I don't think it's a secret that this place is a little piece of heaven. In mid-October we tried to book a place for Christmas week and it was already fully booked. Instinct told us to change our travel itinerary to stay here instead of picking another hotel. I am so glad we did!!
We stayed in a beach villa (just like the cabanas and in the same row, but the villa is larger and has comfy daybeds out front to lounge on.) The villa was spacious, the bed comfortable, the mosquito net in good condition, the sea steps away and the view breathtaking, the bathroom was gorgeous - protected from view by solid walls, the sink area has a partial roof, but the rest of the bathroom is open to the sky: showering under the stars!
If you're coming from a big city, the seriously laid back nature of the staff can catch you off guard at first. Just breathe and sit on the beach and you'll soon realise the staff here are simply wonderful. They were so good to us - accommodating requests for vegetarian food and bringing cold drinks over to the villa when there isn't technically any room service! They'll organise a tuk-tuk for you whenever you need one and can arrange various tours if the beach isn't keeping you entertained. There are kayaks at their sister home - Mangrove Chalets - which is just a few minutes walk either along the track road or along the beach (even with high tide you can wade through the water where lagoon and sea meet to arrive at the chalets.) We went kayaking on the lagoon and saw kingfishers, egrets, herons, peacocks, monkeys and a host of birds I can't name.
Things to note: the food here is great if you order the Sri Lankan dishes. Really delicious. The other food is, as you might expect, a bit uninspired. So many guests were eating "European" food and missing out on great Rice and Curry and traditional breakfasts.
The sea here can be rough and the current can pull. But the water is clean and warm. We swam in the sea - albeit careful not to go far and quick to move through the rough waves as they break on the beach. There is also a safer pool that gets created by a rock barrier just a little way along the beach by the chalets. Your experience here will entirely depend on the tides. There are no lifeguards and many Sri Lankans don't swim so their gauge of what is safe to swim in won't necessarily be the same as yours. Use your common sense.
Minor points to consider: the bathroom is open to the sky which means it's also open to the lizards and beetles and mosquitoes. It didn't freak me out and I can be a little jumpy but know your own limits. The cabanas and villas are set close to one another and there is a gap between roof and walls, and the windows have blinds that come down but no glass in them so sound travels. Everyone was quiet and respectful while we were there but it does mean you feel the need to whisper even in your own room.
At the end of it all, we didn't want to leave. Who doesn't want to fall asleep to the sound of the waves and wake up to see the sun glinting off the ocean from your four poster bed?
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- Also Known As:
- Mangrove Beach Cabanas & Chalets Hotel Tangalle
- Mangrove Beach Cabanas And Chalets