A chic sanctuary
Maya - Commune with nature and luxury

Text Tina Edward Gunawardhana Photos Siyath Ranathunge



Just outside of Tangalle near the island’s south coast is Maya, a beautifully secluded boutique hotel in a hybrid colonial-contemporary style. Maya (or illusion in Sanskrit) is situated in two acres of tropical gardens, overlooking lush verdant rice paddies. This stunning villa set amidst Sri Lanka’s unspoilt countryside is flanked by rippling landscapes of paddy fields and rustic village life.
Formerly known as the Aranwella Walauwwa, this Sri Lankan Manor House traces its origins to the late 19th and early 20th century.

The interiors pay dutiful homage to its Dutch and British period features while it blends seamlessly with its new contemporary interior and original design accents. The restoration and renovation of the villa was done in collaboration with architect Pradeep Kodikara and its owner Niki Fairchild who is an interior designer by profession. The villa has five impressively luxurious bedrooms. Two in the old house and three in the new wing. All rooms open onto the indigo hued 20m L-shaped swimming pool. The rooms have an element of colonial chic with each room having a private courtyard with a tiny neatly manicured garden with beautiful tropical foliage.

The bathrooms are spacious and are equipped with powerful rain showers. Thekka and Khumbuk are the rooms in the old house and include a luxurious custom designed king size four poster bed. The three rooms, Amba, Ehela and Kohomba in the new wing are also equipped with handmade deluxe kingsize beds with teak furniture. The interiors subtly reflect the heritage of the mansion and there is ample evidence of attention to detail.The rooms all have an air of intimacy and refinement.

The cuisine at Maya is second to none. It prides itself on offering a traditional Sri Lankan rice and curry. A veritable smörgåsbord of delicately spiced vegetables, pulses, meat and seafood, the spread is both sumptuous and scrumptious. Guests are encouraged to discuss menu options with the chef. Seafood rates highly on the menu at Maya as the villa is only a few kilometers from Tangalle where the fishermen bring in their catch which ranges from tuna and crabs to lobster and prawns. The menu also has several traditional Sri Lankan staples such as stringhoppers, rotti and hoppers too. For those who seek western and eastern cuisine there are several options on offer.

There is also a yoga pavilion at Maya which doubles up as a spa. Yoga instructors can be booked to conduct a variety of yoga classes. This is specially popular amongst overseas guests who consider Maya as a place to indulge in yoga during their vacation. For those who wish for spa treatments, trained masseuses are available to conduct a variety of spa treatments. Hammocks are scattered around the property along with comfy chairs so that guests can sequester themselves and absorb the beauty of nature that abounds. Peacocks strut across the property along with a few migratory birds. The pin drop silence that engulfs the property is only punctuated by nature’s serenade of rustling leaves, clicking cicadas and birdsong. Dips in the ambient waters of the pool can be swapped for games of croquet or pétanque on the lawn or cycle rides down foliage lined lanes bursting with local wildlife. Contrary to its Sanskrit meaning of illusion, Maya is by no means an illusion. An idyllic location coupled with superb cuisine and excellent accommodation, guests to Maya are assured of a tranquil stay which makes it a perfect hideaway for rest and relaxation.