Words: Kirsten Durward Photos: Monica Tindall
Water vistas, tropical foliage and sultry air are the overwhelming impressions on arriving at The Lagoon Villa near Negombo. The peaceful location on the edge of a magnificent lagoon belies the convenience of this property, only 20 minutes from the international airport. Taking advantage of the half acre of land, The Lagoon Villa is spacious and airy, providing accommodation for up to eight guests plus relaxation areas. Rooms can be booked separately or families and friends can take the entire property. A small pool in the garden enhances the property, but the main attraction is the position, right on the edge of the lagoon.
Arriving late, we instantly relax into the calm serenity that pervades The Lagoon Villa. The sounds of nature flutter through the verdant surrounds and the perfume of frangipani lies softly on the warm night air. The villa is spacious and light, with natural archways leading from room to room, ending in a large open verandah that overlooks the lagoon beyond. Twinkling lights on the horizon are the only evidence of life, and everything settles down into a restful breath. Local young coconut is offered to slake our travelling thirst, and the refreshing cold juice is an instant reviver after the dehydration of plane travel.
Our large room on the second floor, with its clean lines and romance of mosquito net echoes the expansive feeling. Peeking out at the open-air terrace, I look forward to waking up to water views. But it’s been a long day and there is one thing on my mind bed! A quick rinse in our adjoining bathroom, then gratefully we sink into the comforting mattress and slip off into a sound, sound sleep.
Waking in the morning we are greeted by an array of colour, as pink strands thread through the pale blue sky beyond the lagoon. The early light reflects and twinkles in the water, as small fishing boats cross the expanse like dragonflies skating on a lake. The lagoon’s natural ecology is an ornithologist’s paradise, being host to a myriad of bird varieties, visible around sunset and sunrise. Sitting outside in the fresh morning air we are witness to several bird types floating past or searching for insects in the surrounding foliage. Be sure to bring your binoculars, if you’re not already hooked on this peaceful pastime, you may be soon!
In the early morning, a walk or cycle ride along the lagoon to Negombo is a splendid visual treat, as of hundreds of fishing trawlers return from the night time’s catch to unload in the energy and buzz of the daily fish auction. Later in the day the town wakes further to become a bustling shopping and business centre, the highlight of which is the Saturday night Bazaar. Evening reveals a very different side to the small town, just a short taxi ride from The Lagoon Villa will satisfy nightlife aficionados with the buzz of bars, restaurants and a whole host of fun activities.
But let us not skip through the day quite so fast, for the delights of breakfast are yet to be enjoyed. Breakfast is prepared by the entertaining caretaker Jude MacMillan, known to his friends as ‘Mac’. Ask Mac about his life and you will be swept away on a magic carpet of surprising tales and wonderful local information. Our plentiful breakfast includes a spread of freshly prepared local fruits, which burst with flavour and wake up the taste buds. We both agree that the pineapple and paw paw are some of the most delicious we’ve tasted. I enjoy my omelette, which was made just how I like it, with a hint of spice. Eggs are cooked to order, so ask for what you like too. In addition to breakfast, Lagoon Villa also offers a limited menu of lunch or evening meal. As Mac says ‘when I am here, nothing is a problem.’ But guests staying more than a couple of days may want to shop at a local market or enjoy one of the many restaurants in Negombo town.
Lagoon Villa’s secluded location, just 45 minutes from Colombo means that guests can bask in the luxurious peace of nature, but still easily access the historical sites of Sri Lanka’s signature city. We found that it makes an excellent hopping off point for further exploration in the tea plantations of the north. We wish we could have stayed longer in this relaxing ambience, but duty calls and we are heading for the hills of Kandy.
Reasons to visit: privacy and the serenity of nature; lagoon vistas; bird watching; convenience to airport. .