Rupert Parker checks out this luxury boutique resort overlooking the Indian Ocean.
Unlike much of the accommodation in this part of Sri Lanka, Tabula Rasa is not on a beach but at the top of a hill, fringed by 100 coconut palms. It has spectacular views over the jungle to the breaking waves of the Indian Ocean. This is a boutique hotel like no other, where the only sounds come from the chattering monkeys, swishing palms and the distant ocean.
Less of a resort and more a tiny village of elegant villas, Tabula Rasa is a designer haven of tranquillity. The brainchild of Dutch couple, Arnoud Oostenbroek and Anouk Brouwer, every detail has been painstakingly rendered, even the palm trees are incorporated into the buildings. All is sustainable here, built with 100% local materials, using solar energy for hot water, and with a rainwater reservoir to irrigate the grounds.
The twelve rooms, eleven villas and one apartment come in a variety of designs, some with private plunge pools. We stayed in a villa with terrace overlooking the jungle and the ocean. All rooms have a king size four poster bed with mosquito net, sofa, lounge nook with day bed, desk, terrace bench and table with sun loungers. Inside there’s a minibar and tea and coffee making facilities including Nespresso machine.
Tabula Rasa’s spa is one of the most impressive unique spas in Sri Lanka. It’s built into the side of the hilltop with magnificent views of the jungle, beaches and ocean. There’s also an option for an outdoor intimate herbal bath on the terrace. Yoga classes take place here in the early morning or evening.
The accommodation is a short walk to the main building, housing the reception and lounge area. Next to it is the open-air Sky Bar and restaurant serving locally sourced fresh cuisine, including a catch of the day. Just below is the 10 x 20m infinity pool surrounded by coconut palms, incorporating a waterfall and built-in sun loungers.
A variety of activities are offered: Habaraduwa is the nearest beach, a 10-minute drive away. Boat trips on Koggala Lake offer both wildlife viewing and cinnamon peeling. There’s an option of a bicycle tour through paddy fields, passing local villages, visiting temples, and chatting with monks. The UNESCO world heritage site of Galle Fort is around 20 minutes away.
Tabula Rasa is an oasis of tranquillity in a luxury hilltop environment. It feels remote but it’s still close to beaches and Galle Town. Go here to relax, be pampered, and get away from it all. Perfect for honeymooners, couples who want peace and quiet and well-behaved families. In fact, anyone who wants five-star service in complete privacy.
Tell Me More About Tabula Rasa Resort
Tabula Rasa Resort Polkanda, Habaraduwa,Galle, Sri Lanka
T: +94 (0)91 454 9000 E:firstname.lastname@example.org
Rooms start from £160 per person per night, including breakfast.
Sri Lankan Airlines has direct flights from London Heathrow to Colombo from £691
It’s then 35 minutes by seaplane or two hours by road.