We were looking for a high end villa to accommodate our family of 13 to celebrate my wife's big birthday. We found this private estate through Eden Villas who described it beautifully although to be honest we were not expecting the dramatic and overwhelming impact of the place when we arrived. We travelled Air Lanka direct from London and then had a 4 hour journey in a comfortable private 28 seater bus.. the journey was fairly hairy to be honest as driving is relatively creative in Sri Lanka and by this stage we had been travelling a long time; however we finally arrived and the sheer visual impact and the realisation that we would be staying in this beautiful , extraordinary estate put our travel weariness behind us. We were greeted by the staff at the grand entrance with chilled towels and coconuts and given a personal tour of the rooms and facilities so we could choose the permutations.
We spent 10 amazing days being pampered and spoilt under the professional eye of the resident manager Seneka - what a great fellow with a sense of humour to match. Nothing was too much trouble for him and the staff who were always on hand from 7.00 am until 10.30 pm and later wherever necessary.
There were so many brilliant touches that were unexpected and yet consistent with the 5+ star service. The cuisine was cordon bleu 3 times a day with afternoon tea and chocolate brownies if required. Fresh fruit of a wide variety and outstanding cooked combinations ( crispy bacon and grilled tomatoes , eggs benedict etc ) served for breakfast and juices prepared throughout the day.
There is an entertainment room with a full wall screen projector; a well stocked library, a ping pong table which provoked much noise and excitement, the gardens full of wild life including peacocks, lizards, iguanas, tropical birds and two friendly resident dogs who live on the perimeter of the 23 acre estate. The long pristine beach is deserted and we walked there everyday. The pool is 33 metres long and is central to the villa where we spent most of our time - brilliant fun. The garden is huge in front of the pool and great for cricket , rounders and other games.
One point worth mentioning that nearly put us off was the weather forecast for July and August from the internet ... every weather forecast suggested that we would get thunderstorms, clouds and torrential rain every hour , every day from 22nd July until 1st August due to the summer monsoons. The reality was that we enjoyed blue skies and a few white fluffy clouds every day except for 20 minutes on Sunday when we experienced a cloudburst of warm rain.
The temperature was consistently 30 degrees by day and 25 by night. We ate all our meals outside by the pool; in the evening the staff lit flaming candles around our dining canopy which was magical; our grandchildren were mesmerised as were we by the clarity of the stars and the constellation of the planets , all clearly visible. We had a masseuse visit us two days and pummelled us in the bespoke cabana with the sound of waves in the background. There is also much to do in the area around Tangalle .. we went on Safari in the Udawala National Park which was incredible and again reasonably priced. There were bugs which were swiftly discouraged by "fogging" every evening at sunset .. very few mosquitos as a result. Worth bringing insect spray to further discourage.
I could go on....... Eden Villas are based in Sri Lanka and they were amazing from the outset; for us they teamed up with Red Savannah in the UK who organised our flights and pulled the whole package together. It was great value for money and created memories that will last us forever.
A big thank you Jack Eden and the great team on the ground!!