Club Villa

Bentota, Sri Lanka Book from

Reviewed by Yasmin Boland
Dutch colonial hotel in a beach paradise setting where all your needs are catered for…
Tucked away in a coconut plantation, a stone's throw from the beach, is this elegant Dutch-style villa now run as a small hotel. Walking into Club Villa is like returning to an old friend's house. You enter to the sound of rippling water as goldfish swim in the small ponds of the leafy reception area. Manager Heshan is full of warmth and gracious hospitality and welcomes you with a delicious papaya and mango drink. Any frayed nerves from long-distance travel are quickly soothed; an air of peaceful serenity pervades, it's spotlessly clean, and the staff are professional and attentive.

You can relax by the pool, wander along the deserted beach or explore Sri Lanka’s southwest coast (staff are a fount of local knowledge). But undoubtedly Club Villa's finest moments come after dark, when candlelit cocktails and suppers are served beneath the stars. Listening to the tropical night sounds at tables laid with crisp white tablecloths and a solitary candle is an unforgettable experience, however many times you try it.


  • The sweeping lawn and coconut grove just beg you to take a restful stroll
  • The deserted beach is just steps away (across the railway track)
  • Club Villa’s location means you can make the most of its quiet and tranquil atmosphere while being able to walk to livelier places if you feel the urge
  • The 17 rooms are elegant and airy. Most have a balcony or private patio, and many come with sitting areas set into bay windows or perched on mezzanine floors
  • The warm welcome instantly makes you feel at home


  • There is a railway track at the end of the garden; the occasional passing train is a little disconcerting at first, but you quickly get used to it and begin to enjoy waving to the passengers
  • The food is good but not exceptional, and those expecting Sri Lankan cuisine might be disappointed by the menu's European focus
  • Mosquitoes can appear at dusk (bring long sleeves, trousers and repellent), though rooms have nets and coils
  • If you visit during the busy Christmas period you may coincide with some noisy families

Best time to go

This part of Sri Lanka is best visited between November and April; the rest of the year is the rainy season. The Christmas period is extremely busy, so book well in advance.

Our top tips

Amble along the coast and you may occasionally snatch a peek at one of the beach weddings, which include elephants dressed in traditional Hindu finery.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 17
  • Breakfast (+ other meals on request)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Board games
  • Croquet
Room: Standard Room


The 17 bedrooms are simple yet elegant, with vibrant silk cushions, murals, batiks and the odd antique set against a backdrop of white walls, crisp linen and airy high ceilings.

The first-floor Deluxe Rooms are larger than the ground-floor Standard Rooms, but all have air conditioning and most offer amazing views and either a balcony or private patio area. Many Deluxe Rooms also feature large bay windows or a mezzanine floor, ideal for stowing your things or retreating to if you want peace and quiet from your travelling companion. If you want more space, the Club Suite has a living area, a split-level bathroom with a Jacuzzi and separate rain shower, and an interior garden.

Most rooms (apart from the suite) have showers only; however, some of the bathrooms are something to behold. They're adjoined to the bedrooms as ensuites, yet have only 'half a roof', giving you the feeling that you’re showering in the open air, yet in total privacy. Some bathrooms have columns, creating an almost Roman-Sequa decadence.

Mosquito nets are carefully erected in the rooms nightly by the staff, who also spray the room and leave a lighted mosquito coil to ward off insect intruders.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Mosquito net
  • Terrace
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet


The outdoor dining room is one of Club Villa's major draws. The helpful staff endeavour to create a pleasingly romantic atmosphere (even when there are children) with lanterns and candles.

Dinner (normally included in the room rate) is tailored to suit your requirements (you order earlier in the day) and always consists of 3 courses. Dishes tend towards the European - starters might include spinach pâté, fried squid or homemade soup with plenty of bread, while main courses usually feature fresh fish or meat (perhaps spaghetti with crab or plum-glazed chicken). It's worth opting for Sri Lankan cuisine if it's offered - we had a tasty curry accompanied by copious side dishes and popadoms.

