Owl & Pussycat Hotel

Colorful, design, intimate, hip

Beach Rd, Talpe, Sri Lanka

(94) 7-772-400-77

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At a Glance

This whimsical passion project brings eye-popping colors and a contemporary aesthetic to the southern coast of Sri Lanka.


The Owl and the Pussycat (OTP for short) is named after a whimsical nonsense poem by British author Edward Lear and offers a deeply personal interpretation of Sri Lankan seaside living. Four multi-story buildings encircle a courtyard in eye-popping colors—pink, blue, yellow—and balconies with glass railings overlook the multi-hued Indian Sea. At the center of the courtyard, a lime-green-tiled pool sparkles in the sunlight, and beyond, a pergola-shaded verandah with a long table calls to mind languorous lunches in the South of France or Italy. The whole thing is a stylish and unapologetically colorful extravaganza—a theme that continues inside the rooms.

All 18 of the accommodations are sizeable suites, half of which come with fully stocked kitchenettes. Owner Reita Gadkari, a fashionable jetsetter originally from India who now divides her time between London and Umbria, created each room as its own stylish little universe. There are cool floors made with painted tiles; brightly colored accent walls; beautifully woven textiles and fabrics (the reversible quilts on the beds especially will make you long for an on-site boutique); a boho-chic mix of furniture and art sourced mainly from local galleries. Travellers who enjoy the aesthetic of whimsical hotels like London’s Firmdale collection will feel right at home here.

If the whole property doesn’t scream “Sri Lanka” at first sight, this is intentional. Gadkari and architect Uday Dhar are playing with their own, deeply personal interpretation of what contemporary style looks like in a place that remains a bit tongue tied when it comes to finding its own, present-day design language. “I have such an aversion to colonial interiors,” says Gadkari, who is already working on hotel number two down the coast and who has big expansion plans for OTP. “I couldn’t even bring myself to include a single ceiling fan here. We have to move beyond this dated, dark-wood aesthetic.” That said, once you begin traveling through the country, you do see the bold colors of OTP everywhere along the road, and even modest huts are painted in vivid hues. So this property certainly references and salutes the vibrant destination that surrounds it.

Like some of the design touches, the OTP team hails from all over the world, including a resort manager and chef from India and a charming mixologist / chef from Italy. The restaurant will offer lots of local options (Gadkari is a passionate foodie), and guests can go to the local market with the chef to forage for ingredients. Western dishes are also available, including homemade pasta from the on-site Roman chef. The intimate size of the property assures that special requests can be accommodated and that guests mingle over meals and by the small pool.

Who Should Stay

Young, hip couples looking to be based near but not directly in Galle Fort. Independent travelers who do not need a lot of amenities and entertainment.

Ideal Length of Stay

2-3 nights

Getting There

OTP is about a 20 minute drive from Galle Fort or a 2.5-hour drive from central Colombo.

Written by Simone Girner

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