Lime & Co. 


I wake up to the sound of a train passing by. I’d forgotten how close I was to the rail track in my doped out sleepy state. No complaints though; I’m also able to hear the sound of the waves crashing in the near distance. It’s all good. 
The room I’m in is pretty sparse; there’s another twin bed, a cupboard, a small side table, a rack and me. It’s simplicity down to the tee but in the most appealing way. Lime and Co. is an eco chic accommodation property to say the least. I like describing it that way. Short and sweet but pretty much sums up what it stands for – budget accommodation on the southern coast of the island, just 30 minutes away from the Galle Fort, in an area known as Kabalana. 
I like it; I really do. It’s different to any other place I’ve stayed at (not been experimental with my choices of accommodation before but here’s a start) and I like that its simple, comfortable and very relaxing. There aren’t any fancy soaps or amenities in the bedroom, nor is there housekeeping. But, it works. The beds are neatly made and comfortable, the shower is amazing and the cement floor, open space and verandah along the entire property gives a very minimalistic chill vibe that is infectious and very likeable. 


It’s the little touches that get me; the worn out repurposed metal bowl converted into a sink, the wicker baskets used as lamp shades, the turquoise paint on the doors, the cushion covers made out of saris and shalwar fabric.  
There’s an open verandah concept throughout the entire property and there’s a total of six rooms – two double and four twin rooms. Guests can cool off in the plunge pool that’s in a secluded spot at the back. But then again, there’s also a large hammock at the front which is ideal to relax on, and I fully intend on reading a book in the evening on it. It’s a bit too warm right now though so I’ve picked a good spot right under a fan, opposite lush greenery and here I am, laying out my thoughts. 


I’ve been asked to head down for breakfast at 9am. For someone who loves her sleep, that sounds a bit torturous but who am I to complain. Reminder – NOT here on vacation; here on work. 9am it is. It isn’t part of the accommodation, as the Kanteen acts as a separate entity just so you know. My morning meal starts with a simple plate of fresh cut fruit; mango, papaw, banana, watermelon and pineapple, and a glass of fresh mixed fruit juice. You can also pick between having a cup of tea or coffee. You get to pick how you want your egg, so I decide to have mine scrambled, and it arrived atop a slice of toast, along with a basket of more toast, marmalade and butter. Lastly, a serving of banana maple pancakes. This is some breakfast. A good way to start the day. 


The weather doesn’t look too good to head down to the beach, which is just a mere metres away so I’ve decided to explore the Galle Fort instead. Like most locals, I’ve visited the fort plenty of times but there’s always something new to see and restaurant or café to try out. Poonie’s Kitchen seems to be a big hit as a hidden oasis that opens up to a large courtyard, bright colours and quirky décor. Their limited menu includes sandwiches, salads, a tea menu as well as yummy desserts. Other must visit places in the area include Calorie Counter on Lighthouse Street, Bubblement on Parawa Street, Kats Coffee and Bedspace Unawatuna. 
There’s no walking in the fort for me either as the weather continues to look drag, so its back to base. The gloom continues but I’m adamant to at least spend half an hour in the pool and get some reading done beside it afterwards. Like I’ve said before, it’s easy to feel relaxed. There are no disturbances by the staff nor by the other guests staying at the sam accommodation and this works for someone who likes their peace and quiet. Evening falls and the silence continues. It’s all good, except for the damn mosquitos that holler and hover inches from my ear and my legs. I’m bitten in seconds. This definitely needs to be fixed, and let the management know. I’ve been advised to shut my room windows tight and firm, use a mosquito coil at night and also the bed net. Aye aye! 


