Mawella Beach Hideaways

Mawella, Galle & South Coast, Sri Lanka Book from

Reviewed by Emma Boyle
A pair of relaxing bungalows for 2-4 beside a secluded fishing beach near Tangalle, with stylish interiors and staff to cook, clean and shop
These self-contained bungalows are located at the western end of Mawella Beach - a sweeping 2km curve near Tangalle on Sri Lanka’s beautiful south coast. Through their garden gates we wandered directly onto the sand, where a plethora of colourful fishing boats lay poised for action. Aside from short periods at dawn and dusk when the boats came and went, the beach was blissfully quiet save for a few fishermen hard at work mending their nets, which lay in giant coils at their feet.

Named Kotamba and Kahumba after trees growing in their respective gardens, the 2 comfortable bungalows have different layouts yet brandish the same uncluttered, monotone interiors. Each has a double bedroom, an airy living and dining space with daybeds that can be made up for additional guests, and a basic kitchen for self-catering - though book through i-escape and the rates include a chef to cook all your meals. Escapist couples and adventurous families with older children will cherish the seclusion of this laid-back locality, and rock-top temples, hidden coves and turtle sanctuaries all lie within easy reach.


  • The sea here is shallow and good for swimming, whilst the waves further along are ideal for body boarding
  • Waking at dawn to watch fishermen hauling in their catch (have some cash handy to buy fresh fish for lunch)
  • We loved the privacy and barefoot informality
  • The staff are friendly, the food delicious, and housekeeper Puncha lives next door should you need anything
  • The Air Taxi service from Colombo lands on the lagoon just 500m away, so it’s easy to reach


  • No air conditioning or TVs, but breezes circulate freely, and you get ceiling fans and WiFi
  • Nature often finds its way indoors, so don’t be surprised to come across an insect or two
  • No pool, though you won't miss one with the sea so close
  • Full pre-payment is required (bank transfer only)
  • No alcohol is available (though you can bring your own at no charge), and restaurants are a tuk-tuk ride away

Best time to go

November to April are considered the best months in this part of Sri Lanka, both for their hours of sunshine and for their calm seas. Temperatures hover around 29C throughout the year, but heavy rain usually falls in May/June and September/October.

Our top tips

Bring your own books, toiletries (including insect repellent), iPod and iPod dock, plus a laptop with a stash of DVDs if you feel you might need the diversion.

Great for...

Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Villas
  • Two 1-bedroom villas for 2-4
  • Chef included in rates (pay for ingredients)
  • All ages welcome; best for older kids
  • 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
  • Laundry Service
  • Housekeeper
  • Bats, balls and body boards to borrow
Room: Kotamba


Although each has a unique footprint, the bungalows share the same simple yet chic décor and the same facilities - a sea-facing bedroom with a four-poster wrapped in mosquito netting, a big ensuite with a shower, and a living room with 2 oversized daybeds made from kithul wood. Multiple windows and doors open onto wraparound verandas, and black-and-white photographs of local life set the scene (we loved the portrait of a wizened old fisherman in Kahumba’s bathroom).

The bungalows sit either side of a private strip of grass (to the back lies housekeeper Puncha’s home), meaning they're independent yet close enough for groups who want to take both. Kotamba is a renovated fisherman’s house and the quirkier of the two. It enjoys the longest stretch of beachfront, with views of the whole bay; its kitchen is the largest, and its veranda (shaded by dried coconut leaves) is primed for outdoor dining. 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; its living area is the most spacious.

Features include:

  • Barbeque
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob stove
  • Mosquito net
  • Oven
  • Terrace
  • Terrace
  • Toaster
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet


The simple kitchens are equipped with fridges, stoves, kettles and toasters - however with a chef on hand, you’ve little need to lift a finger. Chat with him each morning about what you’d like and he’ll do the rest; you just pay for the ingredients, all sourced at cost price. 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.

Meals emphasise local cuisine. For breakfast you might try string hoppers with creamy curries and sambols, or go continental with bread sourced from a musical tuk-tuk that visits every morning; we would highly recommend the delicious buffalo curd, too. Lunches are light affairs such as salade Niçoise (the fresh local tuna is fabulous), while dinner options 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.

Features include:

  • Children meals
  • Coffee tea making
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob stove
  • In house cook
  • Oven
  • Shopping service
  • Toaster
Eating: Kahumba


  • The beach is ideal for walking, jogging and swimming (the sand directly opposite the bungalows shelves slowly into the sea). Or borrow a body board and head for the swell towards the eastern end of the bay (be mindful of currents)
  • Keen photographers will love the local fishing scene; dawn is usually a hotbed of activity. Puncha can arrange for you to head out to fish with one of the boats (extra cost)
  • He can also book a Thai-style massage in the privacy of your bungalow. For a comprehensive range of treatments, book into Amanwella’s lavish spa down the coast
  • Take a tuk-tuk to Tangalle (7km), whose bustling harbour and markets offer an insight into local life
  • Observe marine turtles hatching and laying eggs at the Rekawa Turtle Sanctuary (21km)
  • Hike to the top of Mulkirigala, a sacred Buddhist rock temple (19km away), to admire the cave murals and stunning 360-degree views

For more local tips, see our [tips:galle-south-coast:destination guide].

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Body boarding
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Shopping / markets
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures
  • Well being
  • Wildlife


Although the bungalows have just one bedroom (with no special facilities for kids), the 2 daybeds in each living room can be made up for extra guests free of charge. A baby cot is also available if requested in advance.

Children of all ages will enjoy the beach, the bats and balls and the body boards, and the gardens are fenced. 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.

Best for:

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

Family friendly accommodation:

Both hideaways are great for families sleeping 4 apiece (in one double bed and two daybeds). Note that Kahumba has a guest bathroom and larger living area


With advance notice

Baby equipment:

  • Cot
  • Booster seat

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

Children's meals:

The chef can tailor meals (and spice levels) to young taste buds, and the kitchens are handy for whipping up kids' snacks.

Kids Activities on site:

  • Four boogie boards
  • Net and bats
  • Footballs to kick about on the open space between the hideaways
  • Board games

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Excellent swimming beach in front
  • Yala National Park (100km) for leopard, elephant, fish eagles
  • Seasonal turtle hatching (Rekewa 20km has 5 endangered species)
  • Udawalawe National Park (65km)
  • Kalametiya bird sanctuary, go bird watching via boat across fresh water lagoons
  • Whale watching excursions from either Mirissa (40 km) or Dondra (22 km), December - April
  • Mulgirigalla Temple (30min drive)

  • Distances:

    • Airport: 3.5-4 hours (Colombo)
    • Hospital: 15 minutes (Tangalle)
    • Shops: 15 minutes (Tangalle)
    Kid Friendly:

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