Taru Villas - 906

Hikkaduwa, Galle & South Coast, Sri Lanka Book from

Reviewed by Emma Boyle
Staffed 2-bedroom beach house in the surfing hub of Hikkaduwa, with a small pool, superb service and home-cooked food
This mellow bungalow, hugging Hikkaduwa’s golden shores, is blissfully unpretentious. Within minutes of getting out of bed, we were on the sand, barefoot, watching the world wake up and boarders swooping through the sea. Wander a little further west and you’re in the heart of Hikkaduwa’s buzzy surf scene but, lured by the villa’s tranquility, we spent most of our time on the breezy veranda, diving into books, dipping in and out of sleep, and dining on impeccably presented meals prepared by the in-house chef.

Set back from a sandy garden with a sapphire-blue pool and direct beach access, this simple yet stylish retreat for 4-6 is the handiwork of locally lauded interior designer Nayantara 'Taru' Fonseka, who also owns Bentota's Rock Villa. It’s small yet perfectly formed, with 2 ensuite double bedrooms (both with sea views, air conditioning and space for extra beds or baby cots), plus a lounge attached to a small kitchenette. The rates offer great value, and the easy-going home-from-home vibe attracts families and couples looking to relax, surf and dive.

Highs

  • Sitting at the end-of-garden table watching life on the beach
  • Nothing is too much trouble for the charming staff; they even arranged a surprise birthday dinner for us, complete with cake and candles
  • The high-quality food blew us away
  • Surf breaks galore, plus historic towns, markets and turtle hatcheries nearby
  • The board games and varied DVD collection make light work of rare rainy days

Lows

    Some traffic noise, though the bedrooms don’t suffer too badly
  • The pool area is unfenced and not very toddler-friendly
  • If you’re tall, expect to stoop through the bathroom doors
  • The sea can be quite choppy, though it’s generally safe for swimming between November and April
  • Full pre-payment is required on reservation

Best time to go

The southwest coast of Sri Lanka is best visited between November and April, when it’s drier and the seas are calmer; this is also the optimal time for diving and surfing. Showers can affect the area at other times of the year, with the wettest months being May, June and October. The Christmas and New Year period is usually extremely busy, as is Easter, so it’s sensible to book well in advance.

Our top tips

Hikkaduwa is a very informal resort town so you don’t need to dress up to drink and dine - and if you forget anything, there are plenty of little shops selling flip-flops and beach clothes.

Great for...

Beach
Family
Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Villa
  • 2
  • In-house chef (breakfast included; other meals on request)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Plunge 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
  • On-site housekeeper and gardener
  • Board games
Room:

Rooms

The uncomplicated décor matches the villa’s low-key vibe. White timber furnishings are offset by hand-loomed fabrics and local artwork in tropical hues, whilst tarnished brass birds, cement statues and bowls brimming with wetakeiya fruits provide the finishing touches.

Both bedrooms come with mosquito-netted kingsize four-posters, ensuite shower bathrooms, cushion-strewn daybeds and wardrobes equipped with safes. Ours had a crimson colour scheme (the other is blue), and from the window we could gaze across the garden to the sea. We slept well thanks to efficient air conditioning and shuttered windows, which kept the interiors cool, quiet and dark. The bedrooms open onto the lounge (with sofas, cable TV and a DVD player), flanked by a small kitchenette and breakfast bar. Outside is a flagstone veranda with a dining table and rattan sofas, and the pool is mere paces away.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Cots Available
  • Drinks fridge
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Kitchenette
  • Mosquito net
  • Plunge pool
  • Plunge pool
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

The villa has a chef, and breakfast is included in the rates. Options range from ‘healthy’ (yoghurt with toasted oats) to ‘not as healthy’ (cooked English or Sri Lankan spreads), all accompanied by fresh tropical fruit and chilled watermelon or king coconut juice. We chose the Sri Lankan option: a coconut roti with dhal, chicken curry and katta sambol, which was fragrant yet not too spicy.

Lunch and dinner cost extra, and menus include plenty of fish and seafood as well as pasta, sandwiches, salads and curries. Although tempted by the sound of Hainanese chicken rice, we opted for beer-battered fish and chips plus jumbo prawns with roasted garlic rice - both delicious. We also devoured pumpkin ravioli in a sage-butter sauce, followed by melt-in-the-mouth lamb. The team do all they can to accommodate special requests, and there’s a small kitchenette where you can help yourself to wine, beer, coffee and soft drinks (extra cost), though you're not permitted to prepare or consume your own food. Hikkaduwa has plenty of eateries for dining out.

Features include:

  • Children meals
  • In house cook
  • Kitchenette
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Enjoy the beach. This wide, sandy swathe is ideal for basking, ball games and sunset strolls
  • Go surfing - the breaks here are some of the best in the southwest, and you can rent boards or book lessons via Hikkaduwa’s many surf schools
  • Hikkaduwa is also a popular diving location. Highlights include the Hikkaduwa Gala cave complex, rocky bottomed Kiragala and a number of fascinating wrecks
  • Jump in a tuk-tuk to Ambalangoda, a centre for antiques, music and dance. Browse its museums to see a vast range of folk and devil dancing masks
  • Visit nearby Galle’s handsome Dutch fort. Be guided on an insightful walking tour by local author Juliet Coombe, or explore the cobbled streets and ramparts at your own pace. The fort is also gaining a reputation for shopping and dining - our favourite spots include Barefoot for colourful handlooms, Stick No Bills for vintage Sri Lankan posters, and Sugar for weekend breakfasts
  • Explore Lunuganga and Brief, the stunning estates of the talented Bawa brothers, followed by lunch at Taru’s Bentota hotel, Rock Villa
  • Visit the sea-turtle hatchery at Kosgoda, an hour away

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Private guided tours
  • Scuba diving
  • Scuba diving courses
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures
  • Wildlife

Kids

The villa is great for families: each bedroom has space for an extra bed, and a baby cot is available. There’s plenty of room in the garden (not to mention on the beach) for kids to roam, build sandcastles and make as much noise as they like, and the indoor lounge with its TV, DVD player (there are family movies to watch) and board games is handy on rainy days.

Note that both bedrooms have kingsize beds, so children might have to share.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cot
  • High chair

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

Children's meals:

There’s a kids’ menu with options such as macaroni cheese, spaghetti bolognese and pork sausages with mashed potatoes and vegetables. The kitchenette is available for making drinks.

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Surfing, diving and snorkelling
  • Turtle hatcheries
  • Tuk-tuk rides
  • Masks in Ambalangoda
  • Ramparts and a lighthouse in Galle

Families Should Know:

The unfenced pool isn’t toddler-friendly, and the sea here can be too choppy for swimming from May to October

Distances:

  • Airport: 2 hours' drive (Colombo)
  • Hospital: 15 minutes' drive
  • Shop: 5 minutes' walk
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
10/
Food
10/
Service
10/
Value
10/
Overall

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