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Best Hotels in Sri Lanka
Kikili House 6 rooms from $124Galle
Darling little guests house just outside historic Galle Fort. Welcoming hosts make guests feel right at home whilst colourful artworks and vibrant fabrics add the charm of this leafy neighbourhood. A delicious breakfast of familiar Continental dishes and Sri Lankan hoppers (a must try!) is included.City Style - A charming base to explore the equally charming Galle townGreat walks - To Galle Lighthouse and along the fort wallsLocal markets - The morning fish market is a vibrant affairRestrictions on children - Children above the age of 12 are acceptedRecommended by - I Escape
Era Beach by Jetwing 8 rooms from $124Galle (Talpe,)
Elegant rooms feature capacious four posters and modern bathrooms. There is a huge infinity pool overlooking a private stretch of beach and surrounded by sun loungers and sofas. A tasty European and Sri Lanka menu is served and Ayurvedic treatments can be enjoyed at Ceylon spa. Great value.City Style - A quintessentially colonial way to experience GalleSights nearby - Galle Fort is a must visitSwimming Pool - Outdoor poolRomantic - Good for couples.
Havelock Place Bungalow 7 rooms from $84Colombo
A true home. Havelock Place Bungalow provides an excellent alternative to the large, five star hotels Colombo has to offer. Rooms feature cosy comforting quilts, classic striped wallpaper and decorative quirks like whicker baskets for storage. The hotel's restaurant is very popular so book ahead!Sights nearby - Town Hall and Independence Square are within easy reach.Great walks - A walk along Colombo's long promenade.Local markets - Explore Colombo's Old Town.Swimming Pool - Indoor/outdoorRecommended by - I Escape
Cinnamon Red Colombo 242 rooms from $86Colombo
Centrally located with colourful interiors - add to this an attractive price and Cinnamon Red attracts a fun, young crowd. Rooms are decorated with splashes of the hotel's signature red and feature good sized modern bathrooms. Cuisine is top notch including adaptations of Sri Lankan dishes.Great walks - Nearby Viharamahadevi Park for a leisurely stroll.Views - Great views from hotelSwimming Pool - Indoor/outdoorQuirky - An experience!
Mangrove Beach Cabanas 9 rooms from $51Tangalle
Simple yet chic this unassuming little cluster of wooden cottages has been welcoming guests for years. Ideal for travellers or couples on a budget, seeking some relaxation. There is a popular bar where guests congregate plus a beach restaurant serving tasty Sri Lankan dishes. Great value.Value chic - Private cottage accommodation at an excellent priceFishing - Tangalle is a sleepy fishing village - trips can be arranged in townKayaking - Get on the waters in your very own kayakOn the beach - Located on Tangalle Beach
The Last House 4 rooms from $155Tangalle
Sri Lankan architect, Geoffrey Bawa's final creation The Last House provides an iconic and stylish stay. Think colourful interiors, plenty of antiques, exposed beams and roll-top baths: a perfect mix of old and new. Meals are served al fresco and (bar breakfast) are arranged on request. Superb.Families - Children are well looked after and there is a three bedroom suite ideal for familiesArchitectural - Famed architect Geoffrey Bawa’s final creation - an iconic stayLocal markets - A tuk-tuk tour of the sleepy fishing town of TangalleSwimming Pool - Outdoor poolRecommended by - I Escape, Mr & Mrs Smith
Bar Reef Resort 13 rooms from $105Alankuda,, Kalpitiya Peninsula
Chic resort with over a mile of private beach front. Eco-chic cabins are decorated in a simple yet comfortable style. There is a stunning infinity pool with ocean views and plenty of al fresco dining spots. Fresh fish dishes are on the menu everyday. Popular with families, couples and kite surfers!Active Holiday - Between May and October is prime kite surfing weather and Bar Reef has its own schoolBeach Life - Boasting over a mile of private sandy beachKayaking - There are kayaks available for guests to explore the seas themselvesSailing - Head out on a dolphin or whale watching trip
Dolphin Beach 9 rooms from $105Ilanthadiya, Kalpitiya Peninsula
Luxurious tented beach accommodation specialising in dolphin trips and water sports. Nine eclectic tents are dotted around luscious grounds and there are plenty of chic, shady lounge areas to relax. There is a tasty Sri Lankan à la carte menu but chef Nalin is happy to take requests.Families - Family suites, lots of activities, children's menus, plus plenty of gardens and a whole beach to run aroundBeach Life - Fall asleep to the sound of the ocean - you don't get much closer than thisActive Holiday - Kite surfing, water sports and dolphin trips - something for everyoneSwimming Pool - Outdoor poolRecommended by - I Escape
Ashburnham Tea Estate 6 rooms from $137Kandy
With just six bedrooms this 1930s tea planters bungalow, complete with stunning views, provides a charming stay. Explore the tea terraces, relax by the pool or enjoy a cooking lesson. Sri Lankan dishes can be enjoyed in the restaurant or al fresco. A quintessential tea estate experience.Total relaxation - Set within 98 acres of rolling tea plantations it is total escapismRomantic Break - Four posters and rooms with a view - a great couples getawayCooking classes - Learn the art of Sri Lankan spices with a private cooking classGreat walks - A guided tour of the working tea estate - and waterfalls!
