Frequently Asked Questions

What is the house address and how do I get there?

The Retreat, Rathgama Lake, Berathuduwa (off Pinkandra Road), Dodanduwa, Nr Hikkaduwa, Galle District, Sri Lanka 80250.

From Thiranagama Railway Station (Hikkaduwa), turn left onto Pinkanda Road and follow this road all the way to the junction at the Galle-Elpitiya Road (B106), Gonapinuwala Road. You will see a signpost for The Retreat and Mangrovia Restaurant on the left. Follow this road, take the first turn right to the crossing (Mangrovia straight on), take the right fork where there is another signpost for The Retreat to the end of the road, where you will find the gates to the house.
If you have your own driver, we do suggest you ask your driver to call Channa or Sanje for directions if he is not local, as we are somewhat off the beaten track.

You can buy this online before you travel or apply at the airport on arrival. Click onto the following link. The current cost is about £27/$35

Should I take foreign currency?

First of all, try to avoid the exchange bureaus at airports or in major tourist areas, even if they promise you a “no-fee exchange” or “0% commission”. These places try to attract gullible tourists with misleading claims of offering the best deals. In reality, however, they hide their fees in poor exchange rates. You will end up paying way more than you would have if you had simply withdrawn money from an ATM.

While your credit card may prove to be particularly convenient when it comes to small purchases, it should be handled with care when it comes to cash withdrawals. Most credit cards come with an international transaction fee of between 1% and 3%. If you withdraw money from an ATM, you will be charged very high interest and a hefty fee on top of that. Unless it’s a case of emergency, try to only use your debit card for ATM withdrawals and stick to your credit card for smaller purchases.

What are the telephone numbers for the drivers?

We have a team of 3 drivers we prefer guests to use as we have vetted them, they are reliable and their vehicles are properly maintained.

Channa  0094 777118035
Upul       0094 777292532
Sanje      0094 776254265

Who should we use for trips and tours?

Please see our drivers dedicated website: for ideas about trips and bespoke tours. Upul will arrange these for you and quote an individual price. Please ensure you tell him you are our guests

What are the telephone numbers for the managers/housekeepers?

Channa  0094 777118035

Can we arrange your airport transfer?

Of course we can. We simply need your flight number and expected time of arrival at Colombo airport. You will be met in arrivals by a driver with a name board. The current cost is 12,000 rupee one way in an air conditioned mini bus which seats 8 adults or a car for couples. The transfer should be paid in cash to the driver in local currency (LKR, Sri Lankan rupee). There is a cashpoint/ATM at the services on the highway or you can purchase currency at the airport.

How long is the transfer from the airport?

Hikkaduwa is about 2 hours from the airport via the southern expressway, where there is a good services area and nice toilets, restaurants, a coffee shop for a comfort break and ATM.

How many guests can the house accommodate?

A maximum of 8 persons. The villa is 3 bedroomed but accommodates 8 (4 in the master bedroom with 2 on full size single (plug in) inflatables. There is a supplement of £20 per night per guest for more than 6 guests.

Is the house purely self catering?

Whilst the house is self catering, we do have an onsite housekeeping team who can prepare delicious meals for you, breakfast and lunch or dinner. You will be required to pay for ingredients “as you go” and to pay a tip at the end of your stay in cash. As a guideline, for 2 meals per day, breakfast and lunch or breakfast and dinner, we suggest a tip of 3,000 rupees per day.

Our housekeepers will clean the house and pool, change bedlinen twice weekly and assist with your washing, if you choose

How far is the house from the beach?

Our guests go to nearby Hikkaduwa which is the closest beach by tuk tuk (about 5km). There is a safe swimming and snorkelling area near the Coral Gardens and you can feed the turtles at the beach by Hikkatranz Hotel.
Also, there are some lovely beaches not too far away by tuk tuk “down south” ; we recommend Jungle Beach in Galle, Unawatuna and Mirissa

How far is the house from bars and restaurants?

The Mangrovia Lagoon Restaurant (Italian) is within a short walking distance or a short boat ride from the house. Tel 0779492271 for reservations.

Most restaurants and bars are in Hikkaduwa which can be reached in 5 minutes by tuk tuk; about 500 rupees depending upon time of year, one way to the local supermarket. Our favourite restaurants are A2, Moonlight, Moonbeam, JLH, Mamas, Chill Space, Top Secret, Home Grown, Nordic House, Dolphin,No.1 Rotty Shop to name but a few. We have a book with recommendations and business cards.

For bars with dancing (all outdoor), there is Funky De Bar on Thursday, Vibration on Friday and Mambos/ Chill Space on Saturday

What is the neighbourhood like and is it safe for families?

Can we remind you it is “a retreat” and as the names suggests is in a quiet residential area, so we ask that you respect this.
There is complete privacy, the house is set in its own grounds of 97 perches and is at the end of an unmade road, so very peaceful.
Our housekeepers, stay overnight in the housekeepers cottage on site to provide security.
The Villa itself is very safe as long as children are supervised in the normal manner, as it is lake fronted and the pool is immediately in front of the house. The pool is 2 meters deep at the deep end.

The house and grounds are private and gated. The grounds are gentle slopes and the lake is protected by dense vegetation along much of the perimeter.
The stairs inside the villa are secure with handrails and full balustrades.
We have had many families visiting to date without any issues

What is the password for wifi?
available on arrival, this is changed frequently due to security

Is smoking allowed?

Yes, but outside only. Strictly no drugs, including cannabis/weed which unfortunately is freely available in Hikkaduwa. Drug supply and use is illegal in Sri Lanka and carries the death penalty. Any guest found to be taking drugs on the property will be requested to leave early as we do not want the reputation of The Retreat tarnished by such behaviour

Is there air conditioning?

There are air con units in all 3 bedrooms. There is no air con downstairs, but there are ceiling fans throughout the house. The lofty ceilings and cool cement floors keep the property cool and airy.
We politely request you keep the air con use to a minimum as the cost of electricity on the island is very expensive and to reduce our carbon footprint. We prefer to use them to cool down the rooms at night before retiring to bed or taking a shower and then letting the fans disperse the cooler air through the night. We have had sensor timers fitted that will automatically switch off the air con if you leave it on by mistake.

Guest reviews and recommendations

There is a book for guest comments and business cards.
Please also refer to reviews on Tripadvisor, Airbnb, Vrbo (formerly HomeAway) and on this website under the reviews tab
Be sure to check in on our facebook page and post your favourite photos.

What back up is there in the event of a power or water supply failure?

The island does on occasion experiences power outages. Usually these are at a regular time of the day or night and so can be accommodated, however, we have a generator for lighting and fans.
In the event of lightening and storms, our housekeeper will turn off the electric supply to the house for your protection, however the house is fitted with a robust Lightening Protection System
There is a reserve tank if mains water fails.

Fire Safety

There are 2 fire extinguishers on both floors