Thursday, 15 April 2010

The Tsu Trust, Sri Lanka

When the Boxing Day tsunami so tragically overwhelmed coastal areas throughout south and east Asia in 2004 one of Sidell Gibson's founding partners, Ron Sidell, was holidaying in a beach house near Galle in Sri Lanka. As the waters surged in to the fortunately quite robust house, Ron managed to get to the tiny upper gallery and safety.

Countless others in the area were not so fortunate losing their houses, their livelihoods, their families and, in many cases, their lives. It was against this background that the Tsu Trust was born to help in the huge task of rehabilitating southern Sri Lanka, raising money in the UK, and particularly within the construction industry, to invest in small businesses, to help local schools, to build and equip fishing boats, to set up a new nursery and clinic. Designed by Ron, the clinic is financed by letting out the beach house to provide ayurvedic care free of charge for local people.

Read more about the beach house and the clinic.

The villa approached by stepping stones over water is set in a tropical garden of coconut, banana and papaya trees, with a dip pool and a gate to a secluded cove. The perfect spot for an evening drink watching the sun go down over the ocean, with, in season, the fishermen on their sticks - then buy the pick of the catch at the garden gate in the morning.

Fully staffed and with all rooms enjoying garden views the house can accommodate eight guests in cool minimalist surroundings. The bedrooms, each with terrace or courtyard are clustered around the double height sitting/dining room that has open vistas onto the pool, garden and shaded dining terrace. There is cloakroom, a well-equipped kitchen with, close by a further long dining table overlooked by the galleried library. Wireless broadband and a CD/Ipod player are available.

The property has three double and one twin bedded room, two having en-suite bathrooms with open-air showers, and two with bathrooms a couple of paces away, also with open air showers. All have comfortable seating area, beds fitted with mosquito nets, and ceiling fans.

The 24ft x 10ft dip pool is deep at one end but has at the other end a shallow platform masquerading as a childrens' area whilst really being designed for sitting up to one's neck in water with a cool drink on the side. Hidden in one corner of the garden, overlooking the cove, there is a look-out point with seats and tables and, for those wanting to soak up the sun, a peaceful non-shaded area with daybeds, close to the sea.

Then there are the spa treatments. A few steps across the garden you will find the ayurveda treatment centre with a well qualified doctor and therapists, available to house guests for both health related matters and relaxation.

Ayur - life and Veda - science. One of the oldest forms of medicine concerned not only with curing disease but also with maintaining health employing traditional methods.

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