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Lunuganga

| Bentota | SRI LANKA

Overview

No place reveals the soul of Geoffrey Bawa, the acclaimed Sri Lankan architect, better than his country home, Lunuganga. When Bawa purchased the site in 1948, it was nothing more than a derelict rubber estate sitting on a promontory in the Dedduwa Lake, 2km inland from the Bentota coast. But over the next fifty years, he painstakingly transformed it into one of the most seductive, passionate pleasure gardens of the twentieth century.

From the heart of the estate, turn to the south, and a wide swathe of green field, fringed by thickets, swells gently upwards to Cinnamon Hill. Beyond, the lake glimmers and draws the eye to the hills in the distance. Turn to the north, and a glorious azure sweep of water and sky swings into view. Here, the edge of the land falls away in a dramatic cliff to reveal a water garden filled with lilies and ornamental rice paddies. This is the complex, Arcadian magic of Lunuganga: a single turn transforms an enthralling, idyllic perspective into an ecstatic, unrestrained panorama. To wander through Lunuganga is to be confronted with a palimpsest of influences, ideas, and memories.

Rooms Types

Cinnamon Hill Room

Perched on the top of Cinnamon Hill, some 250-metres from the main house, sits this freestanding building that houses two very private guestrooms. Bui... View Details


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Cinnamon Hill Room

Perched on the top of Cinnamon Hill, some 250-metres from the main house, sits this freestanding building that houses two very private guestrooms. Built in the 1990s, this was one of Geoffrey Bawa’s last additions to his estate. At its heart is a double height loggia, ideal for dining and entertaining.

Each of the Cinnamon Hill bedrooms is furnished with a king-sized bed and modern-day amenities, and has a secluded, open-air bathroom for warm tropical bathing surrounded by nature. The house is ideal for a family with children or couples travelling together.


Glass House

This ethereal room sits at the top of a portico that separates the entrance court from the Eastern Terrace of Bawa’s garden in Bentota. Complet... View Details


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Glass House

This ethereal room sits at the top of a portico that separates the entrance court from the Eastern Terrace of Bawa’s garden in Bentota. Completely walled in glass – an unusual medium for Bawa who ordinarily used glass sparingly in his designs – light bathes the room in dappled sunlight while the mature trees, home to exotic birds, sway gently in the breeze.

Inside the Glass House, a queen-sized four-poster bed sits beneath a vaulted timber ceiling, and furnishings include colonial-era planters’ chairs, Dutch-period antiques and modern amenities for a comfortable stay. The ensuite bathroom is fitted with a sink and a shower.


Gate House

This is a truly unique room styled out of the estate’s original gatehouse and designed, originally, to house architectural assistants who would... View Details


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Gate House

This is a truly unique room styled out of the estate’s original gatehouse and designed, originally, to house architectural assistants who would travel to Bawa’s house in Sri Lanka at the weekends to work on projects. It sits amidst a grove of trees around 100 metres from the Main House, and at the foot of Cinnamon Hill, facing a long stretch of jade green lawn. Alcove windows in the bedroom and bathroom open widely onto the green surroundings.

The Gate House suite occupies the top floor, and is furnished with twin beds and Dutch-era antiques, yet this indulgent space is also notable for its other artistic contributions. The wall above the bed is adorned with a grand batik print by Ena de Silva, renowned batik artist and friend of Bawa, while in the veranda, on the ground floor of the house, is an eye-catching mural by Laki Senanayake, another notable Lankan artist and contemporary of Bawa


Gallery Studio Suite

This, our largest bedroom, is located at a distance of around 50 metres from the Main House, beyond the Eastern Terrace, and is one of the most compel... View Details


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Gallery Studio Suite

This, our largest bedroom, is located at a distance of around 50 metres from the Main House, beyond the Eastern Terrace, and is one of the most compelling places to stay in Bentota. It was originally built as a cowshed in the 1970s but was later transformed into a gallery for Bawa to house his precious art collection.

Transom windows capture Bawa’s iconic play of light and shade throughout the day, and just outside the entrance is a private courtyard with weathered ochre walls and gothic flourishes.

