The Saffron House

Dikwella, Tangalle & South Coast, Sri Lanka Book from Book from £341 per night

Stylish staffed villa with spectacular ocean views, a stroll from idyllic Hiriketiya Bay - perfect for families, surfers and escapists (sleeps 4-8)
Somewhere in Sri Lanka there might be a villa with better views, but we’ve yet to find one. Set in the far south of the island, high on a rocky headland, glittering azure water stretches out as far as the eye can see and 3 acres of beautiful tropical gardens envelop you; coconut palms sway above your head wherever you lay your towel. The Saffron House offers total seclusion, gorgeous airy dining and lounging areas, and every possible comfort. Decor is simple yet striking: gleaming polished concrete and clean lines abound, and fresh flowers and bright fabrics add splashes of colour throughout. The 4 bedrooms are elegantly decorated - huge floating beds draped in mosquito netting, furniture hand-built from local teak and mango, and opulent indoor/outdoor bathrooms. Add an infinity pool, a front-row sunset seat, delightful staff cooking freshly caught seafood and knock-out curries, and you're in heaven.

It’s an easy stroll down to horseshoe-shaped Hiriketiya Bay, where you can laze on golden sand and watch surfers ride gentle waves. Yet this idyllic spot is only just being discovered by those who want a quieter and more authentic slice of Sri Lankan coastline, away from the hustle and bustle of the busy main coastal road. Come before it's common knowledge.

Highs

  • Laid-back luxury at its best: bags of style yet supremely comfortable and welcoming
  • One of the best off-radar locations on the south coast
  • Well priced, and rates include a team of fabulous staff
  • We loved chef Chris’s food, especially her sublime crab curry. Request as many meals as you like, and just pay for the ingredients
  • Extensive gardens - kids will love seeing wild peacocks, monkeys and monitor lizards, and blue whales can be spotted out at sea

Lows

  • This is a quieter stretch of coast so don’t expect much in the way of local nightlife
  • It takes a bit longer to get here but it’s totally worth the extra hour or so past the busier beaches around Galle
  • No twin rooms, though each can fit an additional baby cot or extra bed for a child
  • No direct access into the sea, but there are 2 lovely beaches a short walk away

Best time to go

The high season in Sri Lanka is from November to March but coming out of season is cheaper and less crowded, for which a bit of daily but almost scheduled rain is the only price to pay. The villa is open all year.

Our top tips

  • Learning to surf on a tropical island is almost a rite of passage. If you’ve never tried before, Hiriketiya Bay is the perfect spot to learn. There’s a gentle beach break, and several surf schools offer lessons as well as cheap board rentals. Afterwards, head back to the villa for a massage followed by a cold beer.
  • 5km to the east, Mawella Beach is stunning and often deserted.

Great for...

Beach
Family
  • Boutique Villa
  • 4 bedrooms
  • Meals on request
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor 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
  • Fully staffed
  • Badminton
Room: Master Bedroom One

Rooms

The light and airy villa holds 4 spacious, stylish and modern bedrooms, all nicely spread out so you never feel like you're getting on top of each other. Large double beds are covered in fine linens, and decor is simple but tasteful with hand-crafted local furniture and colourful fabrics and artworks.

The 2 Master Bedrooms mirror each other and share a veranda leading onto a little shaded courtyard with a hammock. Both have large indoor/outdoor bathrooms. A third slightly smaller room - the Courtyard Bedroom - also opens out into the courtyard and has elevated views down to the sea. Closer to the ocean and set apart from the main villa, the Sea Bedroom is the most private room, commanding stunning ocean views and a soundtrack of gently crashing waves.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Mosquito net
  • Safe box
  • Swimming pool
  • WiFi

Eating

Manager Chris is also a seriously clever cook, and she and her team whip up excellent Sri Lankan and Western dishes using home-grown and local produce. Breakfast is a feast of fresh fruits and juice, with a choice of Western (eggs, omelettes or pancakes) or Sri Lankan cooked options (egg hoppers, buffalo curd and honey, or a full-on curry if you prefer. Chris makes a mean crab curry with aromatic coconut gravy and fresh pandarus leaves.

