Mount Lavinia is a leafy beach resort that is part of a newly created city, immediately south of Colombo. It is famed for its “Golden Mile” of beaches and is a popular hot spot for tourism and laid back nightlife. The tourist area is focused on a rocky promontory between two sandy beaches at edge of smart residential area.
The name of the resort comes from a story regarding the Governor General of Ceylon during the 19th century. At a welcome party held in his honour, Sir Thomas Maitland fell for a local mestizo dancer named Lovina. Conventions at the time meant that the unmarried officer could not be seen with a local dancing girl. The couple met in secret via an underground tunnel that ran from her father’s well into Sir Maitland’s residence. In 1811, Sir Maitland was forced to leave Sri Lanka for Malta where he lived and died as a bachelor. In named the governor’s home “Mount Lavinia House” as a testament to his only love. The governor’s home is now a hotel, converted in 1895, and is one of the most venerable colonial trademarks in Sri Lanka.