At the very centre of the Gallery Studio Suite sits a four-poster king-sized bed dressed in crisp linen, which gazes beyond a glass wall into the generous courtyard. In the granite-floored bathroom are a traditional freestanding Victorian tub and separate rain shower.


Main House Studio

A spacious, elegantly furnished suite located in the Main House, opposite Bawa’s suite of rooms. Popular with those looking to stay in Bentota ... View Details


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Main House Studio

A spacious, elegantly furnished suite located in the Main House, opposite Bawa’s suite of rooms. Popular with those looking to stay in Bentota at the very heart of Bawa’s former home, this suite is highlighted by paintings and antique furniture that evoke the colonial era. When close friends visited Geoffrey Bawa at Lunuganga, this is often where they would stay. An exceptional feature of this room is its completely private courtyard for quiet downtime.

The suite is furnished with a king-sized bed dressed in crisp linen, and accessorised with an array of modern amenities to ensure a comfortable stay. In the bathroom, where windows frame views of palms, there is a shower set into an alcove opposite a large porcelain tub.


Ena’s Bedroom

Up on the first floor of the three-bedroom Ena House sits this traditionally-styled bedroom furnished with a king-sized platform bed. Timber floors co... View Details


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Ena’s Bedroom

Up on the first floor of the three-bedroom Ena House sits this traditionally-styled bedroom furnished with a king-sized platform bed. Timber floors contrast with the whitewashed walls though delicate louvered windows and antique furniture ensure the room retains its colonial-era feel even though crisp linen and modern amenities provide essential 20th century touches.

The Ena House is a separate, 55-year-old traditional heritage villa with a difference, nestled on the very edge of Lunuganga country estate, near the sparkling lake. Formerly the Colombo home of renowned batik artist Ena de Silva, and close friend of Bawa, it was transported from its original position in the capital all the way to Lunuganga, and completed in 2016 – a process that took just three months to dismantle the house and as many as six years to reassemble it. The design is considered transformative for Bawa as he introduced Sri Lanka to the idea of an urban courtyard – a feature well recognised today, but unconventional at the time.


Ena House Guest Suite

This is one of three bedrooms in a separate 55-year-old heritage villa nestled on the very edge of Lunuganga. This ground floor Ena House Guest Suite ... View Details


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Ena House Guest Suite

This is one of three bedrooms in a separate 55-year-old heritage villa nestled on the very edge of Lunuganga. This ground floor Ena House Guest Suite opens onto a courtyard with pillars crafted from satinwood trees and a mature araliya tree that scatters fragrant white flowers. The weathered terracotta floors contrast with the whitewashed walls and built-in furnishings, and a galley-style bathroom leads into a private courtyard with simplistic built-in seat.

Formerly the Colombo home of renowned batik artist Ena de Silva, and close friend of Geoffrey Bawa, the historic Ena House was transported from its original position in the capital all the way to Lunuganga – a process that took six years to reach its conclusion in 2016. The design was transformative for Bawa as he introduced the idea of an urban courtyard – a feature well recognised today, but unconventional at the time.


Ena House Master Suite

This spacious, elegant, suite on the first floor of an inspirational 55-year-old villa sitting at the furthest corner of the Lunuganga garden is the r... View Details


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Ena House Master Suite

This spacious, elegant, suite on the first floor of an inspirational 55-year-old villa sitting at the furthest corner of the Lunuganga garden is the room that batik artist Ena de Silva’s husband occupied years ago. The room is furnished with a king-sized bed and is attached to a convivial living area with sofa (formerly their daughter’s bedroom). Deeply recessed windows with delicate louvered panels bathe the room in sunlight. The open plan bathroom has separate doors to a bathing area with a freestanding shower.

Bawa became good friends with Ena de Silva after designing her house in the heart of Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo. Unconventional for its time thanks to its central ‘urban’ courtyard, it was one of Bawa’s most transformative residential projects, and of such high importance that it was rescued from the threat of destruction, dismantled and moved, brick by brick, from Colombo to its final resting place in Lunuganga – a painstaking process that took six years


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