Lunuganga country estate blends into Bentota’s coastal belt – a vision of paddy fields, cinnamon estates, and coconut plantations fringing Dedduwa Lake. Once inside Lunuganga’s garden, its profound tranquility and unspoilt natural setting feels far removed from the world outside, yet Bentota’s sandy beaches, restaurants and water sports are just 10 minutes away.
There is more architectural and horticultural artistry to admire at Brief, the smaller country estate of Bawa’s brother, Bevis, a renowned landscape designer. The low slung house, just a short drive from Lunuganga, is simple yet beautifully accessorised with vast murals, leering sculptures, classic antiques and personal photographs of some of Bevis’ distinguished guests.
Sri Lanka’s western coastline is a haven of beaches, and one of its southernmost shorelines is Balapitiya, a bouldery beach with an untouched, hidden away feel. Bentota’s beaches are also vital nesting grounds for Sri Lanka’s five species of endangered marine turtles. More wildlife can be seen along the mangrove-fringed Madu Ganga River Estuary.
Other regional highlights about hotels around Bentota include Ambalangoda, a centre for southern arts and folk culture; Hikkaduwa, for its well-established surf scene; and Galle’s historic 17th century Dutch fort.