Villa in the valley

History, luxury and the great outdoors all go to make a stay at Mas Villa in Kotmale a memorable one
By Dhananjani Silva, Pic by Sanka Vidanagama

When a majestic old Walauwwa is turned into a luxurious upmarket boutique villa that blends style and comfort, it’s a combination hard to match.

Hidden in the historic Kotmale valley along the Gampola - Nuwara Eliya Road is this tranquil retreat, an ideal getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. The Mas Villa, as it is called now, also known as the Pahala Walauwwa in the Mas wella area is the ancestral home and the birthplace of late politician Gamini Dissanayake.

Mayantha Dissanayake, recalling very personal memories of his father’s ancestral home said Pahala Walauwwa was the place where his father Gamini Dissanayake grew up. “I remember visiting the place during school holidays. My father used to take us around the area. He used to tell us the history of the land and the house, about our grandparents and how he used to run around and play in the paddy fields as a child,” recalled Mayantha.

“After my father’s death we gave the house to several parties to run it as a holiday bungalow. However, with the dawn of peace, we thought it was a good time to take it back and run it on a boutique villa concept,” he said.

Set in a beautiful landscape with many breathtaking views of mountain ranges, the scenic Kotmale dam and the flora and fauna surrounding it, Mas Villa has now been transformed into a five bed-roomed stylish boutique hotel to accommodate about 15 people. Though equipped with all modern amenities, careful attention has been given to retaining its ancient façade and architectural features.

In the midst of the long verandahs that lead to the elegant sitting and dining rooms, the lounge and the stylish guest rooms, is a beautiful courtyard. The furniture and decor have been selected to reflect both its ancient grandeur and the ambience of an upmarket boutique hotel.

The villa consists of three standard rooms, a suite and a master bedroom all with modern amenities such as hot/cold water and tea/coffee making facilities etc. The suites and the lounge are equipped with satellite TV and internet as well.

A bedroom: elegant and cosy

Guests can relax in the outdoor swimming pool or at the elegantly designed spa or workout at the gym, set in the Atuwa, the granary of the Walauwwa, which is over 300 years old. Wee Bissa as it was known in the ancient days, this particular Atuwa has a historic story behind it for the British during the 1815 rebellion set fire to it when they found out that the rice stocks stored in it were being used to feed the Sinhala rebels.

Come dining time, visitors can experience western, Sri Lankan or eastern cuisine. The 40 feet-long dining room with the verandah overlooks the scenic Kotmale dam. The hotel’s management team say their ultimate objective is to pamper the guests and make their stay memorable. “If there are any requests by the guests, we would try to facilitate whatever is possible. We want to go out of the guest house concept and make the travellers’ stay a memorable one,” says the manager adding that their butler service is of high quality. Chief Butler Chandana Jayanath who has over 10 years experience including stints at The Eden, Cinnamon Grand and Walauwwa Boutique hotel will see to the overall management of the Mas Villa.

As night falls, the villa’s ambience changes completely as the candles are lit and the lights switched on, its subtle grandeur highlighted. Entertainmentwise, in the misty evenings there are pool tables, board games, the library, DVDs or cable TV. For guests who love the great outdoors beautiful Kotmale and its surroundings provide unlimited opportunities.

The centre of attraction: The courtyard.

Mountain bike tracks and hiking, bird watching, excursions to tea plantations, visits to the famous Maha Seya and Maha Kataragama Devale and the Ramboda Ella, Kotmale reservoir are some of the interesting attractions. Historically, the Kotmale valley has links with King Dutugemunu.

Pusulpitiya Raja Maha Viharaya is believed to be where Prince Dtutugemnu worshipped when he was hiding in the Kotmale area to escape his enemies, Rajathala Wela - the paddy field which he harvested, the Raja Peella- the place where he bathed, Kada Dora- the place where he hid his sword are some of the interesting locations in close proximity to the Villa.

Mas Vila is located close to several main cities like Gampola, Kandy and Nuwara Eliya. The Victoria Golf Course and the Dalada Maligawa in Kandy are also within an hour’s drive from the villa.

Reservations can be made on 0777715747 or by emailing More information can be obtained from

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