The house itself has 2 high-ceilinged, spacious bedrooms, both with ensuite bathrooms and views to the ocean, so you can fall asleep to the sound of breaking waves. French windows open onto a huge veranda running the width of the house, with wicker loungers and a separate dining area. Dotted about the long garden are recliners and a hammock, while a thatched pavilion overlooking the beach is a serene spot for shady reading on plump cushions. The villa is fully serviced with two in-house staff to look after you, plus a gardener. One of the great luxuries here is tucking into one of their signature curries after a strenuous day in the sun - choose from a range of menus. This is simple beach life made comfy.
- It works equally well for an adventurous family, for a honeymooning couple, or for 2 couples who are happy to share the lounge and garden
- We loved the calm, almost monastic bedrooms, and the wonderful sense of space in both garden and veranda
- The 3km-long beach is one of very few that are safe for swimming during high season (Dec-April); outside these times it is practically empty (we shared it with just a few fishermen on our September visit)
- Unlike many Sri Lankan cottages, this one is really set back from the road, making it extremely quiet and private, and there's security for the villa at night
- If you want company, it's an hour's drive to the bustling beaches of Unawatuna and the historic town of Galle
- Book early - it's often full!
- The house and gardens are prone to insect visitors (as is the rest of the country), particularly mosquitoes and red ants, so take plenty of repellent
- You will need a local tuk tuk to visit shops or towns, or a car with driver (but there's no driver accommodation here)
- As often in Sri Lanka, you may need to ask staff for things, but they are incredibly friendly and are more than happy to help
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Beach cottage
- 2 bedrooms
- Breakfast included, other meals on request
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Spa Treatments
- Beach Nearby
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Daily Maid Service
- Towels & Bedlinen
- Laundry Service
- Books and games
Opening out to an inviting veranda with sea views, the 2 airy double bedrooms are furnished in a cool, minimal style: queensize beds dressed in fine linen (and stacks of pillows), white walls (no artwork), polished cement floors (a delight in bare feet), muslin drapes wafting in the breeze, mosquito nets, and a dash of colour in the striped bedspreads and spangly lime-green cushions. With a thin beamed-and-corrugated-iron roof, the air-conditioning and ceiling fans are both welcome additions.
Ensuite bathrooms have angular terrazzo sink stands and hot showers; you'll need to bring toiletries other than soap. There are cane chairs, bamboo ladders for hanging towels, and ample wardrobes made from cinnamon wood. All in all the effect is spare and stylish.
Both rooms are identically sized, and if you are coming as a couple they will give you a lower price for just using the one bedroom (the other will not be let to anyone else, of course!). The only downside is that neither room can be made up as a twin, so if you want separate beds you will need ask for an extra mattress to be placed on the floor.
The veranda which links the rooms will become your indoor-outdoor living-dining space, and a lovely space it is too, furnished with white wicker chairs, a driftwood-framed mirror, fresh flowers and a round dining table for 4-5. Beyond its gravelled border, lawned gardens stretch to the beach. You can safely pack your shoes away - this is simple barefoot living par excellence.
- Boogie boards
- Mosquito net
- Safe box
- Washing machine
One of the best features of the set up is the superb food on offer. Breakfast is laid on and included in the rates: a healthy selection of fresh tropical fruits, yoghurt, toast and drinks. Book whatever other meals you fancy from a range of menus (and at any time of day, just allow at least 30-45 minutes for the chefs to whip up a feast from scratch), including all-day dining and set dinner. Fresh ingredients are from Tangalle's fish and veg markets.
Unsurprisingly, beautifully prepared curries are their speciality - chicken, fish or vegetable - and they can be toned down for younger or more sensitive palates. And all dietary requirements can be catered for with advance notice. We had a fabulous curry feast including creamy chicken and potato curry, plus a huge selection of sides including coconut salad with curried green bean, freshly made dahl and akee - all very tasty and washed down with chilled beer (wines are also available). If you fancy a change, they can also manage several "international" dishes, including an excellent spaghetti with basil and king prawns. You eat on the lovely covered veranda, at a round table with space for 5.
