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Wonderful breeze, wonderful house and the lake is gorgeous. Elephants work well and we’ll be back for more celebrations!

Jane, Hong Kong, August 2010

Great location, wonderful service and support from Nalaka, Chatarange, Sampat, Garmine in the garden, and Givan cooking great meals. The surprises were the tea plantation and the temple over the lake – both with terrific guides and fascinating images of the country. As a place for a birthday party, unsurpassable, and arriving by elephant a never-to-be-forgotten event. Lovely, lovely week.

Neil, Hong Kong, August 2010

Buddhist Monks in Sri Lanka

Fabulous setting with super service. We have enjoyed both relaxing and partying (60th birthday style). Well done Nalaka!

Emma, Hong Kong, August 2010

A wonderful two weeks which exceeded all our expectations. The house and its setting is beautiful and Nalaka and his team could not have been kinder or more helpful. Every meal we had was fantastic too. We especially loved having our own firework display (and seeing them being made); taking a boat trip on the lake and visiting Mirissa Beach. We would love to come back.

Ben S, London, December 2011

We went for a family holiday to relax, recharge and explore the area around Galle. It's always a bit uncertain when you're going to a villa you don't know or haven't had a personal recommendation from but when we finally turned up after the long drive from Colombo we were beyond relieved. The villa itself is beautifully designed in a simple but stylish way. Luxurious but not too fancy that you were forever worrying about what the kids might do. The beds were excellent - very comfortable so no fears there.

It seemed pretty new to me as the garden was young but as it's nestled in amongst lots of mature coconut palms you barely notice (spot the keen gardener). The staff were very friendly, keen and efficient (and kept it clean despite the kids). My only gripe being that some laundry took longer than expected but that was solved after talking with the manager. One of the small rooms had a slightly noisy fan but we hardly used it as the rooms had air conditioning so it wasn't a problem. The villa food was great - simple kids stuff (great chips!) and delicious local food, which was what we had most of the time.

Buffalos in Sri Lanka

The setting, however, is a gem. It's on a salt water lagoon with lots of mangroves that leads directly to the sea. It's always peaceful and you get some killer sunsets that hover over the infinity pool and merge with the lagoon so plenty of good photo opps - not to mention perfect cocktail opps.

Another bonus of being on Koggala lake is that this is where the prawns and crabs come from. Fishermen paddle over it at various times of the night and day depending on what they're catching. If you ask the chef or manager ahead of time they will call out and get you the freshest seafood possible - and cook it!

We actually discovered the joys of paddling around the lake a little late as we spent most of the time relaxing or sightseeing. I would urge you to get out there sooner. We went in late afternoon and paddled back as the sun was starting to set which was magic.

The villa manager was great and doubled up as our guide too - taking us to some great places. He seemed to know everyone in the area which made life very easy.

There's so much to see and do in the area but I'll leave that to the guidebooks but if you're looking for somewhere lovely to relax and use as a base then this is a perfect place from which to do it.

Dodd Family, UK, March 2011

My wife and I stayed at Siyambala House for the first two weeks of February 2011 and we thought it was wonderful. First, if you don't go on holiday to make your own bed, and cook your grub, this is the place for you. The Siyambala staff were great; helpful when needed but appropriately discreet when necessary. We seemed to get clean sheets every couple of days, or so, and the food was absolutely superb. For my birthday they even included fireworks for the celebrations! Nothing was too much trouble. The house itself is just as comfortable and glamorous as it looks, and to sit by the pool - and what a pool it is - in the cool of a peaceful evening enjoying those spectacular sunsets with a gin martini in in your hand is bliss. Just what you hope for from holiday.

We had spent the previous ten days on a round Sri Lanka tour starting in Colombo via Dambulla, Kandy and Nuwara Eliya culminating in a fabulous train ride to Ella high in the mountains. That train ride alone was worth the visit to this beautiful country. It must rank as one of the railway wonders of the world. We visited the Elephant Sanctuary, umpteen Buddhist temples, botanical gardens and a tea plantation. The people we met were unfailingly charming and very good natured. The only downside of a trip like that is that you tend to be living out of a suitcase for days, but on the other hand it made the comforts and luxury of Siyambala all the more appealing when we got there.

Whilst at Siyambal we walked to the nearby beaches on several occasions. Even a short walk like that is fascinating. People would come up to us and ask where we came from and they all seemed genuinely interested to meet us - particularly the local children, for whom my wife had provided herself with simple plastic propelling pencils to offer as gifts. They went down very well. We would take a Tuk Tuk back in the evening - itself an interesting experience. The beaches tend to be accessed through a restaurant or hotel, consequently they are clean and well organised and there's always beer and sandwiches to hand. However, it was just as pleasant to spend the day by the pool at Siyambala, reading and just chilling out.

I can't recommend Sri Lanka and a stay at Siyambal too highly. There are few places in the world that are as good as they're cracked up to be, but we found the country and the house matched that billing.

Rannie, UK, March 2011