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“Beautiful and Tranquil Jungle Garden Retreat”

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Apa Villa Illuketia
Ranked #15 of 26 Hotels in Galle
Reviewed 27 May 2014

Our original intention was to stay within the Old Fort area in Galle but, with our initial choices fully booked, we ended up at Illuketia. And what a piece of luck that was as Illuketia is a truly magical place. The Old Fort is an easy 15 – 20 min tuk tuk ride away (the hotel staff will arrange at short notice) and so I can’t really see why you would want to stay in the Old Fort when you can spend the day there and then return to the tranquility of the lush, jungle gardens of Illuketia, surrounded by countryside and rice paddies. I appreciate some reviewers comment that Illuketia is isolated but we never felt we were too far away from anything and the feeling of peace and seclusion was a real bonus. Illuketia is an exquisitely beautiful property. We stayed in one of the Pond House rooms, a short walk through the garden from the main house and fine for 2 adults and 2 young children. Furnishings in the room were a little rustic but that sort of added to the charm. We spent many hours watching the birds, monkeys, lizards and other wildlife from our swing chair overlooking the pond. You feel as though you have the whole gardens to yourself and there is also a lovely swimming pool. If you want to be by the beach this is also no problem as they have a sister property at Thalpe, a pleasant 15 mins taxi / tuk tuk drive through the countryside, where you can spend the day and have lunch. We ate evening meals and sometimes lunch on the veranda of the beautiful main house at Illuketia. Food was excellent; the evening menu was set but there is also a good lunch menu you can choose from and the chef always accommodated with suitable meals for our children. The restaurant does not have an alcohol licence but you can easily arrange for your own beer and wine which they will keep cold for you. The staff were very friendly and helpful, both in advance of our arrival (when arranging transport) and throughout our stay. A big thanks to Meegama and the other staff for looking after us so well.

If you are looking for peace and relaxation but not too far away from Galle and the beaches, I thoroughly recommend Illuketia as it really is something different and special.

Room Tip: The 2 rooms in the Pond House are separate from the main building, a short walk through the gardens...
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  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with family
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4  Thank Widelytravelled45
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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47 - 53 of 142 reviews

Reviewed 16 April 2014

This Is a really difficult review to write as I think you will either love this place or find it not quite your taste. We stayed here for one night as a family of four. We were in the pond house suites and when we arrived they only had one ready.
It is converted colonial buildings set in 9 acres of lush gardens, teeming with birds and wildlife. Our son absolutely loved it as he explored the grounds looking for water monitors and monkeys, of which he found lots!
We however found it a bit isolated and restricting to be "trapped" there! The pool was distinctly uninviting! As were the surrounding loungers. It you want to be cut off from the rest of the world and are at home with the abundance of wildlife, then this is the place for you!!!
The set menu for dinner was expensive so we opted for a light bite and they were accommodating to provide us with this at the time we requested. Breakfast was fine, usual choices.
We had to occupy 2 separate rooms so split up to be with a child each. Not sure if there are any family rooms as there had been a mix up with our booking and they were only expecting 2 of us! The bathrooms are pretty much outdoors and got very messy as there was a lot of tropical rain whilst we were there!
We found the service a bit on the slow side but in reality time stands still here. If you want to get away from it all and do not mind the wildlife, some of it in your room, them this place is ideal. If you want a something more modern then you would need to look elsewhere.

Room Tip: This is a real retreat and not really for families
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  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with family
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5  Thank kpm350
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 April 2014

Amazing building, incredible gardens, peaceful place, but remember : you'll be very isolated !
It's nice to meet locals if you fancy a walk around. Getting into town , you will need a tuktuk.
Staff are friendly and helpful !

Room Tip: Get yourself ready to fit mosquitos !! Goddesses me, if you not careful they will take you out !
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  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Mrloughton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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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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 reviewResponded 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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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
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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 reviewResponded 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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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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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 reviewResponded 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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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
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7  Thank Lotus777
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

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:
#4 Family Hotel in Galle
#6 Romantic Hotel in Galle
Price Range: £87 - £201 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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