This evocative, historic mansion cossets you from the busy outside world as soon as you step inside its cool, atmospheric interior. Set within a large grassy garden scattered with trees and colourful tropical flowers, this breathtaking four-suite property was built in 1712, making it one of the oldest and best preserved Dutch colonial mansions in the region. Thought to have been originally inhabited by an important official attached to the Dutch East India Company and later home to a boy’s school, it stands majestically on a hill above Galle overlooking the buzz of urban activity but far enough away to remain a tranquil secret retreat. The Dutch House is an exquisite example of colonial heritage. Although its striking original features have been beautifully preserved, its interiors are designed for 21st century living and highlighted by a modern collection of art. Pillared verandas and courtyards, soaring timber ceilings, polished cement floors and original door and window frames featuring oversized keys and locks create a feeling of tranquil nostalgia. Shelves and cupboards are artistically arranged with an eclectic variety of books, exotic flower arrangements top embellished antique chests and framed colonial maps of Ceylon hug the whitewashed bedroom walls. Lamps seductively illuminate the house come cocktail time, when the liquor cabinet in the cosy living room is flung open to reveal an engaging variety of spirits, gracefully served to you by the staff. The garden of The Dutch House is spacious and pocked with palms so it’s easy to forget that you are in the middle of a busy town. It features a croquet lawn and extends from the pillared U-shaped veranda of the house down the hillside where an infinity-edge swimming pool is located seemingly amongst the tops of the trees below. A team of mainly female staff look after you, charmingly anticipating your every need. Whilst dinner is typically served in sister property the Sun House just across the road (according to a priced menu system), guests can have private dinners at The Dutch House, with advance notice. This property is perfect for families, groups of friends and couples who will adore its privacy, opulence and seclusion. With its huge lawn and historic ambiance, it also makes a spectacular venue for hosting special events.