A luxury boutique beachfront hotel evoking the traditional Sri Lankan tropical Bawa style of architecture with a unique yet spacious contemporary and minimalist interior is the perfect family friendly place to stay when visiting Galle.
Arabella on Boossa is a stunning 8-room boutique beachfront property, designed with comfort and understated leisure in mind. We had the pleasure of staying for a week in the largest room in the house located on the third floor, just above the second shared living room. Room 8 is a large bedroom with a white 4-poster bed frame, lounge area and enough space to neatly fit 3 extra beds for the kids. This room also comes with a large balcony with gorgeous views of the hotel pool, garden and the beach.
The true identity of this property is that the Australian owner has taken into consideration their guests every need and maximized the space to reflect that. Some of the family suites offer bunk beds and loft-style makeshift floors with a ladder utilizing the space to its fullest. Young children are specifically catered for with well though out food, (including delicious) ice-cream options and pool and garden entertainment activities, including a daily creative arts table for late afternoon while the parents relax in the garden or pool.
The main eating area is at the side of the hotel – an all-open space where breakfast served with a morning breeze is simply wonderful. The menu offers traditional Sri Lanka cuisine along with the usual western favorites and a kids menu too.
The whole hotel is ordained with white sofas, modern ornaments and groups of glass vases stacked with large green tropical leaves. Most of the day, the common doors are left open so the sea breeze fills the air and you can hear the sounds of the waves crashing. It’s a peaceful and comfortable property, which immediately feels like home.
Arabella on Boossa is located 10 minutes from Galle a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Galle is a truly multi-cultural town, filled with hotels, guesthouses, restaurants, shops and especially in the evening and nights is teeming with tourists. Tuk Tuk’s or private cars are available to take you anywhere you wish to visit and the colonial Galle train station is nearby. Personally we enjoyed taking tuk tuks everywhere even though 5 people was a bit of a squeeze in the back, but the kids found it highly entertaining and occupied themselves by counting all the multi-colored tuk tuks we passed along the way
Here's our list of family things to do while in Galle:
Surf Lessons – We signed the kids up to a surf school, which was close by to the hotel. It’s literally a shack on the beach with local surfer dudes as the teachers. The staff gave the kids a quick run though the moves before taking them into the sea, staying by their side the entire time. My son didn’t last too long in the water as when the sea is choppy its pretty exhausting not to mention you spend a lot of time under the waves, but my eldest got to grips with it straight away and considering she has no fear and a personality where she is determined to do what she puts her mind too, she stayed in for hours. While the kids had their lesson, we enjoyed freshly squeezed juices on the beach.
Galle Lighthouse is a nice spot for a walk along the city walls and a perfect place to enjoy an ice cream. A must, Insta-worthy photo stop too!
Galle Town – inside the Galle town walls are alleyways of shops, restaurants and bars. The architecture and interior is a mix of British colonial and Dutch influence while remarkably, within a few square meters of each other you can find places of worship from all the main religions.
Take a train to Walligama and hang out the open window and doors… don’t worry its pretty safe and a cool way to ride the train
A day at Unawatuna Beach – white sands, surfing and lunch spots on the sand. A literal beach paradise and a magnet for backpackers
Japanese Peace Pagoda – we hired a tuk tuk driver for the morning and visited the famous round Buddhist temple which sits upon a hill with views of the coast. While the temple was nice, the kids enjoyed exploring the secret beach at the bottom of the hill. A downward hike through bushes and many steps opens up onto a secret beach with tree swings and a café. Its fun to do but its not the beach I would go to as I certainly wouldn’t fancy carrying a family of five with beach paraphernalia up and down that hike!
Stilt fisherman – spot the fisherman sitting on the stilts in the water catching fish. An old, antiquated method of fishing that still holds its charm.
Turtle sanctuary – a top tourist spot but worth it as the money they receive goes towards supporting the local wildlife and helping rehabilitate the turtles.
Fruit Market – I enjoyed visiting the many stalls of fresh fruit, all laid out neatly providing an array of bright colors – the naughty side of me wanted to pull out an apple from the bottom of the pile just to watch the entire stack crumble, but instead I picked the ones on the top of the pile just so I didn’t leave a dent in their proud, product display master piece!