Bentota, Sri Lanka

Paradise Road The Villa Bentota

Rates from (inc tax)$153.75

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (21USD), via, using today’s exchange rate.


Elegant heritage update


Blissful Bentota Beach

Seaside chic dates to the 19th century at Paradise Road The Villa Bentota hotel on Sri Lanka's southwestern coast. Breezy rooms have nautical stripes, flowing white curtains and wicker chairs that seamlessly match the serene waterfront location. Renovated first by renowned architect Geoffrey Bawa and then by design icon Shanth Fernando, this romantic retreat blends indoor and outdoor through a manicured garden and palm-shaded outdoor pool.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A beach bag and scented candle from Paradise Road boutique



Need to know


15, including seven suites.


12pm, but flexible subject to availability. Late check-outs up to midnight cost US$125. Check-in, 2pm. Free early check-in, subject to availability.


Double rooms from $153.75, excluding tax at 30.08 per cent.

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (USD200.00), via, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates include full English or Sri Lankan breakfast (à la carte breakfast costs extra).


People-packed train carriages journeying along the garden’s edge a few times an hour joyfully remind you of where you are.

Hotel closed

Guests may experience some noise or disruption from passing express train sirens in the early morning.

At the hotel

Massage room, shop, gallery, gardens, free WiFi in public areas. In rooms: flatscreen TV with cable, minibar, Spa Ceylon Ayurveda for Paradise Road toiletries.

Our favourite rooms

Tucked away by the garden, Superior Suites 3 and 4 have the broadest beach-facing balconies on the first and second floors with Suite 4 boasting super sea views. Garden-gazing bath tubs are the stars in Superior Suites 5 and 6, or for extra luxe Executive Suite 1’s clandestine courtyard comes with a private plunge pool.


A slender lap pool with parasol-topped terrace stretches across the garden to a shady sea-view pavilion; a smaller, shallower lawn-edged pool languishes in a frangipani-flecked inner courtyard.

Packing tips

Leave the beach bag at home as they’re provided in your room, but stock up on repellent to keep mossies at bay.


Smoking is allowed in outside areas only.


Baby cots are complimentary, and kids up to five can share senior Smiths beds for free. Extra beds for the over-fives cost US$31 a child a night including breakfast.


Baby cots are complimentary, and kids aged up to five can share senior Smiths beds for free, making the Villa Bentota a family-friendly retreat.

Best for

All age groups are welcome but since there’s little to do, tiny tots and boisterous youngsters could easily get bored.

Recommended rooms

The Mohotti Suite’s two bedrooms are perfect for a family of four, or more; extra beds for over-fives can be added for US$31 a child a night including breakfast. Alternatively, first-floor suites 6 and 7 connect through a shared front balcony.


Mini Smiths at the Villa Bentota can make their own fun: swim in the pool, sculpt sandcastles beachside or play hide and seek among the mangrove palms. Beyond the hotel, younger guests will enjoy lagoon water sports (jet-skiing, waterskiing, banana-boating or tube-riding), cycling through sedate inland villages, or visits to local turtle hatcheries.

Swimming pool

There’s no dedicated kids' pool, but inflatables, arm bands and pool toys are available if you ask. The pool near the family-friendly Mohotti Suite is smaller and shallower than the main lap pool.


Children are welcome in the restaurant, where the kids' menu includes spaghetti bolognaise, mini club sandwiches, hot dogs and fish fingers, heaven for home-hungry broods. Staff members are happy to heat up milk and baby food, or pack lunches if you’re hotfooting it out for the day.

No need to pack

Baby cots and highchairs.


All suites have enough space to accommodate at least one extra bed as well as a baby cot, which can be supplied on request. On a health and safety tip, keep an eye out to ensure your tots don't wander near the train track adjoining the hotel.

Food and Drink


Top Table

Make a beeline for the raised garden pavilions that peek seawards through the palms; there are only three so get there early.

Dress Code

Demure: as long as you’re not in bikinis or board shorts, chic comfort beats super-styled any day.

Hotel restaurant

Rattan chairs and tables serenely set the scene in the airy Villa Café, a pillared pavilion which serves up local and international fare from an open kitchen with a wood-fired pizza oven. Try the Sri Lankan black pork curry, the crab and coconut risotto or meet your chocolate nemesis.

Hotel bar

Swig delectable cocktails including passion fruit margaritas and fiery tamarind-chilli martinis from cushioned cane sofas, which spill out onto a cobbled, lawn-fringed terrace.

