Mirissa Hills - Mirissa
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Overview

Mirissa Hills is located a few minutes from beautiful Weligama Bay, commanding extensive views of the Ruhunu landscape – Sri Lanka’s “deep south”.The property is a working cinnamon estate. Which has been restored in recent years by its current owner to produce cinnamon of the highest grade. Within the estate there are three sets of accommodation to let, each of which provides a relaxing and pampered stay.

At the base of the hill is an immaculately restored old estate house, or walauwa, The Bungalow at Mirissa Hills. Set amidst a well-kept lawn and indigenous trees, The Bungalow is a true retreat in the countryside.Half-way up the hill is the Cinnamon Museum and Visitors’ Centre, which has four charming rooms allowing guests literally to live within the world’s only museum dedicated to the history and uses of cinnamon.And, at the top, with extensive 360 o views, is Mount Cinnamon, a luxurious contemporary house dramatically set above the landscape, representing the very best of Sri Lankan art and design.Each property is lettable separately, or, for large groups, can be rented together or in combination.

Accommodation

The bungalow
Built in the early part of the last century, the delightful, fretwork-adorned and ochre-coloured building recently has been restored and re-designed. Tastefully furnished in a style which blends old and modern, and decorated with contemporary artworks, the Bungalow at Mirissa Hills affords a sense of peace and serenity.This is country living at its very best – the ambience is one of sophisticated simplicity.The sitting room is light and airy, and furnished in traditional style. It opens onto a beautiful dining room, with a grand single plank wooden table which can seat ten or more. A breakfast area adjoins the kitchen.There are three bedrooms, all for double occupancy, and one with a double bed. Each has en-suite showers with hot and cold running water and toilets, and is equipped with mosquito nets and fans.Your houseboy will pamper you from your first cup of tea in the morning through your first sundowner on the lawn outside to your last night cap before bedtime. Just relax and experience the tranquillity of the countryside.

The museum rooms
The world’s only Cinnamon Museum provides a totally unique encounter with the spice which has been associated with Sri Lanka for thousands of years. In the heart of plantation, it is purpose-designed to provide comfortable accommodation, and set within a secluded courtyard, four air-conditioned bedrooms cater for two persons each. Each furnished in classic style, and with cheerful contemporary fabrics. Bathrooms with showers (hot and cold running water) and wc's are en-suite. The rooms are air conditioned.At night the courtyard is designed to transform into an attractive candle-lit dining area, with an atmospheric bar at one end where one can "chill out" to one's heart content.The building is furnished with specially commissioned paintings and sculptures, including a magnificent statue of a Phoenix, symbolizing the legend which describes how the dying Phoenix gathered branches of cinnamon on his last night to create a pyre – which, after his immolation, allowed his successor to be born from within the ashes.The Museum itself will occupy a space on the upper floor of the building. Contents for it are being gathered from all over the world, and it will be opened to the public in the course of 2010.

Mount cinnamon
Mount Cinnamon is a luxury villa situated at the summit of the plantation, with extensive 360o views to sea over Weligama Bay and also in-land to the Denipitiya Hills. From sunrise to sunset it captures the changing light and moods of the landscape. The house has been designed by C. Anjalendran, one of Sri Lanka's foremost living architects, and is a pure and elegant essay in the island's vernacular. It is designed for the tropical climate: to be very comfortable, but without ostentation or alien touches. Floating like a "fortress in the sky" it commands the site but is also very respectful of its surroundings.

There are three double bedrooms and one single bedroom that can sleep two. All bedrooms are air-conditioned and have fans. The beds are dressed with specially-woven "cinnamon" fabric. They are both cool and serene. Each has en suite showers and toilets.There are three sitting areas: on the long sea-facing terrace outside; an interior, informal area ideal for pre-dinner drinks; and a comfy drawing room.A magnificent sculpted screen divides the drawing room from the dining room, which at night is always candle-lit. Outside, there is a breakfast terrace which can, of course, be used at any time of the day.The house has an extra kitchen which you can use should you wish to experiment with local produce, knock up something simple or prepare food for the baby. Within the courtyard a swimming pool provides a refreshing way to begin or end the day.

Things to do

Apart from just lounging around, there is a wealth of activities in the area. Beaches abound in this coast, and some of the nicest are only a few minutes away. Mirissa hills owns some land on the bay, and beachside picnics can be arranged there, or elsewhere.

Mirissa Water Sports, sports fishing is available on the boat "Spirit of Dondra", a 54 feet converted fishing trawler: the continental shelf drops less than 8 miles off the coast, where tuna, marlin, wahoo and other game fish can be found. Or you can just do a coastal cruise, stopping at bays for swimming or picnics, or dolphin watching in season. Sailing in Weligama Bay is arranged on a 24 foot classic gaff-rigged dhoni. Diving and snorkeling can also be arranged in the bay with equipment rental, as can sea kayaking. Sailing lessons can be taken, as can and diving lessons.Both snorkeling and surfing instruction is available, from beginners’ level up.

The in-land backwaters along the Polwatte Ganga can also be explored by boat-ideal for bird watchers or sightseers alike. There you regularly see egrets, bee eaters, fish eagles - as well as monitor lizards and crocodiles.For exploration of the countryside, bicycles are available. A bit further afield, the Dutch colonial towns of Galle and Matara afford the chance to browse amidst the historic buildings on foot. The nearby sea turtle hatcheries are also well worth a visit.

Expeditions to the amazing Sinharaja Rainforest can be arranged. Both Yala and Udawalawe national wildlife parks are also within striking distance.Mirissa Hills is one of members of the "Serendib Triangle" - a combination of three plantations which aim to give visitors a unique insight into Sri Lankan life.

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