Sometimes planning a getaway can take more time and energy than the holiday itself. Not if you’re a member of the prestigious Hideaways Club, which combines savvy ventures with deluxe adventures…
Surrounded by Myristica fragrans, Cinnamomum verum and palm trees heaving with dates, the only thing separating you and the valley below is an immense infinity pool. Maliga Kanda, which means Mountain Palace, will ensure you feel blue blooded from the moment you step onto its pristine lawns and gawk in delight at the charming Dutch colonial mansion before you. Greeted by a lovely team of staff and the chants from the nearby 700-year-old temple wafting over the treetops, a shiver of pleasure will run up your spine as it sinks in that this is your home for the next few days.
A seven-bedroom villa, along with the impressive the main house, this hilltop property –part of the exclusive Hideaways Club – also has a two-bedroomed garden cottage plus a separate quarter in which you’ll find a gym, a spa room, a playroom with table tennis and an array of games, plus a large bedroom and two bathrooms. Aside from the open plan entertainment area – as grand as it is homely with cool whites contrasting against the wooden floors and sweeping spiral staircase – the highlights in the main house include the breezy terraces, which every room, both upstairs and down, opens onto. The master bedroom, with its magnificent bathroom complete with his and hers showers, is by far the most sublime when it comes to sleeping arrangements, but each suite is large and luxurious enough to ensure that none of your guests have their noses put out of joint. The piece de resistance, though, is the seductive swimming pool. Big enough for some serious training, or some even more serious pool parties, you’ll find any position, other than lying prostrate on a sunlounger, a challenge – even when the skies open up to release a revitalising tropical rain shower.
Tucked away above a rainforest a short drive from Galle, at Maliga Kanda you get the best of both worlds with its abundance of wildlife in the shape of gibbons, monkeys, birds and iguanas in your very own garden, and fascinating history just moments away. You’re also perfectly placed to take the plunge with a spot of surfing at Wijaya Beach. A protected reef, this is a great swimming location where, if you’re lucky, you may even spy turtles. Be sure to dedicate a morning to ambling around World Heritage site, Galle Fort, which survived the impact of the 26 December 2004 tsunami.
SHOPPING AND SIGHTSEEING
Amangalla in Galle is a fabulous spot in which to enjoy a cool drink and a spot of people watching on the terrace. If you’re after kaftans for your poolside sessions, Mimimango has a great selection or, if you’re feeling sentimental, pick up some items for your home at KK.
AT YOUR SERVICE
Shaluka and his team know how to make you feel at home – so much so that it becomes virtually impossible to leave the villa. We did venture out one evening, but raced back to Maliga Kanda, tail between legs, when our meal failed to match up to Shaluka’s high standards. That said; there are some fantastic restaurants in and around Galle, including Wijaya beach where you’ll find excellent pizza to be enjoyed while the waves crash against the restaurant’s parapets.
EAT YOUR HEART OUT
It’s amazing how something as simple as a fried egg served on freshly baked white bread can taste so good when expertly executed. With colourful, artfully cut platters of fresh fruits, endless pots of just-brewed coffee and exceptional eggs, breakfasts became much-anticipated affairs that could easily draw out until lunchtime. The chimes from the bread truck making its way through the village – much like the delightfully old-fashioned sounds of the British ice cream vans – became our holiday soundtrack. Dinners too, were a feast for all the senses. Innovative dishes using ingredients bought from the market that day combined the best of authentic Sri Lankan flavours with Western techniques and presentations. From lip-smackingly fresh Mahi Mahi, to crunchy prawns, fragrant chicken curries, baby potatoes with avocado dressing and the tangiest ribs we’ve ever gotten stuck into, we were constantly being surprised. And despite our party of 10 all having very different palates and preferences, chef never failed to impress every single one of us – children and babies included.
The Hideaways Club is a unique concept for discerning investors and travellers. Combining investment in a diversified portfolio of exquisite properties in enticing destinations, holidays are accessed through a luxury destination and lifestyle club. Aside from guaranteeing you a couple of weeks of holiday a year in a dream destination, when you buy into the fund, you are afforded shares in the properties, making this a shrewd venture. It is also an investment that allows members to hand down their shares to their children – believe us, they’ll thank you for it! There are currently around 400 members who benefit from the Classic Collection which features 40 stylish villas and ski chalets and /or the City Collection with its 15 luxurious apartments. All properties are worth over a million pounds so you know they’re going to be pretty exceptional. Members include successful individuals from the worlds of business, media, sport and fashion, plus the odd celebrity thrown in for good measure. Supported by a first class Concierge team based in London and also at each property, Hideaways Club make holidays easy for you – ensuring the property is in pristine condition when you arrive and that all your needs are attended to by a full compliment of staff for the duration of your stay.
Images: Lyndsey Steven and supplied