A gorgeous little hideaway in a beautiful villa set within a lush tropical garden. Peer at the monkeys swinging through the trees, take a dip in the pool and head out to explore this very special corner of the south coast.
– Saskia, visited in October 2019
The eagerly awaited offshoot to co-founder Abedin Sham’s much-loved Abode Bombay, Abode Ahangama is a relaxing retreat on a winding lane just a few minutes’ walk from some of the south coast’s most striking beaches. Creative craftsmanship and the sensitive restoration of a Danish-designed 1950s bungalow makes for a seriously special space — and a new south coast favourite.
Abode’s secret, in our minds, lies in the little extras pulled off so charmingly: free tea, coffee and fresh king coconuts upon request throughout the day, pool towels laid out on loungers before we asked for them and a citronella oil burner brought to our bedroom door in the evening.
Plans for expansion are underway, with treehouse-like ‘pods’ to be built nearby, and an Abode café on the beach – but the current offering is already idyllic!
Having retained much of the bungalow’s original layout, Abode has three beautiful rooms and one larger suite with a private seating area, making for an enchantingly secluded feel. The focus on sustainability and social responsibility is evident throughout the villa: rooms are decked out in restored vintage furniture and the pretty, queen-sized four-posters were specially designed and made by local craftsmen. Spacious bathrooms are a a real highlight, too: indoor/outdoor, with wonderful rain showers and deliciously scented coconut-based artisanal toiletries.
We stayed in room 101, where a cosy bedroom opened onto a glorious bathroom, where we showered amidst tendrils of ivy in the bright tropical sunlight. Thoughtful touches abounded: from Ikat eye-masks and a monochrome water jug to sweet hemp slippers and an excellent local map, brimming with suggestions of what to do and where to eat.
We found the villa to be cool and breezy throughout the day with lots of natural light and air, while fans and A/C ensure fresh evenings for those who want them.
Feast on fresh fruit smoothies at breakfast with avocado on toast, yummy shakshuka or tasty Sri Lankan specialties. Speak to the staff the evening before for a seamless morning meal.
A lovely selection of salads and seafood are available for lunch, and the team are full of nearby recommendations for the evenings — some smartly sent over on WhatsApp when we arrived.
Abode does not have a liquor licence, but they are happy for you to purchase your own alcohol and to drink it on the premises, as outlined in their excellent in-room guide.
What to eat
We sipped tea and nibbled on papaya, pineapple and watermelon topped with buffalo curd and treacle, before filling up on glorious egg hoppers dipped in dhal curry and spicy okra.
What to drink
Tea, coffee and fresh king coconuts – take your pick! Or bring back a Lion lager from the local liquor store for the perfect poolside afternoon.
Abode boasts a beautiful 18-metre swimming pool, set amidst swaying palms and frangipani trees and flanked by loungers made of recycled teak. We glimpsed a troupe of monkeys swinging overhead, a bright blue kingfisher surveying his surroundings and lots of little birds flitting from branch to branch. A fairly idyllic place to chill out with a cup of tea and a good book!
Kick off your morning in the hotel’s outdoor gym — the only one in the area — or organise a massage in the Spa Room. Locally-based practitioners offer a range of therapies, including Ayurvedic treatments and deep-tissue massages, in a restful setting.
The hotel’s in-room mini-map is the ideal starting point to getting out and about, and encourages guests to speak to staff about the possibility of helping out with socially conscious community initiatives in the area.
Amble to the nearby yoga studio, or walk ten minutes to Ahangama’s stunning secret beach cove for a refreshing dip. You’ll find great eateries — Citra and The Kip — within the village itself, and you can catch a striking sunset from The Lighthouse.
Ask the hotel staff to arrange a three-wheeler to nearby Weligama or Kabalana for surfing, cafés and great little bars. Venture further afield to see turtles in Habaraduwa, or to historic Galle Fort (40 minutes) for a day of shopping, eating and exploring. This is a wonderfully buzzing stretch of Sri Lanka’s south coast, and there’s no shortage of things to do.
Things we love
• Gorgeously appointed spaces: simple, clean lines and lots of clever touches
• A relaxed eco ethos, including plenty of help-yourself water in cute little cups and refillable coconut-based toiletries.
• A calm and restful hideaway vibe — yet just minutes from the beach and plenty of places to eat/drink
• Brilliant staff: friendly, adaptable and full of recommendations whilst also allowing guests their privacy.
Things to note
• There are mosquitos aplenty: bring your own mosquito spray, or ask the team for a citronella oil burner for your room.
• Dinner isn’t currently offered in the hotel, but there are countless bars and restaurants a short walk or tuk ride away.
When to visit
Sri Lanka’s south coast is in season from November to March. The hotel is open year-round, but the island is at its hottest in April and the off-season sea may be too rough to swim. A great excuse to make the most of the pool!
Location & information
The journey from Bandaranaike International Airport to Abode Ahangama is around 3 hours by car — the hotel are able to arrange transport on request.