Honey, you’re home: Why House, a friendly, relaxed Sri Lankan villa set in lush tropical gardens, is all yours to play with (and little ones will love it, too). When it comes to sleeping quarters, you can pick from the family-friendly rooms in the Main House and the Garden House, or the private cabanas, perfect for canoodling couples. This hotel’s considerable charms include a vast, T-shaped swimming pool; a yoga shala and massage pavilion; delicious dining and those green, serene grounds. Henrietta and her sausage dog Jelly are the custodians of this tropical Eden. Galle Fort is just a 15-minute drive, if you can tear yourselves away...
Get this when you book through us:
A tuk-tuk and driver at your disposal for five hours, or a day's babysitting
11am; earliest check-in, 2pm. Both are flexible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from $136.36, excluding tax at 19.43 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional service charge of 10% per booking on check-out.
Rates usually include Continental breakfast.
Dog-lovers, you’re in luck: your host Henrietta has a little sausage dog by the name of Jelly...
At the hotel
Vast tropical gardens; pool pavilion; massage pavilion; yoga shala; mini boutique; free WiFi throughout. In rooms: desk, air conditioning, minibar, free bottled water, locally sourced bath products.
Our favourite rooms
Couples seeking seclusion should opt for one of the romantic private cabanas; families can bunker down in the Main House or Garden House, whose rooms interconnect.
The huge T-shaped pool gives the local beaches a run for their money, thanks to its sand-hued bottom. Loungers are clustered around the water; there are plenty of shady areas, plus a pool pavilion with a ceiling fan.
11am; earliest check-in, 2pm. Both are flexible, subject to availability.
Bring a treat or two for Jelly (see below). Browse the little boutique, Henrietta Loves, which stocks owner Henrietta’s pick of accessories, clothing, homewares and arty bits and bobs.
Why House has rooms modified for wheelchair-users; paths are step-free and communal areas have disabled access. Massages can be arranged in the al fresco massage pavilion.
Little Smiths are very welcome. The hotel can provide cots, baby bed-linen, booster seats, crayons/paints and paper and U-rated DVDs for ankle-biters, plus board games for older ones. Babysitting is available for $10 a night.
Little Smiths of all ages are very welcome.
Opt for interconnecting rooms in the Main or Garden House.
Little Smiths can play to their heart’s content on the three-acre lawn. There’s a badminton net if you want one, too.
There’s a stash of floats and inflatables for water-babies.
Children are welcome in the restaurant, which has highchairs and a menu tailored to junior palates.
This can be arranged with a day’s notice ($10 an hour).
No need to pack
The hotel can provide cots, baby bedlinen, booster seats, crayons/paints and paper and U-rated DVDs. Older ones can borrow board games and crafts materials.
They’re all equal in the Dining Pavilion – but you can request a private table for two in the grounds...
Sri Lankan loungewear: loose linens and silks; splashes of rainforest-bright colour; leather accents.
Sample Sri Lankan, Nepalese, Lebanese, Asian and Western flavours at Why House Dining, which also offers star-turn seafood barbecues. You’ll eat in the airy dining pavilion, set in the serene gardens. The home-made curries are a highlight.
Enjoy irreproachably good G&Ts at the relaxed bar by the dining pavilion. Every few weeks, the bar hosts an evening of entertainment, starring traditional dancers and musicians. The wine list – carefully chosen by Henrietta – also deserves a mention.
Eat at the restaurant between 8am and 11pm.
There’s not really a formal room service offering, but if you want a drink or snack outside of meals, just let the obliging staff know.
Why House is a 20-minute drive from Galle Fort, along the scenic coastal road. The hotel is tucked away in lush tropical gardens.
Bandaranaike Airport is two and a half hours away by car. One-way hotel transfers in a minivan cost LKR20,000; let Smith24 sort your flights.
Galle Station is a 20-minute drive, with services connecting to Colombo, Hikkaduwa, Bentota, Weligama and Matara.
If you’re driving from Galle, take the highway exit at Pinnaduwa Junction. The hotel has plenty of on-site parking space.
Worth getting out of bed for
Get lost in the gorgeous gardens, admiring the tropical flora and fauna. Unwind by the huge pool, or cool off in the pool pavilion. Request a massage in the spa pavilion and catch a cultural dance display at one of the bar’s entertainment nights. If you want to go home armed with a few curry-making tricks, request a cookery class with the chef. Set off on a boat trip on Koggala Lake, explore Galle Fort, or swim with turtles in a local lagoon. Ask staff to arrange temple tours; wildlife-lovers can go whale-watching on the coast in season. A short walk or tuk tuk ride will take you to the spectacular Dalawella Beach, a beautiful lagoon created by a protective reef, which offers safe swimming throughout the year. The hotel can also arrange guided bike rides, surfing, snorkelling, diving, sailing, shopping trips, tea- and cinnamon-plantation tours and impromptu cricket matches.
Sample fusion food inspired by Galle Fort’s past at popular Church Street Social, housed within the Fort Bazaar Hotel at 26 Church Street (+94 77 007 2597). Previous crowd-pleasers include tuna sashimi and Moroccan lamb tagine. Eat just inches from the waves at The Shack Beach Cafe, which has a surf school, friendly staff and a prime sandside setting. The food is delicious and the coffee is up there with Galle’s best. It’s chilled to the point of horizontal and beloved with locals and return visitors. For something a little more formal, head to Amangalla: a ravishing resort set in the ramparts of Galle Fort. The hotel’s dapper Dining Room lives up to the majestic setting; its daily-changing dinner menu is based on the chef’s finds at the various markets in Galle.
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 family-friendly hotel in Sri Lanka and unpacked their tea and cinnamon, a full account of their tropical break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Why House in Galle…
Good news: you have a wonderful Sri Lankan family you never knew about, including a sausage dog called Jelly – and a Sri Lankan villa, set in tropical grounds, where you can meet them. OK so we’re being playful, but we promise that you really will feel like Henrietta, her pooch and her brilliant team are your nearest and dearest, following a stay at Why House. This relaxed family-friendly villa set in blooming lovely three-acre grounds seems to know exactly what you want before you do, whether that’s a perfectly mixed G&T, a yoga session in the al fresco shala, a massage or a delicious meal starring well-travelled flavours. We reckon you’ll spend most of your time here, cooling off in the jade-green pool, reading a book in the shade and lounging in your elegant sleeping quarters, but there are beaches and historic treasures – including Galle Fort – on your doorstep.
Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Why House’s Guestbook below.
Everything about Why House is perfect. The rooms, the food, the grounds, the lovely staff, it all just works. Henrietta is so friendly, fun and helpful. We will be back!