The Templeberg Villa is a central hotel that feels charmingly rustic. It’s a well-run colonial house that’s 15 minutes from the Southern Expressway, Galle, Unawatuna and Thalpe.
The Templeberg is a coconut estate dating back to 1864. The villa has been renovated and now has six bedrooms. The rooms cost $100-150 per night (Rs. 13,000 – 20,000) or the whole villa is $350-500 (Rs. 45,000 – 60,000).
We stayed in the conjoined rooms at the back (they share a bathroom). The rooms are quite nice – four-post beds, writing desk, reading lamps – but sharing a bathroom is not super fun. We were sharing it with friends in the other room, which was fine. We think this setup is more for families.
The other rooms are quite a bit nicer and have better bathrooms as well.
Overall the experience is like staying at a home, a very nice one. The furniture is like you’d find in a proper colonial home (Matara style almyrahs, hansi pottuwas, etc). It’s all just a bit cleaner and better kept up.
The real appeal of the Templeberg is in the property itself. There’s a nice central green area, a living room (with good books) and plenty of lounge furniture around. It’s a comfortable place to hang out and read, and quite quiet.
What makes the Templeberg a cool experience is, for us, the contrast between the rustic villa and its location. From the quiet and coconut trees you’d never guess that the Southern Expressway was 15 minutes away. But it is. From the Galle exit, you turn left at the first color lights (before Galle Road). Then you take the first left turn, go up a hill and you’re there. If you continue along that road you get to Thalpe. If you take the highway exit further on you get to Galle and Unawatuna.
It’s a really convenient place (if you have a car), or even if you rent a bicycle or scooter (there’s a place near Thalpe that rents them).
The food we had was nothing to write home about. Hoppers, but served just with lunu miris, nor curries or anything. Made us a bit sad. They do make a beautiful fruit arrangement. For here the best option is taking a quick jaunt down to Wijaya Beach in Thalpe for pizza, or maybe Kingfisher in Unawatuna, or Fortaleza in Galle. There are a lot of great eating locations nearby.
It’s a family run place and they’re super nice. Also very active on Twitter. Of special note is Sandro who is a reputed guide and has a lot of knowledge across the island.
For a boutique experience without being completely isolated, this is a great spot. Lovely villa within 15 minutes of Galle, Thalpe and Una and about an hour and a half from Colombo.
There are a lot of places to stay in this area (Galle, Unawatuna), but they’re usually beachside hotels (which don’t have too much character beyond being close to the beach) and places in Fort (which are nice but usually small) and then the higher end boutiques (which are expensive and impersonal at times). We like the Templeberg because it’s near everything important which still feeling like a pleasantly removed colonial home.