A Christmas offering that will keep giving, Sri Lanka Sotheby’s International Realty is offering up the rare opportunity to acquire an idyllic beachfront property located near the fishing village of Ambalangoda, just 90 minutes from Colombo airport and 30 minutes from Galle. Currently operating as an award-winning boutique hotel, the property - ‘Max Wadiya’ – has the potential to serve as a private holiday villa, an ayurvedic centre or re-imagined for any other commercial purpose. Set on a sweeping, unspoiled and virtually private beach on Sri Lanka’s southwest coast, this 7-bedroom secluded estate is set apart from crowded tourist beaches, with easy access to the highway that links Colombo to southern resorts. High networth tourists are increasingly opting for luxury boutique hotels, citing reasons of privacy, personal attention and to sample local culture in close proximity. In season, the property becomes a nesting beach for Olive Ridley and giant green turtles. A small conservation project on the property, run by the hotel staff, has produced more than 15,000 hatchlings in the last 10 years. Sri Lanka’s southwest beaches are renowned for their warm, placid waters, making them ideal for swimming, surfing and sunbathing.
With just the right balance of natural charm and luxury, the twin-winged exclusive estate is set amidst a luscious tropical garden with a breath-taking infinity pool. The exquisitely furnished rooms open onto westward-facing verandas with stunning views of the Indian Ocean. In the main building, a spacious dining-bar-lounge opens onto a wide veranda leading to the garden. A separate wing has two suites, each occupying an entire floor overlooking the garden and ocean with exhilarating sunset views. A service area including a full kitchen, laundry-utility room and storage space inks the villa and the suites. The 2-bedroom manager’s apartment has its own garden and entrance, sitting and dining area, kitchen and pantry.
Elaborating further, Charles Phillpot - Sales and Marketing Director, Sri Lanka Sotheby’s International Realty, says, “It gives us great pleasure to list this award-winning boutique hotel with stunning vistas of the Indian Ocean, on the market after a 20-year restoration, which makes it a unique investment opportunity. Having just been awarded the Trip Advisor 2018 Certificate of Excellence, this is a fabulous investment choice as rarely does such a well-positioned and successful boutique hotel such as this come on the market. Max Wadiya offers a great experience for the global traveler.”
The history of the restoration of Max Wadiya makes for interesting reading. When the owners acquired the property in 1998, it was a 2-storey antique furniture storeroom. It was redesigned by Justin Samasekara, a leading Sri Lankan architect and contemporary of Geoffrey Bawa, who designed the house to reflect a traditional Sri Lankan style (red tiled roof, cement and terra cotta tiled floors, carved white trim on the eaves, hand-carved ventilation panels), with all rooms and terraces having ocean views. The furnishings and decor were bought from nearby antique stores, reinforcing the Sri Lankan character, as does the garden of sea-resistant indigenous plants. The reconstruction and landscaping took most of 1999, and the building was ready for occupancy on the Millennium eve.
The renovations maintained the original style while opening more space by moving the manager’s quarters out of the building. In 2005, an annex was built containing the two luxury suites and service area connecting the old and new wings by architect Dinuk Senanayake, Justin’s protege. It was designed in traditional style to blend with the original building while incorporating modern features. The entire property encompasses an area of 31,000 sq feet (110 perches), with a living area floor space 5,780 sq feet, excluding service areas and 155 feet beach frontage. The spacious two-story villa has 3 double bedrooms and en-suite bathrooms and two luxury suites in a separate building. A 40 x 20 ft saltwater infinity pool, beautifully-landscaped gardens of native coastal plants and coconut trees, a plant nursery, two outdoor dining pavilions and massage pavilion are available on the property. The broad soft-sand beach, a working coast for local fishermen, is shared with only a handful of other small guesthouses, and foreign tourists are rarely seen.