“Romantic, tropical hotel filled with original colonial antiques, set on a stunning beach on Sri Lanka’s southwest coast”
The 7 suites, named after Sri Lankan flowers, share a wonderful sense of grandeur and comfort. Beautiful writing desks, tables, chairs and other antiques fill each room; our bed was perfectly soft and louvered doors kept the morning sun at bay. Rumblings of trains from behind the hotel are audible, although not enough to be a disturbance.
All suites are large (100-120 sq.m) and have cool, tiled flooring. High ceilings show off Keralan roof tiles; below these hang enormous pankah fans with elaborate pulleys, as well as 1920’s rotating fans; you get air con, too. Romantic four-poster beds with beautiful carved legs are impressively preserved.
In the modern bathrooms, polished granite is prominent - you could practically swim in the vast tubs. Double sinks stand on a wooden slab in front of a huge Venetian-style mirror and a curve of stone hides your rain shower; some suites have their showers in a small garden. Ayurvedic toiletries include lime and lavender handmade soaps.
Dressing rooms (in the larger suites) are a cultural showcase of black and white photographs, mini pankah fans, Kandyan necklaces and tribal jewellery. Vintage suitcases sit above the minibar, topped with an old safari hat. The Ocean Suites have verandas with a traditional Indian swing covered in cushions - perfect for afternoon naps.
Manel and Nelum, on the first floor of the main house, are the biggest and most expensive suites, with sea views and a refreshing breeze. Nelum has a balcony which overlooks the pond and is a good place for spotting birds. Manel’s shower is in a tiny garden at the rear. Olu is the smallest suite and has a Zen view of lily ponds, stepping stones and manicured foliage. It also has an adorable leaf-shaped jacuzzi set in a walled garden, and an outdoor shower .
The Ocean Suites, Namal, Sepalika, Sapumal and Kekatiya, have lovely sea views, and shady verandas enclosed by exotic plants, although being ground level means they are not so private. All have outdoor garden showers.
We ate breakfast by the pool, in the shade of a coconut tree. There is a small thatched restaurant but staff are happy to arrange a table outside, so you get better views. We loved our beautifully arranged fruit platter and silver pot of tea. You should also try the delicious curd and local kithul honey. Also included is a surprisingly authentic English breakfast or a Sri Lankan breakfast: roti or string hoppers with egg and potato curry plus sambal and the obligatory dhal.
The lunch menu offers a selection of sandwiches like BLT, or some lovely fresh pasta dishes, such as pumpkin ravioli. There are some tasty salads to choose from including a fresh chicken and papaya mix. Afternoon tea is either a homemade banana or coconut cake, or the full works: a cake stand filled with tiny cucumber sandwiches, fresh scones and cakes, plus a huge choice of teas.
Evenings are romantic: the garden is lit up with clay lanterns and the waves act as background music. Courses follow each other fairly swiftly, but the food is fantastic. Starters are marine inspired; perhaps avocado and prawn salad, seafood bisque or fish brochette. For mains, we recommend the fabulous lobster ravioli, or a whole fresh fish served with lime slices, vegetables and sweet potato puree - note, the hotel does not serve red meat. Make sure you leave room for the cardamom and coffee pudding; delicious.
The wine list is predominantly upmarket French (Chablis, Pouilly Fuisse, Chateauneuf-du-pape and Medoc). And there's an impressive selection of bubbles at the champagne bar, including Laurent Perrier and Moet & Chandon.
If you prefer, meals can be served in your suite, and there's a room service menu (last orders 11pm). Choices include omelette, chicken burger and garden salad.
The hotel welcomes well-behaved children. There's lots of space to explore, and the grounds include a large aviary with eclectus parrots, cockatiels, and love birds. For journeys, the hotel can provide a baby carseat.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Interconnecting (through the dressing rooms) Ocean Suites - Namal and Sepalika - are ideal for a family; while Manel and Nelum are opposite each other. All suites except Olu Suite can fit at least 1 additional single bed, while most can fit 3.
3 baby cots (request in advance)
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
The restaurant has a children's menu, children's cutlery and a highchair.