The big trip

Cape Weligama hotel review: your Sri Lankan villa with a view

Enjoy a taste of the high life in a private clifftop villa, surrounded by lush tropical gardens

On a glorious headland at the southern tip of Sri Lanka, Cape Weligama presides over a coastline of coconut groves, soaring cliffs and sandy beaches.

The resort itself is an idyllic collection of 39 terracotta-roofed villas and suites, as well as 13 swimming pools, set in 12 acres of tropical gardens. Elegantly furnished, the villas feel private and secluded, their wide verandahs and private gardens nestling behind hedges of hibiscus and bougainvillaea. 

The spectacular Moon Pool (below) – a 60m crescent of water on the very tip of the headland – is open to all guests, as is the family-friendly Cove Pool. Other pools dotted around the grounds are shared between only a handful of guests.

Cape Weligama, Sri Lanka

Resplendent Ceylon

What to do

Weligama itself is a small seaside town whose beaches are the main attraction for visitors. The Cape Weligama resort sits between two of them: the east beach, with its refreshment shack and watersports centre, and the more private west beach, accessed by a staircase built into the side of the cliff.

The ocean is warm and perfect for swimming. While strong waves and currents can be challenging on other parts of Sri Lanka’s south coast, a large reef protects the east beach – and, further out to sea, provides an endless stream of breakers for local and international surfers.

Borderlands, the watersports centre, can arrange surfing lessons and diving courses, or rent out kayaks and stand-up paddle boards. Sunset cruises and whale-watching expeditions can also be arranged. But no one would judge you if you never left the confines of the resort. The spa, the pools, the gardens and your private verandah may well offer all that you need.

Cape Weligama, Sri Lanka

Resplendent Ceylon

Further afield

Cape Weligama is a 40-minute drive along the coast from Galle Fort (below), an enchanting town with a history that dates back almost 2,000 years. It’s the kind of place you could spend a couple of days exploring on your own – or alternatively, the crew at Weligama can arrange for a knowledgeable local guide to seek out the hidden history of the narrow cobbled streets.

While Sri Lanka’s larger tea plantations are in the central highlands, its lower-lying slopes are also well suited to some varieties. Handunugoda Tea Estate, less than ten miles inland from Weligama, produces small quantities of high-quality virgin white tea in a factory it describes as a “living and working museum”. Much of the machinery is 150 years old.

Galle, Sri Lanka

Holden Frith

What to eat

Afternoon tea is an institution at Cape Weligama, not least because its parent company, Dilmah, grows and produces a wide range of fine Sri Lankan teas. There is no finer place to enjoy them than on the terrace of the Cape Club bar (below), overlooking the ocean, as you while away the afternoon with a selection of sandwiches and cakes.

Main meals are served around the corner at the Ocean Terrace, a gorgeously high ceilinged restaurant with huge windows and a wide verandah. The menu is Sri Lankan-accented, making the most of the fresh produce harvested from the surrounding land and sea, but encompasses a range of European and Asian classics.

Cape Weligama, Sri Lanka

Holden Frith

When to go

Weligama is warm all year round, with average highs hovering around 30C most months. Sharp showers are possible at any time of the year, but the driest months are January to April. The most sustained rains come during the monsoon season, which runs from September to November. However, Sri Lanka’s weather is unpredictable – increasingly so – and it may be worth taking a chance on off-season break.

Booking details

Rooms available for two people sharing from about £310 per night on the Resplendent Ceylon website. The hotel can arrange transfers from the airport to Cape Weligama. SriLankan Airlines flies non-stop from London to Colombo from about £840 return. Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad fly via the Middle East from several UK cities, from about £550. 

One of the guest villas at Cape Weligama

One of the guest villas at Cape Weligama

Holden Frith

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