The place was great, it was right on the beach with a lovely pool and big garden. the staff was non intrusive and very polite. we got the entire place and it was very private. there is a very big garden as well. all in all its highly recommended for a big crowd.
The villa was spacious although dated and in need of refurbishment. When it rained couple of the rooms had leaks. One over the bed luckily we were able to move around. Also we were not impressed by our welcome. The manager wasn't there the staff didn't introduce themselves. We were not told which rooms had a safe and a couple had hair dryer but we were not told this either. Electric sockets didnt work in some of the rooms and there were problems with the air conditioning in some of the rooms. When the manager finally came he didn't even introduce himself. I think he should be sent on a hospitality course. What would be useful would be a folder explaining who staff are and what services provided. The chef was brilliant and quickly learnt how to make Indian Masala tea and poached egg. We enjoyed the sri Lankan curries she made.
The villa has a house dog and cats this should be in the brochure some people may have allergies.
Perfct villa to chill with a group and have your privacy. Personnel is superfriendly and an excellent chef. Close to dutch fort and other nice things in the south of Sri lanka.
TOLATS is excellently located at Pitiwella Boosa, a short distance between Hikkaduwa and Galle and both are easily accessible by bus and tuk tuk, an authentic Sri Lankan experience not to be missed! The fares are very cheap and both stop outside the main entrance to the property.
Pitiwella Boosa is not a tourist magnet like Hikkaduwa or Galle and this adds to its charm, especially as it fringes a wonderful stretch of beach that is practically all yours and shared with the local fishermen.
Over the main road from TOLATS and a short walk inland, you come to the railway track which again provides cheap, really cheap, rail access to Galle; 30p for first class or third class for 5p. It was fascinating to walk along the railway tracks which when the train isn't coming acts like a makeshift path for the locals; the locomotives travel so slowly it is easily possible to get out of their way! We were the only tourists walking about the village and everyone we met was so friendly, welcoming and eager to try out their english as we were in trying to learn some Sinhalese. More of that later!
However once at TOLATS, there was little reason to venture far because the property was like a quiet secluded oasis amidst the hustle and bustle of village life where despite the large group of 14, there was so much space for all of us to chill out and do our thing whether that was swimming in the sea or the refreshing swimming pool, enjoying Mojitos at the Reggae Bar next door, visiting Galle, Hikkaduwa and the spa down the road, doing some yoga taught by the yogi who visited from time to time, or simply reading, relaxing and making use of the wifi.
As all of us were foodies and loved sinhalese food, Yosanthi was a real gem. Not only is she a most wonderful cook preparing meals to order but she also welcomed us to venture into the kitchen whenever we wanted to see how everything was prepared and put together.
Many cocktails were made during our stay and it was great to have so much help with making the lime juice (we bought a few wooden lime squeezers as souvenirs!), crushing the ice, whizzing the mangoes, bananas and so on. The fridge was also constantly topped up with beer and soft drinks.
Some evenings, Yosanthi would prepare some bar snacks to go with our evening drinks in the gazebo where we would watch the fisherman go out in the boats just before the sun went down. Magical.
Each morning at breakfast Yosanthi would ask what everyone wanted to eat that day. Later on fish, meat fruit and vegetables would arrive fresh from the market and turned into a banquet or feast at lunch and/or dinner. The way it works is that you order the food, the team buys it at local rates, you pay them at no mark up, and then it is cooked or prepared on your behalf. Despite eating out at different places in Hikkaduwa and Galle, we could truly say that no where did we find better local dishes than at TOLATS especially the seafood including lobsters, crabs and prawns. And the hoppers, poppadoms and dahl were all so delicious.
Nothing was too much trouble for Yosanthi and her team (including the adorable dog,Pulli) who were all helpful and friendly and went out of their way to make our stay a memorable one.
Siri, the manager was always on hand daily to oversee and make sure that all was well. He was able to arrange excursions such as whale watching or provide drivers (attached to the property) to take us wherever and whenever we wanted to go for very reasonable rates. Siri, like the rest of his team are so friendly and nothing is too much trouble.
The rooms were all of a high standard; they were large, clean, comfortable and air-conditioned. Housekeeping was done each day, again by Yosanthi and the team, and never was their any pressure for guests to vacate rooms if they wanted to sleep in.
As the property is right on the beach, two steps and you're on it, it was reassuring to know that security although discreet was always ever present day and night so you never had to worry about locking up your valuables the whole time (i.e. mobile phones, laptops etc.).
Before our arrival at TOLATS, we travelled from Colombo to Kandy to Nuwara Ella to Mount Lavinia, in all about five days. Wim, the owner was wonderful in arranging this tour for us (we arranged the hotels) and Saman, our driver was brilliant, like a close friend of the family; even to this day we still exchange texts. Saman knows the country like the back of his hand and knows all the places to visit. For example, we didn't have time to do the whole Kandy to Colombo railway trip so Saman dropped us off at one station, we did a three hour journey, and he was waiting down the line at another station to pick us up.
If you're wondering what to do when you visit Sri Lanka, I can't recommend enough that you contact Wim and ask him to suggest a tour for you at the beginning or end of your stay at TOLATS; the relatively low cost of having your own driver to take you wherever you want to go at your own speed is a great way to see the country. Above all, when it comes to the crowded tourist attractions such as the Golden Temple in Kandy, no queues for us because Saman would disappear and return moments later waving admission tickets in his hand. Also when it came to bargaining with locals, yet again Saman was always there to lend a hand. We all learnt so much about the country from Saman and we were all so sad to say goodbye when he dropped us off at the airport.
We all had a fabulous holiday in Sri Lanka and especially at TOLATS, where we would have no hesitation in returning again one day. I am only sorry it has taken this long to write a review but as you can see, my memories of our stay there seems as if it happened yesterday.
In closing, and I hope it is correct: Obata Stutyi!!!
Everyone had a great time on our stay at the villa. The villa and their team was able to accommodate our entire party for the night, and provide a great dinner as well. The rooms were clean, the staff were very helpful and catered our every need. Many thanks to everyone involved in making our stay a memorable one
The sea front location is superb and the rooms and shared facilities were of a high standard for our relaxing holiday and family reunion for 15 adults plus 4 teenagers.
The flexibility and standard of service provided by ALL the staff was nothing short of excellent. The villa's 'unique cuisine concept' provided all our food needs and gave us an enjoyable flavour of local Sri Lankan food. General admin and security were low-key but effective.
We had a group of 10 adults and 8 children ranging in age from 1 year up to 8 years old stay this past March. We couldn't ask for anything more. There were plenty of beds for everyone and the amenities were exactly as described. The staff was absolutely amazing, they took care of our every need and the food was fantastic. Ashanti, the cook, made delicious meals as we requested and introduced us to some amazing Sri Lankan curries. Siri, the landlord, helped us with everything we needed including travel and deliveries of food and beverages as needed.
From the minute the kids woke to the time we put them to bed they were in the beautiful and well maintained pool. The location is perfect as well. It's away from the hustle and bustle of the larger cities and resorts so the beach is essentially considered a private beach. But we weren't to far from Galle or Hikaduwa to take advantage of the sights (only 10 minutes by tuk tuk).
Everyone had such a great time and can't stop talking about planning our trip for next year.