Villa Don Hendrick

near Tangalle, Tangalle & South Coast, Sri Lanka Book from Book from £112 per night

Gloriously intimate and relaxing: just 3 adult-only hideaways in sprawling tropical grounds, with delicious dinners on request
Hidden away between jungle and paddy fields, near the coastal market town of Tangalle, you’ll find Villa Don Hendrick: a gorgeous colonial building that oozes authentic style and design. Once home to eminent 20th-century judge Don Hendrick Wickramarathne, it was the first stone house ever built in the hamlet of Wagegoda, and his portrait still hangs on the old veranda.

Nowadays, the acres of tropical garden are also home to an emerald-green infinity pool, swaying coconut palms and 3 guest bungalows, each a perfect bolthole for a couple or solo traveller (no children allowed). With red pitched roofs and little columned terraces, they were designed to emulate the look and feel of the original villa. Don Hendrick's former home now provides communal space: dining and seating areas filled with beautiful antique furniture, plus a library. And whilst you can tuk-tuk to local restaurants, the highlight of our stay here was owner Harold's home-cooked food, an amazing fusion of European and Sri Lankan flavours.

Highs

  • The hospitality of Belgian owners Raf and Harold is faultless; an incredibly personal service without being intrusive
  • A perfect place for couples and solo travellers to have some downtime. Space, peace and privacy are in abundance, and it's adults only
  • Really great value, considering the high standards
  • Delicious home-cooked dinners
  • A taste of the Sri Lankan jungle, with monitor lizards and wild peacocks around daily, but just a 5-minute tuk-tuk from beaches

Lows

  • Dinner is only served on certain nights (changing days, according to demand) and you'll need to head out for lunch
  • Creepy crawlies abound, but rooms have plug-in insect repellent (non-toxic) and mosquito nets
  • No credit cards accepted - balance payments can be made by bank transfer or in cash at time of stay

Best time to go

November to April are considered the best months in this part of the country, for both their hours of sunshine and their calmer seas. July and August generally have lovely weather, too. The heavy rain usually falls in May/June and September/October.

Our top tips

Look out for monitor holes when you’re swimming in the pool. If you’re lucky, the lizards will poke their heads out to say hello. If you’re super lucky, they will roam prehistorically across the grounds!

And ask the hosts for their insider knowledge on local restaurants and places to visit. They’re full of insightful tips on Sri Lanka.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
Foodie
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
  • Boutique Guesthouse
  • 3
  • Breakfast + dinners on request
  • Adults only
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

The 3 elegant bungalows are named after Don Hendrick’s 3 sons: Henry, David and Santeen. They are set well apart from one another, giving lots of privacy - you really feel like you have the place to yourselves even when other guests are around.

We loved the comfort and luxury of our four-poster bed, with its pocket-sprung mattress and soft, crisp sheets. Ensuite bathrooms have a rainfall shower (solar-powered) and lovely Spa Ceylon toiletries.

Other nice touches include a free soft-drinks minibar that gets refilled daily, a torch, tea-making facilities and a Nespresso coffee machine. There's no air con but you won't need it; the bungalows were built according to the ancient Sinhalese principle of ventilation, and we found ours perfectly airy. There are fans in case you want a bit more of a breeze.

Henry and David have double beds; Santeen is a twin. Each has a lovely columned front terrace overlooking the pool, with cushioned easy chairs and rattan blinds.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Mosquito net
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Harold and Raf will let you know at breakfast if they are cooking dinner that evening. We absolutely recommend you dine in at least once to experience Harold's divine culinary skills. His dinners are a delicious fusion of European and Sri Lankan flavours, and the tableware and decorations are prepared to perfection.

We had white fish balls with wasabi sauce and spiralised cucumber to start, followed by a creamy cuttlefish risotto, then a tangy passion-fruit meringue to finish. While eating out in Sri Lanka is a pleasure, there isn’t always much of a variety from beachside restaurants, which is why our home-cooked meal was such a treat. If dinner isn't served when you stay, Raf will recommend local eateries that you can tuk-tuk to.

