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“Phenomenal Boutique Property” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Apa Villa Illuketia

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Apa Villa Illuketia
Ranked #33 of 60 Hotels in Galle
Certificate of Excellence
Chennai (Madras), India
Level Contributor
60 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Phenomenal Boutique Property”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 December 2013

Well, this is not really a hotel in the traditional sense. It has all of six bedrooms. The bedrooms are not exceptionally large as well, although the verandah's more than make up for it. We stayed in two of the rooms in the main building. But staying here is not about your room. This is a royal home with stellar grounds.

This is one of those places where you can stay for many days on end, simply to unwind and relax. You get your self books to read an enjoy nature.

There is a lovely swimming pool in the grounds that will work phenomenally well. The food is simple and tasty. But is is very fresh since most of the ingredients came from the gardens. The fruits and vegetables were excellent.

You can do day-trips to galle and the beach from here and take in the local sights and sounds. Personally, I don't think there is much deep cultural tourism that you can do in Srilanka. The golden triangle is much touted, but I can find exceptional history and culture in Tamilnadu and many parts of India that are far deeper and exciting. Srilanka is a nice place with nice people that offers a great opportunity for easy vacations.

What you cannot expect in this resort like in a five-star hotel
a) TV
b) Bathtubs & spa
c) Gourmet Food
d) Gym

This is a grand villa residence where you can simply unwind and have peace. We stayed here in Dec 2011

Room Tip: The pond rooms might work better if you want to be away from the main house
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 2013, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank NR S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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128 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (41)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Level Contributor
13 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 October 2013

No amount of pictures or photoshopping can give you the real naked-eye view of the beautiful property that is - Apa Villa Illuketia. Everything about this place is absolutely stunning. We just got back from a lovely holiday in Sri Lanka and we stayed here for 3 nights (too less). We got to meet the lovely Cynthia (the owner) who was so lovely and hospitable. We had some lovely conversations and shared an enormous and absolutely scrumptious, fresh seafood dinner on one of the nights - crab, massive prawns and a grilled fish with an assortment of sauces. The dessert was to die for - chocolate mousse with passion fruit pulp - wow! Thanks Cynthia for arranging the crab for us!

We stayed at the Pond House, which is a little walk away from the main house. It overlooks this gorgeous pond with a whole ecosystem of its own! My mother was a little daunted by the prospect of staying away from the main house because Apa Villa is literally in the middle of no where.... but one night, a good night's sleep, listening to the music of the night put her heart at rest. The mornings were so lovely... with the 2 resident birds, plethora of insects, monitor lizard and chameleons.... My daughter who is 2 was absolutely enthralled by everything she was seeing and hearing.

Our room was big - with a massive bed and an outdoor-indoor bathroom (quite interesting). The bed was super comfy. I wish they had more seating in the room and a bathtub in the bathroom (they do have the room for it!) would be absolutely perfect.... oh and a little fridge would be a great addition too.

Try the Sri Lankan breakfasts - with hoppers and curry. Don't miss the curd and treacle! The breakfast fruit platter was also delightful with a different assortment everyday. Yummy mixed fruit juice and proper coffee!

We had such a great time... we're getting withdrawal symptoms. We also visited the sister property - Apa Villa Thalpe, which is by the beach. I guess, it's each to his own... but I preferred Illuketia to Thalpe - more to do, more to see...

I can write a whole essay but I will stop. We loved this place and the people there made it all the more special. The manager, Ranjan too great care of us and Cynthia gave us recommendations on where to shop, eat etc at the Galle Fort. Will be returning again!

Room Tip: Stay at the Pond House for a little more privacy. The main house is lovely too. The Waterlily suite...
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  • Stayed October 2013, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank fazzyk416
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Singsong, Owner at Apa Villa Illuketia, responded to this review, 27 October 2013
It has been a pleasure to have your family of three generations as guests at Illuketia and we thank you profusely for all the glowing things you mentioned about your stay. This is the high point of being in the hospitality business that we welcome our guests as we would our personal friends.
The exchange we have had with each and everyone remains with us forever, and indeed, some guests have kept up the relationship with visits to our home base in Singapore and by email messages.
We also welcome your comments on certain needs in the suite at Pond House and we will provide the shortcomings to ensure that guests thereafter will enjoy the comforts in every way.
Please keep in touch and we look forward to your next visit to Illuketia with your family members and certainly, when you are in Singapore, it will be my duty to welcome you to my home country.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Langkawi, Malaysia
Level Contributor
44 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 October 2013

we stay for a weekend on a quick break in October, what a find! It's only 15 minutes form Galle or 20 minutes from Unawatuna by cab/tuk-tuk and seems a whole world away. Tucked away off the main roads in a idyllic estate which features a philosophers walk, pond, gorgeous pool and amazing flora and fauna. Excellent personalised service with a smile! the place is owned by Cynthia and Hans and you can tell right away it was meant to be a personal vacation home at the beginning. we booked the Pond House which is a little away from the main house and overlooks a lush tropical pond! would recommend for anyone wanting to do Galle or Unawatuna and looking for something different and personal.

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Anahat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Singsong, Owner at Apa Villa Illuketia, responded to this review, 27 October 2013
Thank you Anahat for your kind review. You are right that we treat Illuketia as a beloved estate with a heavy dose of our personal taste and lifestyle so that guests are there not only for a room but an environment of mature trees, Zen-inspired sand garden, water channels, vegetable and herb nurseries and fruit plots. Not to forget the wildlife that choose to inhabit the estate and provide us with moments of awe and respect for nature.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
london
Level Contributor
30 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 September 2013

We booked to stay in the Lotus Suite but were offered the Hibiscus Suite at no extra charge when we arrived. We had a four poster bed and a balcony with sofas the size of our bedroom. The room had air-con, a fan and a separate dressing room.

