The Villa Bentota
Bentota, Sri Lanka
At a Glance
Great, good value food in the garden pavilion
A glorious combination of older architecture and modern interior design
Within good reach of Galle and Colombo
A railway line runs between the gardens and the beach: some guests wave at every passing train, but others are less enamoured by the intrusion - we think it's fun but be aware in advance
The gardens provide lots of space, with just 15 rooms there is always room for privacy
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
From May to August the Yala monsoon brings rain to the island’s southwestern half. The southwest has the highest rainfall – up to 4000mm a year. There is also an inter-monsoonal period in October and November when rain can occur in many parts of the island. Colombo and the low-lying coastal regions have an average temperature of 27°C. The sea stays at around 27°C all year. Climatically speaking, the driest (and best) seasons in Sri Lanka are from December to March for the west and south coasts.
A chic and stylish beachside boutique villa, Bentota is set amidst extensive gardens scattered with coconut palms with the Indian Ocean a five-minute stroll away. This newly refurbished, colonial-period villa provides a relaxing and peaceful escape.
The Villa Bentota was formerly `Mohotti Walauwa’, a beautiful manor house, a maze of courtyards and verandas, was originally refurbished in 1970 by Sri Lanka’s infamous architect, the late Geoffrey Bawa. The property is now under the loving management of Shanth Fernando, a Sri Lankan lifestyle designer whose signature design and creativity has transformed The Villa Bentota into an exquisite boutique hotel with 15 luxurious rooms and suites. The property's extensive coconut grove estate stretches all the way up to the beach, but is divided into two sections as a railway line runs across the property. The villa itself is situated within walled gardens ensuring plenty of privacy.
All rooms and suites are stylishly furnished with king-sized beds dressed in fine linen and en-suite bathrooms with rain showers. In-room facilities include LCD TV screens with cable channels, mini-bar, electronic safety locker and tea/coffee making facilities.
The Villa Bentota has plenty of spaces to relax and unwind including an outdoor pavilion by the pool and an exquisitely designed bar lounge. The Villa café serves fusion cuisine prepared with fresh meats, seafood and vegetables purchased daily. There are several other dining options including in the privacy of your own suite, in the garden scattered with coconut palms, or by the poolside. The 75-foot swimming pool is a new addition. The original smaller swimming pool designed by Bawa for Mohotti Walawua still remains within one of the lounge areas and can be used as a plunge pool. Other facilities include The Villa Gallery, where contemporary Sri Lankan art can be bought on its meandering corridors, a quality gift shop; an array of books and board games and complimentary wireless internet access.
Bentota’s beaches are broad and sandy and arguably the most family-friendly on the island. Numerous watersports are on offer nearby at Bentota lagoon including surfing, snorkeling, and jet skiing while all myriad of excursions out to sea, up the river and over land are all on your doorstep.
There are 15 air-conditioned en-suite rooms of which seven are Standard Rooms and eight are Suites. Most rooms and suites have magnificent sea views. The Suites are more spacious and have a day bed that can convert into an additional bed. All suites have a private balcony or terrace with sea views, and some have private plunge pools. The very special `Mohotti Suite’ consists of two double rooms and private living room with surrounding glass windows that allow for beautiful views of the garden and sea beyond.
Children are welcome to come and stay at the Villa Bentota hotel. However, there are no specific facilities available for them.
Facilities include wireless internet access, beach access, two swimming pools, bar/lounge with board games, the 'Villa Café' – Paradise Road menu with optional dining anywhere on the property, the 'Villa Shop' – Paradise Road gift store with 10% discount for residents, the 'Villa Gallery' – gallery space featuring local contemporary artists with art for sale, several lounge areas within the hotel property, the 'Villa Spa' managed by Spa Ceylon Ayurveda offers treatments on appointment.
Activities in and around the hotel include swimming and watersports at the nearby Bentota lagoon including surfing, snorkeling, and jet skiing while there are also excursions out to sea, up the river and over land.
