Adding colour and creative flair to the string of hotels on the southern coast, Underneath the Mango Tree (UTMT) has an Ayurvedic spa and pharmacy, a tennis court and a 25 metre long swimming pool within a hotel villa environment that includes something for everyone. Whether you fancy a weekend city break, a long detox, a luxury holiday, a day out with the kids or a spa treatment you can have it all.
Viennese owners Petra and Robert Hollmann spent two years looking for a plot of land to build their second hotel. Following the success of their boutique hotel, the Hollman-Belatage in Vienna, they dreamt of a seaside counterpart in the Mediterranean with their family. Instead, they found themselves searching the coasts of Sri Lanka, until they found the perfect spot for a creation in Dickwella.
At UTMT they have combined their European background with their appreciation and respect for the country in which they are in. Enjoy your luxuries, satisfy your desires and needs, but where possible shop local, eat local and do local is what’s on the menu in every aspect here, from design and furnishings to food and play.
The resort covers two hectares of land between Dickwella and Tangalle. UTMT is a cluster of villas perched on a hillside looking out to the Indian Ocean, surrounded by coconut palms and mangroves with views in different directions, towards both the sea and paddy fields. The untouched soft red-sand beach is completely secluded and while swimming is not advised here there is no harm in entering to cool down if you feel like a something softer than the body boards on offer at the beach club.
There are 22 individual units arranged within four modern buildings. There are a variety of rooms and villas available, each with a choice of either a private balcony, garden, pool or all three. The villas have a kitchen, dining area and living room. In addition there two larger ones for families. Each villa has a unique design. One thing that is the same throughout are the double bedrooms which are all air-conditioned, but have been designed small in size to save energy. Everything has been made locally. The interior decor and furniture are all made of heavy teak, there are simple stone and concrete bathrooms and terrazzo floors.
Food & drink
The partnership of Robert’s experience as a chef and Petra’s medical background, together with their shared appreciation for Mediterranean and Sri Lankan flavours is evident in their approach to food and the menu can encompass most people’s diets, regimes and tastes. Robert says that catering in Sri Lanka is often a process of educating people. “People come here and ask for steak, lamb chops and ham, and they don’t understand why it’s not on the menu,” he says. “People have to understand. Eat locally. Have Parma ham in Italy, Roquefort in France and have tuna in Sri Lanka. Have the lobster or have the shrimps – they’re caught wild in the lagoons here – try vegetables that you’ve never seen before!”
There is a rotating breakfast, lunch and dinner menu offering a range of European and Asian food alongside an Ayurvedic menu with alternative combinations designed for your particular constitution. The freshly baked rye bread and homemade fig jam leave you wanting more. The cafe latte made with fresh coconut milk leaves you wondering if you ever need to return to cows milk lattes again.
What LT loves!
It’s equal embrace of the whole family. We can easily imagine everyone heading there for the weekend. The kids can play to their hearts are content in a safe environment and the parents can relax. A day at UTMT with use of the pool and beach club is another tempting option together with a massage and either an Ayurvedic or normal lunch.
The Ayurvedic Spa offers 10-day to four week panchakarma treatments for those who want a strong detox and rebalance, in consultation with doctors at the spa. For those wanting a softer approach they offer the ‘Ayurveda pure’ which has more allowances.
Ayurvedic routines can coexist alongside modern lifestyles without compromising either. You can sit down and have dinner together, whether you follow the Ayurvedic menu or the general menu, whether you want a carrot juice or a beer.
The creativity and thoughtful feminine touches, such as the small boutique with samples of garments and fabrics to have made. The tailor will make them, or any other design you have, and they’ll be ready the next day.
Things to do
There is a blackboard in the lobby with activities on offer, too many to list. A morning jog or a cycle ride through the paddy fields, volley ball at the beach club or yoga and meditation, spa treatments or weeks of deep detoxing, movies in the small cinema, a pool table and a grand piano, surf lessons and numerous excursions further afield – there is no excuse to be bored! UTMT is also tranquil and peaceful resort and there are many places to enjoy your own space in the calm and quiet. One thing there isn’t is an indoor gym. Here they believe in making the most of where you are, why travel this far and work out on a treadmill when there is so much to experience in Sri Lanka outdoors?
Tel: +94 770136302