I was sitting on the comfortable bright orange sofa right underneath the three terrace windows that were looking out into the lush green tropical gardens. Two dogs were lazing on the front lawn, and the only noise I could hear came from some lizards that were sunbathing on the stones by the pool and some monkeys further away. No tuktuks, no people, only the sounds of nature. Villa Templeberg was exactly what I needed – the perfect place to get away from it all.Thirty minutes earlier, I had still been on the overcrowded train from Colombo to Galle, and now I felt like I was miles away from civilization. One of the villa’s staff had picked me up at the train and as we left the bustling train station area in Galle and headed out of town, I started to relax. I knew that the villa was sitting on a 5-acre coconut plantation, perched on top of a hill in the middle of the jungle, not much around it. This was exactly what I was craving after a few busy days in Sri Lanka’s capital, and I don’t think I could have chosen a better place to catch up on writing some articles and reflect on the TBCasia conference I had just attended.Villa Templeberg is a small B&B, even though not right on the beach, just a quick 10-minute tuktuk ride from Unawatuna and from Galle, both located on the south eastern coast of Sri Lanka. The property has only six rooms, four of them in the main building and two set in a smaller building behind the villa. The small size gives Templeberg an exquisite feel, and it is possible to rent out the entire villa, which sleeps up to 11 people. I was staying in the Saffron Room, which used to be the dining room of the Dutch-colonial villa when it was still the estate of a working coconut plantation, as it used to be when it was built more than 200 years ago. Now, the spacious master suite comes with a king-size four-poster bed with a canopied mosquito net, a sofa and a small table, and a walk-in closet. Walking through the closet brings you to an even more spacious bathroom (seriously, I have stayed in hotel rooms that were smaller than the bathroom of the Saffron!), complete with a double sink and a big rainwater shower, all held in a simple yet stylish design.I had two nights at Templeberg, but I immediately wanted to extend my stay. Right outside the room there was a small porch with another sitting area, and the main entrance to the villa which led to the other rooms, the dining area, a lounge and a study, another veranda with chairs and a table, and the backyard around which the villa is set. All of this was surrounded by hundreds of coconut palm trees.The villa, which used to be the private estate of a German family until the late 2000s, was bought by Australian couple Brent and Chris and his mother Karen, and turned into a B&B in 2012. I loved that most of the antique Sri Lankan furniture and art have been retained, which contributes to the feeling of time standing still here – even though the villa has all modern amenities you could ask for, Templeberg has managed to keep the rustic character of the colonial estate alive that it used to be for so long.The next morning, I was in for another treat: the home-made breakfast. Local chef Trixie prepared a wonderful Sri Lankan breakfast with Sri Lankan egg hoppers (one of the best breakfast dishes I’ve had anywhere in the world), fresh tropical fruits and Sri Lankan tea, all of which filled me up for the entire day.
I spent my days at Templeberg mainly sitting on the terrace, writing up my conference notes, drafting articles, or chatting with Karen, the on-site host, and Lucy, the writer-in-residence who was spending a month in the ‘Writer’s Bungalow’ in the back. Speaking of which: the Villa is the ideal place for a Writer’s Retreat, something I will keep in mind for the future considering renting the entire villa starts at only $300 per night, depending on the season and the length of the stay. But even just by myself I’d be happy to return for a longer period of time, using the tranquil setting to write undisturbed. With beaches and Galle so close, I would still be able to get my occasional beach day and the amenities of a city.
Stand out features
The swimming pool
Even though I haven’t seen it yet – construction had only started during my stay at the Villa – I have to mention the swimming pool which is due to open soon. A 25 meter (82 feet) long swimming pool right in these lush green gardens – could there be a more perfect place to lounge by the pool in the scorching heat of Sri Lanka? I don’t think so, and I’ll have to visit Templeberg again the next time I’m in Sri Lanka, just to see that pool, and maybe take a dip.The atmosphere at the villa
I simply loved the serene atmosphere at the villa which evoked the charm and romance of a bygone era and made it easy to shake off the strains of the stressful conference and whirlwind tour of Sri Lanka that I had just finished. I loved the tranquility and solitude, and that there was nothing to distract me from relaxing entirely and forget the world around me.
Room for improvement
I checked out a couple of the other rooms during my stay and noticed that the bathrooms were not nearly as nice as the bathroom in the Saffron Room in which I was staying – I would love to see them upgraded as well; but considering that the villa is improving constantly, I am sure that it is only a question of time until these bathrooms reach the same standard as the one in the Saffron Room.
More information on the area
I was only told about the nearby Kuduruduwa Temple and some other attractions the afternoon before I left, which meant I didn’t have time left to visit them. I wish I would’ve been told about them earlier, or that a folder with information on what there is to do and see in the area would have been placed in each room. I have always appreciated these folders in B&Bs I stayed at, which usually contain information on good nearby restaurants and bars, attractions and other useful tips.
Villa Templeberg is the perfect base if you are looking for an intimate, quiet getaway but still want to close to fabulous restaurants, beaches and the UNESCO site of Galle Fort as well as the beach town of Unawatuna. No matter if you are a solo traveler in need of a peaceful oasis in Sri Lanka, a couple looking for some privacy or girlfriends who are ready for a few days of doing nothing other than lounging by the pool with a good book and a glass of wine, get massages and completely unwind, Templeberg will not disappoint.
Location: Babaragoda Road off Akuressa Road, Loressakanda, Wanchaawala, Kaduruduwa Southern Province, Galle, Sri Lanka, 80120
Price: Starting at $95 per double room per night, $300 – $500 per night for the entire villa (can accommodate up to 11 people)
LGBT Friendly: Yes
Digital Nomad Friendly: If wi-fi would be more reliable.
Amenities: Breakfast included in room rate, free wi-fi, swimming pool, tuktuk service, massage room, verandas and gardens with sun chairs, airport transfer possible, half-board possible, free laundry, tour guide bookable
Website: templeberg.com or you can follow Villa Templeberg on Facebook