I write this blog, to reminisce a lovely holiday, a couple of years ago with family in Sri Lanka – Galle. It’s festive season, and it seems like everyone else has planned their holidays much better than me and are away. For me there are holidays where the destination is the hero, and then there are holidays where the place you stay is the highlight of the holiday. Our holiday in Galle was definitely the latter and the destination was the gorgeous “Mandalay Lake Villa” in Galle
“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again…
I came upon it suddenly; the approach masked by the unnatural growth of a vast shrub that spread in all directions…
There was Manderley, our Manderley, secretive and silent as it had always been, the gray stone shining in the moonlight of my dream, the mullioned windows reflecting the green lawns and terrace.
Time could not wreck the perfect symmetry of those walls, nor the site itself, a jewel in the hollow of a hand”
The above lines may seem familiar to voracious readers, they are the opening lines of “Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier” 🙂 To me these lines are a perfect description of the gorgeous Mandalay Villa, where we stayed in Galle and often I find myself thinking of these lines every time I think of the Mandalay Lake Villa.
The villa overlooks the Koggala Lake, it is nestled away from the ocean. Galle is a beach town, this villa however, is away from it. A little pier from the villa will take you to straight on Lake Koggala. The Lake has 3 islands that you can visit too.We visited the Cinnamon island, and temple island and passed by the bird island, though we did not get off to visit it. The boat picks you up from the “pier step” really jet set this!
The living area of the villa is a gorgeous 3 bedroom haven, and a living room. The villa is designed by famous Sri Lankan architect Geoffery Bawa. We were six people and an infant, so it was perfect for us. The Master Bedroom occupies the whole first floor, so yes it’s huge with a balcony running along it. There are two guest rooms on the ground floor and Frankly the living room is also pretty huge so if you are traveling in a larger group, the living room is pretty usable. Just a word of caution, the bathrooms don’t have doors. In fact the Master Bedroom has the bathroom as part of the room, and just a partition to cordon it off. So you better be really close to the person you are planning to share the room with.
There is a private pool, which is cleaned everyday 🙂 and a delight. The dining area and kitchen is right next to the Pool. The Villa also has a cook. While breakfast was part of the deal, the cook would be happy to cook for us, if we bought stuff or gave him money to buy provisions. So if one is staying for a long time, and would like to eat local home cooked food, this is your best bet. We had breakfast and dinner at the villa, and would step out to sight see on most days, so did lunch outside during our 6 days sojourn. Our breakfast consisted of fresh fruit, eggs and some local breakfast item. I am yet to eat pineapples that are more luscious than the ones I ate at Mandalay Lake Villa.The villa has a sprawling lawn that overlooks the lake, and lends itself to a happy game of badminton, A barbecue or simply reading in the cabana, all of which we did 🙂
Two years ago, staying at the Villa cost us about 360$ a night, and considering the property, we felt we got a fairly good deal.
How to get there?
We drove down from Colombo, Mt. Lavinia to be exact. The helpful manager Alistair helped us with our bookings to and from Galle. The drive to Mandalay Lake Villa was about 1.5 – 2 hours and cost us 160$. It was a large fully AC Van, that comfortably accommodated 7 of us and luggage. We drove back to Negombo after the holiday, as the airport is actually closer to Negombo than Colmobo, the drive back however was a lot longer, about 3 hours, but that was mainly because we caught traffic and had to maneuver a lot of city traffic. The drive back cost us about 180$ .
We used an Auto, or as they like to call it a tuk tuk to travel to Galle or even to the beach. The help gets you autos, they are pretty much hand in glove. You may as well trust them or work a deal out, because if you do not have your own transport, you are pretty much away from the main road, and there is a rail track in between. While it is probably less than a kilometre, it’s not easy to walk. So while we knew we were paying a bit extra for the auto, we went ahead and did that.
How to get in touch?
We did our entire booking over E mail conversations and phone calls with Alistair, the manager at “The Far Pavillions” (Anyone remember the show on Star TV?) . The website lists all details http://www.mandalaylakevilla.com/ Frankly, we did not see any reviews of the Villa online and were a bit sceptical, as planning holidays nowadays are so much about reading reviews and being aware, but this was a blind shot, and a perfect one at that. At the time we made our bookings there were no Facebook pages or Twitter handles, but now they are available on all platforms.
I would strongly recommend Mandalay Lake Villa, for families and large group of friends. It was beautiful, it was clean, impeccable service and a great experience all in all. I hope someone reading this blog enjoys a holiday there, do share with me your experiences, and as I finish this blog on New Years Eve, I hope to holiday there soon again 🙂