The word Escondite is absolutely delightful. In Spanish, it's the act of hide and seek or playing peek-a-boo. This ties in to the Villa's sub-moniker, "The Hideout". Located in Colombo's suburbs, in Kotte, Escondite isn't far enough to be a holiday destination but it's close enough to make a weekend getaway worth it. You can either rent it by the room like a hotel, or the entire property for a group stay (around USD 500) or event.(around Rs. 30,000 but that's variable). You're best off calling them up and explaining your specifications.
The villa is a converted residence. The owner is an architect, and the lovely tapered design of the building reflects that. With multiple levels, open glass panels, and plenty of greenery, there is a lasting impression of plenty of fresh air and room. With all that greenery, you do have to be careful about mosquitoes though, so watch out.
The central feature of the villa is a little pool, around which the dining area, pool chalet, and living room area are grouped. You'll notice plenty of tastefully curated art, local sculpture, and objets d'art scattered around the premises.
There's also an al fresco area on top featuring a lawn and a couple of lovely Araliya trees. It looks like a great spot for a small event, and the manager told me that they have previously hosted a couple of intimate French jazz concerts and the like.
There are 7 rooms at this property, all ensuite and with great garden views. The room we stayed in, a luxury room, opened out into a lush gardenscape and featured a little seating area and LCD flatscreen too. You can expect absolutely comfortable bedding, silent and cosy ambience, and well-appointed amenities. One of the rooms also sports a chic open air shower, which is beautiful but unfortunately not very private as the pool area is above it and you can see in.
There was some intensely poignant Italian pop music concert piping through the bathroom as we entered, which was unnerving, but there's a handy switch by the bedside to turn it off. Strange, but intriguing.
The staff at the villa were superbly Sri Lankan - warm, welcoming, leisurely. They were very eager to help and set us up with anything we needed, but were also discreet, which made us feel like we had the place totally to ourselves.
We were on a bed and breakfast basis, so we headed out for dinner the first night. The next morning, we attempted the continental breakfast which featured eggs as you like it, sausages, toast, home made hash browns and an array of condiments. We got both fried eggs and boiled eggs, both of which were well done but proved to be too much for a simple breakfaster like myself. Overall the food was fine, but not overwhelming. Perhaps I should have tried the Lankan breakfast instead of being too ambitious.
I'd call this the ideal place for a private event or family getaway. With plenty of space, capacity for about 14-16 people, a pool, a dining area, a large living area, and attentive staff, it's well worth it for USD 500 for the whole chalet. Alternatively, you could rent the place out for an event or party too. It's just out of Colombo so it's not too tedious to drive (around 15 minutes away from Rajagiriya Mc Donalds), but it's far enough out to feel like a city break. Overall, it's a lovely and tastefully done property, and we'd recommend it.
Sudharman Mawatha isn't on google maps, but if you follow Raja Maha Vihara Road you'll notice a sign from the hotel to turn off. Follow Sudharman Mawatha till the end of the road.
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