Sri Lankan Sunday Times columnist Royston Ellis had this to say about his recent trip from Colombo to Galle and his time spent at Templeberg Villa.
“I heard about Templeberg purely by chance. It is a newly renovated holiday bungalow built in 1864 in five hilly acres of coconuts and fruit trees and lush wilderness just a few minutes from the Colombo to Galle exit of the Southern Express Highway. Thus, peace and simplicity is only 60 minutes by car from the cacophony of Colombo Sri Lanka.
It’s the ideal Sri Lankan country retreat for a writer or a painter to work as there’s nothing else to do there except contemplate nature. Of course, if you’re on holiday in Sri Lanka, there’s plenty to do – explore Galle Fort, laze and booze on Unawatuna beach or nip into Colombo for nightlife.
I visited Templeberg Villa Galle because I have been asked by the sponsors of the inaugural Templeberg Residential Writing Fellowship to be a guest judge. The Australia to Sri Lanka Fellowship is being offered in conjunction with Writers Victoria to an Australian writer to stay in the Writer’s Cottage at Templeberg for one month, with air ticket, accommodation, meals and a stipend all provided.
Cottage in Galle Sri Lanka
The Writer’s Cottage Galle looks like the perfect place for a guest, whether a writer or not, who wants to be independent but also enjoy the facilities of the main Templeberg bungalow.
The bungalow Galle has only recently opened for guests. For decades it was owned by a Sri Lankan German family, who acquired it from its British planter owner and who used it for holidays. Now it is run as a guesthouse Sri Lanka to give visitors a taste of plantation life although it’s so close to Galle. Visitors to Sri Lanka from Hong Kong, France, New Zealand, the USA and Italy have already found the place and made it their holiday base here.
It’s very well suited for families. The kitchen is open so guests can help with the cooking, and even take Sri Lankan cooking lessons from the lady who cooks amazingly fragrant local dishes. Menus are prepared after prior consultation with guests. There is cold Sri Lankan tea, refreshing cold cucumber water and local juices available on demand.
The master suite of the Villa leads off the entrance veranda and is furnished with original colonial furniture including a four-poster bed and a wonderful almirah of wooden latticework that keeps the air circulating inside it so clothes don’t get musty in the humid climate.
Guests of Templeberg can cool down too in the small pool in the garden. It was a former lotus pond filled with rubbish when the new owners moved in. They have converted it into a water filled space with boulders left in place as seats for chilling out as the sun sets.
Meals are taken in the semi-open parlour with a view of the inner lawn and are prepared using locally grown ingredients where possible. Three bedrooms lead off the corridor running alongside the lawn and these are suitable for families or friends as, at present, they share a bathroom.
The bungalow is full of surprising nooks and crannies with antique furniture originally in the building, augmented with the owner’s own treasures and some gaudy paintings. There is even a rustic Jacuzzi tub in the water tank tower.
Colombo to Galle
Getting to Templeberg from Colombo is easy. After leaving the Galle exit of the Southern Expressway, turn left at the first set of traffic lights into the Akuressa Road. After driving about 300m the first lane on the left leads you up hill to the plantation gates and the curving drive up to the bungalow”
Why not consider a last minute trip to Sri Lanka.
Templeberg Bungalow, Kaduruduwa, Loressakanda, Wanchawala, Galle; tel: 077 7108477; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; www.templeberg.com