On a trip down south recently, stopped for breakfast at Taru’s latest creation, Tamarind Hill which opened in December 2007. Its 5 minutes inland off the main road just before you get to the Lighthouse Hotel in Galle. It’s housed in a magnificent 200-year-old mansion with meandering verandahs, courtyards, and trellised awnings – typical of the old `walawuas’ (ancestral homes). The past residents of this stately mansion include a British Admiral and later a High Court judge during the Colonial period. This latest incarnation is the creation of Nayantara Fonseka (Taru), a renowned life style designer and creator of several other boutique hotels, including Taru Villas Taprobana, River House and Park Street Hotel in Colombo. Having visited Tamarind Hill twice before during renovations when the old house was gradually coming alive with Taru’s touch, I still was amazed with the final transformation. The interiors are a blend of the old world infused with colour and style that Taru is well known for. Exquisite Dutch period antiques, vibrant local art, and vases filled with fresh lotuses and ginger flowers – this is a wonderful boutique hotel with the feel of a welcoming southern home. There are five room types in all with prices starting around USD$220 per night. The property doesn’t have direct access to the beach. However, Unawatuna, Wijeya and Hikkaduawa are only a few minutes away.
According to Charlie, Tamarind Hill was filled with our cricket guests in December who had come down for the England Tour including the BBC Test Match Special team headed by Jonathan Agnew. They had apparently loved it. Early reports about the food are mixed, as you would expect with a new property that is starting-up operations. We’ll keep an eye on that although my continental breakfast and hot cup of Ceylon Tea was just fine. We’d be really interested in hearing some feedback from early guests.