My husband, two-year-old son, a family friend and I stayed in Suraj's villa in Balapitiya for five days in November. It was an incredible holiday. The villa is beautiful, just as pictured, and Suraj is an incredible host. He took time from managing his many projects to basically travel around with us, driving us to beautiful beaches we would have never found on our own and even coming on safari with us at Ude Walewe. He was amazing. Please do not expect him to do that for everyone, since he said he was in a place where he needed a break and wanted the time away. BUT we got the feeling he was the sort-of unofficial mayor of Balapitiya, and he can recommend and help you find anything and book anything. We felt secure and happy and safe. If you are traveling with kids or without, this is a great choice!
Here are a few great things about the villa:
- The neighborhood is really great; quiet, very safe and friendly. We had never been to SL before, and wanted a beach town that was not too touristy but was not too remote, and this was great.
- Suraj was incredible in every way
- the breakfasts were outstanding. I can't believe we ate like that every morning (crepes, fresh fruit, smoothies, eggs, curry, etc)
- Can walk to at least three great local restaurants (with English menus) and to the Madu River boat cruises ( we did that twice)
- Galle is about an hour drive, and less for Hikkaduwa and other places. Any elephant sighting is about 3 hours away. We did a wonderful day trip and saw the elephants and it was beautiful. Colombo is about 2 hours.
Here are some things I would want to know when considering staying there:
- It is walkable to a beach, but it is not really a swimming beach. You can take a tuk tuk to many beautiful swimming beaches in 5 minutes.
- Sri Lanka is basically a tropical jungle, and therefore there are creatuers and bugs. The villa is super clean and gorgeous, but it is open to the outside, like all places in SL except stale hotels. So, you should expect to live with some creatures. Bring as much bug spray as possible, expect to sleep under mosquito nets, and don't expect to leave any food on the counter with success.
- Our experience with internet in all of SL was not great. Suraj's place has wifi and you can do basic things, but don't expect to stream movies. He did offer to set up a second router and we didn't take him up, so this is not his fault! Just download your toddler TV shows in advance :)