Reviews and Quotes

“This is what a haute hideaway should be: tucked away amid villages and piercingly green paddy fields outside the colonial port town of Galle, Illuketia is an oasis of cool, calm and culture. The rooms: Hibiscus is the best of the four that surround the interior courtyard of the main house. Lounging on its spacious terrace at dusk, with a lime-and-arrack cocktail in hand and monks chanting in the distance, transports one to another era.
The food: Sri Lankan curries revolve around the variety of ingredients, and Illuketia grows all of its own, from jackfruit to red rice, organically. The wine list is more than decent, and the creamy watalappan, a spiced creamy custard served with fresh curd, will satisfy any sweet tooth…”
- Newsweek January, 2006



“For our spread, Illuketia’s senior cook Krishantha and his team prepared a bounty of local facourites: curries like okra, beetroot, banana root and pumpkin, as well as staples like chicken curry. In Sri Lanka, spicy flavours are countered by astringent, so a toe-curling clear lemongrass and ginger soup was chosen to cleanse the palate. The local red rice which is less refined than white rice and full of flavour, balances the savoury curries and salads. It’s a culinary adventure not to be missed.”
- Singapore Home and Décor, October 2005.


. . . It's a very sensual place - a grand country house, only a 15-minute drive from Galle, that feels as if it's the last outpost of colonial civilisation. It's surrounded by a dense, ever-approaching tropical forest and from its plush verandah you can watch iridescent birds preen and jungle monkeys play.
You can also listen to koi carp splashing in ancient ponds and enjoy the fine fragrance of the house speciality, a raft of aromatic curries, wafting out from the kitchen. It's a heady mixture, made reassuringly comfortable by the graceful style and quiet organisation of the staff …
- By Johnny Morris, “Trail Grail” The Telegraph, May 28, 2005.

“Can’t think of many places on earth that come so close I imagine is Paradise – It is difficult not to love EVERYTHING about Illuketia – the place is magical and the Pond House is a world in itself … Thank you for a wonderful and truly rejuvenating time – I feel like I am re-charged and born again!
- Guest Book entry, 27 Nov. 2004 Sirla Chatterjee.

“This estancia-style house is 20 minutes inland. The atmosphere is hazy and wild and offers a relief from the constant roar of the sea. Illuketia feels like a beautiful secret, an escape from everywhere and everyone. The garden is endless. Blissfully, fabulously romantic.”
- UK Tatler, April 2006.

"One of the 5 Best Plantation Houses worldwide" (The Independent)
The villa has been reviewed and rated as one of the 5 Best Plantation Houses worldwide by The Independent newspaper UK and featured in Condé Nast Traveller, The Times of London and many publications worldwide.





'Living in SriLanka'
Photos by James Fennel, text by Turtle Bunbury THAMES & HUDSON, 2006
ISBN 13-978-0-500-51287-6
ISBN 10-0-500-51287-6
(Apa Villas on pages 106-111 and 174-181)

'Sri Lanka Style'
Photos by Dominic Sansoni, text by Channa Daswatte
ISBN 13-978-0-79460060-0
ISBN 10-0-7946-0060-3

'Inside Asia'
Photos by Reto Guntli, text by Sunil Sethi
Taschen GmbH, 2004
ISBN: 3-8228-1441-5
(Apa Villas on pages 140 to 151)

Quotes from our guestbooks

April 2005

“Thank you all for a wonderful, however, short break at this fantastic villa. The hospitality and delicious food was appreciated. Good luck to you all and keep “blackie” in the comfort he is used to!”
-Vivien and Eric Carter
Mcrecambe, United Kingdom


October 2004

“Illuketia is an ideal place for artistic inspiration. Thank you Management for a more then perfect weekend.”
-Indra, David, Tom and Maya


October 2004

“We had a wonderful time, enjoying the views, the gardens, the food, and the incredibly friendly and helpful staff. And of course the Management’s ever-present helpfulness.”
- Jeff Lunitead and Debbie Shaipe


November 2004

“I came to chill out and did, that goodness you can’t get toddy in London otherwise life would be one long siesta. I’d recommend this place for anyone of a weird disposition”
- Mark Graborski


November 2004

“Paradise: idyllic escape… Illuketia and Apa Villa were both intimate and an out of this world experience. Being a part of nature within a beautiful home is special it feels very personal which is the magic behind the place. From the hearty smiles of the staff, to exquisite cooking, my soul feels rested and refreshed. Thank you Management.”
- Hana


January 2004

“We arrived to the sounds of a Farinelli playing, entered a courtyard that takes one’s breath away and spent the next two days taking in every variation of green in the paddy fields and trees around us. The staff spoiled up silly – the food was fantastic. There are many visions of paradise – this marvelous home is the best one.”
- Rahul Jacob


December 2006

“We are sad to be leaving this oasis of relaxation after 2 weeks touring Sri Lanka. We Will take home many enriched memories of Apa Villa: the rolling surf of the ocean, the delightful setting and not least the discrete yet excellent service offered by all the staff. Thank you all with every good wish for 2007”
- Janet and Derek Boult


March 2007

“To the management and staff of the delightful Apa Villa’s! We couldn’t have asked or dreamt of a more perfect location and atmosphere for our beautiful wedding and following honeymoon! The whole experience was a dream in paradise, with every wish catered for. We now have the most sparkling memories to begin our married life with, and the best excuse in the world to return to Sri Lanka and Apa Villa for future anniversaries! Thank you so much for everything”
- Kim and mark Norton (Newly-weds!)


November 2003

“Please can I come again? This time for much longer, to relax in the space, the shade, the lovely people… and the sound of waves at night. Heaven…”
- Lisa Geiger


April 2004

“What a fantastic way to finish our Sri Lanka tour. Only shame is that we only had 2 days – next time we will be back for much longer”
- Meg, Mimi and Claire


November 2005

“There are not enough stars to do the justice in the name of Apa Villa. This is our paradise on earth and the happy memories will last forever.”
- Jemma and Steve Wylie


October 2006

“Many hotels and villas accept children but my little tribe of 4 have been welcomed with such open arms and wide smiles it has made Apa Villa a wonderful family destination”
- Paul and Lizzie Hudson


January 2007

“To everyone at Apa Villas, thank you all so much. We have enjoyed our stay here enormously. It is the most wonderful setting, a dream holiday. The staff have been exceptionally attentive, pampering to our every wish, which with eight children in our party is one mean treat!”
- David, Dlu, Henrietta, Hugo and Rory Church


January 2007

“Watching the fishermen at the sunset over the sea – a memorable experience.”
- Annie and Nick Dosh


March 2007

“To everyone at Apa Villa, Please don’t change anything - it is perfect, a beautiful setting, wonderful food, charming and friendly staff we have been treated like royalty.”
- Natasha and Toby Greig


March 2007

We have adored every second of our time in paradise
- Anne and Charlie Spear


November 2005

“…A slice of heaven on earth…”
- Brad Former


July 2006

“We are very surprised to find such a ‘home’ so far away from home! We didn’t need any excursion of trip to make: everything we need was here, beautiful nature (birds, monkeys, flowers, butterflies, fireflies). Excellent service nice people and very good food!”
- Henk and Jacqueline Bosman


March 2007

“This is an unbelievably beautiful place. Enjoying the cooling pool and sea breeze, great for children as well. Thank you so much.”
- Rog, Rie and Ryan


April 2005

“Thank you is not enough. We have had the perfect holiday. The beach, food, and nature: a true paradise.”
- Ken and Chris