The Max Wadiya villa is something totally different, for us and probably for you. We normally talk about value for money and how far your dollar will stretch in each country you visit. This time we won’t be talking price. Sometimes we throw a curved ball at you and hop on a cruise ship or buy ourselves a house to renovate, we like to keep you entertained. This time we’re bringing you a magnificent luxury full-service villa. We’re no strangers to luxury, my husband’s career in hospitality has taken us to some incredible 5 star properties all over the world, but this place, this villa on the beach with everything taken care of, was very special indeed.
Big hotels with beautiful pools and fine dining are all well and good, but the personal service and attention we received during our stay at the Max Wadiya villa was, we think, the ultimate Sri Lankan experience. I’ve visited this island 5 times, as a package tourist, backpacker ( with and without children) and luxury hotel guest. The Max Wadiya experience comes out on top for me. Whatever we needed, whatever question we asked, “We can help you with that.” was the standard reply. Total relaxation, no stresses or worries, are what they deliver here.
Mostly, the amazing Ranjan and his staff didn’t even have to be asked. If they thought we needed refreshing, they’d bring us a king coconut, when I was sick they brought me Ayurvedic tea, if they saw us heading to the pool, they’d bring out the pool toys for the children, and so it went on. The Max Wadiya family couldn’t do enough to make our stay as relaxed and comfortable as possible.
The Location, Ambalangoda Beach.
Ambalangoda beach is quiet. Certain parts of Sri Lanka are, quite frankly, over-run with package tourists in season and these days we avoid them. Ambalangoda isn’t like that.
The beach front at Max Wadiya had a few holiday makers, I don’t think I ever saw more than 2 or 3 on the beach at one time. There are a handful of other hotels nearby, each set back in their own grounds, there are no beach bars or touts.
The sea is turquoise with crashing waves and in the early morning fishermen set immensely long nets from colourful wooden boats before hauling their catch, hand over hand, onto the shore.
They are very happy for visitors to help them work.
Turtles lay here, you’ll find turtle hatcheries nearby.
Ambalangoda is famous for traditional Sri Lankan mask making, it’s THE place in Sri Lanka to see these craftsmen at work. It’s also a bustling little town with small supermarkets, fruit stalls and plenty of street food options. It’s not a tourist town like, for instance, Hikkaduwa or Unawatuna. It feels far more “Sri Lankan” than that.
The Madu Ganga meets the sea just north of Ambalangoda and Balapitya. There is a well established river safari industry here. We took a boat tour organised by Max Wadiya, the second time I’ve done this trip, the first for the children. They really enjoyed this half day tour. I’ll post fully about the river cruise soon.
Ambalangoda is within easy reach of the international airport, you can take a fixed-rate airport taxi from the arrivals lounge and be in Ambalangoda within about 2 hours. We took the train, a lovely scenic route which tracks the coast.
If you’re looking for a base from which to explore Sri Lanka, Ambalangoda also fits the bill. Trips further south or to Kandy and the historic sites in the north can be arranged from here. Some will involve an overnight stay. We’ve taken these tours before by air-con mini bus and found them a great way of seeing Sri Lanka. The Max Wadiya team will help you with any travel plans you have.
The Max Wadiya Food Experience
All food is included during your stay at Max Wadiya.
Ranjan is manager and head chef, he has 2 other chefs who work beside him to create exquisite Sri Lankan food along with western dishes for those who prefer less spice.
I really can’t over-state the quality of the Sri Lankan food here, it’s better than anything I’ve eaten on the island, ever.
There are no short cuts, every spice, herb and plant is prepared fresh and it shows in the complexity of flavours that the dishes deliver. You can also be certain that every piece of fish, every crustacean and piece of meat is fresh and handled to proper hygiene standards.
Ranjan likes to turn out “medium hot” Sri Lankan food. He is from Kandy where the curries have less heat than in the fiery south. His “medium” is our “very hot” but not all Sri Lankan dishes are fearsome, the white curries he prepared were mild enough for our children to enjoy and came loaded with creamy coconut, vegetables and nuts.
He will prepare dishes to suit you, Chef and I enjoy the heat.
Breakfast brings a mix of Sri Lankan and western tastes, lunch tends towards European style comfort food. Sri Lankan spice 3 times daily is too much for most guests, but that said, they will tailor the menu to individuals and dietary needs. Ranjan proudly told me that if you stay for a month ( and people do) he can present a different menu every day.
