Wallawwa – Sri Lanka
Originally a manor house, Wallawwa is a refined and elegant retreat, secretly tucked away in luxuriant tropical gardens. During World War II it was a base for Lord Mountbatten, and now, it’s a serene haven, perfect if you’ve just arrived in Sri Lanka or are about to head off. Within easy reach of the beach, the sites of Colombo and with a concierge team to organise any number of day trips, then it’s definitely worth staying for longer.
Designed in the typical local colonial style, it is stylishly furnished and decorated with local antiques and contemporary pieces. Its rainforest gardens are certainly its crowning glory, where you’ll find little corners for the utmost peace and quiet, disturbed only by tropical birdlife.
At A Glance
Why We Love It:For its wonderfully serene atmosphere and proximity to Colombo and the road to Kandy.
Style:Tropical contemporary colonial.
Location:In Kotugoda, between Colombo and the beaches of the fishing town of Negombo – just 15 minutes from the airport.
Rooms:18 graceful and contemporary rooms and suites.
Swimming:A fantastic pool surrounded by lush canopy cover.
Children:Families are more than welcome.
Accessibility:Each of the rooms is suitable for guests with limited mobility.
Open From:All year round.
Cool, airy and exceptionally spacious, the rooms and suites all feature comfortable king size four poster beds with muslin drapes, and beautifully simple terrazzo-lined wet rooms. Step out through your French doors and you’ll find a shady terrace or private garden. The Family Suite features two bedrooms (one king size and the other a twin), as does the even larger Mountbatten Suite, which also comes with a living area, free standing bathtub and a private garden with a plunge pool.
With much of the produce fresh from their own kitchen garden or locally sourced, the food here is utterly delicious. The a la carte menu has a wonderful mix of traditional Sri Lankan dishes, as well as international. The open-sided restaurant looks out over the gardens, where everything is beautifully presented.
If you’re fresh off the plane, you’ll easily be seduced into recuperating on a daybed in the peaceful gardens, or next to the pool. Ask for a treatment at the Z Spa (there are no set opening hours – just when you’d like some pampering) and lie back in the quiet open air courtyard. The Wallawwa chef gives cookery demonstrations, where you can learn about the various spices used in Sri Lankan dishes – you can even join him at the morning market or Negombo fish market to choose ingredients for the day.
There are walking tours of Colombo and Negombo, showing you some of the historic and cultural sites, or if you’d prefer more rural surroundings, the Muthurajawela Wetlands are close by, where you’ll see water monitors, macaques and a myriad of birdlife as you glide though the canals by boat. The 2400 year old monastic meditation complex of Pillikuttuwa Rajamaha Viharaya with its 99 caves amongst the rainforest is also definitely worth a visit. One of the beautiful things about a stay here, is that there’s a wealth of places to explore right on the doorstep, at the same time as it being a very special place to stay before you venture out into the rest of Sri Lanka.
For families looking for some quiet down time, Wallawwa is just the ticket. The larger suites are perfect and extra beds or a cot can be supplied. The restaurant menu has plenty of choice too for a younger palate. Your children might want to make a traditional “vesak” lantern or kite – just ask one of the team.
The team behind Wallawwa are passionate about Sri Lanka – both the environment and the community and believe in making a positive impact wherever possible. From the heritage renovation of the manor house to the growing of and sourcing local produce, from ensuring a plastic free environment to employing, nurturing and developing local people, as well as providing support to disadvantaged communities. They also encourage responsible travel and to respect local cultures, traditions and religions.
Kotugoda, Sri Lanka
In Kotugoda, between Colombo and the beaches of the fishing town of Negombo – just 15 minutes from the airport.