Helga’s Folly 16 rooms from $158Kandy
Basil Fawlty meets Kubla Khan in Helga Blow’s decadent chic home. A red 1930s building surrounded by jungle. Dark muralled rooms full of historical paintings, photographs and antiques. Home cooked food and a well stocked bar. A truly eccentric stay that should be on everyone's 'to visit' list.Writing a novel - Quirky and fascinating- every inch is covered in paintings, frescoes, sculptures etc reflecting the hotels artistic life.Sights nearby - Visit Sri Lanka's most important Buddhist relic the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic.Great walks - Wake up early and take a leisurely stroll aound Kandy Lake.Swimming Pool - Lovely Outdoor Pool
Lunuganga 6 rooms from $159Bentota (Dedduwa)
Former plantation houses set amidst 15 acres of gardens. Interiors are colonial and boutique in style with Geoffrey Bawa distinct monochrome floors. Bedrooms are decorated with antique furniture and four-poster beds. Shady terrace and cosy lounge. Authentic local cuisine served al-fresco.Writing a novel - Savour the seclusion of this wifi free zone, with many a nook to read or write your next novelSights nearby - Colombo and the Unesco World Heritage town of GalleRestrictions on children - Over 12's welcomeFull of characterRecommended by - I Escape
The River House 5 rooms from $286Bentota (Welagedara)
Truly secluded location amid tropical gardens on the shores of the stunning Madhu Ganga. The five suites are totally contemporary whilst still lavishly furnished, with near-private access to all the facilities, and butlers will anticipate your every whim. Come here for an intimate and remote escape.Intimate - Extremely private and secluded. Only five suitesRemote - Off the beaten track.Wildlife AreaQuietRecommended by - I Escape, Mr & Mrs Smith
Ceylon Tea Trails 10 rooms from $670Colombo, Hatton
Nestled away in the rolling green pastures of Sri Lankan Hill Country is this former tea estate. Comprised of four bungalows, all decorated in a colonial style it has a total of 20 rooms and suites. The impeccable menu and all meals included means that there is little we can fault.Outdoor diningBirdwatching - There is an abundance of local birdlife amongst the tea plantations and forestGreat walks - Walk the surrounding tea trails with your expert guideBack to Nature - Set in the heart of Hill CountryRecommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith, I Escape
Vil Uyana 30 rooms from $277Sigiriya, Sri Lanka
Luxury thatched cabanas set on stilts over a man made lake filled with nature. Huge rooms, large windows and decks overlooking the wetlands - perfect for birdwatching. Peaceful library, large infinity pool, and spa. A unique retreat in natural surroundings.Back to Nature - Independent water huts on stilts over a man made lake in the wetland wildlife reserve.Birdwatching - This region is known as a haven for bird watchers with over 120 recorded species visable from your porch!Sights nearby - The resort lies under the shadow of the World Heritage Site of Sigiriya or "Lion Mountain".Great walks - Explore the reed beds and paddy fields of this man made wetland reserve.Recommended by - Kiwi Collection, Small Luxury Hotels
Giritale Hotel 42 rooms from $56Giritale, Sri Lanka
Well placed lakeside hotel near the sites of Polonnaruwa. Rooms are simple yet very comfortable with breathtaking vistas - which can also be enjoyed from the terrace and the swimming pool. Luxuriant gardens and an Ayurvedic centre. A secluded spot to relax in and explore the wildlife in the area.Value chic - Comfortable rooms with stunning views, large pool and an Ayurvedic spa all at a steal of a priceHideaway - Surrounded by nature and with epic views, step into a private world of calm and tranquility.Great walks - Explore the Ancient City of Polanaruwa, overlooking the lovely Giritale Lake.Birdwatching - A fantastic area for bird watching, guides can be organised from the hotel.
