The Sunday Leader

Tangalle Rest House Affordable Stop Down South

A section of the Tangalle Rest House and The indigenous meal is a treat!

Tangalle as we all know is probably famous for all the wrong reasons. Of course we have a rather well known political family but Tangalle is also home to many controversies on the legal front or rather the lawlessness front.
Having said that Tangalle is also a super stop on the way further South to Kataragama, Yala and if one is so minded Hambantota with its spanking new Port without business.
Tangalle is not party town – a tourist was murdered, another badly mauled by a local thug, yet another shot dead some years ago – and scores of unresolved judicial cases, but it is worth stopping at lunch time or for a convenient overnight stay.
The only real reasonable place to stay would be without a doubt the Tangalle Rest House. Or to have Lunch. Its location is not the most, shall we say ‘opportunistic’ – it overlooks the small fishing harbor – and has as its neighbour the mighty Sri Lanka Navy base.
From time to time El Presidente lands his chopper and makes his way to Carlton nearby. The public beach is a few feet away of course and thanks to the famous family, is actually well tended and maintained. Dogs we noted are not allowed to roam freely there – which might be a problem for the Swiss puppy for when the Navy completes its new ‘circuit’ building on the other side of the Rest House.
Perhaps the puppy may be granted special dispensation, who knows. If you want to ‘break’ a bottle and picnic on the beach here, the Navy may have a quiet word in your ears – and get you to stop or leave.
Never mind it’s the Rest House that we have found, tested and tried several times over. They have butlers of sorts – a small team that is allocated a few rooms.
These men – all with long service with the Inn Keeper Robinson Jayasinghe – take care of all your needs. From making up your room, to answering the old-fashioned bell from your room, to serving you meals, drinks and mosquito coils to your room or arranging for your meal in the restaurant.
My ‘butler’ when I stay in the ‘newer’ wing is Mohammed who hails from Bandarawela or Gunaratna when I stay in the ‘car park wing’ which adjoins the new ‘circuit’ bungalow being built. Both provide excellent service, sometimes going the extra mile.
For a while the Presidential sibling had some youth undergoing ‘training’ at the Rest House in preparation for all the hotels that will open in the district including the Airport Hotel in Mattala (where?) but most of those have gone with the wind – and good riddance too. The service they provided was non-extant. The Rest House has not quite got the hang of a full cooked ‘English’ breakfast but if you go for the indigenous meal you find yourself having a treat. The Rest House however comes into its own when its lunch time.
The traditional Sri Lankan rice and curry meal is excellent and the portions are very generous indeed. In fact logic and concerns of the sugar levels all seem to dim thanks to the wonderful food.
Their Western Food is not in the least good and my family found it frustrating – so decided to go traditional. The sandwiches are well filled but the choice of bread demands really that you ask for toasted sandwiches.The rooms are functional and a few do have air conditioning. The mattresses will not be suitable for the larger person, being rather on the thin side.  The mattresses that is.
It is not the sort of place you would stop for a long week-end but it is precisely the sort of place you would stop off and have ‘good food served well’. The rooms are clean but tired and needs a sympathetic interior designer. Investment bankers stay away please – because once you get in there the room rates will necessarily have to increase from the present Rs 1,500 per night upwards.
The Tangalle Rest House is on Beach Road, Tangalle. A meal for two is likely to cost in the region of Rs 1,200 and rooms start from Rs 1,500. Tel: (0472240299)

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