On the southwest coast of Sri Lanka lies a little piece of paradise; and I was lucky enough to experience it. Sure – the beach is stunning, but what makes this ‘paradise’ is the combination of beach, accommodations, and service.
I recently visited Sri Lanka and stayed at a large family villa, Auraliya, located just south of the historic town of Galle. I was looking for a place to relax and be a beach bum for a few days and Auraliya provided the perfect beach retreat!
Auraliya is a large family owned villa which is rented out as a vacation rental when the family isn’t in town. It looks like a boutique hotel, but it’s actually a private home. It is customary to give homes a name in this area, and the name Auraliya has a special meaning. It comes from two things that are very special to Sri Lanka; elephants and frangipani. Aliya is Sinhalese for elephant and araliya is Sinhalese for frangipani; the marriage of these words is the villa Auraliya.
Auraliya is located in Talpe on the Galle to Matara road approximately 15 minutes south of Galle. It takes about three hours to drive the 127 kilometeres from Colombo along the coastal road. The villa has direct access to the beach on this exceptional reef-protected stretch of coastline.
The house sleeps up to 12 people in 6 bedrooms with 4 bathrooms. However with the big open air design you never feel cramped, in fact there is ample space in the rooms and the grounds – you’ll feel like you’re all alone! There are three outdoor pavilions for people to gather and eat or simply sit around and relax. The villa centerpiece is the pool which connects both wings of the villa and 2 of the pavilions. At night the pool twinkles with fiber optic colored lighting at the bottom of the pool; a feature I’ve never seen before! Finally – there is a movie room and wifi is offered throughout the villa.
A water lilly pond and statue of Lord Shiva greets you as you enter the villa and immediately sets the mood for the mystical yet laid back atmosphere of Auraliya. The décor is modern and colorful. Each cushion, bed, beach chair and towel is a vibrant aqua and blue color which matches the ocean perfectly. One integral part of the atmosphere is the villa dog; Kala is a black lab who roams around and quickly becomes your ‘best friend’. (if you aren’t a dog person she is kept in the kennel in the back yard) With the ample yard space, pool, and beach the villa has a great family atmosphere. You can all sit out at the beach pavilion and sip drinks while you watch the sunset and kids create sand castles on the beach! See – I told you this was paradise!
You can see a video tour of the premises here – warning…it will make you want to hop on a plane!
There is a kitchen, but you’ll never set foot into it! This is because cooking as well as cleaning is what the wonderful staff do every day for you. Auraliya has an onsite staff of 5 people who will take care of your every need. In fact they may even come up with needs that you didn’t even know you had! On the first day you’ll sit down with Sunny, the manager and choose a menu for the week. The staff then does the shopping at the local market and at the end of your stay will add the food costs onto the bill. You can customize the menu in whatever way you want, but be sure to sample the local curry that Jagath makes – it was delicious!
The villa rents as one complete house, and does not rent out rooms individually. Therefore it is most economical to fill the rooms with family or friends and split the costs. In off-season the rates are $900 per night (plus food costs). However if you have 12 people staying there, this rate is a steal! The concept of renting villas is becoming more and more popular these days. It’s a great way to experience luxury, but split among many people.