Kalpitiya Beach House

Kalapitya Peninsula, Wilpattu & Northwest, Sri Lanka Book from Book from £158 per night

Stylish beachside villa (sleeping 2-8) on Sri Lanka's pristine northwest coast, with a private cook and dolphin-watching nearby
Most visitors to Sri Lanka make a beeline south from Colombo to Galle or beyond; but savvy travellers head the other way. Two and a half hours' drive north of the capital, the Kalpitiya coast remains as wildly beautiful and undisturbed as when it emerged, in 2009, from long civil unrest. Endless sandy beaches are dotted with kitesurfer shacks, coral reefs and the odd small resort; spinner dolphins perform amazing acrobatic displays, and there are blue whales too.

But it's not all back to basics. Set amid dunes and swaying palms 150m from the ocean’s edge, this chic, ochre-coloured 2-bedroom villa is a luxurious take on barefoot beachside living. Lofty ceilings allow breezes to waft through the open-plan lounge and diner, the bedrooms are within earshot of waves lapping on the shore, and the ensuite bathrooms have fabulous open-air showers. The housekeeper Sisera and private cook Indrani ensure you're well looked after, but otherwise the villa, its lush gardens and its private swathe of beach are all yours, bar the occasional visiting turtle. If you tire of lazing on the veranda or dozing in the hammocks, you can wander 300m along the sand to the small beach club at Bar Reef Resort, for boat trips, watersports and a laid-back bar.

Highs

  • The best of both worlds: you get the privacy of a villa, with access to pools at neighbouring resorts
  • The house works equally well for one family or two couples (there's loads of space); and even for one couple (there are reduced rates)
  • Sisera and Indrani run it with real joy and passion; they made our stay so easy and effortless, and Indrani's tasty Sri Lankan feasts were outstanding
  • Wonderful ocean views and beach access - start your days watching fishermen put out to sea, and end them gazing at the sun sinking into the waves
  • Plentiful watersports and the chance to see dolphins and turtles, plus birdlife nearby, and leopards at Wilpattu

Lows

  • It’s quite isolated, with no nightlife and little to do in wet weather
  • Dolphin sightings aren’t guaranteed (particularly outside November-April), and boat trips can be early (6-7am) and bumpy
  • It may look a little pricey, but bear in mind that meals here cost a fraction of resort prices (and they're tailor-cooked!)
  • Electricity can be intermittent from time to time along this stretch of coast

Best time to go

The weather and sea are at their best from November to April, and dolphins and whales are most visible from December to February. However, be prepared for some rain at times, especially in December. May to September can be very windy - ideal for kite- and windsurfing, but not for swimming, sunbathing or boat trips. It's worth noting that this is the sort of place where rain cancels out most of the fun.

Our top tips

Bring essentials such as sun block and mozzie repellent with you. There's a basic shop in the nearby village, Puttalam, but otherwise local facilities are limited.

We think 3-4 nights here works well as part of a longer tour of northern Sri Lanka. There's no minimum stay requirement, which is handy.

Great for...

Beach
Eco
Family
Great Outdoors
  • Beach Villa
  • 2
  • Private chef (+ restaurant nearby)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
Room:

Rooms

This is a gorgeous pad. Expect graceful indoor-outdoor living, with "rooms" that flow wall-lessly into each other and out to the leafy garden. Ceilings are high, with overhanging eaves framing ocean views, and the expansive smooth screed floors are peppered with starfish pebble mosaics.

There are 2 beautiful, cool and airy bedrooms with large four-poster beds; both have sea views and huge open-air ensuite shower bathrooms. Adjoining the larger of the bedrooms is a separate sitting room with cushion-strewn daybeds that can sleep another 3 people if required.

At the heart of the villa is a vast and airy living space with blue chaise-longues, planter-style chairs and a huge wooden dining table seating 10. One side opens out on to a wide, west-facing veranda that stretches along the entire length of the building, with low tables and loungers that are perfectly placed for spectacular sunset views.

