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“PARADISE! The best place I have ever stayed in the world.”

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Apa Villa Illuketia
Ranked #12 of 23 Hotels in Galle
Brighton, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“PARADISE! The best place I have ever stayed in the world.”
Reviewed March 11, 2013

I felt sad that I had to leave Illuketia! It really is true paradise, the photos look good but they not do it justice. We booked Illuketia for our wedding from just researching online for the UK and I was slightly nervous that we had taken a risk doing it this was but we were soon put out of any doubts as soon as we arrived and met Chathuri (the lovely manager).

Walking round Illuketia is like being in your own personal national park with exceptional service. The staff are brilliant, they are always on hand without being obvious. Chathuri was amazing. And we were fortunate enough to meet Hans, the owner, who is a very interesting man and we felt honoured to have him at our wedding!

We booked all of the rooms out for the wedding day and so it really felt like our own private paradise for the day. On our third day our guests left so we had to share with others! But still it was lovely and there is plenty of space for everyone.

We stayed in the pond house which ad a lovely swing overlooking the pond. The rooms are all nice and well equipped (although one tip might be to offer tea/coffee making facilities in the rooms). The pond house rooms have these beautiful outside bathrooms.

The pool is something else, you feel like you are swimming in the jungle watching the monkeys overhead. And when it rains the nature comes out to play, the sound effects at night are out of this world. Hans took us on a moonlight safari which was a highlight for me!

The food was exceptional. For our wedding we had an extensive sri lankan buffet that was so nice we ordered a similar dish for dinner the next evening.

We went for a long walk around Illuketia and it really is nowhere near any other tourists which was great, we met some locals who invited us in their house for tea.

Our wedding day was very special. We had kandyan dancers, a buddhust blessing, a band, plenty of food and drink and all you could expect from a wedding day and more all organised by Chathuri. The standard of wedding was of a very high standard for a reasonable price and much more interesting than a normal western wedding.

Anyway, I'll stop waffling and add some photos but all I can say is do not hesitate to stay here. Hans spoke about building a 'birds nest' room in a water tower which we will definitely be back to see!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank MissCake17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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132 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (42)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Swedish first
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English first
newhaven
Level 4 Contributor
33 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
Reviewed February 27, 2013

This place is AMAZING!... the house is set in the most amazing mature garden you could possible visit and i would highly recommend that you stayed here if you are visiting Sri Lanka.

The wildlife is crazy ranging from monkeys to monitor lizards

The staff are extremely friendly and the food is to a very high standard (the kitchen is also very clean!!).

We got married here and the setting was breathtaking and well worth the cost.

The hotel has their own tuk-tuk.

Room Tip: They are all nice... but the best rooms are located in the pond house.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank cdavies2003
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ringmer
Level 4 Contributor
33 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed February 25, 2013

I only spent one night at this property as a guest at a wedding.
The setting is amazing - your personal national park. Giant monitors,a troop of monkeys,birds of paradise, kingfishers,frogs,a snake and all kinds of insects. Then there are all manner of trees and plants. You could wander around for hours with or without a camera. Beautiful!
As a wedding venue - perfect. The setting could not be better and the lady in charge oversees everything to perfection.
The property is notoriously difficult to find. I just phoned them up and asked them to send transport. No problem. They have their own Tuk-Tuk with a price list clearly displayed!.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank phil D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manchester
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed February 19, 2013

Lovely little getaway for us for a night on our 2 weeks trip around Sri Lanka. Couldn't recommend it more highly. We stayed in one of the little suites, walked the gardens and enjoyed the old Raj atmosphere. Beautiful...

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
3 Thank Greg S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Altrincham
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed February 5, 2013

A lovely grand house so well designed and with so much space that it feels as if you have it all to yourself, even when there are other guests around. Set in beautiful lush gardens: we really enjoyed being shown around by the head gardener and were enthralled by all the herbs and vegetables as well as country life in the vicinity. You could spend hours chilling out on the verandah listening to the sounds of nature. The food was exquisite and the delicious Sri Lankan rice and curry is indeed highly recommended. Staff were helpful and unobtrusive.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank HelenAltrincham
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mumbai
Level 4 Contributor
34 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed January 29, 2013

We stayed at Apa Villa Illuketia for 2 nights, and enjoyed every bit of it. Its architecture, gardens, rooms and service is unmistakably the best in our whole sri lanka trip.
You MUST have the Sri lankan dinner at Illuketia. The variety, taste and presentation of the dinner is simply marvelous!! We loved it so much that we had it for both the nights, and skipped eating out in Galle.
A dip in the pool was not only relaxing, but mesmerizing with the view it had to offer!
We had the luxury of the pond house, which is very simply yet beautifully done. The vast gardens - flora, fauna, & animals were a treat to watch.
A special mention of the manager & staff, who were very friendly, helpful and prompt.

