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“Absolute bliss!”

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Apa Villa Illuketia
Ranked #12 of 23 Hotels in Galle
Athens, Greece
Level 3 Contributor
24 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“Absolute bliss!”
Reviewed 2 April 2014

We spent two nights at this stunning property and I wish we had weeks to spend here. Villa Illuketia is one of those rare and special places to stay that make you feel privileged simply to be there. I can only say that it is a magical place: A beautiful and authentic colonial plantation villa with a deep veranda and stunning interiors full of fantastic antique and cotemporary pieces. The epitome of class, good taste and romantic ambience! It is located in beautiful and lush countryside, surrounded by endless tropical gardens full of fruit trees and spectacular birds. The large swimming pool, in a secluded spot of the gardens, some distance from the main house, is a wonderful spot to spend a few hours. The sense of peace is absolute and a world away from the noisy Sri Lankan beach resorts. A rare combination of history, natural beauty and pampered comfort. Our suite, the Hibiscus suite, has a beautiful private veranda with a gorgeous sitting area overlooking the forest and the rice fields. A gem of a room! There were quite a few ants in the bathroom due to the lush tropical surroundings, but after our remark the staff sprayed and cleaned everything very efficiently. Nothing is ever a problem here and every request is satisfied immediately. Food in Illuketia is absolutely first class and the dinner menu changes every night. The highlight has been the Japanese dinner, possibly the best Japanese food I ever had! Everything is very personal and you feel that you are treated as a private guest, not as a customer. So refreshing after the drab anonymity of the usual resort hotels. The heart and soul of the property is the wonderful owner, Mrs. Cynthia Wee-Hoefer, a most charming and cultivated person who takes personal interest in all her guests and makes sure that everything is perfect. It was a pleasure meeting her and we had lots of enlightening conversations. That is what I call a truly gracious host. Overall, Villa Illuketia (together with sister property Apa Villa Thalpe right on the ocean where we spent one night) has been the highlight of our Sri Lanka trip. I look forward to return!

Room Tip: Try the Hibiscus room with the fantastic private veranda.
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
8 Thank kostam2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ApaVillasGalle, Owner at Apa Villa Illuketia, responded to this review, 7 April 2014
Words cannot express our gratitude with this glowing review by Kostastravel and we feel honoured and privileged to have guests like him at Illuketia. Our staff will be very pleased to read all the positive points mentioned.
We sincerely hope to welcome Kostastravel once again on his next visit. The best reward for the owners and staff is to engage our guests as we would in our own home. We certainly enjoyed the enlightening company of Kostastravel and his travel companion and how they spread their cheer to the other villa guests.
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132 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
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  • Value
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (42)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Swedish first
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English first
Tilaran, Costa Rica
Level 4 Contributor
23 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 April 2014

The personal service and attention are fantastic, the food wonderful, the quiet and peacefulness of the property are remarkable. If possible, ask about the many different plants in the garden and do a garden tour. An keep an eye out for all the wildlife. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay.

Room Tip: Ask for a room in the main house, if possible away from the stagnant pond that unfortunately attract...
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank SarchasmHopper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ApaVillasGalle, Owner at Apa Villa Illuketia, responded to this review, 7 April 2014
We are delighted to receive this review by SarchasmHopper and we thank him for summarising his stay at the Pond House. While we do our best to provide maximum comfort we cannot avoid the insects that are attracted to light in the night. As SarchasmHoper pointed out, we are in close proximity to wildlife and have to live with the inhabitants. Thank you once again for choosing Illuketia.
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Chepstow, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 February 2014

This was our second time staying at Illuketia, and probably won't be our last. We stayed fro 11 nights this time. We had 2 children, one and four with us and they loved it as much as us. The staff were first class and were great with the boys. They made up a cot and little bed for them and cooked child meals to order, all at no extra cost. The gardens and grounds are amazing, with a whole host of animals, birds and plants. The selection of food is very good with a different main each night.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank Chippymitten
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ApaVillasGalle, Owner at Apa Villa Illuketia, responded to this review, 17 March 2014
We are delighted that Chippymitten gave us full marks for his review on Illuketia. Thank you for the glowing words and descriptions and we are sorry that getting to the estate was rather inconvenient.
We are awaiting permission to put up a finished signboard at the entrance of the side lane from the main Akuressa Road.
We hope to welcome you and your family on the next visit and look forward to your personal recommendations of Apa Villa Illuketia to friends and associates.
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Toronto
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 February 2014

I agree with some of the other reviewers that Apa Villa Illuketia is a bit secluded and hard to get to, but when you do, it will be worth every minute you spent being lost!

The villa is an ex-plantation house and divided into several suites that share a common living room and a beautiful verandah that runs around most of the house.

The Hibiscus suite where we stayed is the largest and probably the most impressive one with a private verandah overlooking rice fields of the Illuketia village. It's lovely to wake to the villagers walking their children to school or tending to their cattle.

