A romantic gem – heaps of charm, great service and a brilliant seaside spot for sunset cocktails.
– Saskia, visited several times in 2018 & 2019
Taking interior design inspiration from Edward Lear’s lyrical poem, this boutique beach bolthole is brimming with fabulous patterns and bold colours, creating a joyful, celebratory vibe.
Tucked away along a little lane between the coast road and the sea, the Owl and the Pussycat feels like a vibrant little haven, perfect for laid-back days of sunshine, dips in the pretty pool and cocktails as the sun sets over the Indian Ocean.
With just seventeen rooms, the atmosphere is intimate and relaxed, and the wonderful team make every effort to ensure guests’ stays are as special and memorable as possible. A truly charming property, this is one of our absolute south coast favourites.
Uniquely designed and luxuriously appointed, the hotel’s seventeen chic rooms and suites are spread across three floors.
Each named after an element from Edward Lear’s poem, rooms are suitably quirky and cosy, filled with books, plants and carefully selected furnishings which pop with colour and character. En-suite bathrooms boast rain showers, while big beds are the perfect spot for a snooze after a day in the sunshine – but not before a bedtime story, of course.
Standard Rooms, facing the back of the hotel, are appealingly appointed with lively decor and private pebbled patios, whilst the more spacious Piggly Wig and Bong-tree Suites, for instance, offer quirky seating areas and sea-facing balconies, as well as larger master bedrooms and bathrooms.
Signature Suites have open-plan kitchens, while The Honey Pot and The Five-Pound Note share a second-floor balcony and can be converted to create a shared communal space for friends travelling together.
Or for ultimate honeymoon luxury, nab the elegant Penthouse Suite, which promises spectacular sea views.
Drinking & dining
One of our favourite aspects of the Owl and the Pussycat experience, food and drink is served at The Runcible Spoon, with tables overlooking the waves or dotted alongside the pool.
The hotel’s varied menu offers a delicious blend of Sri Lankan specialties and international favourites, with a focus on locally sourced ingredients and plenty of fresh seafood. You are, after all, just moments from the fishermen pulling in their catch.
Feast on a fresh fruit platter followed by scrambled eggs with Sri Lankan roti and a steaming cup of coffee at breakfast, before gobbling a superb fish thali or veggie burger at lunchtime.
Evenings here are long and lovely. Enjoy sundowners on the deck as the sky becomes streaked with pinks and oranges, before night falls and the garden is lit with twinkling lights. Sip a spicy Gingered Owl with local arrack, lime and ginger beer, or enjoy a cold glass of rosé as you savour a fragrant prawn curry or delectable pumpkin risotto under the stars.
Facilities & activities
Enjoy relaxed mornings on your terrace, or soak up the sunshine on loungers in the garden, before cooling off in the gorgeous pool. Curl up on one of the sofas in the library with a good book or unwind to the sound of waves with a massage right by the ocean.
With a wonderfully friendly team on hand to offer excellent service, and great food at The Runcible Spoon, it can be all too tempting to simply while away your days at the hotel itself.
There is, however, plenty of interest in the area. The boutiques, cafés and heritage sites of Galle Fort, for instance, are just 11 kilometres away, along with Galle International Cricket Stadium – undoubtedly one of the world’s most striking places to catch a match.
There are also surf spots aplenty nearby – at Kabalana, Dalawella and Ahangama, to name just a few – for those eager to ride the waves, as well as brilliant yoga classes at Sri Yoga Shala and a lively evening scene with plenty of buzzing bars and eateries in Unawatuna, just 10 minutes away by trishaw.
Things we love
• An amazingly friendly team, keen to go out of their way to ensure guests have a magical time
• Great food and fun cocktails – this is a fabulous spot for a sundowner.
• Picturesque location: you can step directly from the hotel down onto the beach, and walk along golden sands in both directions.
• A relaxed, romantic feel and characterful design, brilliant for honeymooners but also great for groups of friends or young families.
Things to note
• The reef in front of the hotel means guests need to wander a few minutes to the right to find a good swimming spot. It does, however, make for a beautiful and interesting view as fishermen perch on the rocks and the bay is filled with the twinkling lights of little boats at night.
• Standard Rooms, although lovely, are not sea-facing — nab a suite with sea views if you can.
When to visit
Sri Lanka’s south coast is in season from November to March, when the sea is at its best for swimming and surfing. The hotel is open year-round, but the island is at its hottest in April (when the pool is perfect for cooling off). During the off-season, the sea may be too rough to swim/surf and visitors staying during the monsoon seasons (usually May-June and October-November) might have quite a soggy time. That said, the hotel is well prepared and wonderfully cosy when the rain pours.
Location & information
Thanks to a recently opened extension to the expressway, the journey from Bandaranaike International Airport to The Owl and the Pussycat takes around 2.5 hours by car. For more information about getting to and from the airport, check out our travel tips.