The Lake House Polonnaruwa 14 rooms from $95Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka
Formerly known as Polonnaruwa Rest House this colonial bungalow has undergone much modernisation since the Queen stayed here in 1954. Overlooking Giritale lake bedrooms and dining areas boast marvellous views. Delicious Sri Lankan dishes are served. A great spot to explore historic Polonnaruwa.Back to Nature - Overlooking the serene Giritale Lake it is immersed in natureKayaking - Take a kayak out on the Giritale LakeSights nearby - The ancient city of PolonnaruwaViews - Great views from hotel
Kelburne Cottages 3 roomsHaputale, Sri Lanka
Teaplanters’ houses spectacularly sited on a 2,500ft bluff above the plains. Fantastic views from the tea terraces over the plains and blue hills. Traditional interiors with large glass windows. Dine in your villa or make your way to the hotel restaurant. A great choice for families or groups.Families - The individual cottages have two to three rooms - perfect for families or groups exploring the area.Sights nearby - For a fascinating day trip pack up a lunch and visit the pilgrimage site of Kataragama.Local markets - Walk to Haputalé town and wander round the local markets.Great walks - Explore the tea gardens rolling over the surrouding hills.
Lake Lodge Boutique Hotel 12 rooms from $180Dambulla, Sri Lanka
A charming B&B well placed for sightseeing in the Cultural Triangle, overlooking a Kandalama Lake. Simple airy rooms with large balconies and panoramic views of the hills, a swimming pool and leafy terrace. A great spot for enjoying Sri Lanka's abundant wildlife.Total relaxation - Indulge in spa treatments and yummy cuisine in this tranquil haven overlooking the Kandalama reservoir.Birdwatching - Make the most of the fantastic location and head off on birdwatching tours, arranged from the hotel.Sailing - Take a romantic boat ride across the picturesque Kandalama Lake.Swimming Pool - Lovely Outdoor Pool
Ulagalla Resort 25 rooms from $342Sri Lanka
A serene boutique eco resort, perfect for honeymoons, romantic breaks, and spa pampering. Asian-style chalets amongst the palms, an enormous swimming pool, Coco Spa, delectable Asian cuisine, Balinese massages, and all the mod cons. Peace, nature, wildlife.Romantic Break - Private cottages with private pools and couples spa treatments - what more could you want?Spa breaks - Traditional Ayurvedic and Balinese treatments - utter blissEco break - Consistently winning awards for its green credentialsSights nearby - Cave temples at Dambulla.Recommended by - I Escape
Tree Tops Jungle Lodge from $270Buttala, Sri Lanka
Total back to nature jungle camp. Three canvas tents provide simple but adequate accommodation. Staff cook up delicious Sri Lankan dishes cooked from local ingredients. Guided walks are offered to take you to even remoter spots. A truly magical once-in-a-lifetime experience!Wildlife Area - Elephants are frequent visitors to the lodgeBack to NatureBirdwatching - 163 species are recorded in the areaRemote - Completely off the beaten track!Recommended by - I Escape
Cape Weligama 40 rooms from $413Weligama, Sri Lanka
The long awaited palm fringed resort has arrived - with stunning views of the Indian Ocean beyond the infinity pool. All interiors are elegant with a clean edge and private gardens. In-room spa treatments are available too. Delicious cuisine, good for families or a romantic retreat.Romantic Break - Private cottages with private pools and in room treatments availableFamilies - Interconnecting family suites availableBeach Life - Located right on the Weligama beachDiving - Certified PADI dive school and instructorsRecommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith, I Escape
Jungle Beach from $151Sri Lanka
The clue is in the name with this property. Light, modern, colourful cabins are dotted between the beautiful Trincomalee coastline and its dense jungle. Both local and international food is served and private beach dining can be arranged. Perfect for the indecisive traveller!Diving - Dives can be arranged at the nearby school just 10km awayGreat walks - Trekking for all abilities in the surrounding jungleSeaside - Ideal for a seaside holiday.Barefoot Luxury - For total relaxation.Recommended by - Small Luxury Hotels, Mr & Mrs Smith
Anilana Nilaveli 54 rooms from $118Nilaveli, Sri Lanka
A contemporary property located along Nilaveli's coast. It’s clean, crisp lines are juxtaposed with Sri Lanka’s traditional dark teak woods. Complete with two pools, a spa and countless activities as well as a bar and a selection of restaurants, you will not run out of ways to enjoy yourself here.Fishing - Fishing and deep sea fishing trips can be arrangedDiving - Dive groups in a variety of languages can be takenSailing - Overnight charter can be arrangedDesigner - Uniquely designed interiors.
