Hospitality and the luxe lifestyle are not words that spring to mind when talking about accounting honcho V U Kumar. But in a quest for new and rewarding challenges after close to four full-on decades with PwC, he recently unveiled Villa Sielen Diva, a luxury seven-bedroom oceanfront property in Galle, Sri Lanka, that is upping the ante in the world’s vacation space.
I am sipping king coconut water with V U Kumar, “the fiercest partner in PwC” in recent history, according to a host of its former audit and advisory workforce. Never one to suffer fools gladly, it would appear that the Indian Ocean breeze has mellowed the burly accountant. When mention of his fearsome reputation is made, he laughs out loud, a deep hearty bellow that lets you know it is a title he is tickled by and one he gladly accepts.
Life by design
We are at Villa Sielen Diva, a stunning seven-room property in Galle, Sri Lanka. Officially unveiled last August, it bears the ancient Greek name for the island or, as other historical texts argue, was named by the 6th-century Greek merchant and explorer, Cosmas Indicopleustes. Set on a one-acre plot right on Talpe beach, sandwiched between the popular holiday enclaves of Unawatuna and Mihiripenna, and a mere 15-minute drive from Galle and its Unesco-listed old town, it is a beautiful structure, a temple dedicated to tropical Cubism. “The family initially wanted a Geoffrey Bawa house,” he says, referring to the pre-eminent Sri Lankan architect. “But in Sri Lanka, it’s Bawa everywhere, so we decided on something different.”
V U does concede, though, that some classic principles were incorporated, such as an expansive courtyard and open spaces so typical of the region.
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