Lucy Black (Staff)
The layout of Villa Bentota makes the rooms quite private. The decor is modern and stylish, and so there is quite a nice contrast between a classic exterior and contemporary interior.
The garden and pool area are very nice. I don't think the train line running through the garden causes any issues, as long as you know to expect it, however it is not going to be for everyone.
Bentota is a great location, as it is only 2-2.5 hours from the airport, versus the hotels on the South Coast which are more like 4 hours away. This means you can be on the beach relatively quickly after arriving in Sri Lanka, or alternatively, not have to leave so early for your return flight.
Clare Monro (Staff)
The Villa Bentota is beautifully designed both in decor and layout. It isn't a block hotel which makes it feel much more intimate and the spacious garden is perfect for relaxing in. The beach is just a short stroll (the other side of the train line, which is quite fun) and is more spacious than the beaches further down the coast. Architecture fans will love it.
Susie Reynolds (Staff)
This is a super stylish property maintaining much of its original charm in a maze of corridors and aged paint work combined with modern but comfortable touches. If I could employ the Fernandos to decorate my flat I would! Overlooking a lovely garden with plenty of private areas to keep yourself to yourself and curl up with a book or catch some rays you can really make yourself at home here. The food was excellent though don't forget to stop at the off license on the way to purchase your own alcohol as they have yet to secure liquor license. Lastly there is train line that runs along the bottom of the garden separating the property from the beach. I rather enjoy the train going by but its worth being aware of this in advance.
Explore Galle Fort
While staying in the Galle Fort take the time to discover this fascinating colonial town, filled with history. Founded in 1588 by the Portuguese, the fort was subsequently occupied by the Dutch and the British, so there is plenty to explore.
Explore the Kapu Ela River by boat & Cycle through Rural Galle
Enjoy a scenic and immersive tour through the beautiful countryside surrounding Galle. Your journey will take you down the Kapu Ela River by boat and then by bike across the paddies, ending with a traditional Sri Lankan meal and a lesson in hopper making.
Galle Fort Tour with a Local Host
Galle’s main attraction is the 17th century Dutch Fort. Much of the old Fort and the township still remain, within its well-preserved bastions including its public buildings, churches, the famous lighthouse and a maze of narrow cobbled streets.
Hopper Cooking Class at Why House
The foodie in you will love this hands on cooking class at the beautiful Why House. A delectable Sri Lankan staple, hoppers are iconic in Sri Lanka and are delicious when served with a range of chutneys, sambols and curries.
Kanneliya Rainforest Trek
One of Sri Lanka's hidden secrets, Kanneliya Rainforest Reserve is an enchanting forest reserve which is home to some incredible wildlife. Within the thick canopy, explore this wild and undisturbed scenery, accompanied by your wildlife tracker.
Sailing & Snorkelling Excursion
Climb aboard a beautiful 48ft catamaran, and sail along the south coast of Sri Lanka stopping at private coves to stand-up paddle board, snorkel over colorful reefs, swim or soak up the sun while your crew take the helm.
Visit a Cinnamon Plantation
Today head to Villa Mayurana, close to Koggala on Sri Lanka's South Coast. Learn about the process of growing cinnamon and the history that goes with it. Still a major export, cinnamon has medicinal values as well as being used in everyday cooking.
Weligama - Deep Sea Fishing
Enjoy some deep sea fishing in the waters of the southern town of Weligama. Perfect for beginners or those more experienced at fishing, let your skipper help you catch some big game fish from sharks and tuna to marlin and swordfish.
Location & directions
Bentota, Sri Lanka
Villa Bentota is right on the beach at Bentota, just off the main Colombo-Galle road, south of Colombo on Sri Lanka's south west coast.
How to get there
10-hour 45-minute direct flight to Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo. From the airport we recommend leaving 2-hours for the journey to The Villa Bentota.