Have I forgotten to mention the meals? Apart from the continental breakfast, the menu is quite simple but all that is about to change with the newly hired chef who hails from Sydney, Australia. Not that the current menu has any qualms attached to it, but it’s a bit outdated I believe and needs some sprucing up. I’m served a mean plate of devilled prawns along with diced veggies and a good cup of rice that has been cooked and soaked in milk for my late lunch. I love the flavours mixed together and the fact that there’s plenty of prawns on my plate. They certainly aren’t stingy when it comes to quantity and that’s a huge plus point in my books. 
If you’re a surfer, or interested in getting in a couple of lessons, this is certainly the place to be. Kabalana is known for many break points and does attract surfers of all levels, from different parts of the world. Apart from immersing yourself in the waters atop a surfboard, there’s also yoga to try out, and boat safaris in the nearby areas. Stilt fishermen are a famous sight but don’t bother asking them to strike a pose for you, as they’d charge a hefty fee just to pretend to be fishing. 


I’ve picked hot butter cuttlefish for dinner and it arrives with a side salad. The two don’t necessarily go together, but I’m a bit too hungry to bother. The cuttlefish is done well and the salad adds a good crunchy mustard flavour to my palette. I down my meal with a chilled glass of fresh watermelon juice and retire a bit early so I can get back to my book. I’m currently reading ‘A Brief History of The Amazons’. For the most part, the net and col does keep the mosquitos at bay but I am disturbed once or twice at night. I make a mental note to mention this to the management in the morning. 
Overall, my stay at Lime & Co. was a worthy experience of opening up my mind to eco chic accommodation and their fresh take on value living. As I’ve never stayed in such a property before, this encounter was definitely a good one. I’d love revisit; go on a few excursions the area has to offer and also try out the new menu when it does become available. Definitely something to look forward to. 
For more information log on to https://www.facebook.com/limeandco.lk/ 

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Maniumpathy

It’s a rather gloomy and rainy Wednesday. I’d thoughts about canceling my scheduled visit, but on a whim, decided against it and stepped out of the house anyways. I’ve a fascination with old houses – properties that have been home to generations of families, and that are over 100 years of age. There’s something about houses that have history attached to it; there’s an inclination of charm and character unlike any other and there’s plenty of stories behind every crevice and brick.  

I explored Maniumpathy that day. The name alone intrigued me. I’m told it is derived from the city that the current owners’ family of this house came from – Manipay (Manipai), Jaffna. It was known to have been the Colombo 7 of the North, although the area had plenty of greenery and fields of paddy. The people were known to have been a dedicated and hard-working lot, which says a lot to be honest as many of them were health practitioners and doctors who came to Colombo on work.  

  


Dr. Savaranamuttu Hallock was one of them. He passed out as a doctor from the University of Aberdeen, after which he joined the Ceylon Medical Service. Since he had to move to Colombo to practice medicine, the property was bought over from its original owner and renovated to suit his family. The house was said to have been built in the year 1868. Technically therefore, the house is over 150 years of age. The front edifice has the year 1906 stamped across it and I’m guessing that was year the Dr. Hallock took over and it became the beautiful homey abode to him and his wife Annapuranie, and their nine children.

It was a stately house, as were plenty of others along the same street, originally known as Harley Street (currently Kynsey Road) and home to many health practitioners much like Dr. Hallock. Colonial attributes were a common feature – the well balanced structure and design of the house, the lush garden around it along with a back terrace, the wide and open front porch leading to the central living space, dining area and of course the personal living areas. Open ventilation and space was a prominent feature, as were minimalistic decorative motifs around the home; pillars that supported the back veranda area, antique furniture with fleur de lis motifs, and the beautifully carved eaves on the edges of the roof.

The house has turned over five generations and has been passed over to the next generation through the hands of the females. I’m quite surprised that this is so but in the most pleasant way possible. Currently, Adrian and Chrysanthie Basnayake are the home owners and eventually it will be passed over to their daughter, Annapuranie Anithra Basnayake.

Today, the home and has once again been painstakingly renovated to its original form with the aid of Architect Chamika de Alwis. It took over five years to complete, as attention to detail was key and it was important to retain much of its original charm and features. It has humbly since been open to visitors and guests alike as a boutique hotel in the heart of the city; Maniumpathy – the name paying homage to Manipay and the word ‘pathy’ means ‘home’ in Tamil.

