Complementing the original house are two new structures, home to two suites, an equipped kitchen and a convivial open-sided living and dining room encircled on three sides by a meandering arm of the 20 metre swimming pool. The villa’s aesthetic blend of the old and the new is a theme that continues throughout; abundant jet-black timber columns and beams hark back to the opulence of the colonial era; classical furnishings are given a contemporary, comfort-inducing twist; and evocative artwork and artefacts reflect the owner’s past travails in the Middle East and Africa. The villa’s earthy interior colour scheme is calming, and allows the vivacious crimsons and multi greens of the garden beyond to shine.
This beautifully landscaped garden generously wraps around the house, and is celebrated from every veranda, balcony and window. A focus of the villa is its inviting pool terrace where you can cosy up inside a hanging lounge chair, swim lengths or recline atop floating frangipani-shaded sun loungers. Thanks to its infinity edge, water from the pool seemingly overflows into an idyllic banana tree- and heliconia-fringed pond laced with lotus and lilies where croaking frogs, waterbirds, monitor lizards and kingfishers reside. Nearby, a lush expanse of palm-pricked lawn bordered by exotic plants is serenely set up for a game of badminton whilst Unawatuna’s tranquil beaches are just footsteps away.
There are three bedrooms in the Sergeant House along with a cosy TV lounge, a fridge and facilities for making tea and coffee. On the ground floor is a suite with a four-poster double bed and en-suite bathroom with tub, which is usually rented on its own. For families or friends, you have the option of booking the whole house, which includes the two queen sized beds (and one single bed) located opposite from one another (privacy by screens) on a timber mezzanine floor. The bathroom for these upper bedrooms is back down on the ground floor. Also on the ground floor is a garden-view front veranda, furnished with rattan chairs.
Sea View Suite
Situated above the living and dining room, this suite is the most expansive of the five bedrooms. Accessed via its own private staircase, this suite features a king sized bed flanked by carved side tables, a desk and a lounge with cable TV and deeply cushioned armchairs. Folding doors open onto a front balcony furnished with leather safari chairs and views over the pool, lily pond and sea. Adjacent to the staircase is a small kitchenette with sink, microwave, fridge and kettle, whilst beyond is a spacious ensuite bathroom with shower and tub-for-two.
Pool View Suite
Set in its own freestanding pavilion beside the swimming pool, this suite has gorgeous views across the idyllic lily pond, lush garden and sea from its private terrace. Furnished with a king sized bed, the room also features a desk and bijou bathroom. A second set of folding doors open directly onto the pool terrace.
– Take a dawn or sunset walk around the historic citadel of Galle Fort, built from 1640 by the Dutch on the site of an earlier Portuguese fort
– Ride inland on mountain bikes to discover a stunning emerald landscape of paddy fields, white-washed Buddhist temples, and rural villages
– Spend the day on one of the golden beaches along the coast: Unawatuna is just 50 metres away, or make for Dalawella or palm-fringed Mirissa Bay
– Go crack-of-dawn whale and dolphin watching from Mirissa
– Visit the virgin white tea plantation in Titagalla and learn how tea, cinnamon and rubber is produced
This hotel is more of a playground for adults rather than children. Kids are welcome, but since the upstairs bedrooms in the Sargeant’s House are accessed via a steep staircase, they are unsuitable for children over the age of ten. Steps and drops within the garden and around the pool are concerns for toddlers.