Thalpe, along with Galle Fort to the East, have made me fall in love with Sri Lanka. The people are so kind and the laid back beach culture that has taken over is a welcomed respite especially if you are traveling from other destinations that are a bit more chaotic.
Hands down, the perfect destination has been The Owl and the Pussycat hotel (https://www.otphotel.com/). The staff are outstanding, the rooms lovely and each unique, and the food made me enjoy Sri Lankan cuisine just a little bit more. But it is the view: set on Mihiripenna beach, and thus facing the Indian Ocean, the sound of the ocean calms a stressful day, the ocean breeze, although warm, is refreshing, and the lush garden that invites numerous birds is tranquil in a wind-swept sort of way. Reader beware: there are a few rooms at the OtP that do not have ocean view rooms. Those with a B after their room number, ie 1B,2B, are on the back side of the hotel. Also note that rooms on the ground floor have little privacy as guests walk in front of your room to enter the building and climb the stairs.
If you can’t get in to the OtP – there are only 27 rooms or so – there are some other lovely looking hotels along the way. In no particular order, consider the following.
Villa Barnes looks stunning. I believe it is available via Airbnb.
Hotel Kabalan, at least from the outside looks worth looking in to.
Marriott Weligama which is further afield but looks stunning. Just plan accordingly to visit Galle Fort
After a lot of Sri Lankan food, I was ready for a change and I can highly recommend the pizza at Wijaya Beach Restaurant. Located directly on the beach, this little place initially started as a restaurant but has recently added rooms. They don’t reservations so getting a table on the beach is near-impossible but that’s okay: everything looks at the ocean and the constant sound of waves crashing is all you really need.
I can also recommend the Runcible Spoon at the OtP. Just like the hotel, the restaurant (where you also have breakfast) is situated on the beach which makes an amazing setting for dinner and drinks.
Take a tuktuk. Somewhere. Anywhere. You get the best views and the most incredible experience going to any destination.
Galle Fort is amazing. It is very touristic with tons of shops and hotels and restaurants but if you look past these things, you can see an incredible town with stunning architecture and, more importantly, the interweaving of religions with churches, mosques, temples, and I’d bet a synagogue but I can’t promise! And although it’s not a site – and if you saw it, you might be scared – a massage at the OtP hotel is a must. The massage hut is located in a corner of the grounds looking to the ocean. And although it may be a little unsettling for some when asked to undress, completely – not only because there are people fishing in the ocean but also, well, we Americans are little conservative that way – it will be one of the most relaxing and peaceful experiences of your life. Trust me