The Last House is sandwiched between the gaping swathe of Mawella’s sandy bay and its wildlife-filled lagoon on the fringe of Seenimodera village, seven kilometres west of Tangalle in Sri Lanka’s Deep South.
Fly into Colombo’s Bandaranaike Airport and hop onto a Sri Lankan Air Taxi to Dickwella, a 20-minute drive from the hotel. These 15-seater otter planes take just 35 minutes and cost around US$280 a person. Call our Smith24 Team on 03300 376 891 to arrange flights and transfers.
The nearest train station is Matara at the end of the south-coast rail line, a 45-minute drive from the hotel. Hop on a train at Colombo’s Fort Station and wind your way merrily down for the price of a few dollars.
There’s no need to self-drive in Sri Lanka as driver-guides can easily be arranged by the hotel.
Charter a chopper through Deccan Aviation Lanka (from around US$2,800) for the quickest transfer trip; it takes less than an hour and lands on a flat headland near Tangalle town, just 15 minutes from the hotel (US$10). From November–March, Deccan’s scheduled service operating between the airport and Tangalle costs a more attractive US$285 a person, though with only four seats up for grabs a day, it’s best to book early.
Worth getting out of bed for
Jog, stroll or photograph fishing boats along the two-kilometre stretch of beach beyond the hotel’s lawn, or venture into the gently rolling sea to surf or body board. You can even ask staff to take you out on the hotel's boat on a fishing expedition. Take a peep at the erratic eruptions of the Hoomaniya Blowhole to the east or, if you tire of the beach, wander inland to discover the wooded hamlet of Seenimodera to experience village life before seeking out kingfishers around the jungle-clad lagoon. Further afield, Mulkirigala rock temple is lined with murals, giant Buddha statues and splendid views. By night, visit Rekawa to observe marine turtles laying and hatching eggs on the sands under cover of darkness with the Turtle Conservation Project (+94 (0)77 781 0508; www.tcpsrilanka.com).
Restaurants in sleepy Tangalle are few and far between. From May–August, wander west along the sandy beach to Il Camino (Suriya Gardens, Nakulugamuwa; +94 (0)47 224 2286), an Italian-managed restaurant that’s convenient for an authentic, albeit rustic, daytime snack; call first as its opening hours can be a tad sketchy. Head to the elegant elevated dining room of Amanwella (Bodhi Mawatha, Wella Wathura, Godellawela; +94 (0)47 224 1333) for modern cuisine served in palm-shaded surroundings. Or, journey inland to watch the sun set and dine on superb curries at Maya (Old House, Temple Road, Aranwella, Beliatta; +94 (0)47 567 9026), a plantation house set in a bird-filled garden with views of rippling rice fields.
The bar at Amanwella (Bodhi Mawatha, Wella Wathura, Godellawela; +94 (0) 47 224 1333) boasts Tangalle’s swankiest selection of booze, plus a stunning sea-view setting to match. There’s also an extensive cigar menu.