WOW! What can we say? Well the first thing to see is that all of the other positive reviews for Mandalay are spot on; this really is a place you need to go and visit. So in a little more detail:
Planning - smooth and efficient with Kim responding to e-mails within hours.
Payment - easy and simple using Trip Advisor.
Arrival and Departure - picked up from and dropped off at the airport by Sadu in his spacious, comfortable and clean minibus. Drive to the villa about 2 hours, along roads dotted with wildlife.
The Villa and our stay - Where to start? The three double bedrooms are all en-suite and with a/c and fans. The beds are comfortable and each room has its own safe, hairdryer and enough plug sockets (equipped with adaptors). The pool is wonderful - deep enough for those who like to have to tread water, but shallow enough for those who don't want to get too wet! And there is a separate shallow end suited to toddlers. The tree house offers impressive views, and the outside seating and dining areas allow you to take in the magnificent gardens and visiting chipmunks and birds.
The team - Sadu is a most excellent and knowledgeable man (he even knows where to find the rare Sri Lankan apple - taste it if you dare...!). If he can't sort out
that you want then nobody can - he did everything from organise our 4 day tour away, through to a fantastic river boat trip and showing us around the local temple, to facilitating our boys fishing with the locals on the local bridge. Put simply, nothing is too much trouble for this man. Always with smile on his face and a plan in his mind we challenge you not to enjoy your time in his care. When you couple him with the resident chef Siri, it's a phenomenal experience. Siri can do everything from Sri Lankan curry to spaghetti carbonara and the most amazing banana fritters. Our youngest is a fussy eater yet Siri was more than happy to do a bland version of our food for him. And Chataranga is an excellent houseboy who kept the place immaculate.
So that's it. It's a stress free holiday. We had a truly wonderful time. You will too.
Not the first time in Sri Lanka but certainly the best in terms of customer service. First class chef who can prepare any dish and one of the friendliest tour guides ever. Villa had spectacular views showcasing fabulous mountainous sights and wildlife.
Only problem was no sun no hot water as the villa is reliant on solid power. Worth a visit for sure.
Trip of a life time and all thanks to Kim and Sudu who organised the most amazing holiday for us. Mandalay is set in a beautiful garden and has so much wildlife to watch whether it be from the multiple seating areas or pool. It really is paradise and we definitely did not want to leave at the end of our stay!
Both the house and gardens are kept immaculately and the staff are always very friendly and helpful. Sanjay the chef never failed to disappoint with serving amazing food from breakfast right through to dinner. His spring rolls are to die for!
Near to Mandalay there are some very beautiful beaches in which you you could easily spend all day enjoying. Sudu also took us to the turtle conservation centre where we released baby turtles which really was a lovely experience and highly recommended.
Sudu and Kim organised an exceptional tour for 5 nights where we saw and went to some incredible places. We loved it all but in particular safari and the elephant orphanage are ones not to be missed. If you like wildlife Sri Lanka really is the place for you.
Nothing was ever too much for Sudu and he truly is an amazing host and we were very lucky to have him to show us around. We cannot recommend Mandalay enough and hope very much we will return one day.
From all the helpful emails right through to the last day, Kim and Sudu provided us with an experience of a lifetime!
The Villa itself is situated in acres of lush green forest and stunning countryside with exhilarating views across a long valley as far as the eye can see.
The service we received from the moment we were picked up at the airport was faultless. Sudu looked after our every need and we pretty much let him suggest every trip and sightseeing tour and it was perfect. Tatu who tended to the house and Sanjay our chef provided some of the most amazing food we have eaten. Its not everyday you can have a fruit platter with freshly made passionfruit juice for breakfast!
Apart from having your own exotic fruit trees in your garden, like coconut and mango trees, a fantastic pool and a tree house that lends its self to some stunning views, its also very secluded and peaceful.
I seriously could not recommend this place any more. if you are still contemplating, then don't, just get it booked!
If tripadvisor did a 10 star tier system it would get all 10.
A final note to Sudu, a wonderful, genuine host with a huge heart, a big thank you.
This is our third time in Sri Lanka,staying at Mandaly,near Dharga Town.
Our party of 5 adults stayed for three weeks and, from the first to the last day of our holiday,we had the most superb time.
Mandaly is as beautifully kept as ever, which I assume must be incredibly hard and expensive to maintain such high standards of house and garden maintanance in tropical conditions.
