An absolute gem and a home away from home. With the warmest welcome from Luay and the team, we know we simply have to return!
– Grace, visited in March 2018
Villa Raha is a very special spot, where smart, slick design and thoughtful touches meet friendly family hospitality.
Nestled in a converted house on a small residential street between trendy Colombo 5 – popular with expats and locals alike – and the buzz and bustle of Colombo 3 and 4, Villa Raha is perfectly positioned as a base for wanderers eager to get a sense of life in the island’s commercial capital.
Great service and plenty of local know-how should have you strolling from hip hangouts for an aromatic cup of coffee to hole-in-the-wall spice and samosa vendors. Had your fill for the day? Retreat to the comfort of your stylish suite to chill out and unwind.
Previously a family home, Villa Raha has been converted into a cool contemporary boutique hotel, with six spacious suites set over two floors. A modern luxe style pervades throughout, with minimalist decor and sleek, soothing tones, metallic surfaces and lots of mirrors. Sumptuous comfort is high on the list here, and big cosy beds are topped with crisp 500 thread count cotton sheets, whilst there is ample storage for travellers keen to unpack.
Each space is uniquely designed and bathrooms ooze understated chic, with huge rain showers and fragrant toiletries. Step directly from the Poolside Suite into the water, hide away on your private balcony for a late-night game of cards in the Terrace Suite, or take a long soak in the Crystal Suite’s bathtub.
High-tech rooms are also equipped with all the mod-cons, from refreshing air-conditioning to flat-screen smart televisions – and a Bose speaker system, if you’re in the Poolside Suite. Brew yourself a cup of coffee, pick something new on Netflix and nibble the complementary chocolate for absolute bliss.
Drinking & dining
Dig into breakfast at Culinary Craft, the hotel’s lush outdoor café – with swing chairs for those eager to sail into the day – or in the cool of the recently renovated air-conditioned basement restaurant.
We’re huge fans of the menu here. Delights include the delectable breakfast bowl, topped with peaches, mango, dates and coconut honey. Fresh juices abound, and there’s no shortage of tea and coffee to kick off the day. Delicious lunch specials – from baked crab to beautiful bruschetta – are outlined daily, while afternoon tea is a real treat – an indulgent affair with all the trimmings.
Culinary Craft has recently launched an exciting dinner menu, so there’s plenty of delicious options on-site – and the pretty courtyard makes for a ambient evening hangout.
There’s also a wide array of great restaurants nearby. Whether you’re eager to gobble some of the city’s best pizza, sample spicy Sri Lankan curries, or to munch on Japanese-inspired cuisine, you won’t be short on choice.
What to eat
Poached eggs with smoked salmon are a favourite, and the stack of pancakes drizzled in melted chocolate is a sure-fire winner!
Villa Raha’s smart suites are centred around a small swimming pool, perfect for cooling off from the city heat.
Keen to top up your tan? Head up to the garden terrace to catch some rays on the sun loungers or the outdoor seating area, surrounded by verdant tropical plants.
Within easy walking distance of the cosy cafés and laid-back eateries of Colombo 4 and 5, as well as the buzzing shops and snacking spots of Galle Road, Villa Raha is ideally located for those seeking to explore Colombo on foot.
Marvel at iridescent sarees in Wellawatte, feast on kotthu in Bambalapitiya, step into bright Hindu kovils and white-painted Buddhist pagodas, and fill your bags with ethical handloom crafts at Selyn.
Venturing further afield by three-wheeler or Uber is also swift and simple. The property’s wonderfully friendly local team are on hand with invaluable suggestions aplenty for discovering the city – do speak to them for suggestions.
Things we love
• A great location: you’d never guess this contemporary space was hidden away on a little side street within walking distance of leafy residential lanes and local eateries.
• The pool offers a welcome chance to cool down in a sticky city
Things to note
• The pool is at the centre of the hotel and there is little space around it. Those travelling with small children will need to be watchful.
When to visit
Colombo is a brilliant city to visit year-round, though the heat and humidity peak in April and May. The monsoon seasons are generally expected to fall in May – June and late-September – October – though they have shifted in recent years. Prepare yourself for the possibility of hiding inside galleries, cafés and restaurants as the rain pours!
Location & information
The journey from Bandaranaike International Airport to Villa Raha takes around one hour by car. For more information about getting to and from the airport, check out our travel tips.