I am a freelance journalist and an author living in Sydney. Writing is a passion and I enjoy everyday indulging in the talent that I am gifted with. You can find me on au.linkedin.com/pub/sharmila-jayasinghe-niriella/21/182/467/
How else can you enjoy a true Sri Lankan holiday but by staying at a colonial private family home? It is an emerging trend for many families in the island to open up their ancestral homes to give the foreign traveller an authentic experience in the paradise isle. Without a doubt Sea Breeze Colonial Villa, where we spent part of our recent holiday in the southern coastal belt of Sri Lanka, is a wonderfully warm, homely and welcoming holiday home. This colonial family home now serving as tourist accommodation is situated in Weligama, only a 45 minutes drive down the southern highway from the capital, Colombo.
The tastefully renovated colonial-style villa offered us a chance to experience the old but with all the modern day comforts which we cannot do without. From the queen sized beds and fresh white sheets to that welcoming frangipani lying on the pillows, it all but made us sigh with relief that we were indeed in for a relaxing stay. Having booked the villa online, we were quite uncertain as to what we would find at the end of our journey. To our great pleasure, the villa turned out to be a comfortable, clean place with warm and friendly staff as managers.
We had the option of renting the entire house with meals or without meals. Since we opted to travel around during the day, we decided to go with the ' without meals' option but on some days by our request, we were served a sumptuous breakfast by the caretakers, made using the best locally brought produce. The caretakers are well versed in catering for tourists and you can request either western kind of dishes or choose to taste the local fare. The villa also offers a fully equipped pantry for those who are a bit fussy about food, which was a great asset for those of us who wanted to whip up a quick meal or two when required.
The villa is ideally situated providing a great layover spot for those interested in the newest tourist attraction in the country; whale watching in the southern coastal belt. As we found out during our stay there, whale watching is mostly done off a village named Mirrissa, just a quick tuk tuk ride away from the villa.
The staff at the villa are well versed with what is on offer for tourists in and around the area. On their recommendation we headed off to Galle, a port city not too far from Seal Breeze, where we were able to experience more of the culture and history of the island. After an outdoor tour in the hot sun it was pure bliss to come back to the seclusion of the villa and have a dip in the clear blue waters of the plunge pool, which is the focal point of the indoor courtyard. The courtyard itself provides a great space for that afternoon drink and to lounge away time.
The villa underwent changes before it was opened as a rental for tourists, but the restorations have not in anyway disturbed the architecture or the ambiance of the original dwelling. The intricate wood carvings of the original home, which was preserved from generation to generation, can still be seen. A keen admirer of everything old, I most certainly was fascinated by that work of the olden day master builders. Visitors should not expect the comforts and services of a five star establishment at the villa. This is a place where one could experience the living style and ambiance of colonial type accommodation with a semblance of modern amenities allowing the visitor a glimpse into a way of life that has all but disappeared.
One of the highlights on my stay here most certainly was when I climbed up the spiral staircase with the carved iron railing and found the hidden treasure of a small library stacked with books. My wish had just come true, I had found a quite spot to sit, relax and indulge in my favourite past time – snoozing with a book in hand. Our stay at Sea Breeze villa was indeed a pleasant one without the hustle and bustle a hotel stay would have offered us. For less than Aus $150, a five bedroom house with a pool and a caretaker, sure is a fantastic deal.