Lunches and dinners can be as light or as indulgent as you’d like; we had lots of just-caught grilled fish accompanied by vibrant, crunchy salads, and delicious chicken or seafood curries served with a impressive display of vegetables dishes and sambals. Puddings are also a real treat; be sure to ask for Chris’s legendary chocolate brownies!

Hiriketiya Bay is a few minutes’ walk away and there are a few cafés and restaurants for a change of scene. Tables generally face the water, but be warned, service can be very slow - it’s pretty normal to wait an hour or more for your food to turn up. For something fancier head to nearby Amanwella for fine dining and spectacular sunset drinks.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Children's meals
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • In house cook
  • Lunch by arrangement
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Spend your days lazing on the veranda, dipping in and out of the infinity pool, having massages and strolling through the coconut grove - the stunning ocean views and gentle breeze make it hard to leave
  • Stroll down to Hiriketiya Bay, a sheltered horseshoe cove with golden sand and gentle waves; or walk 400m west to Dikwella Beach for body boarding and diving excursions
  • Learn to surf: staff can arrange lessons or you can hire boards at Hiriketiya Bay, where there's a break that's ideal for novices
  • There are quite a few places nearby offering morning and evening yoga classes - try Dots Bay, Salt House or Jasper House
  • For spectacular views, climb to the top of nearby Dondra Lighthouse, Sri Lanka's tallest, at the southernmost point of the island
  • Spend a day in Galle Fort: many of its 17thC colonial buildings house buzzy boutiques, restaurants and jewellery shops spilling with gems. Don't miss a sunset walk along the ancient ramparts
  • Take an early morning stroll to the colourful Saturday market in Dikwella and admire the beautiful lace, spices, fruit and vegetables
  • Yala National Park is about 100km east; an early start can make a great day trip to see leopards, birds, warthogs, buffalos, elephants, deer and monkeys

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Badminton
  • Boat trips
  • Fishing
  • Historical sites
  • Scuba diving
  • Shopping / markets
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Well being
  • Wildlife

Kids

With 4 bedrooms and airy living areas, The Saffron House is great for families, and works well for an extended family party or 2 families holidaying together. Children are made very welcome and and will love having the run of the 3-acre gardens. That said, the unfenced pool, koi pond and some steep drops means toddlers will need supervision. Nearby Hiriketiya Bay is wonderful for families, with gentle waters and a few beachside cafes where you can order cold drinks and wood-fired pizzas to shady tables in the sand.

Best for:

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

Family friendly accommodation:

Each room can fit a baby cot or extra bed. There are no twin rooms so kids will need to share a bed if having a room to themselves.

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cots with mosquito nets
  • High chairs

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

Children's meals:

There's no specific kids' menu, but Chris is happy to tailor meals for children; ours loved her homemade pizzas and crispy deep-fried chicken bites. You can use the kitchen to whip up snacks too - there's a handy fridge

Kids Activities on site:

  • Swimming pool
  • Croquet
  • Badminton

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Beaches for swimming and sand-castling
  • Surf lessons
  • Boogie boards to hire
  • Lighthouses

Families Should Know:

All 4 bedrooms have a double bed (no twins - though you can request extra beds). The terracing has an unprotected drop and the pool and koi pond are unfenced, so small children will need to be watched closely

Distances:

  • Airport: 3 hours' drive (Colombo)
  • Small hospital: 10 minutes
  • Shop: 5 minutes
Kid Friendly:

Location

The Saffron House lies on the headland separating Dikwella Beach from Hiriketiya Bay (aka Horseshoe Bay), on Sri Lanka's south coast. It's 1 hour from Galle.

By Air:
Fly into Colombo Bandaranaike (203km / 3 hours by car). The owner can arrange a transfer from the airport but if you want to hire a driver and car for your whole holiday, enquire through our Tailormade Tour Operator.

Detailed directions will be sent when you book through i-escape.

More on getting to Sri Lanka and getting around

Airports:

  • Colombo Bandaranaike 203.0 km CMB

Other:

  • Beach 0.3 km
  • Shops 1.0 km
  • Restaurant 0.3 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

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