At the back of the garden, on the highest ground, is the two-bedroom villa. It's fully staffed and totally exclusive. Open on two sides - front and back - is a smart living-dining area, with an ensuite bedroom at either side. Music sets the scene: mellow acoustic in the morning, tropical house in the afternoon. You’ll glide from bed to dining area to pool, being waited on by attentive yet discreet in-house staff. A la carte breakfasts, hot lunches and feasts for dinner are served alongside cocktails, Ceylon tea and coffee whenever you please. In the evenings, candles flicker, and you’ll wind down to the sounds of nature, the night breezes keeping you cool as the nocturnal life stirs outside. Bring the family or come with another couple, the exclusivity is irresistible.
- You're in your own blissful bubble here, in a lush garden of fruit and frangipani trees, tweeting birds and flowering plants
- The villa is fully serviced, and all meals are included; we barely lifted a finger during our stay
- Staff can arrange your Yala safaris, with private jeep pick-up from the villa door
- The whole villa is very high-spec: lofty ceilings, polished floors, art, antiques, and smart fabrics
- The swimming pool faces west so the sun sets right over the infinity edge, opening to greenery
- Drinks cost extra, and they are fairly steep (standard UK prices)
- Beds don't have mosquito nets, but you do get little bottles of insect-repelling lotion that's far nicer to the skin and environment than cans of DEET
- The villa isn't actually in Yala National Park - it's a 20-minute drive from the gate
- The lounge and dining area is open-sided, so insects and the odd frog might get in
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Villa
- 2 bedrooms
- Full Board
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Spa Treatments
- Beach Nearby
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Car not necessary
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Daily Maid Service
- Towels & Bedlinen
- Concierge Service
- Laundry Service
The villa’s layout is perfectly symmetrical, with a bedroom and bathroom flanking either side of the central living space. Here there are two lounge areas, each with cushioned benches, rattan rugs, and a low, chunky coffee table. Behind this is a long wooden dining table for leisurely meals and a small kitchen with breakfast bar. Décor is inspired by Yala safaris: animal-print cushions and blown-up black-and-white photos of Yala’s predators mounted on both walls. Ceilings are high and have fans to keep the space cool; floors are polished concrete.
The two bedrooms are identical. They have enormous kingsize beds, chaise longues by the windows, built-in wardrobes, and lovely antique writing desks. More animal artworks decorate the walls. Rooms are closed off to the living area so air-con keeps them nice and cool. Bathrooms are concrete with twin sinks and rain showers.
Indoor-outdoor living is the focus. The living space is open-sided (front and back), so it blends seamlessly into the garden. You can flit between the two as you please, sunning yourself by the pool and then taking shelter for tea beaks. To close it off at night, fold down the canvas shutters – very safari-esque.
- Air conditioning
- Coffee / tea making
- Cots Available
- Mosquito net
- Safe box
- Satellite TV
Every meal is a feast. There’s a whole menu of options for breakfast and lunch, and three courses for dinner – impressive, considering you’re the only guests. Meal times are whenever suits you.
Days start with fruit platters and toast plus an a la carte option of your choice. The granola with sticky treacle and local buffalo curd is delicious, or you could go Sri Lankan and have string hoppers with coconut roti and fish or meat (needs pre-ordering the night before).
The lunch menu has light international options, like sandwiches or spaghetti, or Sri Lankan curries - these are delicious but enormous, so we’d recommend sharing. Dinners are three-course feasts. One day we had soup with seriously tasty homemade beer bread, followed by spare ribs and a passion fruit mousse; on the next, a spectacular barbecue with grilled fish, chicken, salads and little baked potatoes to share. The drinks menu has beers, a selection of wines and a decent cocktail selection, though be aware that these cost extra.
Staff can prepare picnics for you if you’re heading out on safari, or afternoon tea when you return. The homemade ginger biscuits with Ceylon tea were heavenly.
- All meals included
- Coffee maker
- In house cook
- Kids' meals
- Vegetarian options
- Take an early-morning or late-afternoon jeep safari around Yala National Park (9km). Leopards, sloth bears and elephants are regularly spotted, along with deer, jackals, butterflies, reptiles and endemic birds
- Go on a guided bush walk with a naturalist
- PADI-certified divers can take an excursion to Great Basses Reef, an underwater world of limestone reefs, caves, rays and tropical fish, just off the coast near Yala
- Visit the nearby village of Kirinda (5km), famed for its boulder-strewn coast and Buddhist shrine
- See Yala’s mesmerising jungle temple, Sithulpawwa (22km), whose rock-top pagoda offers panoramic jungle views
- Other safari options slightly further afield include Uda Walawe National Park (70km), famed for its many elephants, and Bundala (22km), a UNESCO-listed wetland that’s home to mugger crocodiles, dragonflies and an array of migratory birds
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Historical sites
- Jeep safaris
- Private guided tours
- Scuba diving courses
This is a great setup for families as you get masses of space all to yourselves. Kids can roam the private gardens and play in the pool, and animal spotting on safari will be fun for all. The menus have plenty of kid-friendly options, and the villa cook can tailor food to requirements. Extra beds and baby cots are available.
Family friendly accommodation:
The two rooms are identical, both with kingsize beds, ensuite bathrooms, and air conditioning. Extra beds can be added to either, as can cots.
Cots Available, Extra Beds Available
- High chair
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Kids Activities on site:
- Swimming pool
- Board games
Families Should Know:
Wildlife wanders freely in the garden, so keep an eye on kids if they're out playing. The pool is unfenced.
- Airport: 4 hours
- Hospital: 20 minutes
- Supermarket: 2 minutes
Yala Boutique Villa is in a rural location near Yala National Park in southeastern Sri Lanka. The nearest town is Tissamaharama. It's a 2-hour drive east along the coast from Galle.
Colombo Bandaranaike (285 km away) is Sri Lanka's main airport and is served by numerous airlines.
From the Airport:
Transfers can be arranged. If you want to book a car and driver for your entire Sri Lankan holiday, enquire through our Tailormade Tour Operator.
Detailed directions will be provided when you confirm a booking through i-escape.
- Colombo Bandaranaike International 285.0 km CMB
- Beach 7.0 km
- Shops 0.5 km
- Restaurant 0.6 km