Michael Davies & Charlie Austin met on the cricket pitch at Bryanston School, England, in 1995. Once school days were over, they stayed in regular contact, although Michael followed his father’s footsteps and moved to Hong Kong whereas Charlie migrated to Sri Lanka.
Fate brought them back together in 2001 after an unscheduled stopover for Michael in Colombo. Deciding to stay a few days, he explored the south coast and fell in love with the charm of Galle Fort and its collection of historic, beautiful, yet often dilapidated houses. On impulse he bought 41 Lighthouse Street, which after being lovingly restored has become one of the most sought-after villa rentals in the Fort. It was during this renovation that Michael and Charlie identified the need for small, yet luxurious and stylish places to stay and thus set about starting Teardrop Hotels in 2005.
With 18 bedrooms and suites (3 Wallawwa Bedroom, 10 Garden Suite, 2 Garden Twin Suites, 2 Family Suite, 1 Mountbatten Suite) gracefully blend the character of an 18th century manor house with bold contemporary additions. Super soft linen dresses four-poster beds positioned to gaze into the gardens, and little details such as vintage phones and bold prints infuse rooms with a retro-contemporary vibe. Relax in peace and privacy in one of their chicly styled Wallawwa Bedrooms or choose a more spacious Garden Suite for their large bathrooms and open terraces beside lush border-fringed lawns. Families can take advantage of their interconnecting bedrooms and suites, and their ultimate extravagance is the two-bedroom Mountbatten Suite with private plunge pool.
The Wallawwa convivial open-sided restaurant, The Verandah, serves exquisite a la carte Asian Fusion cuisine throughout the day to tables overlooking the 200-year-old tropical gardens. Their innovative menus use the finest local ingredients, and many of the fruits, vegetables and herbs used in their freshly cooked meals are plucked daily from their extensive kitchen garden. Chefs can cater to all dietary requirements with prior notice, and a kid’s menu, BBQ menu and in-room dining menu are also available.
The Wallawwa’s quiet rural location is a sublime place to rest and recuperate for a few nights before or after your flight. It’s tempting to stay put, straying no further than the hotel’s gorgeous garden and pool, or perhaps indulging in a Sri Lankan cookery demonstration with chefs, yet the region’s diverse sights and activities could keep you busy for days.