Sri Lanka's stunning south coast is home to romantic hideaway Taprobane Island. The privately-owned island is so exclusive that guests must wade through the sea on foot or on elephant back to reach it.

Guests stay at a neo-Palladian mansion, steeped in history - it was originally built in the Twenties by eccentric Count de Mauny-Talvande and has since played host to royalty, aristocracy, presidents and writers.

The villa is surrounded by two acres of lush tropical gardens, with swaying palms, vibrant hibiscus and orchids growing just footsteps away. Each of the five guestrooms is elegantly decorated with colonial furniture and has its own private terrace with breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean beyond - perfect for watching the sun go down in the warm evenings.

Catering for a maximum of ten guests, Taprobane Island ensures that visitors receive the highest quality service in peaceful surroundings. A private chef discusses menu requirements before sourcing fresh ingredients from the local market - his specialties are freshly-caught seafood and flavoursome Sri Lankan curries.

The privacy and tranquillity of Taprobane Island make it ideal for honeymooners wanting to make the most of their time alone, and although most guests tend to stay on this picturesque paradise island, it is possible to explore the other jewels on Sri Lanka's coast. Staff can arrange travel via chauffeur-driven vehicles, steam train or helicopter to nearby sights: among those worth visiting is the UNESCO World Heritage site of Galle Fort, only a 30-minute drive away.

From the moment you approach this fantasy island, you will feel as though you have stepped back in time to a magical fairy-tale.

Find out more at www.taprobaneisland.com. To book, call 00 94 91 4380275.