“Three relaxing hideaways (for 2-4) and a high-end secluded villa (for 2-6) near Tangalle, with stylish interiors and staff to cook, clean and shop”
Kotamba & Kahumba: 1-bedroom beachfront hideaways
Sharing the same simple yet chic décor and facilities, these 2 hideaways sit either side of a private strip of grassy garden (owned by the owners) facing onto Mawella Beach. They have four-poster beds wrapped in mosquito netting, big ensuite shower rooms and living rooms with oversized daybeds made from local kithul wood. Doors and windows open onto wraparound verandas; monochrome photographs of local life set the scene (we loved the portrait of a wizened old fisherman in Kahumba’s bathroom).
Kotamba, a renovated fisherman’s house, enjoys the longest stretch of beachfront, with views of the whole bay from the terrace or the dining pergola. Kahumba was built from the ruins of an old house and features a lovely open-air shower, plus a guest bathroom and an alfresco table under its namesake tree looking onto the beach.
Kumbuk: 2-bedroom coastal hideaway
Kumbuk is set a little further back from Mawella Beach, just behind Kahumba Hideaway. It has 2 bedrooms (a double and a twin) and a larger garden to compensate. We’re yet to see this space, but the setting appears to offer a greater sense of privacy while still being within strolling distance of the beach (20 metres away).
Villa 123: 3-bedroom luxury coastal villa
For something entirely different, stay at super sleek Villa 123, a 10-minute drive away. With minimal contemporary styling, its 3 ensuite ocean-facing bedrooms are spacious, bright and breezy. It has a large open-plan kitchen, dining room and living room, beyond which lies a wide terrace and stunning 60ft pool. We had a really relaxing day swimming lengths here. The villa faces 3 headlands - the furthest of which is beyond Mawella, where the blowhole can be seen in the distance. Wander halfway down the hill to the floating lookout point for more secluded gazes at the ocean. Although there is access to a beach here, it's rocky and not great for swimming so we recommend taking a tuk-tuk 5km to Mawella Beach or strolling to Unakuruwa beach.
The hideaways and villa each have private kitchens and dining areas. Villa 123 has a modern fully equipped kitchen and a dedicated full-time cook. The 3 hideaways have simple kitchens equipped with fridges, stoves, kettles and toasters, plus the option of a cook if you so wish. Whether in the hideaways or in the villa, chat with the team each morning about what you’d like and they’ll do the rest; you just pay for the ingredients. A tick-list of essentials is provided so that staff can shop on your behalf - useful if you want to order mixers for drinks, midnight snacks, or specific items such as cereal.
If you do have a cook, meals tend to emphasise local cuisine. For breakfast you might try string hoppers with creamy curries and sambols, or go continental with bread sourced from the local musical tuk-tuk; we would highly recommend the delicious buffalo curd, too. Lunches are light affairs such as salad Niçoise (the fresh local tuna is fabulous), while dinner options might include barbecues, grilled fish or a Sri Lankan curry spread. We dined by candlelight on Kotamba’s terrace and ate spicy chicken cooked in a clay pot, along with deliciously herby aubergines.
The hideways and villa are great for free-range families.
At the hideways, children of all ages will enjoy Mawella Beach (there's no life guard) and the bats, balls and body boards. The gardens are fenced, but the proximity of the waves mean it's not best suited to toddlers, and you'll need to keep an eye on youngsters around the sea as there may be currents.
At Villa 123, the set-up is best-suited to children old enough to safely navigate the unfenced infinity pool. The rocky beach immediately below the villa is not safe for swimming.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Kumbuk hideaway has 2 bedrooms (a double and a twin) and a fenced garden; it's tucked 20 metres back from Mawella Beach for added privacy (just behind Kahumba). The other 2 hideaways are beachfront, with one double bedroom each, plus 2 daybeds in their living rooms. Note that Kahumba has a guest bathroom and larger living area. Villa 123 has 3 ensuite double bedrooms and a 60ft infinity pool immediately in front of the villa off the terrace. A baby cot is available if requested in advance.
English-speaking childcare can be arranged with advance notice.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
The cooks can tailor meals (and spice levels) to young taste buds, and the kitchens are handy for whipping up kids' snacks.
At Mawella Beach: