Stay: The Last House

Tangalle, Sri Lanka
09.28.2011 | by: Meghan

So where does the man behind Tablet Hotels stay when he’s not at one of the hundreds of beautiful boutique hotels he represents around the world? CEO, founder and ultimate travel savant Laurent Vernhes and his family just returned from Sri Lanka, where they stayed at this indoor-outdoor beach house designed by Goeffrey Bawa along the Indian Ocean. His wife Catherine gives designtripper a special report about second-guessing his pick, watching lizards and getting her four-year-old to eat shark.

“When my husband showed me photographs of the Last House as he was making the reservation, I was underwhelmed. I thought ‘That looks nice… the kids will love the pool.’ Laurent has been gushing for years about Geoffrey Bawa and how much he admires Bawa’s architecture, so perhaps I was expecting something more grandiose or startling. When we were in Tangalle trying to find the road that leads to the Last House, our driver stopped a number of people to ask where it was. No one seemed to have a clue, but they all knew where the Aman resort was,” says Catherine. But by the time they arrived, Catherine was on-the-spot smitten with the horseshoe-shaped beach house, especially how Bawa’s design pulled them into their surroundings. “I have never stayed in a place where the indoors flows into the outdoors so naturally,” she says. “You can see the sea, you feel the sea breeze all through the house, you hear the waves constantly, and yet, you also feel protected and pampered inside the beautifully designed interiors.” White walls and polished concrete floors are accented with pops of hyper-saturated beach colors that reflect the view of the Indian Ocean and the colors of the local culture. “We watched the resident lizard wind his way across the garden and the crows eying our breakfast through the postcard frame of a window without glass or through the many open doorways with no doors. Each morning, Ananda, would come to discuss the menu with us, and was always able to accommodate the tastes of our young children and yet still inspire us with local cuisine. By the end of the stay, he had our picky 4-year-old eating calamari and shark. And after a few hours of boogie boarding each day, the afternoon tea with cake became our favorite ritual. We felt so utterly spoiled.”

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