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.
The expansive living and dining areas of this evocative 5-bedroom family-friendly villa in the heart of Galle Fort offer plenty of potential for entertaining. Spread between two expansive buildings fringed by courtyard gardens, this fully staffed villa features a lap pool, expansive roof terrace and plenty of kids’ facilities.
No 39 Galle Fort is a three-bedroom heritage house located right in the heart of Galle's 17th century Dutch-built fort, close to major landmarks, restaurants and shops. Grand and spacious, yet equipped with every home comfort, this atmospheric heritage home is staffed, and ideal for groups of friends and families.
One of the oldest homes in historic Galle Fort, 32 Middle Street is a highly secluded house where careful renovations have exposed original timber ceilings and provided for three spacious bedrooms, a contemporary open plan living/dining area filled with art and antiques and a pretty courtyard garden with swimming pool.
This 2-bedroom (plus kids’ bunk room), self-catering, historic colonial house in Galle Fort, staffed by a daytime maid, is just 30 metres from a swimming beach and the fort’s slender white British-built lighthouse. An upper-floor master bedroom attached to an ocean-view roof terrace makes the house particularly attractive for couples.
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.
An exceptionally spacious 7-bedroom hillside villa, a short drive from Galle’s beaches. Rooms are spread across three buildings amidst meticulously landscaped tropical gardens, and standout features include a gorgeous 18-metre infinity pool with valley views, a gym, an entertainment room and full complement of staff including an excellent chef.
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.
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.
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 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.