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.
An evocative 160-year-old bungalow overlooking Nuwara Eliya town surrounded by a well-maintained garden of clipped lawns, preened hedges and scented roses. With 4 comfortable bedrooms, open fireplaces, cosy lounges, an elegant dining room and plenty of colonial character, this is a gorgeous holiday home in the hills.
Relaxed, family friendly, tropical home with an expansive garden, ocean views and a lovely pool and jacuzzi on a sunny lawn. Managed by a husband-and-wife team, Blue Heights offers 4-bedrooms and unfussy interiors that open widely to the views; the location is tranquil and the beach is five minutes’ walk away.
Perched on a hillside overlooking Nuwara Eliya, Brockenhurst is a century-old classified heritage home set in a one-acre garden with two-tiered lawn. Featuring 4 comfortable bedrooms and a cosy lounge with open fireplace, this serviced property is a nostalgic base from which families and groups can explore the hill country.
This beautifully renovated cottage set amidst leafy tropical gardens in a tranquil village near Ahangama, is just five minutes’ walk from the beach. With 4 bedrooms, plus living and dining areas, the property is spacious, airy and light and enhanced by a deep blue swimming pool beside an elevated ambalama.
This atmospheric ex-planters abode perched on the summit of a tea-clad hill above Dick Oya features 4 spacious bedrooms, including a family suite, a handful of living rooms and a gorgeous four-acre garden bursting with flowers and vegetables. It’s fully staffed, and makes a perfect base for savouring the great outdoors.
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.
Surrounded by paddy fields amidst a rural village just 10 minutes from Galle and south coast beaches, fully staffed Illuketia is a magnificent, tranquil 4-bedroom colonial plantation villa with a large garden featuring exotic plants and trees, shaded pathways, a pond house, an organic garden and a beautiful swimming pool.
An elegant country villa overlooking a lowland valley of paddy fields, with 4 bedrooms, generous living spaces, a modern open-plan kitchen and a helpful team of staff. Enveloped by a lush palm-spiked tropical garden, Ivory House also has a gorgeous lap pool that takes full advantage of the rural vistas.
A 4-bedroomed family house just five minutes from Unawatuna Beach and ten from Galle. Featuring high timber ceilings, polished cement floors, antiques and warm furnishings, Kurulla Villa is a spacious fully-staffed property enveloped by large gardens with grassy lawns, palms and fruit trees, and enhanced by a fabulous swimming pool.
Breathtaking sea views, 4 stylish bedrooms, tantalising cuisine and incredible privacy – Lansiya has it all. Staffed by an excellent team of four, this piece of paradise near Tangalle features plentiful living space, a stunning infinity swimming pool and glorious garden overlooking a wide sandy bay; it’s the ultimate escape.
Charming 4-bedroom colonial villa with pool near Koggala Lake and not far from the beach; highlighted by a spacious tropical garden abundant in plants, trees and wildlife. A nature lover’s paradise and a great family home, Malgedara is serenity in an authentic village setting, ideally located to explore the Galle region.
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.
Set on a 50-acre cinnamon plantation, this spectacular 4-bedroom villa offers a breathtaking 360-degree panorama over the ocean and hills. Fully staffed and immaculately presented, this art-filled property with its spacious rooms, cooling verandas, swimming pool and fabulous ocean-facing lawn, is ideal for weddings, groups of friends and intimate celebrations.
Pitched on a leafy hill in tranquil Heenatigala, this fully staffed 4-bedroom villa with secluded swimming pool and private chef is within an easy drive of Talpe’s picturesque south coast beaches and Galle. Prettily wrapped by a lush garden with superb valley views, this recently renovated house is particularly family-friendly.
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.
Beautifully serene hillside manor house with spectacular jungle views just a five minute drive inland from Unawatuna. With 4 bedrooms, glorious swimming pool, massage and yoga pavilions, a luxe of living space and terraced rambling gardens Satori is a heavenly escape from the stresses and strains of everyday life.
A chicly renovated historic manor house set in five acres of grounds a few minutes’ walk from Mirissa harbour (for seasonal whale- and dolphin-watching cruises) and a popular palm-fringed beach. Fully staffed, 4-bedroomed Siri Wedamadura has a fabulous swimming pool, alfresco living and dining areas and a well-equipped kitchen.
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.
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.
From its private hilltop perch in the southwest Hill Country, 100-year-old Strathdon Bungalow gazes through stands of giant bamboo across spectacular tea-clad mountains and verdant valleys. Home to 4 bedrooms and a lovely ‘breakfast terrace’, this family house comes with a small staff team including cook and non-resident manager.
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.
A striking eighteenth century Dutch colonial mansion that stands in glorious landscaped gardens overlooking, but hidden from, the town of Galle. Offering quiet seclusion close to all major attractions including Galle Fort and the beaches, it features 4 luxurious suites, exquisite art and antiques and a wonderful ‘treetop’ swimming pool.
The blissful natural setting of this hillside holiday home is the leading ingredient in its authentic recipe for rest and relaxation. Generously blended with comfortable rooms, home-cooked meals, a mountainside plunge pool and six-acres of nature-filled garden to explore, the eco-friendly Weir House is a beautiful retreat from the world.