Ahangama, Sri Lanka

Trebartha East the Round House

Price per night from$262.86

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (inclusive of taxes and fees) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (GBP203.50), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.


Lauded of the rings


A hop from Ahangama

Some ideas are well rounded; some ideas are, well, round – Trebartha East, the Round House happens to be both, a striking ring-shaped timber structure encompassing four cosseting rooms, an arc of pool, a spa treatment room and living space where guests gather for Arracks on the rocks and tropical feasting. The work of celebrated architect Dr Narein Perera, this utterly unique mini arena runs rings around squarer stays, and is made all the more striking by its position as the coronet atop a cinnamon plantation near surf haven Ahangama. It’s a big idea, with an intimate feel, that you’ll come round to in no time. 

Smith Extra

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A cinnamon bundle from the hotel’s own plantation


Photos Trebartha East the Round House facilities

Need to know


Four, including one duplex.


11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.


Double rooms from £203.50, including tax at 10 per cent.

More details

Rates include a very tempting Sri Lankan breakfast with curry, dahl, string hoppers, milk rice, coconut roti with sambal, tropical fruit and juices, coffees and teas.


Unfortunately, this property’s layout makes it unsuitable for guests with mobility issues.

At the hotel

Cinnamon plantation, tropical gardens, living room, charged laundry service, free WiFi. In rooms: beach bags and towels, a local cellphone to use during your stay, air-conditioning and fan, and locally made, all-natural bath products.

Our favourite rooms

Fashioned from custom-cut rustic timber, with furnishings made locally (mid-century seating, a four-poster bed, decoratively woven wicker pieces), printed textiles, and colourful artworks by Sri Lankan artists (Rubert Soysa, Namal Pushpakumara), each of the four rooms is a secluded segment in Trebartha East’s circular structure. Friends or tweens and teens can stay in Teak with its twin beds, or for a little extra space book duplex Hora, which has an additional study.


The 18-metre pool (open 7am to 9pm) is a curved component of the circular building, with expansive views over the plantation and rice paddies with a glimpse of the Indian Ocean in the distance. Unheated, it’s refreshing to dive into, but leave your sundowners for later – glasses aren’t allowed here.


In the round there’s also a room with a view for massages, facials, scrubs, reflexology, waxing and mani-pedis (male and female therapists available on request). Personal trainers can be summoned or you can gently work out with a guided yoga session. For a full work-out, guests can use the gym at Palm Hotel (for a charge), a 10-minute car or tuk-tuk ride away.

Packing tips

An homage to Sri Lanka’s most noted architect, Geoffrey Bawa: the Complete Works, might be a touch too heavy for the suitcase, but flick through it before you go for an intro to tropical-modernism’s visual lingo, if you’re unfamiliar. Otherwise, bring your most colourful Billabong and Quiksilver surf wear.


If you’re thinking, ‘hang on, isn’t Trebartha in Cornwall?’ – well, you guessed right. British owners Patrick and Benny Latham named the hotel for their home back on Bodmin Moor.


Infants up to one-year old and children aged 12 and over can stay, but book the hotel exclusively and all ages are welcome. Babysitting can be arranged with 24 hours’ notice and cots are available on request.

Sustainability efforts

Renowned architect Dr Narein Perera’s striking, entirely custom-made circular building is constructed using just timber and runs on solar power. Staff are local hires, the pool uses minimal chlorination, toiletries and drinking water are in refillable containers, and meals are made using locally sourced ingredients (some grown on the estate). And, the hotel is green in a very literal sense, crowning a cinnamon plantation spread over a hill, where the original trees were replanted and nurtured over five years, and species of indigenous fruit trees have also been reintroduced.

Food and Drink

Photos Trebartha East the Round House food and drink

Top Table

A private table can be set up amid the trees in the Round House’s fragrant garden.

Dress Code

Sizzling neons or bold batiks with sarong- or sari-style draping, to really stand out against the teak wood and endless green.

Hotel restaurant

There’s nothing so formal as a restaurant here; instead you’ll perch by the pool or have food brought to your lounger or graze and chat at the communal table in the living room. Meals skew Sri Lankan, with exotic flavourings: gotu kola leaf salad with marinated chicken and toasted coconut, king prawns on garlic mash with a passionfruit and coriander salsa, seared tuna in a lime-cinnamon sauce with turmeric rice, black pumpkin curry, and for dessert, no ‘pi’, rather pineapple carpaccio or cashew-dipped brownies.

Hotel bar

The hotel’s circular shape might enhance the effects of a few Arracks on the rocks or muddled in a mule with ginger beer and chilli, or Lion beers (wines too, but the selection changes depending on availability). There’s no bar as such, so sip where you wish (except poolside0. 

Last orders

Breakfast is from 7.30am to 10am, then there’s all-day dining from noon to 10pm.

Room service

You can dine in-room from 7am to 9pm if you give staff enough notice.


