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Illuketia Villa



Full of character, charm and wildlife. For those of  you who wish to do nothing , but enjoy everything.

A nineteenth century landmark preserved by locals for its revered surroundings.  Located just 10 minutes inland from Galle, Illuketia is a gardeners' paradise.

A tranquil and secluded haven of plant and birdlife ensures a truly relaxing holiday.  Set within 7 acres of landscaped gardens and surrounded by paddy fields, the main villa stands high on the hill looking down to the lily pond and the "˜Pond House'. 

Owned and most recently restored by Hans Hoefer, designer and founder of the "˜Insight Guides', but run by British "˜Nicky Harrison' who embellishes the design with her exquisite interior dcor and  sensitive hospitality.

An organic vegetable and spice garden welcomes you at the gate and provides the excellent culinary delights.  Streams flow, garden galleries exhibit and lilies hug the sun in this serene setting.

The 2 colonial style villas are filled with relaxing sitting rooms, contemplation pools, pillared verandahs and enough books and magazines for a lifetime.

Explore the local villages and wildlife by bike and identify your sightings from the many bird books in the villa.  Music, books, board games and billiards will stimulate the mind as you lounge on the mezzanine balcony, reminiscent of a "˜seraglio'. "˜Illuketia' is a sanctuary allowing you to forget the world you have left and allow the 5 discreet, efficient, staff to pamper you.

Highly recommended by Conde Naste Traveller and voted best plantation house by The Independant 2004



  • Breakfast tea as the sun glistens through the treetops.
  • Take a dip in the 75ft infinity pool or drift off to sleep in the pond boat to the sound of diving kingfishers, cooing jungle fowl and flutter of the Ceylon Flycatcher.
  • Delicious food inspired by a local chef and Nicky, created from produce grown on the estate.
  • Illuketia's charm is its rural setting away from the coast, but it's only 10-15 mins in tuk tuk to beach.
  • During occasional rainfall,  mosquitoes are plentiful and in the garden in the peak season but the rooms are well protected.



   Child Friendly
   Beach Access
   Groups Welcomed
   Bird Watching
   Fine Dining


Pretty mosaic tiles are an attractive feature of this house - set into the granite and terracotta floors and bordering the bathroom walls.  In the main sitting room the high, beamed ceilings allow the many Indonesian bamboo, teak and ebony pieces of furniture space to be appreciated. Small stone and pewter Buddhas and silk-screened art add colour to the whitewashed walls.

Three suites (lily, poppy, hibiscus) open onto the contemplation courtyard with outer windows onto the lush surrounding countryside. Each has an antique 4-poster bed and teak/rattan chaise longue. The beds are prettily draped with white nets, and floral silk bedspreads are striking against the dark frame.   A fourth smaller bedroom is ideal for a single traveller or nanny.

Antique furniture provides ample storage and for a burst of sunshine, just step on to your private terrace complete with planters' chairs.  The luxuriously decorated en -suite shower rooms offer complimentary toiletries and  fresh white towels each day.  All "mod- cons" like TV, DVD and mini-bars are strictly forbidden as Illuketia embraces its natural environment. The master bedroom has a private courtyard.

At the bottom of the garden, the pond house appears to float on the lily pond - a carpet of purple and blue"”its roof bridging the two wings forming a central passage.

Two large luxurious suites (one air-conditioned) offer twin 4-poster beds, dressed with stunning floral bed linen and an abundance of plump pastel cushions.  The focal point of the decked verandah is a romantic swing, suspended over the end of the pond.  Sway gently as you sip your wine in the evening and watch the fire flies dance over the lily pads.

The pond suites enjoy similar, luxurious shower rooms. A separate pantry is located at the pond villa for cool drinks and snacks served by your personal butler.  The two villas are very secluded and guests can relax both together or independently but the elegant sitting room, pool and gardens are all communal.  The gardeners move around attending their estate but will not intrude on your `personal space`.



The main terrace, pool bar, main villa or garden each make wonderful settings for meals.  Nicky and her three staff will greet you with delicious fruit juice fresh from the garden.

Eating is always an enjoyable experience at Illuketia where the flavoursome and freshly bought, picked and prepared foods are served to your own taste. The tariff includes dinner, or lunch if you prefer, but breakfast is your unusual opportunity to choose from extensive menus. Complimentary tea and bottled water are available at all times.

Fruit platters await you each morning with piquant, sweet smelling tea/coffee.  A western or eastern breakfast is your choice, brought with delicious home-made jams. Indulge in homemade muesli and lemon and honey pancakes, or a Sri Lankan breakfast may be a great experience for the whole group one morning.

