Ministry of Villas visited Sri Lanka for the first time in October. We flew into the capital Colombo on the west coast and ventured south, visiting every town and village along the coast all the way to Yala National Park on the southeast corner of the island. We then headed inland to explore Sri Lanka’s famous highland tea plantations, taking a train from Ella to Nuwara Eliya, Hatton and Kandy.
We all agreed the 10-day itinerary was the perfect amount of time to explore southern Sri Lanka, however we would recommend extending the trip to 14 days, staying 3 nights at 2 or 3 villas along the coast to soak up the atmosphere in each region, before heading inland and spending another 3 nights in a plantation villa in the highlands.
Our driver was fantastic: he navigated the long journey and the busy roads smoothly. We all felt very safe and this is not an easy feat when driving in Sri Lanka. Larger vehicles, buses in particular, travel at high speed to keep to tight schedules.
Anyway, here are our favourite villas in Sri Lanka, each with a fabulous style and unique design:
1. Ivory House
It was love at first sight with Ivory House. Set on acreage with views of rice fields, Ivory House is a refurbished colonial homestead with modern interior design. The villa has stately 4 bedrooms and comes with a full-time butler and chef. Priced from USD $450 per night, this villa is a steal.
A fabulous family villa situated on a bluff looking out over the Indian Ocean, Suriyawattais understated and elegant. The villa has a fabulous setup: 5 bedrooms, large entertaining areas and a great garden for kids to run around, complete with a swing set and private pool.
3. Ani Villas
Most definitely one of the most amazing villas in Sri Lanka! Ani Villas is better described as a 6-star personal resort. Set on the beach with 15 bedrooms the villa estate has every luxury you can imagine and the company’s motto is “It’s All Yours”, meaning all meals, drinks, in-house activities and services are included in the price. Staying at Ani Villas is quite simply a bucket-list experience.
4. Pointe Sud
This grand villa overlooking the Indian Ocean is where Elizabeth Hurley and Shane Warne retreated to escape the paparazzi when they visited Sri Lanka. The villa has an eclectic design with Sri Lankan interior design wrapped in a Mediterranean villa exterior with amazing views of the ocean.
Claughton House embodies villa living on the Sri Lankan coast. Suitable for all groups, ages and interests we love this property and feel the price offers tremendous value. The estate itself is enormous, with 5 bedrooms all facing the ocean, several entertaining areas and a kids/media room. The villa comes fully staffed with butlers, chef and housekeeping team.
6. Pooja Kanda
Pooja Kanda fuses beautiful period details and traditional artwork with modern furniture and every comfort you need to relax in style. The villa has 5 bedrooms, multiple terraces, living areas, dining room as well as an office and media room. The combination of antiques with classic pieces of furniture, books and flowers give this villa a very stately feeling.
7. Villa Kumara
Villa Kumara is featured in several coffee table books, listed for it’s beautiful interior design. When you walk in to the main living pavilion you can see why. The villa has an interesting design with a sunken kitchen, massive lounge, fabulous pool surrounded by palm trees. Each of the 3 bedrooms are themselves their own pavilions providing guests individual space and privacy.
Talalla House is a stunning avant-garde villa right on the beach. The fully equipped, 7-bedroom villa has a distinctly Scandinavian design and feel, with modern furnishings, a large pool spilling out from the living area and a rooftop entertaining deck. We loved every aspect of the property and it looks like an amazing venue to host a wedding or special occasion.
Ranawara is a magnificent 23 acre private estate. Although far from the madding crowd, we think the sheer size of Ranawara and the full team behind the property make this an amazing destination in itself. Perfect for groups, corporate retreats, weddings and large families the majestic property has 5 bedroom suites and 2 luxury garden cabanas, which combined, accommodate up to 14 guests.
10. Walatta House
Architect John Bulcock mixes raw aesthetics perfectly with the environment in this property and it’s a WOW villa in every regard. Walatta House is a striking 3-bedroom villa that inspires, rejuvenates and also represents amazing value for money!