“Stylish small hotel wrapped in bird-filled gardens and picturesque paddy fields, just inland from Tangalle and its beaches”
Maya’s 5 spacious bedrooms are divided between the old house and a new wing that faces it across the swimming pool. Soaring ceilings, polished floors and eye-catching brass wall lamps are features throughout, and every room comes with a kingsize bed, a veranda with chairs, and an ensuite shower room finished in plum-coloured terrazzo or polished concrete.
The beautifully restored old house cleverly blends contemporary furnishings with traditional features. Its 2 rooms are set either side of a central dining area and come with regal four-poster beds draped in mosquito netting. Kumbuk is the more private and overlooks the rear garden, whereas Thekka gazes out over the pool towards the paddy fields. The entrance veranda of the old house has been turned into a semi-open lounge, with delicate latticework shutters, a cushion-plumped sofa and shelves of attention-grabbing books.
The 3 rooms in the new wing flaunt private courtyards and doorless bathrooms (not to everyone’s taste, but very chic nonetheless). Amba and Ehela sit side by side and come with the largest courtyards; cute corner room Kohomba has a cobbled terrace and its own miniature palm-topped lawn. To the front of the new wing is an open-sided wooden pavilion with minimalist blue and white daybeds and a poolside dining table for 10.
All rooms come with sitting areas (colonial-style planters' chairs in the old house, boxy low-slung couches in the new wing), plus hairdryers, fans, cable TV, CD players, iPod docks, WiFi and air conditioning. Bathrooms have rain showers (no tubs) and toiletries made using organic herbs and spices.
Maya’s food is some of the best in Tangalle. Not only is this down to the chef’s obvious talents in the kitchen, but also because the rural paddy-side setting is so deliciously divine. You can dine in the old house’s vaulted dining room, poolside in the new wing pavilion, or in the privacy of your room or courtyard.
Hearty breakfasts start with a choice of Sri Lankan apas (bowl-shaped rice flour pancakes) with seeni sambol (red onion chutney) or filling Full Englishes with all the trimmings. This is followed by tropical fruit, cereal, creamy buffalo curd and kithu (palm sugar) treacle - a wonderful local speciality. Fresh bread is made in-house.
Lunches and dinners are three-course leisurely daily changing set menu affairs served when and where you want, perhaps in the Garden Pavilion on the edge of the paddy fields. The fusion food mixes Asian influences with western dishes, so perhaps chicken lemongrass skewers, zesty crab salad with a zingy ginger dressing, prawn tempura and fish curry with okra. Bananas fried in cane sugar and served with dollops of silky curd finished off our meal a treat. Vegetarian options are always available - just ask. There's a snack menu served after 3pm too.
Maya is a 15-minute drive from the beaches of Tangalle, which is where you’ll find the best options for eating out (staff can arrange transport). Sleek hotel Amanwella, set on a gorgeous crescent-shaped swathe of sand, has 2 restaurants; its Beach Club with a Mediterranean-inspired menu was our favourite choice for relaxed seaside meals.
Although the hotel wasn’t designed with kids in mind, children of all ages are welcome and will adore having the run of the 2-acre garden. It’s big enough to kick a ball, and there are plenty of spots for playing hide and seek. The staff here are great at keeping kids engaged (they've even been known to enthrall them with kite-making classes!), and there are family-friendly films to borrow. For a bit of excitement there’s nothing like a tuk-tuk ride to the beach to go boogie boarding.
Children (4-12 years)
Travel cots are available, and extra single beds (free for children under 12) can be added to all rooms.
Babysitting is available by arrangement - see Rates. You'll need to give a day's notice.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Maya’s chef is famed for his homemade ice creams and can whip up special meals for children on request. High chairs are available.
The pool is unfenced, and many rooms open straight out onto the pool terrace, so keep a close eye on mobile toddlers.