As well as dining here, guests can visit the kitchen to find out more about Sri Lankan cooking. We were intrigued to see how string hoppers were produced, that was just a quick demo, but on the following evening we had a full, in-depth, Sri Lankan cooking master-class. Nothing hands on, we were audience and spectators only, but still we both ( including my Executive Chef husband) learned a lot from this master. Again, this will have to go in another post.
The Accommodation and Facilities at Max Wadiya
We occupied the two upstairs bedrooms in the villa. Between the rooms was a large hallway opening onto a spacious balcony with a magnificent sea view. The hallway had a TV area where the children enjoyed watching DVDs ( provided by Max Wadiya) and a desk where I could work. Wi-fi was good.
Both rooms had private bathrooms, fans and air-con. The master bedroom had a walk-in wardrobe and seating area.
This colonial-style floor was essentially our private space, it was light and airy, cooled by the sea breezes and ceiling fans. The antique and local-style furniture and decorations were quite delightful.
I noted that there was a built-in stair gate upstairs to keep visiting toddlers safe.
Downstairs, the villa has a third double bedroom and a large open dining area leading out onto the patio and gardens.
The gardens are beautiful, immaculately kept, and feature several hammocks, a large salt water pool ( with toddler pool), a private massage room and two outdoor eating pavilions. From the garden there is a gate onto the beach.
The villa is separated from a second building, housing two self-contained apartments, by a covered walkway connecting the kitchen and shady ornamental fish pool.
The villa, as you would expect, was immaculately clean, the beds and bedding were superbly comfortable.
Everything you could need is provided at Max Wadiya. All food, teas, coffees, coconuts and water. The only exception being alcoholic drinks and sodas. Clients can buy their own locally and keep them at the villa. Staff are happy to help with this.
A lovely touch, is the provision of outdoor toys for children and adults. Everything from pool toys, to badminton sets, to cricket bats, is on hand. This went down very well indeed with my family, the children loved being able to play sports in the garden with their dad. Real family time, memories in the making, and something you wouldn’t be able to do in a regular hotel.
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Why Max Wadiya and What Does Total Relaxation Cost?
The cost is on a par with my husband’s 5 star resort hotel in Australia, but his hotel doesn’t include 3 meals a day or the superb personal service you will find here.
This is luxury travel and it does have a premium price tag. To check prices for your requirements, you need to visit the Max Wadiya website. (link below)
The villa and apartments are perfect for large families or groups of friends wanting to spend time together in a home-like atmosphere on a paradise beach where everything is taken care of. This is a place to fully relax and unwind, the outside world and the logistics of travel need not bother you at all during your stay. Ranjan and his wonderful team will take care of everything with grace and efficiency.
Max Wadiya is truly a foodie’s dream. If you want to learn about Sri Lankan cuisine, this place is for you. As I said previously, the complexity of the dishes and the attention to detail in the food is stunning. Without doubt , the best Sri Lankan food we have ever eaten.
We loved the relaxed atmosphere, there was no pressure to dress for dinner or to be formal in any way. It was like being at home, but with better food and superb staff. When we travel we normally have to find restaurants at meal times, to have everything provided and not have to go out searching was luxury indeed.
In a way, Max Wadiya reminded me of our cruise ship voyages, where we would go out on shore excursions all day and return to an immaculate room, a hot shower and dinner waiting for us. It was similar, but for us, better, to be in a private, family setting rather than elbow to elbow with our co-passengers.
Helping Turtles and the Environment
If I haven’t said enough already, I should mention that Max Wadiya is committed to being as eco friendly as possible. They gather rain water to keep the gardens green, use solar power and reduce electrical consumption where they can. You won’t see wasteful air-conditioners running all day here, the sea breezes take most of the strain. Turtle conservation is also something the Max Wadiya team are involved in, they’ve been trying to increase survival rates for the green turtles and olive ridley turtles that lay on Ambalangoda beach for the last 7 years. Both are highly endangered but locals will still take the eggs as food. The crew at Max Wadiya buy them back from the fishermen and rebury them within their grounds. Once the babies hatch, they hold them back until after dark, to give them the best possible chance against beach predators. 1 in 1,000 hatchlings survives to adulthood in the wild. That’s if they make it past the fishermen. The Max Wadiya staff and owners have released more than 4,000 hatchlings into the sea since they started their project, helping those babies stand a fighting chance.
Contact Max Wadiya
You can also view their Trip Advisor profile here.
The Max Wadiya
147 Galle Road (Parrot Junction)
Tel: +94 91 225 7926
Tel Ruth Max, the owner : +44 796 3554 639 Ranjan Priyankara, the manager +94 773 170 369
We were delighted to be guests of Max Wadiya during our stay. All views are 100% honest and our own, as always.