Grand Openings: One for Galle

<< Back to Robb Report, The Travel Issue 2009

British colonists introduced the sport of cricket to Sri Lanka in the mid-1800s. Today, the best place to bat and bowl in this cricket-crazed former colony—located 19 miles off the southern coast of India—is the city of Galle, the home of the island’s finest stadium, which was rebuilt following the December 2004 tsunami. Galle is also the setting of Sri Lanka’s best new hotel, Tamarind Hill.

Tamarind Hill is the latest effort from Taru Villas, a boutique hotel company with four properties in southern Sri Lanka. Located about five minutes inland from Galle proper, the 11-room, two-suite hotel occupies the former residence of the P&O ferry line. Taru Villas’ founder, Sri Lankan designer Nayantara “Taru” Fonseka, transformed the 200-year-old manse while retaining the atmosphere of a typical ancestral home, or walawua. White walls, spacious verandas, and Dutch artifacts accompany Sri Lankan punkahs (ceiling fans) and paintings that depict daily life in Galle.

Outdoors, the property’s namesake tamarind tree takes center stage against a tropical backdrop of jungle and river. When the temperature rises, however, the most welcome feature of the hotel’s lush landscape is its modern infinity pool. Tamarind Hill, +95.777.?005.500, www.taruvillas.com ($220–$1,500)

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