By Dimithri Wijesinghe
On 15 February, Stay Holdings (Pvt.) Ltd. unveiled their newest venture in the South – Kathaluwa Mahawalawwa.
Situated near Koggala, the establishment is not far from Stay Holdings’ other far longer running properties, thereby allowing the group to offer their guests unparalleled experience in the South, by people born and bred in Koggala itself.
Steeped in history, the circa 1600 manor has now been refurbished and restored into its current state of luxury villa, preserving the rich architectural designs of its colonial past while also representing modern comforts.
While Kathaluwa Mahawalawwa now stands as a remnant of Sri Lanka’s colonial past, the owners of the property have achieved the truly mammoth task of holding on to the beauty of the times gone by while also being the arbiter of tasteful hospitality destinations.
The establishment’s current hybrid state of the old and new however is largely owing to the fact that the Department of Archaeology deemed the villa a national monument, and as a result, restrictions and guidelines had to be followed during the restoration process, just so that the property preserves its rich history.
As they worked closely with the Department of Archaeology, the massive 400-year-old mansion still very clearly possesses its true essence and currently offers four spacious bedrooms (super luxury and luxury) and a spacious living area with all the modern amenities. The villa also offers a swimming pool and a jacuzzi along with outdoor and indoor dining options.
The property’s current Chef cum Manager is none other than Dinesh De Silva, who comes with years of experience in the food and beverage (F&B) and hospitality industry and as a chef in exclusive resort-style accommodations for luxury travellers. Chef De Silva offers his unique perspective as a fine-dining connoisseur and brings his expertise in Sri Lankan fusion, creating a very palatable menu for local and international travellers.
e had the opportunity of experience his contributions at an intimate gathering held in commemoration of the unveiling of the property, and we were quite blown away by his repertoire. If ever you find yourself Down South, take note to drop by and try Chef De Silva’s interesting new dishes as a result of his experiments.
As for the property on its own, it so clearly is a destination spot, especially considering its fantastic story leading up to its current ownership – Stay Holdings Chairman U.K. Thilak De Silva shared the circumstances that lead to his, and now Shalinda De Silva’s involvement in the property.
The manor was originally intended to be the centrepiece of an extensive plantation way back in 1625 when it was constructed, and its origins can be traced all the way back to Portuguese national Don Owen Ferdinandes, who took the now-famous Obeyesekere name and went on to become the original owners of the manor, and also the Obeyesekere family name.
Having passed through a few other owners since then, the Jayawardhanas married into the family, taking over the mahawalawwa from the Obeyesekeres. Afterwards, Stay Holdings took over ownership and refurbished it, eventually ending up in its current luxurious state.
The property boasts of endless bouts of history. It housed eminent figures of Sri Lankan history such as Sirimawo Bandaranaike and Ehelepola Maha Nilame, and the 400-year-old foundation was set by the Portuguese, Dutch, and British in their times, and remains a real treat to architecture buffs.
Kathaluwa Mahawalawwa is located only two-and-a-half hours by car from the Bandaranaike International Airport (Colombo), just a few minutes from Koggala beach, and half an hour from Galle.
In addition, with Koggala having its own attractions on offer – Koggala Lake, Martin Wickramasinghe House and Folk Museum, located just only a hair’s breadth away from the most active tourist spots in the country – your stay will guarantee easy access to water sports, boat rides, nature tours, and short day trips to any destination you wish.
Call: 0912 281 321/0777 353 130