The rooms at Maniumpathy pays homage to the strong and beautiful women of the family. The grand Master Suite has been named after Annapuranie, the first lady of the house. The other seven rooms are named after Soundhari, Poornam, Cynthia, Ranee, Vasanthi, Chrysanthie and Anithra. The room named after Chrysanthie was in fact originally Dr. Hallock’s clinic at one time.

Apart from the name concocting a connection to the family’s northern origins, there are strong resemblances and other characteristic features throughout Maniumpathy. Open space and ventilation is still a common feature and adds to the cosy and homey aspect of this colonial home. The garden has obviously been narrowed down as the left section gave rise to a new wing with an upper level to house more rooms.

The terrace opens out to a smaller garden space, flanked by the right and left wings, furnished with chairs and table suitable for enjoying a warm cup of coffee and perhaps even breakfast or an evening snack. Dusk, I’m told, brings about a soft and relaxed ambience. Lamps are lit in keeping with the calm and peaceful atmosphere. This area also overlooks a pool and a statue of the deity Nandi. The name stems from the Tamil word that means ‘ to grow’ or ‘to flourish’ and in Sanskrit means joy or happiness. His statue, I believe, therefore has been strategically placed, overlooking the entire edifice in the hopes of bringing about growth and happiness in the best way.

Decorative motifs are very much a prominent and common feature; apart from the additional northern trinkets that have been placed around the house – there’s also the grand ebony dining table that sits magnificently on the right wing, vintage lamps and Bakelite telephones, the bookshelves are well stocked with an array of best reads, and the classic furnishing combined with the white and grey washed walls add much character to this stately home. The Chrysanthie room includes an old stairway which has been restored finely, the two deluxe rooms named after Soundhari and Poornam include Jaffna style open courtyard bathrooms, and there are plenty of old photographs of the entire family placed in antique frames and scattered about Maniumpathy that give it a very homey effect.

I find Maniumpathy to be an oasis in the heart of Colombo; as although it is located on one of the most congested streets of the city, it somehow manages to retain an air of softness and charm. There’s something about it, from the moment you walk in; there’s that telltale aura of simplicity although there’s plenty of history and heritage. There’s comfort in sinking into one of the large couches or even sitting outside overlooking the grass and the pool. Nandi silently watches over.

I’m told that many European painters have stayed at the boutique hotel and chosen to find inspiration in its peaceful atmosphere. Older guests have been known to relate tales of how they used to play in this very house as children.

And the charm of generations that have lived before and Manipay lives on.
–Pictures courtesy Manor House Concepts– 

 

Weekends

View of the private garden from the veranda
Spend the weekend away from the city and for once, I actually feel rejuvenated. My friend and I picked a secluded and private property that housed 12 personal villas. We had not just a room to ourselves, but also our own private garden, terrace and veranda as well. 

Our little veranda – my reading nook

Our stay at Calamansi Cove by Jetwing was of two nights, and on a full board basis. I’d recommend this to anyone who wishes to stay at their property simply because ofthe excellent  service and wonderful meals available via their set menus. Taking to account that everything was inclusive of service charges and taxes, it was well worth the money spent. 

Breakfast spread

The food was simply amazing. Breakfast choices included a continental spread inclusive of a separate plate of freshly baked breads, fruit, and pancakes apart from what you can see in the above image, and a fresh juice of our choice, plus coffee or tea. 

Poolside view

I made it a point to take a dip in the pool on both the days we stayed. The ocean was just a few metres away but the waves were pretty rough so a sea bath was certainly not an option. 

The beautiful Indian Ocean
Fried rice with devilled chicken for lunch
 

Lunch and dinner options on both days were quite extensive as well. My friend and I decided to pick different selections off the menu just so we could try everything. Again, the courses were so good – inclusive of a salad/appetizer, soup, main dish and dessert. 

I spent most of the two days just reading, mindful meditating and with my phone far away as possible. Sometimes, all we need is a getaway to be thankful for the life we have. 

xoxo