Gal Oya Lodge 8 rooms from $155Ampara, Sri Lanka
This property is perfectly located for the Gal Oya National Park. Designed using locally sourced materials and earthy palettes it is eco-luxe in style. It has a restaurant and bar and tasty packed lunches are provided for those long days spent in the jungle. Perfect for the wildlife enthusiast!Back to Nature - Located in the Gal Oya National ParkGreat walks - Led by the inhouse naturalistRemote - Off the beaten track.Birdwatching - Good birding near the hotel.
Uga Bay 44 rooms from $152Sri Lanka
Mediterranean meets modern property just a stones throw from the beach. All rooms are light and bright, many with beach access. It has its own restaurant and private dining available as well as a pool, spa, gym and several water sports options. A beach lover’s paradise!Sights nearby - Explore the nearby cultural sites, historical sites in Batticaloa or ancient UNESCO World Heritage sites in PolannaruwaDiving - DIve the famous WWII wrecksFour poster beds - For romantics.Barefoot Luxury - For total relaxation.
The Wallawwa 11 rooms from $152Katunayake, Sri Lanka
Just 30 minutes from Colombo Airport, The Wallawwa is not your average airport hotel. This graceful, colonial building is decorated in the earthy hues of Sri Lanka. The restaurant serves delicious European and Sri Lankan cuisine. Head to the 'Z' spa for some pre or post flight pampering!Sights nearby - The sights and sounds of Colombo are just a short drive awayLocal markets - Negombo’s fish market is worth getting up early forFour poster beds - For romantics.Swimming Pool - Indoor/outdoorRecommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith
Bethany 101 6 roomsPuttalam, Sri Lanka
Owned by the same family for generations and with only six bedrooms, you will feel like a part of the family too. Decorated in a traditional Sri Lankan colonial style with a pool, well manicured gardens, the property is positioned just a matter of steps from Puttalam Town. A gem of a 'home-stay'!Sailing - Dolphin and whale watching in KandakkuliyaSights nearby - Visit the Ancient Capital of AnuradhapuraLocal markets - Close distance to Puttalam TownKayaking - Available locally.
Why House 8 rooms from $219Talpe, Sri Lanka
A boutique property in the truest sense it is the small touches that make Why House stand out from the rest. The rooms are decorated with white linens, four poster beds and large windows that let in the breeze. The restaurant uses the finest organic produce and there is an extensive vegetarian menu.Cooking classes - Cupcake decorating for the kids, cooking lessons for the adultsSurfing - and Boogie Boarding on the nearby Wijaya beachFull of characterSeaside - Ideal for a seaside holiday.Recommended by - I Escape
About Sri Lanka
All our Sri Lanka collections:
- Best places to stay in Tangalle
- Best places to stay in Galle
- Best places to stay in Kandy
- Best places to stay in Colombo
- Best places to stay in Sri Lanka
Despite its wonderful ancient treasures, jungles full of elephants and gorgeous beaches known for their fantastic surfing conditions, Sri Lanka is still a destination-less-travelled. War and natural disasters have plagued this beautiful, green land, but now's your chance! Before everyone's done it! Come before the best places to stay in Sri Lanka get too well known and you can't get a bed in one for love nor money!
