Brits love Lanka—and are busy boosting the ‘Tangalle Riviera’ for sun-seeking luxury world tourists
Brits are in love with Sri Lanka, and a piece in the UK Sunday Times spotlights how many have invested their lives—and life savings—in rental villas and boutique hotels on the ‘Tangalle Riviera’.
This stretch of southern coastline between Galle and Yala National Park is rapidly emerging as a paradise hot-spot for tourists and beach lovers from around the world.
Says Sunday Times writer Caroline Phillips: “A trickle of international folk have built or renovated beachside villas, breathing new life into houses by paddy fields, and opening boutique hotels for guests who come to visit the Yala and Udawalawe national parks, surf on the beaches of Hiriketiya or go whale-watching at Mirissa.”
She spotlights the award-winning Kadju House overlooking Seenimodera Beach, a striking design by the go-to Sri Lankan contemporary architect Pradeep Kodikara — “think a minimalist tropical aesthetic and a stylish blurring of interior and exterior”.
Another is Thalassa, created by writer Charlotte Breese and her husband, Irfan Husain, who divide their time between the UK and Mahawella Beach.
Not just a family holiday home, it is also a favourite retreat for famed British actress Dame Maggie Smith, who loves the Geoffrey Bawa-style mix of traditional and modern that gives the house its inimitable cachet.
Meanwhile, says Citigroup banker Tim Jacobson, “the Tangalle Riviera, as we call this stretch of coast, is what the area’s really about,” which includes Seenimodera and the mile-long Mahawella Beach, the country’s finest.”
Nicola Crewe-Read, another pioneer who built her two-bedroom Teak House, agrees: “It’s relatively undiscovered — and the plots in Tangalle are bigger than Galle’s, and far further from the coastal road,” she says.
And says Jack Eden, the founder of Eden Villas (and great-nephew of Sir Anthony). ““The UK remains the most significant rental market. As the island is an emerging destination, luxury villas offer great value.”
Ivan Robinson, director of Lanka Real Estate, points out that all this tourist-related activity is being encouraged by the government, which is actively simplifying confusing property regulations for foreigner.
And it can be highly profitable. Adds Jack: “An upmarket beachfront villa sleeping 17, with seven bedrooms, a private chef and a 65ft water slide, can be let from £7,700 per week.
“A year-on-year increase of 7% in rentals by British expats from the Middle East and Southeast Asia, as well as the UK, is making yields more appealing to investors.”
Read more here.