Kumu Beach

Balapitiya, Galle & Environs, Sri Lanka
Book from Book from £256 per night

A blissfully relaxing, small contemporary hotel with super food and stylish rooms, on Sri Lanka’s sunset coast

Dazzling sunsets, warm sea swims and nesting marine turtles are a few highlights of a stay at Kumu Beach, a cool design hotel with a chilled vibe. Sitting above a golden-sand beach, Kumu’s grassy lawn is sprinkled with hammocks and teak loungers. The 10 bedrooms allow you to gaze at the ocean from the comfort of your four-poster, and the rooftops of the whitewashed buildings are primed for private starlit dining. In the garden lies a deep blue pool with a built-in seat and water jets. It's perfect for couples, though it works well for families, too.

Design is contemporary, and interiors are simplistic yet practical. Local artisans were engaged to beautify interior and exterior spaces, and your eyes are drawn to Batik-work cushions, vast globe-like garden sculptures, honey-coloured furnishings, and a brass fish suspended above the staircase. Cuisine is modern, too: Kumu is a sister hotel of Fort Bazaar and The Wallawwa and shares similarly polished butler-style service. Watersports haven Bentota is 30 minutes' drive away, as is Lunuganga, the enviable tropical garden of the late architect, Geoffrey Bawa. Galle is an hour's train ride away, a scenic coastal chug.

Highs

  • A very relaxing spot, thanks to its quiet end-of-beach setting
  • The smiling staff really heighten the experience – nothing is too much trouble
  • We loved the inventive modern cuisine, with sharing platters and alfresco dining opportunities
  • Perfect for a chilled romantic break - starlit dining, massages, four-poster beds, dreamy sunsets, direct beach access
  • Wild turtles often nest on the beach

Lows

  • Sea swimming is seasonal (November to April) - but the 23-metre pool compensates
  • There isn’t a huge amount nearby; Bentota (30 minutes’ drive) is the closest place to shop and dine
  • We found the WiFi a little patchy on our most recent visit

Best time to go

The west coast is at its best between December and April thanks to the ocean being relatively calm, and the drier weather. However, this means it gets busy, so opting to visit in the shoulder seasons of May and November is always good value. If you plan to visit in January, the hotel is within reach of Galle’s 4-day literary festival, which usually takes place during the third week of the month.

Our top tips

Time your visit to Lunuganga, Geoffrey Bawa’s spectacular inland lakeside estate, to coincide with lunch so you can tuck into a traditional rice and curry feast on the veranda of his former home. Visits to the house include a tour of the garden, and you can twin this tour with a visit to Brief, the more modest house and garden of Geoffrey’s brother, Bevis, which is located nearby.

Great for...

Beach
Family
Foodie
Romantic
Spa
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 10 rooms
  • Restaurant open daily
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

Bedrooms are elegant, stylish and practical. Caramel-hued teak furnishings, including slim-framed four-poster beds and big wardrobes kitted out with safes, bathrobes and slippers, are custom designed and we loved their contemporary style. The brass lights, the modernist art and the Batik cushions in shades of ocean and sunset were all customised for the hotel, too, and are set against a simplistic backdrop of white walls and terrazzo floors.

Oceanview Bedrooms sit on either the ground or first floor, and offer private sit-outs and strong rain showers in their bathrooms. They are chic and comfortable, though the Oceanview Suites are worth the splurge for their additional lounge and more private locations at each end of the hotel. Kumu Bedrooms are compact upper-floor twin rooms with partial sea views; ideal for solo or budget travellers looking for an affordable room, or for families-of-4 when booked in conjunction with an upper-floor Oceanview Bedroom.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Mosquito net
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite TV
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Menus complement the hotel’s coastal setting and infuse local ingredients and flavours. You dine in a sea-facing pavilion or an air-conditioned café set just behind, and the long poolside dining deck is a super spot for an atmospheric evening meal.

During the day, guests graze from a snack menu, with both light and substantial options: zesty fresh salads, wraps and dips, and a signature beef burger. We tucked into an ‘ocean sharing board' of fish fingers, black pepper prawns, kingfish carpaccio and seared tuna steak – it was light and delicious.

For dinner, we tried the pork croquettes, which came with coconut dhal puree, spicy caramalised onions and crispy curry leaves. The fillet of round island barramundi was excellent, and there's a popular 'rice and curries' spread. Kumu beach now also has a fully licensed bar.

Breakfast - included in the rate - is a generous tropical spread. We particularly enjoyed their spicy chicken curry egg hoppers, the selection of homemade jams and the blueberry and chia seed smoothie.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Swing on a hammock in the garden, read by the pool, swim in the ocean, and have a massage in the spa room
  • Take a cookery lesson and learn to create authentic curries and sides
  • Head to Ambalangoda’s mask museum for an insight into local craftsmanship. Then visit one of the region’s turtle hatcheries
  • Boat through the Madu Ganga wetlands, past crocodiles, tiny islands and mangrove forests
  • Bentota, a 30-minute taxi away, is a hub for watersports. Or head down to Hikkaduwa for a surfing lesson
  • Hire a bike and take a gentle ride along the coast
  • Hop on a train from Balapitiya to Galle (1 hour) and explore the town’s 17th-century colonial-era fort and thriving cultural scene

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cycling

Kids

Families are welcome though the tranquil atmosphere is probably best suited to tiny babies or older children and teens.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

The Oceanview Suites can sleep 2 adults, a child on an extra bed and a baby in a cot. Families with children over 10 could opt for an upper-floor double Oceanview Bedroom and a twin-bedded Kumu Bedroom. The rooms are both on the first floor but do not adjoin.

Kids Activities on site:

Pool, gardens with hammocks

Families Should Know:

The pool is not fenced, but there is a lifeguard. There are no baths in any of the suites.

Distances:

  • Airport: 2 hours' drive (Colombo)
  • Shops: 1km
  • Medical facility: 1km
Kid Friendly:

Location

The hotel sits above a beach near Balapitiya, a sleepy west coast fishing hamlet, 30 minutes south of Bentota and an hour north of Galle.

By Air:
Colombo Bandaranaike is a 2-hour drive from the hotel. Kumu Beach can organise airport transfers.

If you want to hire a car and driver for your whole holiday, enquire through our Tailormade Tour Operator; they can collect you at Colombo airport when you land, drive you to the hotel, then drive you to your onward destination(s) after your stay, as well as taking you on all day trips etc.

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

Airports:

  • Colombo Bandaranaike International 133.0 km CMB

Other:

  • Beach 0.1 km
  • Shops 0.2 km
  • Restaurant 5.0 km

Rates for Kumu Beach

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