“Romantic, laid-back and happiness-infused beach house with pool and excellent service, near Galle (sleeps 2-3)”
The indoor living space is small but sufficient, given the multitude of outdoor, seascape-facing seating areas on the terrace and in the garden. The bedroom, sitting room and little kitchen are white walled and high ceilinged, with dimmer spotlights and antique candelabras providing generous lighting.
A super-colourful array of eclectic art, prints and hangings adorns the walls. Terracotta-tiled floors and colourful rugs make for a rustic and forgiving underfoot change to the polished cement of most boutique properties in Sri Lanka. Dark-wood antique bookshelves and glass cabinets match the dark-wood shutters and doors; the country cottage-style sitting room has a 2-seat sofa and heaps of DVDs and books.
A purple velvet curtain divides the living room from the bedroom. Thick granite walls and blackout shutters ensure complete darkness, detract the heat and deflect the distant noise from the road (further drowned out by the pounding waves April-November). And the exceptionally comfortable super-king bed, complete with 6 large pillows, 220-thread count sheets and a beautiful eiderdown further encourages marathon deep sleeps.
Tightly woven bamboo screens in the windows allow you to have darkness without blocking out the sea-breeze, or there's A/C and a fan if you prefer. The Louis Quinze-style bedside tables have matching antique lamps with deep red shades, providing romantic lighting. A chest of drawers, a hanging rail and a white wardrobe allow plenty of room for clothing.
The tiny ensuite, mermaid blue bathroom has a huge showerhead and the same gorgeous jade stone tiles as the swimming pool.
The food at Kikili is dangerously delectable. Kumara, the amazing houseboy, has a natural flair for cooking and speaks good English. He prepares breakfast ‘as you wish’ (both European and Sri Lankan), can do cafetieres and snack lunches during the day and will prepare a feast for the evening on request. His 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 somewhat on the small side for preparing meals, so we'd just let yourselves be spoilt! Wednesday is Kumara's day off, but fear not, Kikili House has a sushi night which is well worth checking out!
There's a laminated menu sheet with over 20 suggestions of main courses and 7 puddings. And being a proud Sri Lankan, Kumara will produce a traditional curry banquet with passion. For us he whipped up a mahi-mahi fish curry with rice, dahl, pumpkin curry, beetroot curry, coconut sambal, Sun House homemade chutney and poppadoms. For a healthy alternative we also tried the delicately grilled seer fish with a delicious homemade tartare sauce, beautifully roasted peppers, sweet potato and shallots, mashed potato and butternut squash. On a sweet note, Kumara’s coconunt flan, French apple tart and chocolate mousse were to die for.
Kikili has a minibar stocked with several bottles of white wine, local beer and gin. Two bottles of red wine are also always kept stocked. Kumara can procure more alcohol on request.
For a change of scene, Wijaya, a 5-minute walk along the beach is arguably home to the best prawn curry in southern Sri Lanka. A 5-minute tuk-tuk ride in the other direction takes you to stunning Unawatuna, where the beachside Kingfisher restaurant is best in the area for local food, vibe and dangling your feet in the ocean as you sip beers reclining on their amalamba. These are the closest of 20+ excellent restaurants within a 15 minute tuk-tuk radius of Kikili, all of which Henri has carefully documented in the house guidebook.
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:
Kikili is as ideal for a couple with 1 child as it is for lovers. We had our 11-month-old daughter with us when we did this review 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. 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.
Babies (0-1 years)
Cots Available, Extra Beds Available
Enquire when booking
High chairs and travel cots are available on request
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking