Checking In: Sri Lanka’s Owl and the Pussycat
August 2, 2016 | BY Rachel Duffell
The sophisticated boutique hotel, designed by Indian-born, New York-based architect Uday K. Dhar, is one of the latest additions to Sri Lanka’s south coast
Surf-perfect waves crash against the Thalpe shoreline in front of new 16-room boutique hotel Owl and the Pussycat, situated less than twenty minutes by road from the historic Galle Fort. It’s the perfect spot from which to explore the island’s southern colonial history and contemporary arts and crafts, as well as the cinnamon plantations and renowned Ceylon tea grown locally.
Named after Edward Lear’s quirky poem that sees the title characters set out to sea in a pea green boat, each of the Owl and the Pussycat’s eclectically designed rooms and suites is named after a part of the poem and inside guests will find cute owl-shaped cushions and pussycat dolls that have been handmade by children from the local orphanage.
A number of the spacious rooms – eight of which are suites, have expansive terraces or balconies and some are home to an open-plan kitchen, which, on request, can be filled for your arrival with personal groceries to give you more opportunities to enjoy the idyllic setting. Breakfast on the balcony at your leisure with food straight from your own fridge in contemporary kitchenware from local design and homeware purveyor Paradise Road, or alternatively, guests can enjoy the semi-buffet in the hotel restaurant al fresco by the sea.
Rooms are completed with contemporary furniture, colourful textiles and art works created by artists from around the world, and these extend throughout the hotel. Don’t miss the beautifully designed Drawing Room which offers the opportunity to chill out and relax amongst a selection of books and art pieces as French doors open onto a balcony that overlooks the Indian Ocean in which Sri Lanka’s famed stilted fisherman can often be seen casting for a catch.
There's a swimming pool, with lights that twinkle after dark, and the hotel's restaurant and bar offers a range of signature cocktails that incorporate local ingredients and a menu comprised of delicious traditional Sri Lankan dishes with Mediterranean accents – take the taste of Sri Lanka home with you by taking part in one of the hotel’s outdoor cooking lessons, or simply relax and indulge to the sounds of a jazz band and musicians who play at the weekend.
Fill your days lazing by the pool, and make the most of the ocean’s proximity with sailing, surfing, diving and kite-surfing all on offer, as well as the opportunity to learn to fish with the local stilt fishermen. Owl and the Pussycat can arrange yoga and spa treatments on request, the latter in a tented suite at the bottom of the property’s grounds where you can be pummeled or mani-pedi-ed to the sounds of the sea.
Fancy going further afield? Visit the nearby turtle conservation or take a boat out watching for whales and dolphins (between December and April for the best chance of sightings). Buddhist temples, small local villages and vast expanses of jungles and paddy fields are just minutes away and bicycles can be arranged for easiest access, while the local Galle boutiques have plenty to offer in the form of local arts, crafts, homeware, and apparel, as well as cute cafes, bars and restaurants. In addition, arrangements are easily made for guests to take a seaplane up to the tea country or into Yala National Park for leopard trailing and elephant tracking.
After all has been and done, return to this quirky home away from home, and relax in style and sophistication surrounded by the tranquility of pool and ocean and spirited art and design vibes and contemporary food and cocktails.
Owl and the Pussycat, N.788, Matara Road, Thalpe, Sri Lanka; +94 777 240 077; www.otphotel.com
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