Pack your bags and go to Kurumba House Villa, a stylish, new 2-bedroom Kurumba beach house with laid-back charm, set on a quiet fisherman’s beach near Tangalle.
Its simple, pared-down style is a perfect complement to laid-back Mahawella beach: a peaceful strip of sand which lies a few steps down the grassy garden through a private gate. Here, the ocean is relatively calm, with small waves perfect for keen swimmers and boogie boarders alike.
Just a few minutes’ drive from the traditional town of Tangalle, the house is one of four small and nearly identical buildings on the site, two of which are for security and housekeepers. The owners of the neighboring house are rarely there, so you will most likely have the grounds completely to yourself.
The house itself has 2 high-ceilinged, spacious bedrooms, both with ensuite bathrooms and views to the ocean, so you can fall asleep to the sound of breaking waves. French windows open onto a huge veranda running the width of the house, with wicker loungers and a separate dining area. Dotted about the long garden are recliners and a hammock, while a thatched pavilion overlooking the beach is a serene spot for shady reading on plump cushions.
The house comes with two friendly staff who cook and clean for a few hours a day; otherwise, it is all yours. You can use the kitchen at any time, but one of the great luxuries here is tucking into Rupa's superb curries after a strenuous day in the sun - so make the most of their services (you only pay for the ingredients used). This is simple beach life made comfy.
Opening out to an inviting veranda with sea views, the two airy double bedrooms are furnished in a cool, minimal style: queen-size beds dressed in fine linen (and stacks of pillows), white walls (no artwork), polished cement floors (a delight in bare feet), muslin drapes wafting in the breeze, and a dash of colour in the striped bedspreads and spangly lime-green cushions.
Overhead fans keep the rooms just cool enough, though with the thin beamed-and-corrugated-iron roof some might wish for air-con. Ensuite bathrooms have angular terrazzo sink stands and hot showers; you'll need to bring toiletries other than soap. There are cane chairs, bamboo ladders for hanging towels, and ample wardrobes made from cinnamon wood. All in all the effect is spare and stylish.
Both rooms are identically sized, and if you are coming as a couple they will give you a lower price for just using the one bedroom (the other will not be let to anyone else, of course!). The only downside is that neither room can be made up as a twin, so if you want separate beds you will need ask for an extra mattress to be placed on the floor.
The veranda which links the rooms will become your indoor-outdoor living-dining space, and a lovely space it is too, furnished with white wicker chairs, a driftwood-framed mirror, fresh flowers and a round dining table for 4-5. Beyond its gravelled border, lawned gardens stretch to the beach. You can safely pack your shoes away - this is simple barefoot living par excellence.
One of the best features of the set up is the superb food on offer. Breakfast is laid on and included in the rates: a healthy selection of fresh tropical fruits, yoghurt, toast and drinks. After that, you can book whatever meals you fancy - just discuss your requirements with Rajika, who will pop off to Tangalle's fish and veg markets on his tuk-tuk (you can accompany him if you want) and bring back the ingredients for Rupa to whip up a feast.
Unsurprisingly, curries are their speciality - chicken, fish or vegetable - and they can be toned down for younger or more sensitive palates. We had a fabulous curry feast including creamy chicken and potato curry, plus a huge selection of sides including coconut salad with curried green bean, freshly made dahl and akee - all washed down with chilled beer (wines are also available). If you fancy a change, they can also manage several "international" dishes, including an excellent spaghetti with basil and king prawns.
Of course, you are free to check out local restaurants too. There's one right next door - Manahara Bungalows - which serves decent local food and beer; or try Il Camino for Italian cuisine, a 5-10 minute walk down the beach (check it's open first). For upscale dining, take a tuk tuk to Amanwella.
If you want to self-cater (most don't!), then take a tuk-tuk into Tangalle with Rajika, who will show you the best markets; back at the ranch, Rupa will help you in the kitchen if you want.
WHAT TO DO
Disclaimer: Pins in map may not be accurate if Google Maps cannot find the exact address. In this case an approximation is made.