On the road: Secrets of Sri Lanka’s South Coast – Stella Beach House

 

Stella Beach House: a sweet reef break. PHOTO: ONmag.

Stella Beach House: a sweet reef break. PHOTO: ONmag.

 

 

ANNABEL WILSON spent a week on the southern shores of Ceylon, and shares insights on its charms. Her first review is of Stella Beach House – one of Dynamic Lives‘ portfolio of luxury villas in Ibiza, Formentera, Mykonos and Sri Lanka.

Perfectly situated for exploring Sri Lanka’s south coast, Stella Beach House is a luxury hideaway between Mirissa and Matara townships, set amid a swathe of palm trees leaning over a private beach. With its own pool and private chef, visitors can enjoy long lazy days poolside, being pampered and wandering the local haunts on foot, or use the Beach House as a base for day-trips. Two days at Stella saw us indulge in both options. On arrival, we enjoyed a sunset dinner of creamy Sri Lankan chicken curry, to-die-for-dahl and sweet eggplant salad. We toasted the owner, George Burdon at ‘Robby’s bar’ at the edge of the property (thanks for having us to stay, George!) as dusk gathered over the Indian Ocean. Our stint at the Beach House was short but oh so sweet – a stellar time indeed.

The design of the Beach House takes a cue from George’s villas in Ibiza as well as a nod to Ceylonian style. Open-plan spaces, lush en-suite double bedrooms and three tiers of communal areas ensure the layout caters well to groups of friends or a large family. Sometimes bigger groups rent the Beach House as well as the adjacent Stella Beach Villa, the flagship of Dynamic Lives’ Sri Lankan properties.

On our first morning at Stella Beach House, we sploshed our way through warm tropical rain to Polhena beach, where we discovered a local beach party happening in honour of Sinhala and Tamil New Year. Getting into our togs, renting an inner tube, jumping into the sea and joining the impromptu volleyball game seemed the right thing to do. As is often the way in Sri Lanka, the rain soon cleared. We spent a good couple of hours bobbing about in the shallow waters and laughing with our new friends.

On the return walk home down Beach Road, we enjoyed an extended happy hour at the Aussie-owned Doctor’s House – an uber-cool hotel and hangout in a 200 year old former Dutch hospital. These guys serve cold Lion beer, woodfired pizza and great cocktails within a ramshackle hipster setting like something out of a Wim Wenders film. I recommend their piña colada, mango daiquiri and espresso martini – best sipped at a daybed while you check out the clean sets rolling in at Madiha beach. Back at Stella Beach House, we watched sunset from the far edge of the property, and were then treated to three different types of curry – prawn and coconut; pumpkin and beetroot. Again the meal was so flavoursome we were compelled to ask Rasika (the Villa manager) for his recipes. The balmy evening saw us playing cards and chatting late into the night.

Sri Lankan fare at its finest, Stella Beach House. PHOTO: #spontaneousssavory.

Sri Lankan fare at its finest, Stella Beach House. PHOTO: #spontaneousssavory.

Our final morning was maximised by getting up early to check out sunrise and the surf, refining multiple newfangled pool games – human quoits anyone? – and relaxing on the sunloungers one last time. Sri Lanka, a place of captivating natural beauty, is still as Marco Polo famously exclaimed it was: one of the finest islands on earth. And the friendly staff and slick set up at Stella Beach House is such that any time spent here is just dreamy. Like the treasures that lured first the Portuguese, then the Dutch and English here, it’s a hidden gem.

Claire, aka. #spontaneoussavory enjoying some float therapy. PHOTO: ONmag.

Claire, aka. #spontaneoussavory enjoying some float therapy. PHOTO: ONmag.

For ON-the-ball previews, promotion, advertising, interviews, reviews and photography for your cool happenings and concepts, contact annabel@onmag.co.nz.

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