Lunaganga Estate – Experience The Architect’s Vision By Inhabiting It

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Teardrop Hotels has taken over the management of Lunuganga Estate, country estate home of renowned Sri Lankan architect, Geoffrey Bawa. Having acquired the estate in 1948, Lunuganga was one of Bawa’s first projects and became a continual source of inspiration as he went on to be regarded as one of Asia’s most influential figures in architecture and design. Teardrop Hotels is working closely with custodians of Lunuganga, The Bawa Trust, to revitalise the six-bedroom property as well as opening the three bedrooms of revered batik artist, Ena de Silva’s relocated home.

Lunuganga Estate – The Legacy

Lunuganga Estate was the country home of the renowned Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa. Started in 1947, the garden led Bawa, a lawyer called to the Bar at the Inner Temple in 1940, to decide to become an architect. As he went on to become Sri Lanka’s and one of Asia’s most prolific and influential architects, the garden at the Lunuganga estate remained his first muse and experimental laboratory for new ideas.

He continued to change and experiment with its spaces and structures throughout his life until his final illness in 1998. Left to the Lunuganga Trust on his demise in 2003, the gardens are now open to the public and the buildings on the estate are run as a country house hotel.

Lunaganga Estate – Location & Getting There

Lunuganga is set at 6 degrees north latitude and 78 degrees west longitude. The estate may be approached from Colombo, which is connected by air to most international destinations. Lunuganga is two and a half hours drive from the international airport and one and a half hours from Colombo. Lunuganga will arrange an airport pickup if so required and requested.

The Lunuganga estate is set in the wet tropical zone and is warm throughout the year. Average temperatures range from 26 degrees in November/February to 32 degrees during the day from March/July. The Southwest monsoon brings intermittent torrential rain in June and July with November to March being mostly dry and sunny. In addition, garden tours within the 15 acres of gardens, will enhance the entire experience of the estate for a new generation of traveller. 

To create a more all-round Teardrop Hotel’s feel, a Resident Manager will join the current team on the 1st July to enhance the service offering. Meanwhile, the F&B team is working to bring a taste of Teardrop Hotels signature local dishes ensuring that the menu is focused on authentic Sri Lankan cuisine.

In addition, Teardrop Hotels’ team of destination experts is creating a series of experiences and excursions to incorporate visits to the world-famous Bawa properties dotted around Sri Lanka, cooking demonstrations and trips to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Galle Fort.

Lunaganga Estate – A Pinnacle Of Sri Lanka’s Design Heritage 

Lunuganga (meaning ‘Salt River’) was originally a derelict rubber estate, which resided on a promontory in the Dedduwa Lake on the island’s South Coast in Bentota. Over the course of 50 years, Bawa worked tirelessly to transform it into his own personal Garden of Eden and today it is regarded as a national treasure. The estate’s design includes elements of Italian Renaissance, English romantic and Japanese garden arts. Since Bawa’s death in 2003, the Lunuganga Trust has preserved the estate to ensure that visitors are able to experience Bawa’s vision just as he intended.

The property itself comprises a former 1930’s plantation bungalow, with six private guest suites located around the estate and is an ode to ‘tropical modernism’ – a blend of antique and modern furniture with traditional and contemporary art, which was a trademark of Bawa’s eclectic signature style.

Common rooms include the sitting room and veranda in the main house where Bawa would enjoy tea each afternoon overlooking the lake. There is also the Garden Room, an airy structure constructed almost entirely out of recycled materials and plenty of other terraces and pavilions to encourage those wandering around the estate to stop and take in the surrounding vistas.

Lunaganga Estate – The Restored Home Of Batik Artist Ena De Silva

Teardrop Hotels will also launch the three-bedroom house of Ena de Silva as part of the offering. A batik artist and Bawa’s dear friend, Ena de Silva and her husband Osmund commissioned Bawa to design her home in 1962, which went on to become a pivotal project in his life’s work as it was one of the first times he executed the joining of radically modern design with traditional Sri Lankan elements.

In 2009, she decided to sell the house, which in turn prompted The Bawa Trust to move the property brick by brick from its location in Colombo to the Lunuganga Estate in Bentota. The house took three months to disassemble piece by piece and six years to rebuild, led by Architect Amila de Mel and conservation specialist Nilan Cooray. Everything from the frangipani tree in the front courtyard to the slabs of river stone remains just as it was in the original house.

Lunuganga will join Teardrop Hotels’ portfolio of stylish properties dotted throughout the country, giving guests an insight into the country’s past, whilst delivering genuine Sri Lankan hospitality and authentic local cuisine.

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