“An exclusive and contemporary beach resort near Tangalle, offering upscale R&R”
The 30 suites are stacked in rows up and along the hillside. From the outside they resemble glorified concrete bunkers; inside they’re slick, high-ceilinged and sharp-edged. You enter via a minimalist courtyard with a private plunge pool and a cushioned outdoor lounge area. Sliding timber doors - clever in design but complicated to operate - open into the airy open-plan bedroom and living area, and a further set across the room leads to an elongated terrace with a dining table, chairs and a double sun lounger.
Interior décor borders on corporate, with dark-wood writing desks, armchairs with footstools, and minibars enshrined in sideboards. The feel is a little stark, but we loved the cool silky smoothness of the crisp white linen, the magnificence of the view, and the exceptional comfort of our kingsize bed - you’re bound to sleep well here as long as you don’t mind the natural light filtering through the latticed walls in the morning.
Sliding screens divide the bedrooms from generous bathrooms, which have splendid freestanding tubs, twin sinks, a dressing area, snow-white towels, flannels and robes, as well as Amanwella-branded toiletries and mosquito repellent. The loo and shower are partitioned off in the corners.
The lowest-lying Ocean Suites enjoy uninterrupted views of the beach and coconut grove, and in our opinion are worth the higher price tag. The cheaper Suites overlook the buildings beneath and are a steeper climb from the beach and restaurant (though a couple of tuk-tuks are on standby to whisk you back and forth). Three of the Suites share connecting doors and would be perfect for those travelling with children or another couple.
The best thing about the food here is that you can enjoy it in the immaculate split-level restaurant overlooking the pool and ocean, or alfresco anywhere of your choosing - on the beach, in the coconut grove or on your suite's terrace.
The passionate chefs specialise in Asian and Mediterranean cuisine. Seafood is a speciality, as you’d expect at this beholden-to-the-beach resort, and king prawns, fresh lobster, lagoon crab and yellowfin tuna are proffered daily by local fishermen. We asked the chefs to prepare their favourite dishes for us to sample, and were almost as impressed with the taste as we were with the beautiful presentation of the prawn cocktail starter, the pan-fried fillet of red mullet on braised vegetables, and the traditional Sri Lankan rice and curry with tempered calamari. Our desserts of vanilla pannacotta with caramelised passion fruit and chocolate mocha tart with espresso ice cream were unforgettable.
You can also dine at the hotel’s beach club - as delicious as it is decadent. Seafood here is cooked the local way, over a coconut charcoal BBQ, and served with a fresh garden salad and local relishes.
Breakfast options range from traditional Sri Lankan curry to continental spreads to the smartly presented ‘hearty English-style platter’ of eggs, bacon, sausages, tomatoes and mushrooms. Drinks, light meals and cocktails are available all day from the lounge, adjacent to the restaurant, and on the pool terrace.
For a change of culinary scene, try the no-frills seafood restaurant on the Amanwella’s doorstep. Beyond that there are few alternative dining options owing to the undeveloped nature of the area; your best bets are small hotel Maya Villa and the larger Buckingham Place, both British-owned and within a 30-minute tuk-tuk ride (ask staff to call ahead and book you a table).
Children and babies are always welcome, and free babysitting (provided by a lady from the local village) is thoughtfully on offer. That said, the hotel isn’t designed with kids in mind, and others guests are often - quite understandably - the type that would prefer children to be seen and not heard. It’s therefore a tricky place to bring a toddler or a crawler; a newborn would be less of a handful.
Babies (0-1 years)
Extra beds (charged for) and cots can be added to all rooms. Three of the Suites, located up the hill away from the beach, have interconnecting doors.
Free babysitting is available on request.
Baby listening/monitors can be provided by arrangement.
Baby cots and highchairs are available on request.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
The pool isn't fenced, and there are steps and ponds galore in the grounds. The sea here can be dangerous; lifeguards man the beach.