A Peaceful Oasis on Sri Lanka
What amazed us most?
The absolute tranquility and calmness of the rice paddies beside this 19th century colonial-chic manor house. A mature, two-acre lush garden with its frequent visitors - monkeys.
Why should you come here?
To experience the absolute calmness and serenity of this luxurious hotel with only five suites. To meditate while sitting in a lush green garden looking at the rice paddies.
at the hotel
We arrived late in the evening and were surprised by the sounds – they came from the myriads of insects in the jungles surrounding the hotel. We loved the warm welcome from the hotel staff, who treat every guest to friendly Sri Lankan hospitality. The next morning, after having a delicious homemade breakfast, served with a big smile on the terrace overlooking the rice field by the lovely Maya team, we were curious to meet the owner of the hotel, interior designer Niki Fairchild, and hear the story of this colonial-chic manor.
“I bought beautiful Maya in 2004. The house was occupied by an old couple who couldn't take care of the property and was in a state of disrepair. Since I am an interior designer, I felt confident in taking on the project and restoring this wonderful old building which I had instantly fallen in love with, together with the beautiful grounds that surround the property”, says the owner, Niki Fairchild.
It was not easy to open the hotel due to political instability on Sri Lanka, and Niki managed to do it only in 2010.
“I designed almost all of the new furniture which was made in Sri Lanka, and the older pieces are part of my personal collection from countries that I have either lived in or travelled to in Asia over the last 25 years. Namely, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, India, Laos, Cambodia, Bali and Hong Kong. My vision was to have the antique pieces and the new pieces blend together - this would create a more interesting and original interior and ensure that the antique pieces stood out on their own, rather than have the hotel filled with colonial furniture”, continues Niki Fairchild
Our favourite place at the atmospheric hotel was the large sofa on the verandah of the Walawa villa, which was designed by Niki. It is comfortable and cosy with incredibly high ceilings and a sense of history all around. You just can’t help but take a book from a book shelf and start reading. Another favourite place was the edge of the pool overlooking the paddy fields. It is a wonderful feeling, gazing out onto miles of green.
How to make
the most of your stay?
- If you draw, don’t forget to bring pencils and parchment to sketch the views of the rice field. If you don’t draw, bring them anyway.
- Order your yoga session in advance or just meditate in the yoga pavilion in the incredibly peaceful and tranquil surroundings, with nature all around.
- Maya has all the services of a 5-star hotel but in a small, intimate setting - massages, beauty treatments, cooking classes, and a whole list of excursions. Just keep in mind that everything needs to be booked in advance.
- Dine at the Maya restaurant with its interesting and creative menus which change daily.
What to see
around the hotel
Maya is situated in the quaint village of Aranwella, next to an ancient Buddhist temple, and only 8km from the coastal town of Tangalle and the beautiful beaches of the southern coast. You should definitely explore Tangalle and the beaches one day, located just 20 minutes' drive from the hotel. Then head for a day trip to one of the national parks bursting with wildlife. You will see plenty of elephants in Uda Walawe Park and even can spot leopards at Yala National Park.
to get there
After your flight lands at Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport, you can take a Cinnamon Air Taxi to Dickwella (20 minutes' drive from Maya) which brings you to the door in less than an hour, or take a standard taxi which will take about 3-4 hours’ drive depending on traffic.
The General Manager Niki Fairchild, Says:
What does a luxury hotel mean to you?
Luxury, to me, means quality, good taste and a creative yet practical design. Luxury is good service given with warmth and a personal touch.
A hotel is made a luxury hotel by ensuring that the guests' needs are met from the minute they arrive until the minute they leave; anticipating the guests' requirements before they even ask; providing excellent service with a warm smile; providing the best quality bedding for a great night's sleep.
Unique and tastefully designed spaces and incredible attention to detail. Excellent food which is creative and uses the best quality ingredients. To provide guests with all of the facilities and services they require to ensure their experience at the hotel is truly memorable. To provide amenities in the rooms to ensure guests have everything they could possibly need to enjoy their stay.