Last orders

Around 10.30pm for food orders as Villa Café closes at 11pm, or a little later for drinks.

Room service

The complete restaurant menu is available in-room from 8am to 11pm.


Paradise Road The Villa Bentota
Mohotti Walauwa 138/18 - 138/22 Galle Road
Sri Lanka


The nearest airport to the Villa Bentota is Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport (, from where Sri Lankan Airlines operates a daily Air Taxi ( service to Bentota (around US$220 for minimum four people); 15-seater Otter planes drop you atop the lagoon in less than an hour.


Although they’re no slower than cars, trains are less comfortable and a little inconvenient since you need to board from capital Colombo, a half-hour drive south of the airport. Rush hour tends to get crowded, but for just US$1.50 a pop, this no-frills journey is more about getting in amongst it all. Direct services operate from Colombo Fort Station to Bentota (, taking anywhere from 70 minutes up to two hours, with more frequent options to Aluthgama, two kilometres to the north of town.

Worth getting out of bed for

If you’re into aquatic adventures, the Villa Bentota can arrange diving, fishing or water sports at the nearby beach or lagoon through a partner operator, including pick-ups from the hotel. You can also see how turtles breed and feed at a hatchery just a taxi ride away. If you fancy exploring the pair of glorious gardens inland – Lunuganga and Brief, staff will make bookings on your behalf for tours, lunches and high tea. A former rubber estate, Lunuganga was the late architect Geoffrey Bawa's country home and a muse for his design experiments from 1948 onwards; Brief belonged to his brother Bevis, a landscape architect who populated it with sculptures by acclaimed Australian artist Sir Donald Friend. Spa fans can pop for an Ayurvedic treatment at the simple massage room beside the Villa Bentota, or for more luxurious treatments staff recommend a trip to the Jiva Spa at Taj Exotica Resort close by.

Local restaurants

Shack at the Taj (National Holiday Resort; +94 (0)34 555 5555) is a handy hop and a skip north along the beach – savouring seafood in this alfresco garden setting feels removed from the resortiness of the hotel. Try the garlic butter cuttlefish and come early for a sunset drink. Wander a little further up the beach and behind the Surf Hotel is Malli’s (Pitaramba, Bentota; +94 (0)77 851 4894). Here, simply cooked seafood, grilled meats and a select wine list are proffered by sweet-as-you-like waiters in romantically low-lit exposed-brick surrounds. Lunuganga (Dedduwa Lake, Bentota; +94 (0)77 365 5865; is one of the world’s most magical garden retreats, created by eminent Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa, who also performed some early renovations to the Villa Bentota. Copious curry spreads laid lake-view on the terrace can only be munched for lunch and are best booked (alongside a tour) in advance. Alternatively, head here for high tea.

Local bars

Sunset-seekers make for Saman Villas (Aturuwella, Bentota; +94 (0)34 2275435), where sea-view tables laid lawn-side at the breezy headland-topping bar boast ‘I do’ views.



Anonymous review

Did you know that stripes were once used to indicate social outcasts? In a mediaeval painting, three ‘working girls’ were depicted donning cloaks in bold diagonal stripes, but that’s another story… These days, they’re used to mark no-go zones on roads, and denote the suited-and-booted crowd by way of a fine pinstripe. The dynamic pattern fascinates me.

Black-and-white stripes (my favourite) also happen to be the distinctive symbol of the Sri Lankan Paradise Road brand, which spans an art gallery, restaurant, lifestyle products, shops and boutique hotels. So when I slip my antique brass key into the upside-down keyhole and swing open the door to our Superior Suite at Paradise Road The Villa Bentota, I find myself gaping in wonder.

A broad black horizontal stripe painted in the middle of pristine white walls runs parallel to a narrow black border that hems the foot of the wall. White armchairs edged with black look like they’ve been brought to life from line drawings. The signature Paradise Road black-and-white stripes cover bed linen and cushions. I even spy striped labels on the mineral water bottles.

Softened by weather-worn rattan furniture and the raw feel of natural wood and concrete surfaces, the chic monochrome theme continues throughout the buildings and garden. Colour comes in the form of artworks, a mix of contemporary and traditional pieces that adorn walls, decorate coffee tables and take up strategic positions in courtyards. Windows (sans glass panes) act as picture frames, strategically positioned to border views and create live art.