A specialty of the house is the barbecue and champagne dinner - for a little extra, you and your loved one(s) can be wined and dined in luxurious style with your own private alfresco meal.

Breakfast is the same each day: papaya, pineapple, eggs and toast; it's fresh and filling, but can become rather monotonous if you’re staying for a while. Later in the day, you can order drinks by the pool from the comfort of your deckchair or enjoy a light lunch of spicy noodles or fresh salad in the garden. Tea and cake are served every afternoon; it's extremely refreshing in the heat and provides a great way to meet other guests, if you’re feeling sociable.

If you feel the need to explore a little, there are various restaurants within walking distance, as well as the larger Vivanta by Taj hotel (a mere 3 minutes' stroll along the beach), which serves a mean club sandwich and an excellent lunch buffet. And, if you're happy to venture a little further, you can tuck into fantastic food at Saman Villas, 30 minutes along the sand.

Features include:

  • Afternoon tea and cake
  • Breakfast
  • Children meals
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu


  • Laze by the pool and wander the verdant grounds, pretending you own the lot. Then amble over the railway line to the empty beach
  • Enjoy a massage, or ask staff to arrange a private yoga lesson on the lawn. You can also wander over to the large spa at the Vivanta by Taj hotel just along the beach
  • Check out one of the nearby turtle hatcheries, where visitors are encouraged to help release baby turtles back into the sea
  • Visit the ancient Buddhist temples in Bentota town. As a main tourist resort, Bentota also offers water-skiing and windsurfing
  • Take a trip to visit the nearby home of Sri Lanka's top architect, Geoffrey Bawa. Staff will arrange the necessary permission from the Trustees in Colombo
  • Head to Brief Garden, a botanical extravaganza 10km away, created in 1929 by Geoffrey Bawa's brother, Bevis
  • Enjoy a boat journey along the mangrove-lined backwaters of Balapitiya, where you may spot baby crocodiles
  • Visit the atmospheric old town of Galle (45-50 minutes to the south) with its historic Dutch fort
  • Discover the art of mask-making in Ambalangoda, which lies a short drive to the south
  • Visit The Boathouse, a local horse-riding sanctuary

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures
  • Water-skiing
  • Well being
  • Wildlife
  • Windsurfing
  • Yoga


Club Villa is relaxed with fantastic staff, providing an excellent backdrop for a family holiday in Sri Lanka. Take tuk-tuk rides, play on the beach and don't forget to meet the local elephant population. It's a long drive from the airport (roads here are slow and rather rough and ready) and it works better as a second stop on a tour of the country than a first port of call.

Children are welcome and those under 12 receive a 50% meal discount.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

All rooms can take 1 or 2 extra beds and/or baby cots for a supplement, and many have an additional single bed which can be set up on request. Book a ground-floor room if you have toddlers (avoiding ungated stairs and balconies); larger families can book larger rooms or a twin room as an addition.


A babysitting/nanny service is available with an English-speaking babysitter

Baby equipment:

  • 3 cots
  • Baby bedding
  • High chair
  • Some stairgates
  • Night light
  • Bottle-warming

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

Food is available all day; meals can be served early in the evening for children and there's a kids' menu (or speak to the chef if you have special requests). Half-portions of adult meals are also available, and you can easily walk to a nearby café or restaurant if you want some variety.

Kids Activities on site:

  • Swimming pool with shallow end
  • Books for all ages
  • Board games
  • Croquet

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Elephant rides
  • Surfing
  • Turtle hatchery
  • Diving
  • Boat trips
  • Watersports
  • Beaches

Families Should Know:

There are a few hazards: balconies, stairs and a railway at the end of the garden, beyond a gate. There's a shop for nappies, baby food and beach toys very close by, so you don't have to bring everything with you.


  • Airport: 3 hours
  • Hospital: 20 minutes
  • Doctor: 4 minutes
Kid Friendly:

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