Kikili Beach

Near Galle, Galle & Environs, Sri Lanka Book from Book from £229 per night

Romantic, laid-back and happiness-infused beach house with pool and excellent service, near Galle (sleeps 2-3)
Pull off the hectic coastal road, step into this Buddhist monk-blessed cross between a Nantucket beach house and a Mexican hacienda, and you feel like you've arrived home to the friendliest hideaway in Sri Lanka.

Where better, after all, to hang your sunhat than at the bohemian seaside retreat of Henri Tatham, long-time manageress of The Dutch House and The Sun House, Galle’s most lauded old-colonial hotels? She and boyfriend Koki completed this remarkable renovation project in November 2005, and since then it's had nothing but rave reviews from its guests - and we instantly saw why. The space, the quirky colourful decor, the beauty of your setting... it's a remarkable place that rejuves and makes your soul rejoice.

When you tire of whiling away time between the sunbeds, the swing seat, the ambalamba pavilion, the pool, your very own rum-shack bar and the cushioned daybeds, walk 300m along the beach to Wijaya, the beach bar at the epicentre of Galle’s expat community. There you can wallow in the lagoon, surf the surrounding reef breaks or party till sunrise. Return home and sink into another deep, dreamless sleep in the exceptionally comfortable bedroom. Kikili Beach is a wondrous, curative world unto itself.

Highs

  • Sipping cocktails in the ambalamba pavilion as turtles bob in the waves and the sun sets over the Japanese Peace Temple on the western headland
  • Wonderful, fresh banquets from Kumara, the faultless houseboy who has been at Kikili since the beginning
  • The staff have it exactly right here: you will never feel intruded upon, yet have every wish cheerfully taken care of (even babysitting)
  • The sea breeze deters the mosquitoes, so you rarely need a net over your bed (but one is provided just in case)
  • If you fancy a night or 2 in Galle afterwards (or if the beach house is full), Henri also runs a cosy 5-room guesthouse

Lows

  • The sea in front of the house is rarely calm enough for swimming, but there's a pool, the Wijaya lagoon is a 5-minute stroll away and guests often daytrip to nearby Mirissa or Weligama for swimming
  • If you're a minimalist with a penchant for spartan living spaces, this place is not for you; it's a medley of patterns, textiles, prints, paintings and the owners’ personal touches
  • Curious passers-by strolling the beach occasionally peered in, drawn by the welcoming vibe, but we still felt totally comfortable in our surroundings
  • It often gets booked up quickly, but you can always stay at Kikili House in town and cycle to the beach

Best time to go

November through until April is peak season when the sea is calmest and the rains least intense. Kikili is extremely popular during these months so you will need to book ahead. December, January and February are the finest months of all weather-wise. June and July are traditionally the wettest months but changing weather patterns in recent years have meant these months can be pleasant, as can August. September and October have many sunny spells although heavy rains and high seas are also guaranteed.

Our top tips

If you are ever caught short with no food organised for lunch or dinner, the resourceful house-staff can get you the best roti and/or curry packets from the local vendors in the village for next to nothing. The Muslim roti vendors’ street food is the best in this neighborhood. The house staff will even cook it for you, too – we really recommend this.

There are 3-point (UK) plug units throughout the house.

Great for...

Beach
Family
Foodie
Honeymoon
  • Private Villa
  • 1
  • Self-catering (+ onsite chef)
  • Ideal with 1 child
  • 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
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
Room:

Rooms

The indoor living space is small but sufficient, with colourful eclectic art, prints and hangings. The bedroom, sitting room and little kitchen are white walled and high ceilinged. Outside, the terrace and garden have a multitude of welcoming seascape-facing seating areas.

The country cottage-style sitting room has a two-seat sofa and heaps of DVDs and books. A purple velvet curtain divides the living room from the bedroom. The exceptionally comfortable super-king bed, complete with large pillows and 220-thread count sheets, encourages marathon deep sleeps.

Thick granite walls and blackout shutters ensure complete darkness, detract the heat and deflect the distant road noise. Tightly woven bamboo screens in the windows provide shade without blocking out the sea-breeze, plus there's air-conditioning and a fan.

The tiny mermaid-blue ensuite bathroom has a huge showerhead and the same gorgeous jade stone tiles as the swimming pool. Luxury toiletries from Ophir, a natural spa in Colombo, are provided. Throughout, rustic terracotta-tiled floors, colourful rugs and dark-wood shutters create a homely vibe. A chest of drawers, a hanging rail and a white wardrobe allow plenty of room for clothing.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Barbecue
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hairdryer
  • Hob or stove
  • Ipod dock
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Mosquito net
  • Oven
  • Safe box
  • Swimming pool
  • Toaster
  • WiFi

Eating

The food at Kikili is dangerously delectable. Kumara, the amazing houseboy, has a natural flair for cooking and speaks great English. He prepares breakfast ‘as you wish’ (both European and Sri Lankan), snack lunches and evening feasts on request.

Being a proud Sri Lankan, Kumara will produce a traditional curry banquet with passion and the menu has over 20 main course suggestions. For us, he whipped up a mahi-mahi fish curry with rice, dahl, beetroot curry, coconut sambal, Sun House homemade chutney and poppadoms. We also tried delicately grilled seer fish with a delicious homemade tartare sauce, beautifully roasted peppers, sweet potato and shallots. For pudding, Kumara’s coconut flan, French apple tart and chocolate mousse were to die for.

