Kandy is the must-see culture capital of Sri Lanka and should be a stopover on all Sri Lanka itineraries: largely thanks to the presence of one of the Buddah’s teeth, and the impressive sacred Temple that houses it. But the hordes of tourists attract hordes of hassle, which can be a nasty shock to the laid-back nature of the rest of the country. Villa Rosa provides the perfect antidote.
   Perched on the hill high above Sri Lanka’s longest river, it affords breath-taking views of the distant mountains and lush surrounding countryside. Clean and smart, but informal, it feels as if you are staying as a guest in ‘colonial-style’ private residence. It has a friendly atmosphere that is created by the amusing and discreet German owner. He gives you confidence to venture into the city – he’ll organise day tours and trips by tuk-tuk or minivan.
   Day-to-day running of the villa is by the friendly and hard-working Sri Lankan staff. This means that the food is, as you’d expect of Sri Lanka, a delicious array of curries, day and night. ‘Western’ food can be ordered, but must be bought specially, so let the staff know early if you are fed up with curry.
   The five rooms are airy and spacious, simply decorated in cooling colours and a welcome retreat from the heat of the day. Each has views over the valley below.
   The best thing is you’re only 15 minutes from the heart of Kandy – where you may not want to stay long before returning to this tranquil haven.