Horathapola

Kurunegala, Near Colombo, Wilpattu & Northwest, Sri Lanka Book from US$277

Reviewed by Laila Ram
Lovely colonial mansion hidden on a working coconut estate, perfect for those wishing to avoid the bustle of Colombo
Horathapola Estate lies hidden in the vast green coconut belt that stretches from Negombo to Puttalam and inland up to Kurunegala. Owners Javana and Pia Fernando have recently converted their family estate's grand mansion into a tranquil guesthouse that offers the ideal spot for spending the first or last few nights in Sri Lanka. An hour and a half drive from the International Airport, Horathapola is a good alternative to Colombo, where traffic congestion can make the journey from the airport to the city centre over 2 hours long.

The 1920's colonial mansion is surrounded by a large lawn with tall flowering trees and is part of a functioning estate. Take a walk under the shady trees, dip in the 50-foot rimless pool or Jacuzzi, relax in the extensive library or laze in the garden - this is the perfect place for those wishing to avoid the hustle and bustle of Colombo. It also makes a good starting or end point for trips to Kandy, the Cultural Triangle and Wilpattu National Park (if open).

Highs

  • The pool - you could spend all day (and night) in it
  • Having a drink whilst watching the sunset from one of the verandahs
  • Getting Javana to show you round the working estate
  • A wonderfully tranquil and hassle-free alternative to staying in Colombo, which offers excellent value for money and some of the best food in Sri Lanka, plus easy access to the Airport - a great option for families

Lows

  • You are in the middle of rural Sri Lanka, so not for those looking for bars and nightlife (though Negumbo is only an hour's drive away)
  • To get there expect a bumpy ride over local roads, which seem to be getting worse every year, and can be quite tiring especially after a long international flight

Best time to go

Anytime of year - the average afternoon temperature ranges from about 28C-35C (generally hottest in March/April). The wettest months are October and November. Come in July/August for Sri Lanka's most important festival - Esala Perahara - with its spectacular evening processions (dates vary each year).

Great for...

Family
Foodie
Honeymoon
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Guesthouse
  • 6
  • Breakfast and dinner (+ lunch 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
  • Bicycles Available
Room: Double room (Maha)

Rooms

There are 2 large suites and a two-bedroomed family suite in the main house. All these rooms are furnished with antique four-poster beds and dark wooden furniture. The lovely polished dark wood floors are beautifully contrasted by the white walls and white furnishings, and give the rooms a calm and sophisticated feel. The airy bathrooms come with double sinks, large shower and toilet rooms. These rooms have been completely renovated yet have maintained the antique style of the mansion.

The Master Bedroom on the first floor has a large verandah overlooking the pool. An intricately carved kingsize four-poster bed and other antique furniture under high ceilings make it popular for honeymooners.

Also on the first floor, the family suite offers space for a family of 4 or 5. It consists of a triple room with a kingsize four-poster bed and a spacious single bed, and a double room with a queensize four-poster bed. Each room has an en-suite bathroom. The two rooms are connected by a large covered sitting area overlooking the garden.

On the ground floor, the fourth room has a kingsize ebony four-poster and a single brass bed, which makes the room ideal for a family with young children. Extra beds and cots are available on request. A large covered terrace gives direct access to the garden and pool area. This room can, however, be rather noisy if there are people staying in the family suite above.

From December 2009 Horathapola will also be offering the new Lodge for 4 people, which is set 20m from the main house. This consists of a Master Bedroom and a smaller double room, kitchen facilities, dining areas and a private open balcony.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Internet access
  • Mosquito net

Eating

Traditional curries are still prepared in clay pots on the firewood stove. Many of the ingredients are grown on the estate itself and the spices freshly picked and ground. Horathapola's reputation for it's food is growing and we think you'll enjoy some of the most authentic food in Sri Lanka here.

Breakfast consists of a large fresh fruit platter, eggs cooked to order, home made bread, rotti and jam, and usually one or two curries to be sampled if you are keen for local food. Children’s favorites are French toast with cinnamon sugar and pol-paeni pancakes (filled with roasted coconut and palmsugar)
Dinner will be discussed with you upon arrival. There is something to everyone’s taste, be it meat or seafood, vegetarian or vegan. The array of rice, string hoppers, hoppers and pittu, vegetable curries, sambols, chutneys and pickles is almost endless and the ingredients always garden-fresh.

Pasta dishes, fish in banana-leaf, Thai curries or even home-made gnocchi are only a few options to be had if you happen to be at the end of your Sri Lanka trip and had your fill of curries.
The lunch menu is a small but select list of favorite salads and sandwiches, pastas and seafood.

Afternoon tea and home-made cake will tempt you wherever you happen to be lazing about. All meals are served wherever you wish - under the shade of a tree in the beautiful garden, on your private verandah or balcony, or in the grand dining room.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Children meals
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Organic produce
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Lazing by the pool and in the jacuzzi

  • Exploring the estate on a bullock cart. See how a coconut is picked and sample the water. Find out how pepper is grown, how cinnamon is peeled and how the paddy is harvested.

  • Wander around the nearby village temples and enjoy bicycle rides on the quiet village roads; visit the loacl markets (Wednesday and Saturday)

  • Spot dozens of bird varieties and fruit bats

  • Trips to the west coast beaches (30 minutes drive to the nearest beach)

  • Daytrips to the ancient city of Panduwasnuwara and to the ancient rock temple Yapahuwa - both stunning World Heritage sites.

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Swimming

Kids

A great spot in rural Sri Lanka, an hour from Colombo, with family rooms and bullock cart exploration trips of the coconut estate.

Free for children up to 10 years when sharing room with parents - please ask for cots or extra beds.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

The 2-bed family suite suits a family of 4-5. It has a triple bedroom plus double room and a large covered sitting room as well as ensuite bathrooms. The lodge works well for a family of 4, particularly if you want to self cater, and has 2 doubles. Alternatively book 1 of the 2 triple suites, with a double bed and single bed plus room for a cot or single bed.

Baby equipment:

  • Cot

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

Children's meals:

The food is traditional Sri Lankan, but if kids don't like curry, there are alternatives: french toast and pancakes for breakfast, pasta, sandwiches, seafood, gnocci and more for lunch and dinner, and afternoon tea and cakes as well. Food-wise, kids are charged as adults from age 8 up.

Kids Activities on site:

  • Swimming pool and jacuzzi
  • Large lawn
  • Bullock cart trips round the estate exploring the coconut plantations and spice gardens
  • Bikes to borrow for trips round the village roads
  • Bat and bird spotting

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Day trips to markets and temples
  • Trips to Kandy, the Cultural Triangle and Wilpattu National Park could start from here
  • Beaches 30 minutes' drive away

Families Should Know:

The pool isn't fenced and toddlers and small tots will need a careful eye in the gardens. Watch out for breakable antiques. Bear in mind that road trips in Sri Lanka can take a long time and bring suitable entertainment.

Distances:

  • Airport: 1.5 hours
  • Hospital: 1.5 hours
Kid Friendly: Family Suite

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
10/
Food
10/
Service
9/
Value
9/
Overall

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