Bethany 101, Kalpitiya
Among our favourite recent discoveries in Sri Lanka, this whitewashed 19th-century mansion house on the shores of Puttalam Lagoon originally belonged to a family of wealthy Arab traders. It had a major makeover in 2013 but thankfully has lost none of its old-world atmosphere. The property holds only six rooms, whose deep pillared verandas face a meticulously cropped lawn lined with tropical trees and a lovely big pool to lounge by. The décor is in-period, with lots of polished wood antique furniture, stained-glass windows, and framed Dutch maps and drawings on the walls. It’s a relaxing, quiet haven with a sophisticated boutique sheen but none of the formality of a five-star. The food is a real highlight: if you’re looking forward to sampling Sri Lanka’s famously spicy prawns, cuttlefish, snapper steamed in banana leaves and other local seafood treats, this will be a perfect place to start.
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