If you’re looking for an inland villa, chances are you’ll either want it to have superb views or to be set in a big manicured garden. Fortuitously, Old Palm House ticks both boxes. Perched on top of a hill in the sleepy village of Heenatigala, just a five-minute drive from Talpe’s idyllic beaches, this four-bedroom villa is set in lush gardens that tumble down deeply into a leafy valley carpeted in rice paddy. In the early morning, a light mist hangs photographically across this valley cutting the verdant hillside in two. Monkeys rustle through the trees and a constant chirruping signifies the presence of birds, crickets and squirrels. The deep verandas wrapping around Old Palm House provide ample opportunity to sit back and watch this circus of wildlife around you. For an even closer commune with nature, wander down a grassy staircase from the lawn, and you’ll find the swimming pool sweetly secluded amidst lush tropical plants and colourful flowers. Submerged boulders rimming the pool make it look like a natural pond, which helps it to blend perfectly into its surroundings. Beside the pool is a small terrace furnished with sun loungers and languishing behind is an elevated, cushion-lined pavilion that overlooks a deeply wooded valley. This is the place to relax with sundowners as the sun sinks below the silhouetted treeline at the end of the day. In 2005, Old Palm House was transformed from a simple period building into something that feels magically contemporary. Its design is very much open plan with interior and exterior areas merging seamlessly through multiple sets of folding doors. Rooms are uncluttered, and the absence of TVs is refreshing (there is an iPod dock and a USB dongle for getting online). Beds are placed to gaze out into the garden and two of the bathrooms are exotically semi-outdoors, featuring granite showerheads gushing water between lush palms and tropical foliage. Old Palm House comes with a small team of smiling staff, including an experienced cook who can whip up some excellent cuisine (groceries on guest account). The kitchen is also available for guest use. Although the house’s location feels blissfully secluded, you can wander along the quiet rural lanes and explore the local village of Heenatigala or get the staff to arrange a tuk-tuk for a trip to the nearby beaches.