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Villa Nilmalee is a charming boutique guesthouse located in Sri Lanka’s beautiful hill country, a short drive from the city of Kandy.

Situated close to the Mahaweli, the longest river in Sri Lanka, we’re lucky enough to have panoramic views of the water and surrounding mountains from our front terrace. Our two acres of landscaped gardens also provide a relaxing place to wind down after a busy day of sightseeing.



The original property used to be known as Kahatapitiya Walauwa, Walauwa being the name of a colonial manor house in Sri Lanka. It was the ancestral home of Tikiri Banda Panabokke, who was the ‘Rate Mahaththaya’, a colonial administrative officer. The house was used as his office as well as his residence.  He passed the property on to his son, Nissanka Panabokke, who served as a Brigadier in the Sri Lankan Army.  As the Brigadier had no children, the property was offered to and bought by his relation, the late Cyril Punchi Banda Goonetilleke, who was a lawyer and also the Mayor of Gampola at the time. He gifted the property to his eldest daughter, Iranganie (Irie) who is the current owner.


Irie now lives in the UK with her radiologist husband Saman. With their children grown up and flying the nest, they decided to take on the ambitious and exciting project of rebuilding the old family house. Their goal is to create an eco-friendly boutique hotel that would  give guests a real feel for Sri Lankan culture, cuisine, history, nature and  the famed Sri Lankan hospitality. 


Interesting fact: the name ‘Nilmalee’ is a combination of the names of Irie and Saman’s three children.

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