From the moment of waking in the beautifully spacious and exceptionally elegant garden rooms of the Nos Da Ty hotel in Sri Lanka, it is easy to see how it got its name.
Meaning ‘The Good Night’ Hotel in Welsh, in honour of the heritage of one of the owners, it is a genuine place of secluded serenity designed to invite a relaxing, stylish and uniquely individual experience to the weariest of travellers.
Sri Lanka sits pretty at the south tip of India, a small country offering big attractions mixing up culture, beaches and nature.
The destination is a luxury in itself but when combined with Nos Da Ty, a visit becomes something very special and certainly more than just a holiday.
The boutique hotel boasts just six rooms and two bungalows with accommodation for up to 20 people situated on Koggala beach. It can be hired in its entirety although any visitors can be assured of such personal service they will feel like the only guests.
Should you choose to take some breakfast there are various traditional options but the local specialities of coconut sambol, milk rice, coconut roti, fresh fruit or local breads really help start the day in traditional fashion.
You can contemplate what you are going to do with your time, whether it is to chill out by the pool, maybe with a massage (available at just £20 for an hour), take part in some yoga or meditation or explore the island and all it has to offer.
There is plenty of choice, too. Beyond Koggala’s perfect beaches is a world of culture, spanning thousands of years, on the doorstep.
A short walk away, the stilt fishermen go about their daily business and at the Kataluwa Purwarama Temple, the friendly monks explain the painted Jataka tales behind the 200-year-old murals. A tuk-tuk ride takes you to the Martin Wickramasinghe Art Museum, a fascinating place to learn about Sri Lankan folk culture.
Better still, you can go anywhere at any time because the owners of the Nos Da Ty offer you the opportunity to design your own adventures using tour drivers who are appointed to the hotel for local visits or fully escorted, around-the-island trips – or even an exotic trip to the Maldives.
The Tiogalla Latie Boat Trip is a firm favourite with hotel guests. Taking two hours, the excursion includes visits to Temple Island, Bird Island and Cinnamon Island. It’s a ten-minute walk from the hotel – or five minutes in the red tuk-tuk – to the boat.
The more intrepid traveller who is happy to leave behind the serenity and tropical gardens of the hotel can find even more slightly further afield.
Just 45 minutes away is Galle’s UNESCO World Heritage Site fort, the Handunugoda Tea Estate where you can discover the Virgin White Tea Factory and sample 25 varieties of tea, or Mirissa, a charming seaside town with fantastic whale watching trips.
A two-hour drive takes you to Yala National Park, home to a variety of animals including leopards, over 300 elephants, and a multitude of colourful birds.
There is no better place to return to after a busy day exploring Sri Lanka and all the complexities and intrigue of its vast and rich history.
Everyone at Nos Da Ty will make you feel at home with creature comforts such as fresh linen, a cosy bar and air conditioning. If you really feel the need to keep in touch with the rest of the world then wi-fi and TV is also freely available.
The evenings are something of a delight with the resident chef’s eclectic mix of traditional and international cuisine – with the speciality that has to come from an island: fish.
The menu covers Sri Lankan and global specialities to unexpected Mediterranean salads, fish and chips, pasta and paella to homemade burgers.
The grilled or barbecued seafood in lime butter sauce, Sri Lankan red rice and various curries, regional soup and gotu kola are exquisite. Assuming, of course, you have room if you have taken part in the free tea and cakes that are served at 5pm on the garden terraceâ€¦
Sri Lanka is an island of unbelievable beauty, history, mystique and culture, and the owners have combined their love of the country with the desire to share it with their guests.
Their passion shines through and any visit can only be enhanced by staying at this small but beautifully packaged hotel that can only be described as a place of paradise.