A relaxed, friendly heritage home for the "30 something" wanting to combine sun, yoga and peace of mind. Located in Boussa, a small fishing village before Galle City.
The whitewashed villa faces the sea in a yesteryear manner, surrounded by 5 acres of coconut groves and lush plant life. A stream runs behind the property inviting pretty birds. All ages and, often, single ladies are attracted by the yoga and friendly atmosphere. Villa de Zoysa is not intense Yoga but has an experienced programme of morning yoga sessions and an introductory ayuredic course.
The ancestral home is run by owner "˜Devinda' and his friendly Doberman "˜Sir Jagger', who aim to make guests feel at home and enjoy their holiday. Double rooms can be shared with newly found friends (day 1) or, if you prefer more privacy, yoga, afternoon beach sessions and dinner can be the time to socialise. There is a natural serenity to the open courtyard, which creates ideal yoga platforms and meditation zones.
The villa is comfortably decorated with local art and the occasional antique, harmonious with the organic living. No pretentious luxuries can be found to detract your mind from simple Sri Lankan living.
The best beaches can be found in Unawatuna (20 minutes south and slightly commercial) or Hikkaduwa (15 minutes north and very commercial) as most guests escape for afternoon sunbathing.
Pre-holiday correspondence courses are available for ayurvedic enthusiasts. On site massages are available for all guests for $20 and free if you offer yourself as a guinea pig for those in training!
The front verandah opens onto a courtyard and the adjoining dining room, so a fresh sea breeze fills the house. Upstairs the villa is split-level with 7 rooms of a superior or standard finish, and views to the sea or gardens.
Each of the 4 superior rooms has a double bed with a sprung mattress. Rather ancient mosquito nets and fans are provided. Unwind on your balcony, but be prepared for the peak time trains clanking down the coastline. They are really charming and regular commuters will wave if you join in the fun.
The 3 standard rooms comprise two twin beds and one single. All rooms have adequate storage space but furniture is simple and functional. The standard rooms are often shared by strangers who leave as friends - an ideal way to cut costs if you are working to a budget. Each room has a clean en-suite shower room with piping hot water and fresh towels each day.
TV and VCR are available on request and guests often gather around the lounge or terrace to watch a movie.
A half -board tariff is offered and the chef uses organically farmed fruit and vegetables from the estate and locality to create a very healthy and delicious vegetarian menu.
Dinner is served in the central indoor dining room. Spinach and ginger soup followed by a wide selection of curries, each with a unique Sri Lankan flavour - Fish is offered and Ghee is used in preference to oil. Coriander and desserts of buffalo curd and treacle are encouraged due to their "germ-killing properties'.
Guests usually escape to the beach by noon but occasional lunchtime snacks of salads, sandwiches and fruit are on offer at no extra charge.
Breakfast is a rewarding sight before and after morning yoga. A buffet of fruits, eggs, rotti, hoppers and herbal "Kolakanda soup' (an acquired taste) served on the breakfast terrace.
Fruit juices and tea are readily available but alcohol is not stocked. Davinda is quite comfortable with guests bringing in their own duty free supplies or local liqueurs from Hikkaduwa.
However, heavy drinking does not complement the yoga and negates the detoxification of ayuredic treatments.
Morning and evening yoga sessions for all levels are offered 7am-10am and 5pm-6.30pm.
Experienced English speaking teachers run the classes and at Christmas and New Year Asian renowned "˜Paddy McGrath' runs a well attended course. Yoga focuses largely on Hatha and Astanga styles so "˜Geri Halliwell' followers will be disappointed. Mats are provided and children can join in, if at a controllable age.
All tuition is included within the villa tariff.
Three levels of Ayurvedic counselling are on offer.
An experienced team comprising physician, ayurvedic consultant and therapists will teach students the theory of using basic raw materials, through to practical hands -on therapy.
Please note that ayurveda is a complex and ancient medicine and qualified consultants have usually trained for 5-10 years. Yoga is a key part of ayurvedic treatment, so tuition works around yoga sessions.
For our recommendations on places to visit, activities, restaurants and local transport on the south coast, click here.