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All reviews the main house hibiscus suite lotus pond plantation house tree frogs country lanes sister hotel overlooking rice fields huge trees monkey watching felt warm lush jungle chilli crab sri lanka our tuk tuk driver treacle galle fort
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13 - 18 of 154 reviews
Reviewed 28 January 2018

Wow !
we loved this place.
the whole place has so much character, beauty and charm
we loved the open air bathroom - still very private, and safe from big critters dropping in.
our Lotus room was excellent, cool and clean with superb views and monkeys all around.
These are Purple Faced Langurs I believe, and are curious but fairly shy & non-aggressive, they just bounce and play around in the surrounding trees.
All the staff were efficient and friendly.
it was also a pleasure to meet the owners.
we loved the pool & pond area, and observing a whole discovery channel of wildlife in the area.
We were sad to have to leave this wonderful Villa,
we also hope to return one day.

Date of stay: January 2018
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Marianne S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 January 2018

Having visited the villa last 25+ years ago when it was in our family, this visit was a walk down memory lane. The staff were extremely pleasant and polite, and very indulgent of our reminiscing and wandering around. The gardens are well maintained and the entire place a lovely, peaceful environment for a break from the city. Lunch took a little longer than anticipated but the food was very good.

Date of stay: January 2018
Trip type: Travelled with family
2  Thank ZinamonKveen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 December 2017

An absolutely astounding location and a beautiful villa. We took care of our jet lag with our 2 year-old and the staff were so attentive and wonderful. They took care of our child without asking so we could have our meals in peace. They made a birthday surprise for my husband that he will not forget. Also great monkey watching over breakfast. Breakfast was also superb. Highly recommended, I hope we have a chance to go back.

Date of stay: December 2017
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Mineaminea
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 December 2017 via mobile

We stayed two nights at Apa Villa Illuketia which was wonderful. We had two boys aged 9 and 10. After the sights of Galle it was really great to come back for a swim, game of badminton or chess and escape the hustle of Galle. Gardens are lovely. Authentic and delightful around every corner with interesting art and furniture and very hospitable hosts. Only a 5 min Tuk Tuk ride from Galle. (Thanks Jam - our Tuk Tuk driver) who could always find it. Good food options for kids and adults. Both western and Sri Lankan.

Date of stay: December 2017
Trip type: Travelled with family
2  Thank Curiosity745023
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 December 2017 via mobile

This is an unusual and one-off place, the most memorable of five fabulous places we stayed over three weeks. It's an old, spacious plantation house with soaring ceilings, an indoor pool of carp off which sit the four rooms, beautiful antiques, a wide veranda where you eat, gardens that are mind boggling in their beauty, wildlife galore, and it's all situated about 15 mins by tuk tuk in the countryside near Galle. It is way nicer than it's sister hotel bythebeach, Villa Apa Thalpe which could be a hotel anywhere (see below).

Best bits for us:

1 the hibiscus suite with its huge terrace overlooking rice fields and encircled by towering trees where monkeys came to watch us and eat our bananas at night. Next to the terrace is a bamboo screen, behind which was a sort of pond terrace with a six foot water monitor (giant lizard) living in it. We saw into one other room which was pretty but tiny, so ask before you book. There is also a pond house with two suites looking onto a large lily pond, which is very private.

2 the grounds are like a lush jungle with clear paths cut through them, mossy statues here and there and probably the best pool we have ever seen. It's about a three minute walk from the house, surrounded by flowering bushes, huge trees, monkeys high up, and there is plenty of sun and shade. We also saw mongeese, a huge male peacock flew just feet over our heads, and we saw another water monitor scrambling into undergrowth.

3 we borrowed bikes and went off down the country lanes where everyone said hello. Turn sharp right out of Illuketia's gate and off you go. Also if you turn right just inside the gate and take the lane along the side of Illuketia you walk past small houses, rice fields, ox, and weloved the chanting coming from a monk in the trees who lived in the valley.

4 the two young men who looked after us were lovely, still learning but with such enthusiasm and charm.

5 we had some very nice food, the breakfasts are generous, including fruit, toast, all different ways with eggs including egg hoppers and spicy Sri Lankan omelettes, curd and treacle... There is food available all day if you're hungry, and there's a dinner menu with reasonable prices. We tried the chilli crab but wish we'd known it was the spindly type of crab before ordering it as it arrives as a pile of crab in its spindly shells and it proved too big a challenge for us - there isn't a lot of meat on them and there's a lot of cracking of shell to do. But this was our only disappointment in five days. The coconut pancakes were delicious. Favourite drink was their homemade ginger and lime juice.

6 Our tuk tuk driver Champ, who lives at the bottom of the lane and works a lot for hotel guests. The hotel called him the first time and then he gave us his mobile. He takes you into Galle or wherever, you tell him when you'd like to come back and he meets you, or if you want to change the time you just give him a call.

Other bits and bobs... Galle is a nice place to potter. Galle Fort is the old bit andis basically for tourists but very pleasant. You'll have done it in 45 minutes, and there are plenty of places to eat. The main bit of Galle is the new town, which was destroyed in the tsunami.

The massage at Villa Apa wasn't great. If you want a truly brilliant one, go for Sampath and Sanadmali (spelling??) in Galle at Spa Sandeshaya on Lighthouse Street in a 1930s Art Deco building. It's a modest place and Sampath (a man) is a knowledgeable physio as well as masseur - we went to see him as my husband had a back going into spasm and after two visits he fixed it. We had a massage at the same time - me with Sanadmali (a woman) , who was also brilliant (and I've had a lot of massages over the years). Costs about a third of what it would cost in the UK.

Villa Apa Illuketia has a sister hotel, Villa Apa Thalpe which is better known to the tour companies and drivers (our first driver took us there instead of to Illuketia by mistake and our second driver went there to pick us up by mistake). It's a nice tuk tuk drive down to the Thalpe hotel through the countryside (past the rock temple which was wasn't really worth a visit) where you can use the pool and have lunch. It's pretty but could be anywhere in the world and although it is right on the sea, you can't swim in the sea because the coral (black)will cut you - frustrating because the sea looked clean and felt warm.

We didn't do well at finding a beach. Jungle Beach, where you can swim, wasn't very nice. Tiny, crowded, with rubbish all through the trees. But really, the pool at Villa Apa Illuketia was so extraordinary (and unusually long so you can really swim!) so we didn't miss a beach much.

Don't hesitate, book Illuketia, it is simply amazing.

Date of stay: November 2017
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
4  Thank Bees12hall
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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