Ahangama, Sri Lanka

Photo: The Sandhya

A white cube. A double-height lobby. A wall of windows. Flooding sunlight. A sweeping staircase. A curved ceiling. Mid-century modern furniture. A view of the Indian Ocean. The Sandhya knows how to pull its guests in with an amazing first impression.

The Sandhya opened a few years ago on the south coast of Sri Lanka. It doesn’t look like any other hotel on Kabalana Beach. Actually, it doesn’t look like any other hotel in the district of Galle or the entire Southern Province. This is intentional. The owner, a guy from Singapore, wanted to create something that stood out from the crowd. He merged minimal Scandinavian design with the slow pace of a beach house. The result is a chic hideaway where nothing is overlooked.

The gorgeous lobby doubles as a communal main house. Its furniture has clean lines and a classic feel. Its dining room serves breakfast until noon and then an all-day menu based upon farm-fresh produce and just-caught seafood. Cocktails are served on the tiled terrace. It overlooks a long pool, which was carved out of an old shipping container, and a lawn dotted with sun loungers. The white-sand beach, where you’ll find surfers during the day and fishing boats lit up at night, is just steps away. Sunsets are spectacular.

Photo: The Sandhya

None of the common areas ever feel crowded. That’s because there are only nine bedrooms at the Sandhya. They feature floor-to-ceiling windows, teak furniture, pillow-top mattresses, and Harman Kardon Bluetooth speakers. Studios have double rain showers. Studio+s include freestanding bathtubs. While the Director’s Suite adds a living area and a walk-in wardrobe. Regardless of the room you choose, its neutral color palette keeps your attention on the turquoise water outside.

So, since it takes no time at all to settle in, what do you want to do first? Eat an open-faced sandwich or ebi furai (fried shrimp) for lunch? Open a book and order a cold drink by the pool? Take a surfing or yoga class on the sand? Or walk down the seemingly endless beach? It’s your beach house. You can do whatever you want.

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