It’s no accident that this villa’s name is red. It’s the colour of passionate revolutionaries and the owner of Villa Red, an innovative figure in Sri Lanka’s apparel and sporting industries, has embellished this theme throughout the villa by displaying iconic images of some of the twentieth century’s most famed cultural visionaries. Paintings, prints and photographs of such controversial leaders as Mao Zedong and Che Guevara pump personality into the villa as they gaze down into the house and prompt topics for after-dinner conversations. The owner is also a keen boxer and his sporting idols – such as Mohammad Ali - also scatter the walls; the master suite, particularly, is a treasure-trove of recent sporting greats.
Beneath this iconography sits an elegant five-bedroom villa that borders the Bentota River, a stone’s throw from a four-kilometre stretch of beach. Prettily set in a manicured tropical garden enhanced by a swimming pool languishing beside swaying palms and exotic red blooms, the villa exhibits a contemporary open-plan design that feels particularly convivial; the long dining table extends almost into the garden itself. Red is an ideal villa for a large or multi-generational family, since there’s one huge master bedroom and four smaller doubles. The villa comes with a staff team of three, including a cook, and there’s a great kitchen, although the cook’s creations (western and Sri Lankan cuisine) are more than enough to deter guests from taking over the stove . Oriental furnishings liberally scatter the villa alongside a collection of more conservative Sri Lankan wardrobes and dressers. Cupboards stocked with DVDs, tables topped with glossy tomes and a full CD collection provide diversion from the water-borne activities for which the region is famed.
Bentota offers many fun activities for families and sports enthusiasts both on land and water. Waterskiing, windsurfing, jetskiing, fishing and even banana-boating can all be directly embarked upon from the villa’s private jetty that lies to the front of the garden, whilst the beach is only a five minute drive away. For the water shy, there are many opportunities to visit fish markets and local temples, and take scenic bicycle rides inland. The villa’s excellent central location in Bentota means that there are many good restaurants, shops and spas within easy reach.