As a small boutique hotel the staff were very attentive. They helped us with everything we wanted, whether it be a tour of the extensive grounds, bringing coils to the balcony for the mosquitoes etc.

The food is exquisite and some of the best we had during our two week stay in Sri Lanka.

Because the hotel is so small you literally feel like you have it to yourself and it adds to the privacy and seclusion. Most of the time we were the only people at the pool area and had it to ourselves. We enjoyed sitting in the pool and watching the monkey's in the trees.

In terms of matters for improvement, there is only a set menu for dinner. We would recommend that the staff allow guests to choose from the a la carte menu as well as opting for the set menu. The food is so good that you must eat for dinner, but we found it unusual that dinner only allowed for the set menu.

Room Tip: If you can't afford to stay near the Pond then the Hibiscus Suite in the main house is the best...
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank marysas93
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Singsong, Owner at Apa Villa Illuketia, responded to this review, 27 October 2013
We are heartened by the impressions of your stay at Illuketia and we thank you for taking time to write the review. We hope that when you refer our hotel as "small" you must be counting the number of rooms available which is a total of six! To be precise, our estate covers 10 acres of ground and not counting an extended piece of land out of sight of guests.
You are right to say that the dinner menu is limited to a set dinner of international dishes - a starter, a choice of two mains, dessert, hot beverages. However, we provide our signature Rijstafel or Sri Lankan rice-and-curry dinner as a parallel offer to the Dinner Specials. We also have the occasional Singapore Chili Crab Special or Seafood Celebration Dinner when we have a full house occupancy and when we get a supply of live crabs from the northern coast. We are working on a limited à la carte dinner menu for guests who want a light meal.
We are doing our best to be the best kitchen in Galle.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
13 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 August 2013

We are just back from a 5 nights stay at Illuketia. We were travelling with a young infant and were staying in the Pond house, ginger suite.
The place is amazing ! We would definitely recommend to stay in the Pond house to make the most of your stay. It is just a short walk from the main house and you really feel in your private place ! The Pond house has two suites and it would be ideal to occupy both as you share the terrace and table/sofas. Although it was not the case for us, we barely saw the neighbours and could make the most of the place. Especially we were having diner over there as our baby was already sleeping. Ideal ! We were enjoying breakfast at the main house - recommended too as it is lovely and there is a light wind blowing over the terrace.
The whole garden is great, especially all animals you can see were so attractive for our little one.
The food is delicate and well served. The staff is very kind.
And being able to enjoy the sister Apa Villa beach was very nice too. Recommended.
Tough we deplore a few things:
- there is no bath in the ginger suite as pictured on the website and even if we can understand all the reasons for this change, we were disappointed not to be warned in advance (especially with a baby).
- we took diner at Illuketia every night. Out of the 5 evening, they proposed only once a Sri Lankan curry (which was delicious). Chicken milanese and pasta marinara were not really high on our list when visiting Sri Lanka (happily that very only evening they offered to cook typical sri lankan again for us)! But worse they put twice the same menu on the board "because all other guests were new"... Not very tactful we found.
- service at the pool was inexistent every time we went.
- our check-out was hectic. We had a transfer to Colombo leaving at 8.00, booked by the manager. We were not able to leave before 8.40 because the bill was not prepared (for a 5 night stay!) and the manager was not there at 8.00 anyway. Not very professional and quite stressful at the time of departure.

In conclusion, we liked it a lot but were leaving with a mixed feeling... We did not really felt being taken care of...

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Sophie M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
43 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 July 2013

The hotel is a restored house on a tea plantation. They no longer grow tea but there are 10 acres of beautiful gardens, walkways, ponds and a secluded swimming pool. Everything in the hotel is made of highly polished jackwood - you can imagine what the house was like in its prime. There is enormous attention to detail and the staff are all charming. You will not be disappointed.

Room Tip: Ask for a room with a private terrace.
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2013, travelled solo
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Shrewsbury1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Level Contributor
105 reviews
47 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 107 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 June 2013

Out of all the hotels we'd stayed in Sri Lanka, this is the nicest.

We came from Saraii Village (you can see my earlier review about the place), where you can tell the owner hastily put a place together with only one intention, make money; the moment we arrived at Apa Villa, we felt overwhelmed with its beauty and charm.

We took the Citronella suite in the main house for our family, they added a queen bed with mosquito netting for our children (we usually just get an extra bed). The room was lovely, with a huge bathroom.

We could tell the management is very generous by the extra bed they added, the big breakfasts we got, the piles of pool and bath towels in the room.

The house, although an old house, is very well maintained. We love the verandah, which is the main dining area overlooking the garden.

A lot of care and thought has gone into the garden (and the house too), with lush vegetation, full of lovely blooms, and little art pieces here and there.

The children upon arrival, did not want to leave the place for any sight seeing. They wanted to be at the pool, in the room, in the courtyard, anywhere but go out!

We went over to Apa Villa at Thalpe too, the other property by the beach, both are lovely, and should you stay in one, you should visit the other.

We have a couple of meals here, and their tuna burger was something out of this world. If you like fish, this is the dish you shouldn't miss.

Room Tip: All rooms are great.
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  • Stayed April 2013, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank ZarasMama
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
Region: Sri Lanka > Southern Province > 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:
#12 Romantic Hotel in Galle
#17 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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