Our journey through Sri Lankan busy roads from Hikkaduwa to Tangalle has been tiring. We are overexcited to finally have a chance to rest at Maya, so we left very early that morning. The Ceylon heat has had a toll on us. Looking for the famous property, we almost didn’t recognize the villa behind the fence wall. Are we at the right place?
The doors opened, and we are warmly welcomed at Maya Tangalle, a 19th-century manor house completely restored. History is still breathing through the villa’s wooden ceilings, but the calm and serenity is now fulfilling the property.
Even though we are yearning for relaxation time, nothing could have prepared us for that level of serenity and tranquility.
Very comfortable and designed to perfection, the Kohomba Villa is our haven for 3 days and 2 nights. Maya offers 5 suites. Two of them are located in the restored house: Thekka and Khumbuk are identical in layout, and offer four-poster, king-size beds draped in mosquito netting. Thekka offers a stunning view over the indigo pool and paddy fields beyond; Khumbuk allows the guests to have more privacy with its vista over the garden.
The 3 suites in the new wing open directly onto the pool terrace. Each come with king-size beds with mosquito nets. These bedrooms also feature a private veranda and dining area.
Each suite comes with a ceiling fan, a soaring ceiling, air conditioning, mosquito net, a writing desk, a pair of wardrobes, an ensuite bathroom with a rain shower and toiletries made using organic herbs and spices. Also available for guests are bathrobes, slippers and even a safari hat. Baby cots are provided, complimentary, and installed in the villa with its own mosquito net, to assure the comfort of our little one.
The Kohomba Suite, in the New Wing
The Khumbuk suite, in the Old House
Never we would have imagined leaving our precious 3-year old nap alone in our suite, or our valuables in an unlocked room, but this is exactly what we do at Maya’s retreat. We feel so safe and secure that we are at ease to wander around the property, leaving Emma-Kate and our passports in our villa, knowing nothing bad can happen here. That’s the first time it happens to us in 29 traveled countries.
Meals at Maya’s restaurant are a delight. The chef prepares meals from fresh local ingredients into fusion food that mixes Asian influences with western dishes.
Breakfast is complimentary, but doesn’t lack freshness and finger-licking options: Sri Lankan apas (bowl-shaped rice flour pancakes) with seeni sambol (red onion chutney) or Western omelet options, followed by tropical fruit, cereal or yogurt. Fresh bread is homemade.
Lunches are served when and where we want, and we order after breakfast so the staff can stock up on supplies. They also offer a complimentary afternoon tea.
The 3-course dinners can be enjoyed under the palm trees and stars, next to the pool at Maya’s contemporary open-sided pavilion that gazes over the garden, the pool and paddy fields, at our favorite spot in the garden or in the Old House’s dining room. The menu changes every day, and the chef can accommodate every palate, even kids’ picky preferences.
Maya’s restaurant is open to visitors for lunch and dinner. The three-course dinner is US$33.
Drinks are served anywhere and anytime. The staff is more than happy to provide a fresh cocktail on a hot day.
The Staff & Service
Maya’s staff is its best feature. They are impeccable and the service is perfect. They are going to great length to make sure every guest is having a wonderful and memorable time. From the moment we set foot on the property to the moment we left, the staff has been very helpful, polite and friendly. Perfection must have been their training mantra.
The Property & Amenities
Maya’s villa is a breathtaking 2-acre garden full of wildlife: parakeets and electric-blue kingfishers sing in trees, and pompous peacocks pace the lawn.
The property is overlooking an ever color changing paddy field, which provides a stunning backdrop to wonderful sunsets. We can enjoy the vista from a hammock, or even while enjoying a massage.
The silence is only interrupted here by signing birds or guests enjoying each other’s company by the courtyard pool.
Tranquility doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do. We could borrow bicycles to discover the surrounding village, board games to play and books to read. We could also take a day trip to a national park, where elephants and leopards await, or watch the sea turtles lay their eggs on Tangalle Beach.
We could also take a cooking class with the chef, or borrow pool toys to play in the water.
Finally, we had access to the fastest wifi we encountered in Sri Lanka.
Maya is located 8km from Tangalle, in the secluded village of Aranwella, and 50m from the ancient village Buddhist temple. Just 3km away is Beliatta, a village where we can find grocery shops, pharmacies and banks. Ask your taxi or tuk-tuk driver to ask around for Maya, as there is no sign by the road or even at the entry gate to pinpoint its location.
Sri Lanka’s South Coast gorgeous beaches around Tangalle are only a 15-minute drive away.
Guests can enjoy a suite for US$205 in low season, and US$315 in peak season, in double occupancy. A group or a large family of 10 people can have the whole property for themselves, from US$805 to US$1350, depending on the season. A 10% service charge and 11% VAT are added to the above rates.
There is no additional charge for the extra bed for children below the age of 12 years. An additional US$50 is charged for children above the age of 12 and adults.
Maya is flexible with check-in and checkout times if there are no concurrent bookings. Also, there is no minimum stay at Maya, however during the period from December 20th to January 5th, they request a minimum stay of 4 nights.
Our Overall Opinion
Let’s just say that when it was time for us to leave Maya Tangalle, I had tears in my eyes. Yes, I did. How else could I feel? I was leaving paradise on Earth! And yes, it is my most honest opinion. I have never seen such a place in all my travels: the serene luxurious nature mixed with the warmth of the people and the overly comfortable luxury. Maya has been a very special haven for our family, a relaxing retreat and a fun villa where 3 days were not enough to experience to the fullest. We definitely want to come back, and next time, we will stay longer. Much longer.
- The serenity and tranquility at Maya are beyond what we ever experienced in all our travel.
- The wildlife and nature are luxurious and stunning.
- The staff offers perfect service and really make us feel like home.
- The rooms are incredibly comfortable and spacious.
- The shower’s floor isn’t slippery (useful for young and people suffering from a balance disorder).
- At dusk, the staff light up candles all over the property, which give the villa a romantic setting for dinner.
- While we were having dinner, the staff cleans and prepare our room for bedtime.
- The meals are delicious.
- Maya is hard to find, since there is no map and no sign pinpointing its location.
- No bath is available to bathe your baby.
- The pool tiles are slippery, and it is not surrounded by a fence, so it can be dangerous for wandering toddlers. The ground around the pool isn’t slippery though.
- In the New Wing suites, there is no closed door to the bathroom, which can be annoying to some people.
- We have heard people complaining about mosquitos and dog barking at night.
Please note that no pictures above have been edited.
We want to thank Maya Tangalle for hosting us during our stay in Aranwella, Sri Lanka. Maya didn’t ask me to write a positive review, but everything I wrote was based on my most brutal honest opinion.