Of course, you are free to check out local restaurants too. There's one right next door - Manahara Bungalows - which serves decent local food and beer; or try Il Camino for Italian cuisine, a 5-10 minute walk down the beach (check it's open first). For upscale dining, take a tuk tuk to Amanwella.
- Coffee / tea making
- Dinner by arrangement
- Full kitchen
- In house cook
- Kids' meals
- Lunch by arrangement
- Shopping service
- You won't need to be told, but there's 3km of sandy beach literally on your doorstep: it's pretty safe for swimming, with small waves and no swell, and lends itself rather nicely to romantic water's edge walks too
- Or relax by the pool with a book or bard game (both are provided in the beach house)
- Active types can try boogie boarding, snorkelling or scuba diving (best in Dickwella or Unawatuna)
- Tangalle is worth a visit, not least for its Wednesday and Sunday markets which are great for fruit and veg, clothes and local spices
- You're a stone's throw from the beautiful Seeni Modara lagoon, which in full tides links directly to the sea - a great spot for birdwatching
- Keep your eyes peeled, too, for Tangalle’s resident sea turtles swimming off shore; or failing that, check out the turtle conservation project at Rekawa, a small village 10kms from Tangalle
- Pygmy Blue Whales and an Orca Whale have also been spotted from Mawella Beach
- Talking of which, the nearby blowhole of Hummanaya (or Kudawella) looks like nothing more than a giant whale spout erupting from within the rocks (it can reach 30m high in monsoon season)
- 10 minutes away by tuk tuk is Amanwella, a luxury hotel with spa, beach bar, cocktails and a gorgeous pool (all require booking); or if you prefer a more traditional massage or Ayurvedic treatment, there's a "local" spa at Kadju House
- The coastal town of Galle (70km/1 hour+ away) is a must, either on your way here or as a day trip, for its famous lighthouse and enchanting 17th-century fort
- Tucked away in the jungle near Galle, we loved the small but untouristy Buddhist temple of Kataluwa
- Nearer home, don't miss the ancient rock temple of Mulkirigala (20km north of Tangalle), with its gruesome cave paintings (people being eaten, Boddhisatva donating an eye to the needy...); and if you can manage the 500 steps up to the top, you'll be rewarded with a magnificent view over jungle-clad hills
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Boat trips
- Historical sites
- Scuba diving
- Shopping / markets
- Well being
- Whale watching
This is a lovely spot for a lazy family beach holiday, so long as you don't expect any kind of entertainment or activities laid on, besides swimming in the pool or sea (the shallows are pretty safe), boogie boarding and lazing in the garden. Bear in mind that there are no games or toys for kids.
In addition to the 2 double bedrooms, there is one travel cot free of charge.
Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)
Family friendly accommodation:
- Baby cot
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
There's a kids menu, including milder curries; of course if your kids are not (yet) into exotic foods, you can request specific dishes. Any dietary requirements can be catered for with advance notice
Kids Activities on site:
- Beach at the end of the garden
- Airport: 2.5-3hrs (depending on traffic)
- Hospital: 10-15 minutes
- Shops: 10-15 minutes
The house is located right on Mawella Beach, between Dikwella (Dickwella) and Tangalla (Tangalle) in southern Sri Lanka. The distance from Colombo is approximately 200 km, which is a 2.5-3 hour drive depending on traffic.
Colombo Bandaranaike (215km) is the closest international airport. Click on the links below for a list of airlines serving it.
From the Airport
It's probably best to book a car and driver through the cottage manager - roads are unruly and it can be tricky finding your way (however bear in mind that the cottage does not have accommodation for the driver). Alternatively, you could cut time from the journey by catching Cinnamon Air's or SriLankan Airline's air taxi service from Colombo to Koggala Lake, where you can pick up a taxi. Or you might consider taking the train from Colombo to Matara - a scenic but long (and unpredictable) 6-hour journey; from Matara, take a tuk tuk to the cottage.
Tuk-tuks are cheap and convenient for shorter journeys.
Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.
More on getting to Sri Lanka and getting around
- Colombo 215.0 km CMB
- Beach 0.1 km
- Shops 5.0 km
- Restaurant 0.1 km