Nilaveli's 4km stretch of sand is considered one of Sri Lanka’s best beaches and with its paradise-island remoteness, swaying palms and golden tinge to the shore, it's easy to see why. As such, it's a surprise that it is so little frequented. A few modest resorts are tucked above the shore line and Pigeon Island, which offers great snorkelling opportunities, is a short boat ride away.
Nilaveli has a number of rather exceptional places to stay scattered along the coast. Two good choices are Nilaveli Beach Hotel and That's Why, both within striking distance of the surf. In the low season some guesthouses close completely and even in high season, the whole strip feels remote. Note that it's not possible to wander from one hotel to another as they are widely dispersed.