I stayed at this villa with a work colleague for 2 nights over a weekend on a work trip to Sri Lanka. We had been working in Colombo & decided to travel elsewhere for the weekend, settling on Unawatuna, & the Secret Garden having seen it in the Lonely Planet book.
The driver who brought us here found it a little difficult to locate, but the friendly locals pointed us in the right direction immediately. We arrived fairly late on a Friday evening and were made to feel very welcome by staff who came and carried our bags into our rooms and then showed us which places would still be open to grab a bite to eat.
The villas are located a few hundred metres from the beach, inside a private, gated garden. We visited at the end of the low season so we didn't get all day long beach weather, but the beach in Unawatuna is wonderful, like a little slice of paradise, & the sea is warm! Unawatuna is relatively under-developed at the moment, which is lovely to see, but there are various bars & restaurants along the shore so there is a good choice of places to eat & drink.
I stayed in the villa on the very right as you walk onto the patio area & my friend had the adjoining villa (I think these were Moanah & Maymoonah), so the two of us shared a bathroom. The bathroom was partly outdoor (but with a high wall so no one could see in!) so yo can shower under the stars! Upon our arrival, the staff lit incense, and prepared the rooms for us (putting the mosquito net down & bringing out extra bedding), showing us around, which was a lovely touch.
The room that I stayed in had a book case containing books (mainly English & German) which other travellers had left behind, and there are seating areas outside the rooms where you can relax. The staff were lovely and would bring over tea, etc if you wanted it.
When we stayed at the villas, there was only one other guest so it was very quiet, but I can't imagine it ever not being quiet! The breakfast is freshly prepared each morning & tastes delicious! Fresh fruit, bread and scrambled eggs.
There is a small dome room in which you can attend yoga classes (I think they were offered twice per day) for a small fee with a teacher who comes in. It is also possible to book masages, which will be given in this room. I paid around $ 20 for an hour-long full body massage.
The rooms can get quite dark, but we didn't spend a huge amount of time in them during the day! There was a power cut on our second evening which seemed to affect the whole street, but the staff were again very helpful immediately placing candles all around the garden (which looked lovely!) & bringing them to our rooms.
It is easy to reach Galle from the villa - usually there are tuk tuk drivers around the hotel entrance for the brave travellers amongst you! We took a 2 hour ride with one driver who took us to a jewellery shop, around Galle and to a Buddhist temple, charging us about $10. Beware though - you'll be offered rides every time you leave the hotel after that!
Overall, I'd really recommend this place. We paid around $ 60 per night for a double room which, although not the cheapest place in the area, I considered really good value, & if I should ever find myself near Unawatuna again, I'll definitely be going back!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Secret Garden is an oasis within the lively coastal village of Unawatuna, just 20m walking distance from the beach. It boasts a 19th century Dutch-Sri Lankan Colonial Villa with bungalows and suites and a 4000sqm tropical garden. In the middle of the garden rests a large dome, offering 2 daily yoga classes, an on call Ayurvedic therapist for massage and wellness therapy as well as free space for dance, meditation and music. Our staff is courteous and warm. A large tropical breakfast is available daily at all times, and our two chefs are lovingly prepared to cook a great eastern or western meal for you on pre-order. Secret Garden provides relaxation and serenity alongside the opportunity to dive into the blue ocean of one of the country's most popular bays, experience the myth of the Rumassala Mountain and dance away at Unawatuna's many beach bars. May all be Welcome! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Secret Garden Villa Hotel Unawatuna
- Secret Garden Hotel