New air conditioning units were in every bedroom( very quiet), updated broadband package allowing more usage and the two superb garden cabanas were completely revamped with concrete table, trunk and top which was covered in bamboo and the best improvement was the electric lights and fan!
It was wonderful to see the same staff at Mandalay. Kataranga, always smiling,cleaned our rooms beautifully. The gardener was always sweeping fallen leaves and trimming the birds of paradise hedges so we could all enjoy the incredible view across the rice paddy fields, watching the water buffalo follow the path of the water lily filled stream.
Sanjay, the chef, still produced the delicious foods we requested every night, his range and style of cooking would please everyone apart from the most difficult customer, and obviously Sudu who organised a wonderful trip for some of the party to the East coast and was as calm,helpful,friendly and charming as ever.
We saw fire flies most evenings,with a wonderful array of birds flying overhead, especially the green parrots at 6pm.
On reading a recent review, we did all wonder if the reviewer was staying at the same house as us, as all we could hear was the sounds of nature, occasionally in-dispersed with the chiming bread Tuk Tuk delivery man, and general community life going on around us- how lucky were we that in the flat countryside noise travels a long way- we wouldn't have missed it for the world and think ourselves very luck to have stayed in a most wonderful house ( not wedding hall)and location again.
Thank you very much to Kim, the owner,again for organising the trip and house for us..Your professional and helpful advice has been appreciated by us all.
We shall be back I am sure.
We planned Sri Lanka trip for a special occasion of my Anniversary and my brother birthday. We booked Mandalay for 4 days starting 26/01/2017-30/01/2017. The word Awesome for this place would be an understatement its above that. The place is exactly the same as you saw in the pictures posted by other Trip advisor members. Its a Perfect family stay considering that firstly its away from the Hush hush of other villas that are situated on the beach and is situated in a very silent stretch of Darga town. Though it’s hard for a first timer to reach directly but Sudu and his family came to guide our way to the Villa. The first impression you get is WOW. Everything in place neat and clean and once you settle down the entire villa has lots to offer, the swimming pool is carefully divided for kids and adults so your kids can enjoy the pool without any fear, The bed rooms on the first floor are spacious very comfortable beds. Both bedrooms on the first floor has great view, One room has a balcony overlooking the lush green fields of Darga town and has double bed, while other has a window which opens to the swimming pool and has a double bed and a single bed for a Kid. The kitchen is quite spacious too and well stocked, it’s good for the family to cook their style of food. For entertainment a good speaker Bluetooth enable speaker system to play some music and DTH Tv. Books of all kind for one to indulge in calm environment and unwind. The tree house which offers a great view of villa as well as surrounding areas.
My sincere thanks to Sudu and his family who bought a portion of small Sri Lankan food for us during breakfast as well as Chaturam the caretaker for maintaining the villa so well.
At the End thanks to Mandalay Villa my Sri Lankan Trip was made the most memorable would revisit again this time for a longer period.
I fully endorse the previous comments regarding the views and surrounding countryside. Both Sanjee (the cook) and Chutaranga (the houseboy) were friendly and helpful. Be aware that Sri Lankan curry is very fierce with lots of pepper and chillies Sanjee adjusted his dishes to our taste. The owner Kim was very helpful and replied promptly to our emails. On the occasion that we had to alter our flight due to an airline schedule change she was most accommodating.
All the locals are very friendly and like to stop and chat, supermarkets all within a reasonable distance and Sanjee drove us there in the Tuk -Tuk. Sudu will arrange trips for you I would suggest that you do a little research beforehand the most common trip is a triangle, Kandy , Yala National Park (chose a morning safari) and Galle, all the trips follow the same route and venues with slight variations.
All in all we enjoyed our stay in Sri Lanka the “buts” were; it was not mentioned on Trip Advisor that part of the property is a Wedding Hall and although separate is next door. Only used in the day time we were told and you may get an invite!
There is also a noisy neighbour who likes to share his loud music, but as the owner Kim says they can’t control that although Chutaranga did try. Other noise came from local concerts/Weddings about once a week with very loud drums that went on to about 1.00am and in the flat countryside noise travels a long way. On these occasions it made sitting outside a little uncomfortable. We moved from the upstairs bedroom to the downstairs one as it was a bit quieter when the drums played late into the night.