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.
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 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.