“Laid-back boho bliss, with delicious bites, peaceful vibes and a secret cove just down the road – what more could you want?”
Visited in April 2018 & February 2020
Gathering hand-crafted furnishings and carefully chosen decorative touches from makers, artists and artisans across Sri Lanka, The Kip’s owners have mastered the art of laid-back minimalism.
Think rattan seating, terracotta tiled floors, woven lampshades and naturally-dyed textiles – all adorning a restored villa that’s flooded with sunlight, tropical breezes and chilled vibes for days.
Owners Phoebe and Seddy came to the island from Australia and Italy. Caught in Sri Lanka’s spell, they set about creating their own sustainable oasis – and the result is a petite retreat that’s perfect for slowing down on the south coast.
So check in, kick back and take off your watch: the Kip is a thoughtful slice of paradise.
Set around an open-air courtyard, the Kip’s main house features three beautiful rooms. Each is chic and unique, with white-painted walls, tiled floors, original art and neat, eco touches – from netted beach bags to terracotta water pots.
Looking for a little more privacy? Head to the jungle garden and you’ll find a similarly styled studio nestled between banana and avocado trees. Boasting a little treehouse and a hanging chairs, it’s ideal for hideaway couples.
We stayed in Queen Room #2, which benefits from french doors that open onto the front verandah, letting heaps of light and air into the cosy, conscientious space. Double doors lead to a small, boho bathroom, complete with natural toiletries. Spacious and cool, the room is perfect for relaxation.
Equally lovely is Queen Room #1, which sits just across the open passage, whilst the Deluxe Room at the back of the house – on the other side of the courtyard – includes a much larger bathroom. The Deluxe Room and Studio also feature air-conditioning.
Drinking & dining
The Kip specialises in epic veggie brunches, making the most of fresh, seasonal produce from the property’s own gardens, as well as the surrounding area. Feast on fruity smoothie bowls and sip a turmeric latte as you savour homemade spreads, tomato and mozzarella salads, warm croissants and raw vegan cakes. This is food that’s good for mind, tummy and soul.
Nestled between palm trees, The Kiosk is a sunny spot to reflect after a morning surf or to natter over lunch with friends. The café is also open for dinner on selected evenings — do book your place in advance for tasty treats, including excellent pasta inspired by Seddy’s Italian roots.
Keen to connect? Evening supper clubs and cookery classes are a chance to gather at long tables and meet interesting people, embracing The Kip’s contemplative community ethos.
Facilities & activities
This is a soothing, soulful spot made for unwinding in the sunshine. Pick a perch at the café, gently swing back and forth in the hammock, or curl up on the big courtyard cushions whilst the rains beat down.
The on-site shop champions sustainable Sri Lankan makers: pick up linen clothing, hand-made ceramics or natural lotions for yourself or friends back home.
Fancy a dip? Stroll just a few hundred metres to a sheltered secret cove — the team will happily point you in the right direction — where you can paddle in the tranquil shallows or lie back on the sand in picturesque surroundings.
A short three-wheeler journey west and you’ll find yourself in the heart of bustling Ahangama, where there are hip cafés and funky eateries aplenty, as well as expansive Kabalana Beach, which is great for a surf.
Tours of Handunugoda Estate promise a enlightening insight into the island’s highly lauded tea industry. Further along the coast sits striking Galle Fort, brilliant for history, culture, food and shopping. Or head east, through the surf and yoga spots of Midigama, to enormous Weligama Bay. Lined with cafés and boutiques, this is an immensely popular coastal town. It’s also an excellent place to learn to surf: small, regular swells ensure you’ll get plenty of practice.
The Kip also hosts all sorts of events and workshops, from pottery making to poetry evenings. Speak to the team for their latest pop-up plans, as well as recommendations on the area’s best hidden gems.
• Brilliant brekkies & brunches
• The sustainable focus and slow living vibe — great for a restorative island stay
• The nearby secret cove is one of our favourite swimming spots down south
• The exciting programme of creative workshops & events
• The café is open Tuesday to Sunday for brunch (8am – 3pm), and dinner reservations need to be made in advance. There are also attractive eateries within walking distance!
• Two rooms have air-conditioning (the Queen Deluxe and the Studio). The other rooms do not, so may feel hot in April, when the island’s heat reaches its peak. There are large fans and lots of windows to keep things cool, though.
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 might be too rough for swimming or surfing.
The tiny bay at the end of the road, however, stays calm enough for shallow swims all year round. Do bear in mind that there are rip tides in Sri Lanka – do not swim out to the more distant rocks whilst at the little swimming spot – the sea is stronger than you might think!
Location & information
The journey from Bandaranaike International Airport to The Kip takes just less than 2.5 hours by car via the expressway.
There are also regular train services running between Colombo and Ahangama, via Galle – see our travel tips for further info.
Ahangama, Sri Lanka
Quote Lanka Hideaways when you book direct for a free slice of cake from The Kip’s café.
Images courtesy of Maike McNeill & Charline Catteuw