Evening meals are spiced to suit individual tastes - from mild to hot - and use coconut milk, local vegetables, freshly caught lobster, crab, squid and prawns or fresh meats from the market, to make an array of unique Sri Lankan dishes.The traditional sago pudding always suprises guest as the sweet jaggery (fudge) and hibiscus flowers are edible and very tasty.

Light lunches are available at a very reasonable $6 per person, for salads, toasted sandwiches and scrumptious sweet treats.

The main villa is a charming building true to its Asian influence, with delightful antiques and lots of space to relax.  There are no guest boundaries and guests can pick up Sri Lankan culinary hints and techniques in the main kitchen, or breeze into the pantry to make a cup of tea.

Things to do & local tips

  • Complimentary bikes are available to explore the local villages and temples. The estate is best explored on foot.
  • A spa is planned for mid 2005 for body and mind treatments. In the meantime one of Galle's most sought after masseurs is on hand to offer in-suite ayurvedic massage- R3000.  Double Herbal baths too, if you are both ready to unwind together- Rs 4000.
  • Galle is just a 10-minute tuk tuk journey away and is full of history, ramparts, galleries, bazaars and cosmopolitan restaurants.
  • Closest beaches are in Unawatuna. Diving and snorkelling in the reef are excellent but the beaches are narrow and crowded. Private jungle beach should be sought out.
  • Bentota is one hour away by car with excellent beaches and a plethora of water sports and boat trips on the river estuary.
  • Safaris, gem mines and stunning "˜Bawa' Brief Gardens are all a pleasant day trip. Nicky can organise chauffeur driven jeeps for $60 a day, or take the coastal railway if you wish to be truly independent.
  • Ambalangoda, (20 minutes drive) is full of antique shops and mask/puppet museums.
  • Colombo is the shopping epicentre and transport can be organised to include a chauffeur service throughout if required.
  • Villa Illuketia is an idyllic location for a stylish and descrete wedding for small groups of familiy and friends or a private affair for teh wedding couple. Wedding package details are below.

For more recommendations on places of interest, activities, restaurants and local transport, click here.





Illuketia Villa has become known as a perfect venue for small and intimate weddings. Great care is taken to ensure that the client's special day is perfect and free of stress. A day that will be remembered and cherished.


We will only cater for a maximum of 25 - 30 pax  but prefer to concentrate on smaller numbers. We tailor each wedding to each clients ideal and therefore we are only able to give a rough guide to costs involved.


The costs given are for a basic package, but of course this will change depending on the actual requirements of the wedding couple.


Costs are based on the couple requiring a typical Sri Lankan Buddhist Wedding with the blessing of a Buddhist Monk and the legalities being performed by an English Speaking Registrar.  If clients prefer to have a Church wedding -Roman Catholic or Protestant this can also be arranged.  The wedding couple need to be resident in Sri Lanka for a period of 5 days BEFORE the wedding ceremony, and will be introduced to the Registrar before the wedding date, to satisfy the 5 day requirement.


The wedding couple will receive from the Registrar an English translation of the Marriage Registration which is a legal and binding document, in both Europe and the UK.


Wedding Package


  1. The organization of  all formalities, astrological timings, registrar etc
  2. Blessing by Buddhist Monk and conducting of the Ceremony by a Sri Lankan Elder
  3. Wedding dcor including Poruwa with tropical Sri Lankan flowers and foliage.
  4. Single tier decorated Wedding Cake
  5. 2 Bottles of Complimentary Champagne
  6. Fresh jugs of juice for up to 10 guests
  7.  Wedding night at Apa Villa or the Pond House, Illuketia  for Bride & Groom
  8.  Wedding breakfast on the morning before or after the wedding
  9. A complimentary Massage for both Bride & Groom


EXTRAS:  We are able to provide the following extras, prices to be discussed individually according to guest requirements. We offer a full Wedding Planner Service.

Wedding outfits for Bride & Groom

Themed wedding dcor, imported flowers

Hair/makeup/ manicure/pedicure/facials

Brides Bouquet, corsages ,gifts for wedding party

Themed wedding reception

Elephant, Fireworks, Musicians Sri Lankan or western, Sri Lankan drummer's discotheque


If the wedding couple wishes to hire the whole of Villa Illuketia  exclusively for just the wedding day with one night's accommodation with breakfast for wedding guests, the tariff will be as follows:

Illuketia   -   US$1200 ++      (6 suites)  One for wedding couple

Rates for individual rooms is as per the bookings and costs pages on this website(relative to season)


Weddings held during the Christmas period will be subject to a Christmas loading

WEDDING RECEPTION (++: +10% service charge , +15% Sri lankan VAT)

 3 course A la carte lunch                       US$35 ++per head

4 Course a la carte dinner                      US$40 ++per head

3 course seafood BBQ                              US$50 ++per head