Frangipani Tree

Romantics, Bourgeois Chic and Linen-wearing fashionistas

PRICE: Punchy but doesn’t blow the budget

RATING: Wow factor

Arriving at the Frangipani Tree in Galle, Sri Lanka, is like meeting up with an old friend who becomes more and more fun as the years go by. The hotel is a long-standing favourite and each time we come back the welcome is warmer than the last. There is a familiar frisson of excitement every time our driver delivers us to the door. The Frangipani Tree occupies one of the best spots on Thalpe beach, with a seascape to die for. And with the rooms named after gentle but endangered turtles, you’ll have an immediate sense of the kind of amazing marine life on the doorstep.

The sleek and minimalist interiors are the brainchild of Channa Deswatta, a disciple of the legendary Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa. There are only nine suites, located in three adjoining villas. They are all contemporary in style with sumptuous four-poster beds and rich linens. Combined with the polished cement floors, white walls and bespoke furniture, you have a formula that oozes quality.

The food here is amazing. It’s a fusion of the best: Sri Lankan, Mediterranean and Moroccan. You’ll get mouth-watering crab curries, Linguini a la Vongole to make your taste buds dance with excitement and lamb tagines so perfect you could be in Marrakech. And when it comes to working off all of those excess cals, the 35ft pool and tennis court are the perfect places to feel the burn

Yonder Insight

If you are organised enough, book long in advance to secure the best suite in the house. Hawksbill One has a stunning view of the ocean and a seriously massive bathroom, with glass sliding doors that make it feel outdoors.

On your doorstep

The sea in front of the Frangipani Tree can be rough. Just a little further up the beach are a couple of lagoons where it is safe for swimming. Head for Wijaya Beach restaurant – you can rent a sunlounger, take a refreshing swim and the pizza from the wood-fired oven is excellent.

Thoughts on a postcard

By the pool one late afternoon, we summoned Buddika the waiter. Before we could speak he told us: ‘Madam, you will be having a gin and tonic and for sir, a Lion beer. And I’ll also ask the chef to prepare some fresh chilli peanuts.’ Is this guy a mind reader or what?

Start planning your tailor-made holiday

Speak to one of our expert Escapologists who can help guide you and give you the inside track



Frangipani Tree: The Map

ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION IN Galle and the southern beaches

Kahanda Kanda

Occupying a hillside tea plantation of 12 acres with stunning views, Suites are a striking blend of antiques, contemporary fashion and custom-designed fabrics. The Kahanda Kanda resort restaurant is amongst the best on the South Coast.

Fort Bazaar

The Fort Bazaar is refreshing in every sense, from the waiters wearing Converse shoes to the air-conditioned restaurant, (a rarity in Galle). Decor draws influences from the Middle East. The superbly designed rooms have four-poster beds and beautiful bathrooms.


Formerly the fabled New Oriental Hotel, now magnificently reborn as an Aman hotel, the Amangalla Galle is a sumptuous blend of colonial opulence with contemporary minimalism. Teak floors, antiques, views of the fort and tranquil gardens in the heart of a bustling city.