Photos Trebartha East the Round House location
Trebartha East the Round House
164/A Meegahagoda
Sri Lanka

Trebartha East, the Round House is set at the apex of a cinnamon plantation 10 minutes from coastal town Ahangama, close to Lake Koggala and a 40-minute drive from fortified city Galle.


You’ll need to fly into Colombo, around a two-and-a-half hour, scenic, coastal drive from the hotel. The hotel can arrange transfers by car from LKR26,000, or Cinnamon Air runs domestic flights to Koggala (around a two-hour journey), a 20-minute drive away.


Ahangama, a 10-minute drive away, has a train station that runs along the coast, connecting you with Galle and Colombo. Hotel transfers are from LKR1,500 each way.


While a car will come in handy for exploring inland or along the coast, you’ll need to get your licence verified before your trip, and then get used to the variable road conditions in the country. It’s advisable to hire a local driver or rely on the tuk-tuk taxis (which you can also hire if you want something more fun than four wheels). There’s a carpark within a minute’s walk of the property. The hotel is 10 minutes’ drive from Ahangama and 20 minutes from the highway exit , and turn-off points are signposted.

Worth getting out of bed for

You’re king of the castle here when it comes to surveying Sri Lanka’s natural beauty, staying in the crown atop Trebartha East, the Round House’s cinnamon plantation. Alongside this leafy sprawl, other riches include a garden and one-kilometre path lined with fruit trees for pleasant strolls (keep an eye out for peacocks); and rice paddies and thick jungle to explore. Back at base, you can swim and try to spot the sliver of vivid blue of the Indian Ocean in the distance; book a massage, facial or mani-pedi in the spa treatment room; arrange a guided yoga session; or simply circumnavigate the Grand Designs-worthy building marvelling at its form as you sip a G&T. For rideable surf breaks (or a lesson to get your surf legs) hop in a tuk-tuk to Ahangama, which is paradise for boarders; although sunbathers may prefer wild Mirissa beach or golden Unawatuna (the hotel can advise when currents are too strong for swimming during monsoon season). Or, head north inland for a fragrant tour of Handunugoda tea estate. Kayak across Lake Koggala or take a sailing safari through its mangrove forests; and along Koggala Beach there’s a sea-turtle hatchery (January to March is peak hatchling time). And for more wild adventuring, take a day trip to Udawalawe National Park (a two-hour drive to the east) or Hambantota Beach where elephants roam freely. To the west lies the 16th-century fortified city of Galle, which is rich in historic monuments (the Lighthouse, Dutch Fort and Clock Tower), as well as indie boutiques, and offers hands-on experiences: mask-carving, jewellery-making, cookery classes or stilt-fishing lessons.

Local restaurants

Trebartha East’s delicious coconut- and passionfruit-flavoured fare will keep you from trekking up and down its hilly seat come dinnertime, but there are some local favourites worth stopping by. Follow the scent of spiced lobster tails and flambéed prawns to beach-shack eatery Follow the White Rabbit, who also do flavourful salads, pasta dishes and a signature tuna tartare, and whose tables on the sand make ideal stilt-fisherman-watching or sundowner spots. The Kitchen at Kurulu Bay is an elegantly mod-minimalist address – all polished concrete and teak – with fall-in-love-with lake views and sea-to-plate dining: lobster curry with coconut sambal, red-snapper sashimi with pickled gooseberries, seared yellowfin tuna in balsamic-teriyaki. Harding Boutique Hotels is a modernist box of a building, with a lively roof terrace for dinner and drinks; and Palm Hotel is a tropical-industrial-chic Smith stablemate serving coconut-masala bean stew, black-pork or spicy-crab curries and grilled bananas drizzled with passionfruit caramel.


Photos Trebartha East the Round House reviews

Anonymous review

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this smooth-around-the-edges stay atop a cinnamon plantation near Ahangama and unpacked their rash vests and bags of Ceylon cinnamon sticks, a full account of their has-a-ring-to-it break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Trebartha East, the Round House on Sri Lanka’s southern coast…

Cornish hoteliers Patrick and Benny Latham found a disused cinnamon plantation, surrounded by thick jungle and rice paddies, just inland of Sri Lanka’s south coast and said to themselves: ‘put a ring on it’ (but perhaps with slightly different terminology). And so, they set about restoring the cinnamon trees to their lush glory (adding fruit trees and tidied-up-nicely gardens) over five years, and commissioned Sri Lankan architect Dr Narein Perera to design and build Trebartha East, the Round House. This circlet of four mod-cabin-style hideaways, with a slice of pool, living room and spa-treatment space – all with riotously verdant views from on high – is worthy of its own Taschen tome. It’s a wonderful eyrie for peaceful contemplation of, perhaps, the circular rhythms of life, or for a massage and Moscow Mule with a kick, and you’re well placed for riding waves at Ahangama or taking a step back into the past at Galle. It might borrow from tradition, with a custom all-wood structure and locally made arts and crafts, but it’s modern minded, and maybe one of the coolest escapes from civilization we’ve seen – a round house, no squares.

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Price per night from $262.86