The other suite that impressed us a lot was the Citronella Suite. It is a smaller room but has a lovely little private garden and a sit-out overlooking some wonderful jackfruit trees. On humid days, the smell of jackfruit hung heavy in the air and it made everything smell so sweet! Oh and the antics of the monkeys will keep you entertained for hours.

There is a beautiful Buddhist temple right outside the gates of the Villa and in the evenings and early mornings one can hear the chanting of the Buddhist monks…I have never felt more at peace. One evening my sister and I decided to walk to the temple and have a look around. Not only were we given the most gracious tour, but we were given an audience with the residing head monk who gifted us three books on Buddhism. Not once were we asked for a donation or a gift - nothing. These books were given us with a pure heart and we were so grateful.

Meals at Apa Villa are simple and wholesome. Please don't forget to try the ginger tea, it's the best tea I have ever sampled! If anyone from Apa Villa is reading this, please, oh please, let me have your recipe!

Sumith, the main person at Apa Villia is wonderful and very capable…it was so nice getting to know him.

On the day we checked out of Apa Villa Illuketia we decided to visit their sister property at Thalpe which is on the beach. It's an equally nice property but more resort-like. Illuketia takes you away from the usual beach destinations and offers you the opportunity to pretend you're a successful plantation owner with miles and miles of grounds to enjoy and preside over.

Thank you Ranjan, Sumith and the rest….we promise to return some day!

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
7 Thank Lotus777
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Shanghai, China
Level 5 Contributor
69 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 February 2014

I booked this hotel when it seemed that all the nice hotels in Galle Fort and on Unawatuna Beach were booked up. Booked in December through Agoda and had no problems checking in last week of January. Yes, the villa is hard to find--it's tucked down a long dirt road. It would have been nice if there were better directions on the website. The condition of our bathroom was "shabby chic" or perhaps "benign neglect."

Pros:
Lovely, lush, verdant setting, grounds very nice for strolling, and wraparound veranda makes a great place to enjoy a drink.
Large, comfortable beds, proper mosquito netting
Spacious rooms
Staff are relatively friendly and helpful, some far better than others
It's very quiet at night

Cons:
Courtyard facing rooms are not immune to noise in the morning
Our room (Lotus Suite) had a skylight and windows facing the ouside and the inner courtyard; there were shutters for the bottom half of the windows but not the top. No one could see in, but the sun poured in - tough for light sleepers.
The tuk-tuk driver that the hotel called wanted to charge 700 rupees to go to Galle when it should cost 400
On check-out, the hotel claimed that their office was closed and they couldn't get to the credit card machine (at 11am on a Monday morning)
We wanted to pay a 4,800 rupee bill with a 5,000 rupee bill and they claimed not to have 200 rupee in change.

For a romantic getaway, yes I could recommend this hotel--but be warned that it is at least 15 minutes from Galle Fort and 20 or so from Unawatuna Beach.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
4 Thank crosby372
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney, Australia
Level 5 Contributor
81 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 February 2014

We booked this hotel in November. We were debited for this stay on 25th January. We found out the night before there was no rooms for us, The manager informed us his contract with Agoda was terminated on December 16th. Party of four. No where to stay. Had to go to Colombo for accommodation. Very very disappointed with the total lack of communication from Agoda.

Stayed February 2014, travelled with family
Helpful?
3 Thank GlennG G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ApaVillasGalle, Owner at Apa Villa Illuketia, responded to this review, 14 February 2014
We deeply regret what happened to Mr. Glenn and want to take this opportunity to advise all Tripadvisor readers to visit our hotel website apavilla.com and click on Booking and Rates to book directly and get our own booking confirmations. Another option is to send an email enquiry to booking@apavilla.com.
Agoda.com ignored our termination notice in December and despite our repeated reminders continued to accept advance payments and new bookings without our reconfirmation during the peak season. Due to our full house occupancy in December and January, it created an embarrassing dilemma for all parties involved.
We sincerely apologise to Mr. Glenn caught in the middle of the non-compliance of the booking agent.
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Singapore, Singapore
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 February 2014

The Illuketia benefits more than most from TripAdvisor reviews because it will help steer beachgoing and convenience-seeking tourists towards other properties. The rest of you, keep reading. Gardens that are deceptively large and diverse, including flora and fauna. An old black-and-white manor house akin to Alkaff Mansion in Singapore or the E&O. Creative landscaping and homey artistic touches that make the verandahs and interior square inviting. The Illuketia is a long exhalation. For those looking for that simple quiet beautiful spot, it really works. After decades of Pico Iyeresque travel, there are only two places where I had this awakening.

Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
Helpful?
1 Thank Ee_and_zz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ApaVillasGalle, Owner at Apa Villa Illuketia, responded to this review, 6 February 2014
We are so heartened by Ee-n-Zz's appreciation of our inland plantation house as it is precisely the reason why we have opened the doors for guests who will find inspiration and quiet in the gardens and living space.
We hope to see the family again and perhaps, for a longer stay to write that next book or to read in the cocoon of our Illuketia confines. Thank you for your kind words.
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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 District > 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:
#6 Family Hotel in Galle
#6 Romantic 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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