3 years ago I discovered a chilled hostel to spend a weekend with good company and amazing food. And last week, I stumbled upon their offer for dorm beds, which led me to pack my bags for another adventure at one of Sri Lanka's popular surf destinations.
Hang in there, the review is going to capture your heart.
From yoga to surfing and weekly open mics and movie nights, Hangtime Hostel has been quite popular amongst travellers plus surfing enthusiasts - both young and old.
Niall and Maggi had a vision when they visited Sri Lanka in 2012 - after being awestruck with the natural beauty and warm hospitality they initially experienced in Weligama. They realised that many travellers, especially the surfers were in need of a hostel when touring this surf destination. Nik joined the team when Niall and Maggi returned to Sri Lanka in 2015 and Hangtime hostel was completed with much commitment and passion.
Enjoy your privacy or don't mind mingling with fellow travellers? Hangtime hostel offers both options.
The property consists of 1 dorm room with 4 beds (female dorm - Rs.1,700 per bed), another one with 6 beds (mixed no AC - Rs. 1500 per bed), and 2 more dorm rooms with 6 beds in each (mixed with AC - Rs.2000 per bed) plus 4 private rooms (Rs. 4500 per room).
I have mentioned this before and I am going to say it again, the staff at the Hangtime Cafe makes the best cappuccino prepared with Soul Coffee beans in Sri Lanka (as per my experience). It was not too bitter and offered plus points to my warm welcome after 3 years. The staff go the extra mile to add to art to ensure it's not just a regular cappuccino made from a machine.
Hangtime has always had an interesting menu. However, since it was a solo adventure, I opted for something small and unique offered only at the cafe for a change.
From the chef's specials on the menu, I enjoyed the Seared Tuna (Rs. 1200) - prepared with local yellowfin tuna that was lightly seared and served with chilli garlic kankung salad. To be honest, I was a sceptic on the portion size before it reached my table and eyes. It was definitely a feast and the crunchy bed of kankung salad complimented the tuna was beyond my expectation.
Breakfast of a budget and wannabe healthy traveller - this was one heavy and yummy to the tummy smoothie bowl prepared with seasonal fruits, coconut milk topped with fresh fruits, kasa kasa, nuts and raisin (Rs. 700). The perfect way to start off the morning.
The guys at the cafe continued to surprise me with the Vegan Super Bowl (with a twist!).
Priced at Rs.800, this Super Bowl usually contains roast chickpeas, sweet potato, red onion, kankung served with a coconut honey-tahini sauce plus grains, beetroot, coconut and sesame sauce. But, all those carnivores, they turn this into something that's not-so-vegan, by adding bacon strips! (cost for add-ons may vary - ask the team when ordering).
After enjoying 3 cups of amazing, fresh and hot cappuccinos, I decided to tone down the caffeine rush by switching to tea. I ordered the Chai (Rs. 250) with hot fresh milk on the side and coconut pancake (Rs. 150) to pair with it.
Whilst the hot fresh milk was not ideal with the Chai, the sweet smell and not too sweet taste of the coconut pancake went well the hot beverage. Being a die-hard fan of coffee, I did quite enjoy the taste of the chai. Aromatic, and with sweet kicks of cardamom and cloves seeping through, it was good as it can get.
However, I had to limit its serving to just one cup cause I was having a conversation with the amazing co-founders and hosts Niall and Nik for almost 30 minutes - great conversation and tea!
Just dropping in for a snack or quick cup of fresh tea or coffee? Staying a weekend or for a couple of weeks at the hostel? The staff at Hangtime always serve their guests with much enthusiasm and kindness that really defines the Sri Lankan hospitality and warmth that you've heard so much about.
Be it off-season or during the season, Nik and Niall plus the team will ensure your stay and dining experience at Hangtime Hostel is one that makes you hang all your blues and worries and enjoy the sea, surf and come back for more!