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Beach House 3

Palagama Beach

Palagama Beach Hotel is located on Sri Lanka’s west coast, 3 hours drive north of the airport, in the relatively unknown area of Kalpitiya.  This whole stretch of coastline has a refreshingly different feel to down south, with far less development.

We arrived early evening and were greeted at the entrance and taken a down sandy path to the main reception and a stunning swimming pool overlooking the Indian Ocean. A delicious cocktail was promptly handed over and I knew this was going to be my sort of place!

Palagama Pool - Tonic Lanka Collection

Palagama Beach is a very cool, rustic, barefoot beach hotel which has a selection of beach cabanas and garden villas. This place isn’t pretending to be anything it’s not and it’s proud of it’s individuality. I loved the authentic feel to the place and there was nothing pretentious about it. Friendly service, funky rooms, great cocktails, one of the best swimming pools i’ve come across, decent fresh seafood and a really lovely relaxed atmosphere.
If you are not precious about gold taps and butler service and just want to find somewhere to relax and unwind then it’s a lovely option, especially on arrival. Funnily enough, the Swiss ambassador and his wife were staying here for 2 weeks for some RnR during our stay. I think they’ve found themselves a little gem, away from it all.

ROOMS

Palagama has three room categories:

Beach Cabanas

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There are 6 beach cabanas which all have sea views. They are rustic, funky and have a really individual style. They are have spacious bedroom and bathroom areas and a nice decking outside.
Rates: Low $145 – Mid $215 – High $260

Villas

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The three villas are set back in the gardens and ideal for families or those looking for a bit more space. They come with 2 a/c bedrooms and a private garden. All are slightly different in style with The Wallawwa being my personal favourite.

Rates: Low $165 – Mid $235 – High $280

Garden Cottages

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These lead-in rooms have been beautifully crafted and infused with a colourful, contemporary twist with polished cement floors and inside/outside bathroom setup.

Rates: Low $135 – Mid $205 – High $250

ACTIVITIES

Dolphin Trip: A real highlight of the stay was heading out to sea for an early morning dolphin trip. The boat picked us up from our beach and took us out to sea for about 45 minutes before we were treated to watching over 200 dolphins as they swam and played all around us.

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Other excursions include:

  • Half-day snorkelling trip.
  • Bike trip around the local area
  • Day trip to Wilpattu National Park
  • Lagoon boat trip
  • Massage treatments
  • Kite surfing

 

FOOD & DRINK

The bar is really funky and a lovely place to head for drinks before dinner. It’s got a slight ‘hippy’ and ‘traveller’ feel to it. But it works and like everything at Palagama it is refreshingly unique.

The restaurant is simple but serves up tasty food and focuses on fresh seafood. Important note: If there are 15 or more guests then there will be a buffet, otherwise it is al la carte. Dinner is US$20 and $10 for children.

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USEFUL NOTES

Whilst it is a beach location, where you can swim in the sea during the high season (lower swell) most guests tend to swim in, and lounge by, the pool rather than on the beach. There is a large factory to the south which is visible from the beach, which is by no means a reason not to go but just useful to be aware. We’ve summarised it into the following:

  • It works really well for those who might want 2 or 3 days of chilling out at the start of a trip.
  • It’s close to Wilpattu National Park (1 hr) for those wanting to do a safari during a stay.
  • It’s an easy drive across to Sigiriya (3.5hrs) for those wanting to head into the Cultural Triangle.
  • Being only 3 hours from the airport it’s a good alternative to an airport hotel.
  • It has individual character and style.
  • Dolphin watching season tends to run from October – March to coincide with the monsoon seasons. This is a really special experience.
  • The sea tends to be too rough from May-September for swimming, snorkelling or boat trips. But there are still plenty of other activities (including kite surfing) and if there weather is nice then it’s still a lovely place to sit around the pool and drink a cocktail or two.