This extraordinary villa occupies a tiny, rocky island in Weligama Bay, Sri Lanka. Built in the 1920s by the eccentric Count de Mauny, it has subsequently been home to various luminaries, including novelist Paul Bowles, who wrote “The Spider's House“ here. Totally private and set in two acres of spectacular tropical gardens, this light and airy octagon-shaped house is a traveller's dream. Its elegant colonial furnishings, large wrap-around verandas with 360-degree views, rock pool and stunning swimming pool make you feel as though you are stepping into a 1930s novel.
Rates EUR 1,000 to 2,200 per day for the whole island.
Location Taprobane Island is just 180 metres off the southern coast of Sri Lanka and about 40 minutes drive from the historic Dutch town of Galle.
Accommodation There are 4 double bedrooms with en suite bathrooms - three in the main house off the central hallway and one separate suite. Predominantly white with tiled floors and high, wooden ceilings, they are airy, cool and light. Splashes of colour reflect the sea and sky outside. The colonial furniture (a mix of wood and cane) is as comfortable as the finest English home.
Dining The heart of the villa is the dining room, which looks out across the Indian Ocean. The food is delicious: spicy Sri Lankan curries, salads, fusion and Western foods are all available. Extremely fresh seafood is a speciality of the area – and no wonder, as the island is set off the fishing village of Weligama. Each day, guests order and pay for meals from the staff who buy the ingredients and do the cooking.
Activities & daytrips Float in the beautiful infinity swimming pool that literally juts out into the sea. Diving, snorkelling, rafting, mountain-biking and trekking tours can be organised.
Activities Take a trip to the nearby historic towns of Galle (40 minutes drive) and Matara (15 minutes), both with fine old Dutch forts and lively markets. Visit the nearby Kataluwa Temple with its old murals or the giant 165-foot Buddha at the Wewurukannala Temple, near Dikwella. Depending on the tides, watch the famous stilt fishermen just a few miles west along the coastline. Take a trip to the nearby lowland tea country and visit Koggala Lake and the Martin Wickramasinghe Museum of Folk Art & Culture.
Best time to travel The driest and best seasons are from December to March on the west and south coasts and in the hill country, and from May to September on the east coast.
Getting there Fly to Colombo and from there take a taxi to Weligama (3 1/2 hours). To get to the island, you can make the crossing at low tide. The staff will carry your luggage across, some using the services of an elephant.