Thimble full of hope | Daily News

Thimble full of hope

Villa Hundira Level One Lodge to Quarantine in is  a paradise that will make 14 days vanish in a flash
Villa Hundira Level One Lodge to Quarantine in is a paradise that will make 14 days vanish in a flash

Birds swoop past, as the carved wooden is door open and you are welcomed in to a safe and secure haven, a true treasure island gem only a short distance from the airport. Within seconds you will be wowed by the splashes of vibrant green, peacock blue, gypsy gold and regal purples, which are spun into tapestries of wild flowers and birds adorning even the bench at the doorway where you hand sanitise your hands before being introduced to Hundira’s world.

Here is the home of Thimble one of the most amazing island project set in an incredibly beautiful spots on the island, where girls of the lagoon create artistic pieces from Indira the owners amazing designs. Everything from bed covers to fabulous four-poster bedroom side lamps are made here and now exported all over the world. Every piece whether a face mask, wall hanging or cheeky underwear bag is thought through by the owner of this stunning Level One Villa Hundira Lodge. A place inspired from the bird and wildlife of the lagoon which is captured in the thematic colours that change from the space, where the girls usually work to the delightful tea drinking or contemplating spots dotted around the lodge. A quarantine Level One experience that will inspire even the most road weary traveller to be re-energised and indeed inspired by the enormous energy and passion the owners have for the island and its people, who they support in so many different unique and special ways. A place that celebrates hand made gifts even with a fabulous shop on site, along with bountiful food homemade from scratch with fresh ingredients from the garden served in an open-air courtyard setting or on the breathtaking roof terrace.

For yoga lovers it is perfect with its giant stepping-stones amid pools of water and grand vistas for an early morning session as the sun rises over the lagoon. Perfectly located Villa Hundira Lodge is only a twenty minute drive from Sri Lanka’s international airport, so you can within half an hour of touching down in the country be relaxing after your PCR test with a cup of tea or tropical cocktail in your rooms. Once the results are back you can enjoy the many features of this stunning spot including the two gorgeous garden swimming pools.

For those who want to do nothing except unwind there are many spiritual spaces and for those who are fed up with lockdowns they even have a shop selling all the amazing work of the girls that live around the area and now due to the third wave are having to work from their village homes. However Indira always a woman to find the positives in any challenging situation goes on creating new designs each day, even colourful festive creations as she is ever hopeful that the third wave will be over by Christmas and we will all be celebrating the end of this horrible period in world history. As it is situated on the lagoon on one side and not far from the sea on the other side, where merchants have been trading for thousands of years, you will pass areas where elephants were, until a hundred years ago, brought and housed before being sold and shipped overseas during the colonial trading period.

The villa is only a twenty-five minute bike ride to Negombo’s old colonial fort and its main fish market, which is a highlight of the old quarter, but badly hit by the recent ship disaster with all its terrible pollutants combined with the financial disaster with the on going lockdown. Even with an environmental disaster and a third wave the determination of the community is heart warming as they know we all need to focus on a thimble full of hope for all, rather than the impossibilities everyone is facing. Thimble being the name of this project which has been a 25 year journey for creative designer and director of the project Indira.

The villas is full of treasures with its stunning Indian carved Moghul doorway on the second floor that opens up into a spacious suite akin to a grand royal apartment that has huge glass windows round the whole room. It is a space designed so you can be at one with Mother Nature, and even do your lagoon bird watching from your bed if you so choose to. The owners are clearly inspired by the country’s second ancient Kingdom Polonnaruwa and its visionary hydraulic civilization, when they decided to follow in the footsteps of the great King Parakramabahu and, through a feat of brilliant engineering, cut the villa into the lagoon, which now freely flows around the house like a giant moat.

It allows guests to step out of their bedrooms and take a canoe ride, which is great for the kids in quarantine and also play in a wendy house that Indira built for her grandchildren. Guests rave about this catamaran experience that enriches the place with views of wildlife on the door step of their property as stroke billed kingfishers and Indian rolles can easily be viewed. The unique architectural concepts are by the owner, a master of design, Rolf Tibblin, also a legend in the world of Motorcross, who picked up countless trophies and was thrice a world champion in the 1960s. He was credited with being as strong as popeye, very dedicated to training and taught, and rode in the desert with, Steve McQueen and in his later life has also achieved the incredible status of architectural guru with exceptional designs like his highly talented wife. So taking on building his dream home in a lagoon area was typical of a man that thinks both big and beautiful.

However, it was an enterprise he could not have done without Indira, who the place is named after. The name Hundira shows the pairs wonderful sense of fun as it came from their grandson who adorably could never say her name right and out of laughter and happiness this beautiful place was created and never stops growing in its magical spirit, and love of the most important thing of all people. They are the perfect hosts, passionate about everything starting with your safety on arrival and continuing on with your enjoyment of their very special space through out your two week stay. A place you can watch Indira conjuring up yet another masterly design in her vibrant courtyard workshop is worth crossing the world for. Thimble is just behind the main kitchen and dining room area. Here in normal times you will discover many delightful girls from the local fishing families daughters creating stunning fabric bags, cushion covers, hand painted serviette holders, cards and much more, all of which you can have a go at making by taking a half day workshop with them in normal times, fondly known as make your own souvenir. This is something I recommend everyone does as your tan will only last a few weeks, whereas creating something with Indira and her gifted team in this Eden like setting will remain in your mind forever and have you returning over and over to see the latest designs which are now sold in a shop on Flower Road in Colombo 7.

At times wandering around the exotic central villa grounds and garden, surrounded by water, one feels like a lotus flower in full bloom floating on water which makes it the idea spot for mediation or bringing a sketch book and get creative yourself. Villa Hundira’s reflecting pools and interconnecting bridges and vast corridors are an architectural designers dream, and you will discover staying there that nothing could be more perfect in a tropical country, where inside out living is so wonderful for the mind, body and soul.

With so many wonderful experiences and such a stunning setting it is hardly surprising that so many guests are returnees and so for lovers of the arts do spread the word around the world to people who want somewhere exceptional to stay and learn the hand made crafts of the country. If already in country and want to order a special gift on line and find out more about Thimble go to or

For those lucky enough to stay I can assure you every time you look at your thimble gift, or close your eyes just for a minute, you will be back in Villa Hundira Lodge, a truly unforgettable watery paradise retreat. It is a place where you will learn over wonderful dinners that the secret to success is passion, and how the smallest of acts of kindness can make a huge difference to whoever or where ever you come from as hand made is all about handing on that gift of kindness and generosity.

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