Breakfast on-site is also an absolute treat, and varies each day. Sip a homemade green juice and eat a deliciously fresh fruit platter while the owners cook scrambled eggs and bacon, or pancakes with honey. We loved their papaya and vanilla jam so much we bought some from the small gift shop to take home.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Take the free bicycles for a spin around the beautiful paddy fields nearby. You'll probably see water buffaloes and herons
  • Or cycle into Tangalle (3km), where you'll find an authentic fishing harbour, local shops and regional markets on Wednesdays and Sundays
  • Raf and Harold give you a mobile phone on arrival with useful numbers programmed into it. Call Lalli and he’ll take you into town or to local beaches in his tuk-tuk. He’s a lovely chap!
  • Nearby Unakuruwa Beach has reef breaks for experienced surfers. If you want to take surfing lessons, the Bandula Surf School will pick you up and take you to the best local beach for your ability level
  • Sunbathing wise, Medaketiya, Marakolliya, Madilla and Goyambokka are local beaches worth visiting
  • Go hiking and bird watching in Bandula National Park
  • Or kayak and picnic at a local lagoon
  • Visit the Mulkirigala Rock Temple at sunset

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Birdwatching
    • Cycling
    • Fishing
    • Hiking
    • Historical sites
    • Kayaking
    • Private guided tours
    • Shopping / markets
    • Surfing
    • Swimming
    • Traditional cultures
    • Well being
    • Wildlife

Kids

Adults only. Santeen is a twin bungalow.

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 8 independent reviews from i-escape guests

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

Ralf and Harold have created a beautiful place to stay and are the most welcoming of hosts. Their attention to detail and expert local knowledge ensured a very relaxing few days. Harold's cooking was superb and very much appreciated. The gardens are lush and the bird life particularly varied and abundant (with an enthusiastic dawn chorus!).

10/10,

The moment we arrived we knew that this was going to be a very special place. Raf and Harold were so welcoming and made us feel at home straight away. The grounds are beautiful and the room was perfect (refilled fridge and snacks an added bonus!) We rarely wanted to leave the grounds but when we did Raf and Harold gave us expert tips on the best beaches which are only 10 min tuk tuk ride away. Breakfast was vast and delicious - so fresh and thoughtfully prepared. Dinner was so wonderful that we had it the both times it was available during our stay. We recommend Cactus lounge in Tangalle for delicious seafood, should you ever need to leave Don Hendrick... Thank you both for everything, we shall be returning very soon!

10/10,

We were delighted by the Villa Don Hendrick. A charming house owned by Harold and Raf who are very attentive. Thay have made this a magical place. All three bungalows very well decorated, beautiful garden, swimming pool very pleasant and delicious dinners. Tranquility and absolute paradise!

10/10,

Villa Don Hendrick is a beautiful 5.5 acre property centred around an old village house that has been lovingly restored. The service is personal, discrete and friendly without being intrusive. The villa is perfect for relaxing and exploring nearby locations. We would highly recommend it to couples looking for an oasis of tranquility and some very personal service. We will definitely be back. Thanks again to Harold and Raf for making our new year in Tangalle such a memorable experience!

10/10,

This is Paradise! Beautiful, clean and tastefully decorated house and bungalows with a very personal touch. Incredible hospitality. Harold and Raf welcomed us like friends, advising us on beaches, restaurants, tuck tuck drivers. They really made us feel at home. And the food was just amazing. In a completely different league from what you could get in local restaurants. With just 3 bungalows sleeping 2 people each, this is a very intimate, peaceful place just 15 min tuck tuck ride from a beautiful deserted white sandy beach. The pool was also wonderful. Always clean, perfect temperature. Most of the time we had it to ourselves. The massage was also sublime. We will definitely be back!

10/10,

Absolutely lovely! I was delighted to find this place on i-escape and happy to be able to book this place to celebrate Hendrik's birthday during our Sri Lanka trip and our high expectations were not only met but also exceeded! We loved our stay - we have fond memories of the hospitality, generosity and style of our amazing hosts. We loved the mobile phone with contact numbers for tuk tuk drivers and the suggestion list in the rooms (the rooms were simply gorgeous). What a sense of style and eye for detail. We were served delicious dinners, wine and breakfasst. We will definitely come back again!

10/10,

We had a lovely few days in this villa. Harold and Raf were so welcoming and went out of their way to make our stay perfect. The room was spacious and spotless. Best breakfast in Srilanka. The hosts have impeccable taste, the villa and garden are really beautiful. Just go there and relax. We will be back.

10/10,

We've spent 3 nights in Villa Don Hendrick and enjoyed every single minute in this wonderful place! Raf and Harold are just PERFECT hosts in their beautiful home. We felt like we were in paradise in the middle of the jungle. Beautiful bungalows, wonderful garden, relaxing pool, delicious breakfast and dinner ........ altogether a tasteful and charming ambiance. The wonderful environment can easily be discovered by bicycles and scooter, available in the Villa.

10/10,

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