Kumara’s help is included in the rates, though you pay for the food itself. If you have more than 4 people for dinner, he will get in a helper for a few extra rupees.

If you would like to cook for yourselves he can happily do the shopping for you. Be warned that the kitchen is on the small side for preparing meals - we just let ourselves be spoilt instead!

Kikili has a minibar stocked with white and red wine, local beer and gin. Kumara can procure more alcohol on request.

Wednesday is Kumara's day off. For a change of scene, Wijaya, a 5-minute walk along the beach is home to arguably the best prawn curry in southern Sri Lanka. Alternatively, take a 5-minute tuk-tuk ride to stunning Unawatuna, where the beachside Kingfisher restaurant has the best local food and vibe - dangle your feet in the ocean over a couple of beers. These are the closest of 20+ excellent restaurants within a 15 minute tuk-tuk radius of Kikili, all of which are in the house guidebook.

Features include:

  • Barbecue
  • Breakfast
  • Chef on request
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob or stove
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Oven
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Toaster
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

Staying at Galle-luminary Henri Tatham’s residence is like taking a shortcut to all the very best the area has to offer in terms of restaurants, nightlife, shopping, beauty, cooking classes, watersports, boat trips and well-being. The following are a few hot recommendations, complete with contact details, endorsed in the Kikili guidebook:

  • Embark on a gentle 15km or invigorating 30km scenic mountain bike ride with Alex Barratt, starting at Wijaya and culminating at either the magical Leopard Rock hillside ambalamba (think mini Machu Picchu) or with lunch and a tour at Samakanda, an ecotopia organic hilltop farm of epic proportions

  • Visit the Handunugoda Tea Estate, where Herman and David are both excellent hosts

  • Surf at Kabalana or Weligama beach breaks - less dicey than Wijaya reef breaks, so more suitable for beginners and intermediates (lessons can be arranged)

  • Go whale watching in Mirissa. Between December and March when the seas are calmest, blue whale spotting is ‘95% guaranteed’ and spinner dolphin spotting is ‘100% guaranteed’

  • Galle Fort, the best preserved and most beautiful of Portugual’s 16th-century Fortress towns in Asia is an unmissable world heritage site, a mere 10-minute tuk-tuk drive away. A rampart walk at sunset to the sound of the calls to prayer from the minarets is one of the most magical experiences southern Sri Lanka has to offer. You will see the old Dutch and English churches, the Governor’s residence, the tree-lined square of court, the Portuguese black fort, the lighthouse and the granite clock tower. But don’t interrupt Sri Lankan lovers canoodling in the high ramparts!

  • Take a cooking lesson with Kumara or at the local school in Unawatuna, and learn how to whip up an authentic curry

  • Unwind with a massage or private yoga class with Sri Yoga Shala (just a couple of minutes from Kikili Beach)

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Cooking classes
  • Farm tours
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Kayaking
  • Mountain biking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Scuba diving courses
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Well being
  • Whale watching
  • Yoga

Kids

Kikili is as ideal for a couple with 1 child as it is for lovers. We visited with our 11-month-old daughter and she could not have been happier or better looked after. The house staff are naturals with kids and only too glad to babysit for an hour here and there. More babysitting can be provided at an additional cost. The pool is not gated or walled off so you will need to watch crawlers at all times. Bring your own travel cot and feeding chair.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Babysitting:

By arrangement

Baby listening:

Enquire when booking

Baby equipment:

High chairs and travel cots are available on request

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

Kid Friendly:

Location

Kikili Beach is in Talpe, 6km south of Galle (a 10-minute tuk-tuk ride), on Sri Lanka's southwest coast.

By Air:
Colombo Bandaranaike (130km away) is the closest international airport and transfers can be arranged (2 hours' drive). If you have time to spare you may wish to take the slow, scenic coastal train to Galle and then pick up a local taxi.

Getting Around
For short journeys, Kikili house staff can order you a tuk-tuk and reliable driver who speaks English (you should specify you want an English speaker). You can rent a car (standard or 4x4) or a van with a driver for day trips or longer excursions. Henri or Henri’s support staff will help arrange.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.

More on getting to Sri Lanka and getting around

Airports:

  • Colombo Bandaranaike 130.0 km CMB

Other:

  • Beach 0.1 km
  • Shops 0.5 km
  • Restaurant 0.5 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 3 independent reviews from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

I had truly fantastic time at Kikili beach. Henri managed to designed a little piece of heaven on the Sri Lankan cost while Kumar took exceptional care of me, cooking fantastic dishes and making sure i had everything I needed. I basically stayed home 4 days, relaxing by the pool and walling on the beach. I will definitely be back soon!

10/10,

This little, colourful cottage is pure perfection! Before we had even put our bags down we didn't want to leave. We couldn't have asked for a more relaxing, comfortable stay, being looked after by the brilliant Kumara. If we could have eaten every meal there we would have - the food was completely delicious. I suppose the best review I could give is to say we had already enquired about New Year dates for this year before we had said goodbye! Thank you for everything.

10/10,

A quirky little spot with so much character. We loved the eclectic interiors. The location is spot on, with direct access to the beach. Kumara’s food and hospitality made it a perfect stay. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

10/10,

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