Features

Surrounded by jungle, sea, and birds: Kadju House, Tangalle

By Jennifer Anandanayagam

Submerged in water, beverage in hand, elbows propped on the side of the infinity pool, I was lost in my own world; a world where time stood still and what was before me – a gorgeous sunset peeking over a charming jungle-like setting – was the only thing on my mind.

This almost theatrical setting at Kadju House in Tangalle is easily one of its best allures – the pool looking over tangled vegetation which looks out onto the gorgeous sea beyond.

The stay at this boutique-style hotel was short but the memories are stored away for safekeeping, easily to last a lifetime.

We arrived at Kadju House on a somewhat overcast Friday in September, happy that the sojourn from Colombo took less than two hours via the highway and also happy that the space we were stepping out of our vehicle onto felt refreshingly different from what we left behind. What immediately greets you as you walk up the stairs leading you to the main accommodation area is how rustic the entire place feels.

Encased in its rustic elegance, however, is an intimate and minimalistic space. There are four en suite bedrooms, each with its own distinct style. The Sea Room is positioned in such a way where you can catch glimpses of the waves crashing on the sea as you lay in bed or soaked in the tub. You can also take in views of the vegetation below from the suite’s balcony. The Courtyard Room opens into its own secluded garden and comes with its own deck. The shower area is outdoor, open to the sky, shaded by a frangipani tree. The Pool Suite is somewhat cut off from the rest of the house, characterised by high ceilings, sea views, and also opens out onto a private deck and the gardens beyond. The Garden Room offers pretty views of the lush garden with fruit trees and comes with twin beds – perfect for children. The bathtub stands next to a lily pond.

The formal dining area, open to the garden, is made up of a long table. You are also welcome to dine on the terrace by the pool (hard to beat this offer), or at any spot in the lush garden or on the beach itself.

Pradeep Kodikara – the architect who designed Kadju House – won the Geoffrey Bawa Award for excellence in architecture in 2014 for his work on this property. The space seamlessly blends in tropical aesthetic with modern luxury. It was also listed in Condé Nast Traveller’s Best Beach Villas in the World.

“Kadju is the dominant tree on the property,” shared the owner commenting on how the place got its name. The villa also has quite a number of photographs of different species of birds on its walls. When queried, the owner admitted that he loves birds. “The birds in the photographs are birds we see on the property,” he shared, adding that deciding to bring in this element worked out well to blend art into the property.

“Art doesn’t have to be abstract if it’s real in that way.” The walls are largely bare, in keeping with the whole minimalistic vibe of the place.

The property was found in early 2000 but construction on it began only in 2007. Two years later, Kadju House was open to the market. “It was not meant to be a commercial property,” I was told; the owner fell in love with the white araliya tree on the property when he saw it. Assigning Kodikara on the project, resulted in the place taking on a beautifully minimalist aura albeit with the exception of the pool which he thinks adds a sense of “drama” to the entire place.

If you wish to move away from Galle and spend a quieter vacation nestled amidst vegetation and the surrounding sea, Kadju House in Tangalle is a must-visit. The boutique hotel is offering 60% off for residents. The place comes with breakfast and you can bring your own groceries and have the chef there cook the other meals for you.

Web: kadjuhouse.com

Facebook: facebook.com/KadjuHouse

Phone: 077 734 6324