The villa also has a fully equipped kitchen, though you’ll barely set foot in it as private cook Indrani is on-hand to rustle up Sri Lankan feasts. Outside are 6 acres of grounds, with coconut groves, hammocks and a large pond stretching down to a private swathe of pristine white sand.

Features include:

  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Full kitchen
  • Hairdryer
  • Mosquito net
  • Terrace
  • WiFi

Eating

This may be a villa rather than a hotel, but it's no self-catering holiday. The private cook, Indrani, is on hand to whip up meals, and housekeeper Sisera (Indrani’s husband) will sit down with you every morning to plan the day’s dishes.

Indrani's Sri Lankan fare is top-notch and she’ll happily cater to dietary requirements or adjust spice levels to suit your tastes. Her emphasis is on the freshest of local ingredients, so menus are based on what's in season and the fisherman's haul. You are always offered a choice and there’s never any shortage of delicious vegetables from the villa’s gardens. Juicy coconuts plucked from the surrounding groves often make an appearance, too.

Our meals were a real treat - devilled king prawns, grilled fish and chicken curries served with a dazzling display of vegetable dishes, sambals, salad, chutneys and crispy poppadums. At breakfast we had plates groaning with fresh fruit, plus eggs, toast and an assortment of jams accompanied by refreshing juices.

Beer and soft drinks are available, but if you’d like wine and spirits it’s worth bringing them with you as they're hard to come by on the peninsula.

If you fancy a change of scene you can wander over to the laid-back Bar Reef restaurant, where guests tend to mingle in the thatched pavilion overlooking the beach.

Features include:

  • Children's meals
  • Full kitchen
  • In house cook
  • Organic produce
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Laze on the veranda with a book, snooze in a garden hammock, sun yourself on the sand, or wander over to Bar Reef Resort (just 300m away) to bathe in its ocean-facing infinity pool

  • Try your hand at a wide range of watersports including kayaking, catamaran sailing, kite- and windsurfing (best from May-November), water-skiing, boogie boarding and donut rides. It's best to book in advance

  • Take a dawn boat trip to spot spinner dolphins (best from November to April). It’s worth the early start: sightings aren’t guaranteed, but on a good day you’ll see dozens of these graceful creatures leaping out of the water, performing back flips and riding the boat’s wave. If you’re lucky you might see blue whales, too

  • Another boat ride will take you out to coral reefs where you can snorkel alongside tropical fish, stingrays and Loggerhead turtles

  • Take a day trip to Wilpattu National Park (1-2 hours' drive away), which boasts one of the highest concentrations of leopards in the world (as well as elephants, sloth bears and samburs)

  • Birdwatchers could make a day trip to Anawilundawa Bird Sanctuary for plovers, herons, stilts, egrets and sandpipers; out at sea you might spot white-bellied sea eagles, skuas and terns

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Dolphin watching
  • Historical sites
  • Kayaking
  • Kitesurfing
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Sailing
  • Snorkelling
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures
  • Water-skiing
  • Whale watching
  • Wildlife

Kids

This is a child-friendly beach hideaway, with plenty of space for families. Older kids are more likely to enjoy the watersports, watching dolphins and turtles, and taking safari trips to Wilpattu, though the pool at Bar Reef Resort has a separate shallow area where children of all ages can splash around.

Best for:

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

Family friendly accommodation:

One of the 2 bedrooms can be set up as a twin and there are extra beds for 6 people, meaning the house can sleep up to 10 in total. A baby cot is also available.

Baby equipment:

A baby cot is available on request.

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

Children's meals:

Indrani generally cooks Sri Lankan food, but she can prepare child-sized portions and milder versions of her meals on request.

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Dolphin-watching
  • Boat trips
  • Snorkelling
  • Boogie boarding
  • Kayaking
  • Kite-surfing
  • Windsurfing
  • Donut rides

Families Should Know:

The sea here is normally safe, with no strong currents, but be aware that there are no lifeguards on the beach or by the pool at Bar Reef Resort.

Distances:

  • Airport: 2 hours
Kid Friendly:

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