites. A great family holiday home or, if all three villas are booked together, an excellent choice for extended groups.
Out of Sri Villas’ trio of contemporary beachside holiday homes that share a large pool, tropical garden and spectacular sunset views, fully-staffed Sagara is the most suitable for couples and friends. If booked in conjunction with the other two villas it is also an excellent choice for larger groups.
Villa Sulanga is one of two Talaramba Reef Villas on the beachfront near sultry Mirissa Bay. The 4 bedrooms are equally sized and sea-view verandas are furnished for living and dining. The villa is fully staffed and has a huge pool, spacious living room and enormous (but shared) garden.
Villa Vatura is one of two Talaramba Reef Villas on the beachfront near sultry Mirissa Bay. The 4 bedrooms are equally sized and sea-view verandas are furnished for living and dining. The villa is fully staffed and has a huge private pool, spacious living room and an enormous (but shared) garden.
An enchanting private island escape set just 150m off the coast of Weligama, 30 minutes from Galle. Hopelessly romantic and wonderfully private, this five bedroom 1920s mansion is set amidst two and a half acres of lush tropical gardens with infinity pool and breathtaking spots to appreciate the panoramic views.
Beautiful Bawa-enhanced former artist-owned beach house set in a tropical garden near to Tangalle, ideal for families, couples or groups. With 5 intimate rooms, a large swimming pool and direct ocean views this chic beach retreat is pleasantly secluded although conveniently enough located to visit Tangalle’s main attractions.
The Old Lady at the Sea is a great value, fully staffed property set in lawned gardens, and is ideal for extended families and big groups. Nine ensuite bedrooms, equipped with TVs and DVD players, sit either side of the sea-view swimming pool at this renovated 300-year-old Dutch house.
Gorgeous 5-bedroom private beach villa with spacious palm-shaded garden, inviting swimming pool and sweeping sea views that’s only eight kilometres from Galle. Victoria’s restful character, experienced staff team and useful location close to many attractions and facilities make it an excellent holiday home for families, groups and couples alike.
Set on the fringe of Habaraduwa facing a sultry stretch of sand, Saldana is a tropical, 3-bedroomed, staffed villa with swimming pool that’s perfect for a family or a small group of friends. There’s a spacious central living room with TV lounge and a great kitchen that’s well-equipped for cooks.
Set on a pretty stretch of coastline near Weligama, Villa Suriyawatta is a convivial 5-bedroom oasis with graceful living areas, sweeping sea views and a gorgeous garden and pool. It’s well equipped for kids, has a Sonos sound system wired to the pool area and an excellent staff team.
The 3-bedroomed Walatta House is a fabulous choice for groups. Perched on a palm-studded hillside with 180-degree sea views, this engaging eco-chic property has an air-con TV snug, an open-plan living/dining area, an inviting 20-metre lap pool and extensive gardens that tumble down the hillside to a secluded beach.