Turtle Beach House

Near Galle, Galle & South Coast, Sri Lanka Book from US$450

Reviewed by Nikki Tinto
Secret hideaway for 4-6 on the beach near Galle, with luxe furnishings, a lovely garden and a dreamy pool
This 2-bedroom, 2-storey villa on the beach at Habaraduwa is relaxation itself. A little off the beaten track around 10km south of Galle, it has a touch of paradise to it. As the name suggests, it’s steps away from a sea turtle sanctuary, and at Full Moon in season, turtles come to bury their eggs practically on your doorstep.

The downstairs is decorated in a soothing blend of natural colours and teal, with Asian accents like dancing Buddhas and lattice wood doors. The lounge area is full of light, with white walls and quirky pieces of furniture, and leads to a deck overlooking the pool, gardens and a route to the beach, swaying with palm trees. Upstairs, there are 2 double ensuite bedrooms and a veranda with a view of the sea. There's also space for a double air mattress, in case there are 6 of you.

It's a great place for a family holiday, or 2-3 couples, especially if you simply want a relaxing beach break. Included with rental are a cook, cleaner and night watchman, and you can book beauty treatments to have in the villa. Relax around the pool on plump bean bags then plunge into the sea to cool off; heaven.

Highs

  • Just steps from a lovely sandy beach
  • Great staff who give service with big smiles
  • Food is very good: the chef will discuss menus with you and you just pay for groceries
  • Plenty of space to relax, indoors and out
  • Within easy striking distance of Galle Fort, Unawatuna and temples and spice gardens

Lows

  • No TVs
  • It's a classic beach house so those expecting hotel-style service and all mod cons might be disappointed

Best time to go

The best time to visit Sri Lanka is between November and April, when it's mainly dry on the south and west coasts (the main beach areas). May and June are the wettest months of the year; July and August are pleasant but the Indian Ocean is rough. September and October can be sunny but heavy rain, humidity and high seas are typical.

Our top tips

When you're out and about, cool down in the heat with a king coconut. They are available nearly everywhere, with a hole for a straw hacked in by a machete. If you're lucky, you'll get to watch someone shimmy up a palm tree to fetch you one.

Great for...

Beach
Family
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Villa
  • 2 double bedrooms
  • In-house cook (+ restaurants nearby)
  • 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
  • Laundry room
Room:

Rooms

There are 2 double ensuite bedrooms on the upper floor. As with the rest of the house, they're decorated in a soothing blend of white, teal and natural colours, with wicker lamps and crisp linen on double beds that look out to sea.

Both rooms have iPod docks, air conditioning and hairdryers, along with bathrobes and products in their shower bathrooms, but generally it's not a place with multiple mod cons - you just don't need them. You may want to use the mosquito nets that drape around the modern four-poster beds but we didn't bother with them and were fine.

We liked the quirks in the décor, such as the saloon doors with unusual wooden screens, and the bathrooms painted in a textured turquoise to give the impression that you're under the sea. Both rooms open on to a veranda with sisal matting and wooden loungers plus one of the best views of the sea that you'll experience, complete with palm trees swaying in the near distance.

Downstairs there's an open-plan living/dining area, with lots of space for a double blow-up air mattress if there are 6 of you. There's a third bathroom down here, too, with a shower.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Full kitchen
  • Hairdryer
  • Ipod dock
  • Mosquito net
  • Safe box
  • Swimming pool
  • Terrace
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • Washing machine
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

The villa comes with a private cook who prepares bespoke meals in the open-plan kitchen/diner - and food is excellent. Generally, you have a chat about what you would like and give a float and meal requests, and Rana does the shopping and accounts. However, there's flexibility to run the food side of things the way it suits you best - and you can self cater a bit if you want to.

You should certainly try local specials such as spiced fish curries and delicious vegetable accompaniments. Breakfasts could be tropical fruit with pancakes or eggs any style, but basically you order what you want.

Meals can be served indoors or outside overlooking the pool on a long wooden table with a turquoise paisley runner and the sea breeze to add an exotic flavour.

There's no need to eat at the villa every day if you don't want to: just a short stroll along the beach in either direction you'll find beach cafés. Galle, a 10km drive north along the beach, is a good place to visit if you want a more upmarket dining experience.

Features include:

  • Breakfast by arrangement
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Full kitchen
  • In house cook
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Relax in the breezy living room, laze by the pool or in the shade, and wander barefoot to the beach. You can book an in-room beauty treatment or massage if you want to completely bliss out

  • The sandy beach is well known for attracting egg-laying turtles. If you're lucky, you might spot them - they usually lay at Full Moon; otherwise there's a small turtle hatchery nearby where you can hold palm-sized turtles in your hand

  • Take a tuk-tuk to lovely Unawatuna beach (4km) for swimming, diving (there's a PADI centre), snorkelling and temples

  • Go whale watching or dolphin spotting from beautiful Mirissa beach

  • Or go surfing at Weligama beach, one of the island's most renowned spots

  • Take a day trip to Galle (20 minutes by tuk-tuk) to admire the Unesco-listed fort, fortified town walls, lighthouse and cricket ground. It has some sensational interiors shops and lovely restaurants

  • Take a catamaran ride on nearby Koggala Lake, or get a boat over to the Ananda Spice Gardens where you'll find natural cures for sunburn and heavenly spices to take home

  • Visit the Kataluva Purvarama Maha Viharaya temple, 5km from Koggala, which dates back to the 13th century

  • Hire bikes and explore the coast, forest and small villages in a slow and leisurely way

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Scuba diving
  • Scuba diving courses
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Well being
  • Whalewatching
  • Wildlife

Kids

Children are very welcome and the villa has hosted many happy families (though there are no twin rooms). It's spacious and largely hazard-free, although the pool isn't fenced. It's close to the beach as well as plenty of lovely family-friendly attractions, including a sea turtle conservation centre and spice gardens. There's a laundry room, which parents of babies and toddlers will find really useful. A baby cot is available.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

There are 2 bedrooms, both doubles, and in addition you can add a blow-up double mattress and a baby cot. There are 3 shower bathrooms.

Families Should Know:

The pool isn't fenced.

Distances:

  • Airport: 2 hours (Colombo)
  • Hospital: 15 minutes (Galle)
  • Nearest shop: 5 minutes
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

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

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