Why so chic?
Why travel experts chose this hotel
Only when you book with Chic
Nestled amidst tropical gardens, surrounded by paddy fields and set alongside an old Buddhist temple, just inland from Tangalle on Sri Lanka’s south coast - Maya (or Illusion in Sanskrit) offers a blissfully peaceful and private Sri Lankan escape.
Owner, Niki Fairchild, worked with a renowned Sri Lankan architect to lovingly convert this 19th-century manor house, restoring and extending it to create a stylish and luxurious retreat that offers beautifully elegant and contemporary design whilst still preserving the property’s history and charm.
With just a handful of rooms, there is an intimate, home-away-from-home feel to the place and the delightful staff could not be more attentive. You can even book the whole place out as your own staffed villa - what could be more luxurious than that?
Maya is looked after by an immaculate team of fifteen staff including the villa’s chef who creates a daily changing set menu with a focus on the fusion of Sri Lankan, Asian dishes and international cuisine. A memorable dining experience is a priority at Maya and guests can choose to dine in The Old House surrounded by exquisite original lattice work or, in the open air garden pavilion.
Breakfast is an equally impressive affair with fresh-baked bread and classic cooked breakfasts or traditional options available for the more adventurous.
The five air-conditioned suites (two in the old house and three in the new wing) are each named after trees from the garden and can be booked individually or the entire villa can be rented exclusively. Whilst the suites in the new wing are a modern affair (with open-plan bathrooms), all are elegantly designed with high ceilings and some boasting private courtyards or garden.
Set in the villa’s verdant 2-acre gardens, the stunning pool beckons for an afternoon spent floating beneath blue skies with the sound of birdsong to lull you to a state of utter zen. Yoga lessons and massages can also be arranged and there are cricket bats and balls, a volleyball net, footballs, pool toys, croquet and badminton racquets.
If you fancy getting out and about, there are bikes available to borrow - perfect to explore Aranwella village and the surrounding paddy fields. The nearest beaches are a 15-minute drive away (staff can assist with transport) and the market in Tangalle is well-worth a visit on your way.
Further afield, the southern coast beyond Dondra is considered one of the best locations in the world for spotting Blue Whales, Sperm Whales and Spinner Dolphins. From December to April, whale and dolphin watching excursions are possible can be arranged from Mirissa. There are also a number of National Parks within reach of the villa, namely Bundala (1 hour 20-minute drive), Uda Walawe (2 hour drive) and Yala (2 hour 30-minute drive) and, closer to home, night safaris to Rekawa beach can be organized to observe the endangered marine turtles nesting (25-minute drive).