Room Tip: Pond House rooms are away from the main house, and give you privacy and awesome view of the hotel.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Ajtkhl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed January 26, 2013

We spent our honeymoon staying in boutique hotels all over Sri Lanka but this was definitely my favourite. Not only by far the best value for money, but an outstanding combination of beauty, tranquility, individuality, homeliness, style, and laid back charm.

Having booked late we couldn't find accommodation right on the coast and had reservations about staying inland - but we were so glad we ended up here. Beaches are only a scenic 15 mins away by tuk tuk, and after a day of sand and sea surrounded by people it felt like coming home to this oasis of lush jungle calm.

Grounds and interior are both effortlessly stylish, making the most of the natural beauty of the scenery and architecture.

The endless gardens are indescribably beautiful with one of the most gorgeous pools imaginable hidden away at the bottom. Designed to feel like you're swimming in a lake surrounded by jungle and the sounds of the wildlife, it's a truly magical place to take a refreshing swim.

Service is laid back, friendly and efficient, food was great and fantastic value. The rooms are simple but classy, cool, comfortable, and a lot more functional than some of the very fancy hotels we stayed in. After dinner there's a choice of relaxing on the terrace with views of the garden and sounds of the jungle, or lounging on comfy sofas in the big airy living area.

If you fancy a day off exploring local beaches, Illuketia's sister hotel Apa Villa Thalpe is right on the beach about a 15 mins tuk tuk ride away. The sea views are stunning, especially at sunset, and they have all the facilities you could need including another fabulous pool.

Though you can't swim in the sea right there, 20 mins walk along the sand and rocks takes you to a great palm fringed beach with sunbeds, bar, restaurant and safe swimming, also a perfect spot to watch the surfers when the waves come in. Get a tuk tuk if you're not up for a bit of a walk though.

I know people have said it's hard to find but if you follow the directions on the website you should have no problem. I'd also read mosquitos might be a problem, but if you use anti mozzie spray it's fine - we actually found you need it wherever you are in Sri Lanka not just inland. Galle is about 25 mins away in a tuk tuk, Mirissa around 40 mins.

Hans the owner of both Apa Villa hotels has travelled most of his life and put his wealth of experience into providing something exceptionally special for travellers like us who seek chilled out charm, style and value. We loved it so much we extended our trip and stayed on.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank breakfastatthebeach
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Apa Villa Illuketia

Property: Apa Villa Illuketia
Address: Illuketia Watta | Wanchawala, Galle, Sri Lanka
Location: Sri Lanka > Southern Province > Galle District > Galle
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#6 Romantic Hotel in Galle
#6 Family Hotel in Galle
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Apa Villa Illuketia 3.5*
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A villa hideaway with five suites set in 12 acres of garden and ponds. A luxury that our guests can discern on arrival. Only 15 minutes from Galle town, going to Illuketia is a return to nature and plantation lifestyle. The splendid mansion with original wooden temple doors, carved window frames and Oriental-style furniture is drawn out of a traveller's journal. A swimming pool in the far end of a lush garden allows a dip while watching birds and monkeys at close range. Three differently styled bedrooms are placed around a courtyard fish pond in the main house and two other suites are located in a separate Pond House. Each room varies in size and outlook, with its own walk-in wardrobe, sitting area indoor or outdoor. The Hibiscus Suite is considered the master room with a long private balcony lined with cushions and facing tall jack trees and rice fields. There is a separate walk-in wardrobe and en-suite bathroom. The Lotus Suite is aligned long and spacious with a walk-in wardrobe and en-suite bathroom. Windows look out to a water channel and flowering trees. The Citronella Suite is cozy and comes with a dining table and chairs in a private open-air verandah. It has its own wardrobe and en-suite bathrooms. All rooms are air-conditioned with additional ceiling fans and power points. The villa serves organic rice from its own rice fields, fruit, herbs and vegetables from the garden. Apa Villa's Sri Lankan Curry Rijstafel Dinner is all-time favourite among guests.. Apart from this, there is All Day menu of snacks, light meals and tea service. Evening meals are from an A La Carte with our stewards serving in the traditional sarong and tunic outfits. Booking for long-term of Pond House and whole villa welcomed. Illuketia and its grounds is ideal for weddings, anniversaries and birthday celebrations or groups with special interests like bird-watching, workshops, mahjong, painting and photography. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Apa Villa Illuketia Hotel Galle
Apa Hotel Illuketia

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