17 February, 2012

Colonial chic at the Maya, Tangalle in Sri Lanka

17 February, 2012

Style: Modern-day manor house
Setting: Patchwork-pretty paddy fields

Set beside a rippling patch of rice paddies, Tangalle boutique hotel Maya is immersed in a mature two-acre garden that’s teeming with wildlife. Owned by interior designer Niki Fairchild, this colonial-chic manor house boasts traditional design with piles of style and modern-luxe touches. Small is beautiful here, as just five suites are split between the atmospheric Old House and sleek New Wing, with a midnight-blue pool snaking between the two. Although this is a hinterland hideaway, you’re just a short drive from the coast if you fancy a dip.

Need to know

Rooms Five suites.

Facilities Two-acre garden, library of DVDs, CDs and books, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: ceiling fans and Green Leaf Herbal Product toiletries.

In the know

Our favourite room Four-poster beds luxe up the two main-house suites. Thekka and Khumbuk are identical in layout: for the best views pick Thekka, for privacy choose Khumbuk. Suites in the New Wing feature private courtyards and larger bathrooms.

Dining Choose from the intimate main house dining room or the contemporary open-sided pavilion that peers over the garden, pool and paddy fields. The cuisine is western with an Asian twist, with fresh-caught seafood and home-cooked curries at the top of the list. Order in advance for interesting local delicacies such as marinated wild boar or curried mountain goat. Book through Smith to receive a free dinner for two, including one Maya cocktail each.

Wining Drinks are served anywhere, and since the wine and liquor selection is fairly limited, you’re welcome to bring your own for free. The staff can mix up a mean cocktail and no stay is complete without sampling manager Mendis’s cracking arrack sour at least once!

Poolside A dashing 20-metre, elbow-shaped swimming pool winds its way between the old and new wings and out to the lush garden beyond. Beside it, wave-shaped loungers line a cobblestoned terrace.

Couples or kids? Families will fall for the intimacy of Maya. All of the suites, except for Kokomna, are big enough for one extra bed, where kids up to the age of 12 can sleep for free (US$50 a child a night for the over 12s). Baby cots can be fitted in any suite. Nannies are available at a day’s notice for a charge of US$10 each day or evening. If you need a babysitter for your entire stay, you need to let the hotel know a week before you arrive.

Time out Bring your yoga mat to practice the warrior pose in the lush gardens. Instructors will come to the house for solo sessions, but need to be booked in advance. Cycle rides through Aranwella village take you past tiny homes and down foliage-flanked lanes bursting with wildlife. Visit the village temple behind Maya to see the head monk, who will bestow serene Buddhist blessings on you, if asked. Hire a driver from the hotel if you feel like a swim – Tangalle’s coast is eight kilometers away. Try Silent Beach, then pop for a drink or lunch at Smith hotel Amanwella.

To book a romantic Smith getaway, visit www.mrandmrssmith.com or call the expert Travel Team on 800 905 326. What’s more,BlackSmith membership is now free for life, so sign up today to receive life-enhancing extras and exclusive offers at more than 850 hotels and holiday houses around the world.  

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