Design maestro and Paradise Road founder Shanth Fernando has carefully refurbished and extended the resort, drawing on the eclectic style of Sri Lanka’s most acclaimed architect, the late Geoffrey Bawa, as inspiration. Originally the ancestral home Mohotti Walauwa, the main buildings were converted into a hotel by Bawa in the 1970s, crafting a breezy abode that blurred the lines between inside and out.

Entranced as I am by this stripy set-up, Mr Smith and I wonder what lies beyond. The hotel partners with external operators for activities in the area – you can choose from bicycle tours, visits to a turtle hatchery, cruises along the Bentota Ganga, fishing trips, whale watching and various water sports. We think a glimpse into Bawa’s personal world might allow us to better appreciate the design of The Villa Bentota, so we hop in a local three-wheeler and, after a brief and bumpy ride, arrive at the tall gates of the Lunuganga Estate.

An experimental playground for his ideas on interior design and landscaping, Lunuganga was also Bawa’s private home. Damien, the estate’s jovial caretaker, enthralls us with fascinating tales of Bawa’s lifestyle and design theories as he guides us through the property’s vast lawns overlooking Lake Dedduwa. Scattered throughout the estate, the handful of buildings are filled with antiques, eccentric furnishings and art, set on striking black-and-white checkerboard floors, which conjure up images of human-scale chess games. A quirky handgun-shaped pond leaves a lasting impression.

Back within hotel walls, Mr Smith and I try out the day spa, but find the treatments underwhelming and overpriced, so we seek our own form of relaxation. With the monsoon season stirring up currents down at the beach, we work on our sun-kissed holiday looks by the pool and snack on battered whitebait.

Privacy hounds might opt for the smaller pool shielded by a wall, but I find it far more entertaining at the main swimming pool in the back garden. A railway track runs along the rear of the property, and once every so often a train thunders past, horns blaring, its passengers’ faces pressed against carriage windows, staring at us in our minimalist swimwear by our minimalist pool. It’s one of the most amusing sun-baking experiences I’ve ever had.

With chef Nishantha helming the kitchen it becomes too easy (or lazy) for us to have all our meals here, despite the slow service from waiters at the hotel’s restaurant. The unassuming man bowls us over with his commitment to pandering to our special requests – he even returns to work on his day off to personally prepare our traditional Sri Lankan breakfasts.

Munching on leftovers from our hand-made feast, Mr Smith and I make a nest in a cosy lounge area and settle in for the ultimate luxury of doing absolutely nothing at all. It seems the road to paradise is lined with stripes, too.


The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith Hotel with us, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Paradise Road The Villa Bentota’s Guestbook below.

We loved

The personal service and the look and feel of the place. We enjoyed visiting the Bawa brothers gardens. The river trip is worth a go and we also had some nice lunches at Pier 88.

Don’t expect

Busy nightlife


Stayed on 15 Jul 2016

We loved

The decor, the staff, good food, stunning beach, the quirky train at end of garden. Definitely go to the turtle sanctury the hotel recommends. We befriended a Tuk Tuk driver and he organised a good boat trip for us too. Water skiing in lake if you don't mind what might be lurking!

Don’t expect

Kids club or anything for them to do expect play on beach / play cricket etc in garden


Stayed on 4 Apr 2016

We loved

The staff were so attentive, polite and friendly. The food: all of it utterly delicious and you can choose to have your breakfast by the pool, which was such a treat. The pool: beautifully maintained and the poolside assistant was excellent. The setting: manicured lawns, a skip to a perfect beach, and the rooms are gorgeous too.

Don’t expect

Evening karaoke.


Stayed on 11 Feb 2016

We loved

The beauty and peace of the place, fabulous beach and pool!

Don’t expect

Great nightlife or shopping.


Stayed on 23 Jan 2016

We loved

What a beautiful hotel in a beautiful location, we loved every moment of our stay in Paradise Road. The hotel is simply beautiful, the staff incredibly helpful and polite there attention to detail and to their guests is impeccable and you feel very special when you arrive. We loved the train running through the end of the property it added to the charm of the hotel. We will be back! The beach beyond the hotel is beautiful.

Don’t expect

A big resort hotel! We wanted the complete opposite and it was!


Stayed on 23 Oct 2015

We loved

Every bit of it ! The amazing charm of the house decorated with beautiful antiques, the pool, the garden the beach that is only a few meters away, the quietness, the food. There is not a single thing we ordered that we did not like! Our children – 6 and 11 years old – said: it is really paradise!


Stayed on 29 Aug 2015

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