Sri Lanka is as varied as it is beautiful and exotic, and the best places to stay in Sri Lanka are just as varied.
Sri Lanka's Cultural Triangle has eight impressive World Heritage Sites packed into one small area. The triangle is at the island's heart, including:
- the sacred city of Anuradhapura,
- the royal ancient city of Polonnaruwa, capital during the medieval period,
- the Sigiriya rock fortress, an ancient, ruined palace built on top of a huge rock,
- the Dambulla cave temples,
- and Kandy, home of the Temple of the Tooth, one of the most sacred places in the Buddhist world.
And that's only mentioning the highlights of this one small triangle. As well as the monuments and temples which survive in Sri Lanka's ancient capitals, there's the colonial experience to explore, and what about the history of the tea trade? Even riding one of the old tea trains is a historic experience, as well as a potentially hilarious one.
Kandy is Sri Lanka's second largest city, so an easy hub to head for. It's grown up around a misty hill in lush tea growing country. Busy and colourful, in Kandy you'll be surprised by impromptu street markets, sudden tropical rain storms and the deliciousness of the food.
Kandy is also one of the best places to stay in Sri Lanka if you want to get close to an elephant. There are numerous elephant spotting tours and safaris, and you can get closer still at an elephant orphanage, like the one at Pinnawala.
Or there's the beaches: white and often sans-footprints, Sri Lanka's beaches are lovely all the way around the island. There are also plenty of spots offering good diving, snorkelling and surfing opportunities.
Before the arrival of the Portuguese in the 16th Century, Galle was a small village, but they quickly turned it into a major spice port, building an impressive fort, now considered the best example of a fortified port built by Europeans in South-East Asia. The Dutch arrived in the 17th Century, and added to the fort, as well as building their homes and churches, so now Galle is a beautiful mix of local and colonial architecture. Today the fort is full of bijou boutiques and cafes and boutique hotels. It's a hang out for writers, artists, poets etc..
The Hotel Guru's selection of the best places to stay in Sri Lanka are all ideally placed for getting to know this extraordinary island, whether you've come for culture, beaches or a bit of both.
For the 'Cultural Triangle'
- Vil Uyana's collection of luxury thatched cabanas stand on stilts out over the lake allowing for privacy and excellent birdwatching opportunities. Perfect if you want to get back to nature.
- If you're looking for somewhere reasonable priced and well located within the Cultural Triangle, one of the best places to stay in Sri Lanka is Lake Lodge, Kandalama. This is also an excellent choice for people wanting a green holiday - surprisingly no trees were cut down during the construction of these six rooms, instead the buildings were designed around them. Which means that the Grey Langur Monkeys and a rich variety of birds have stayed put.
- Giritale is near the sights of Palonnaruwa, set amongst lush gardens with views over a vast reservoir. Its decor is simple but the pool is good, and the ayurvedic centre is excellent.
For a city break taster
- Casa Colombo in Colombo is a sleek, chic, lively creation with colourful rooms and shabby chic furnishings. There's a cocktail bar and an excellent Asian restaurant. And the pool and deck are gorgeous.
- If you like unique and eccentric, then Helga’s Folly in Kandy might be for you. Helga's home was built in the decadent 1930s, and she's retained many of the original features, including the building's particular shade of red, both inside and out. She's also added murals and historic paintings, photographs and a collection of unusual antiques - that kind of original. Helga swans around day and night, accompanied by jazz and swing music, watching over the visitors staying in her 40 rooms. You'll love it or loathe it, so even though it's really close to the Golden Temple, make sure you look at the photos before you book.
For colonial chic
- The Queen stayed at the ten room Polonnaruwa Rest House in 1954, and this colonial government bungalow, built in 1870, probably hasn't changed much since her visit. In fact you can still stay in her lake view suite, which looks out onto Sri Lanka's largest man made lake. The decor is pure colonial, but the restaurant serves excellent Sri Lankan food, and is a wonderfully airy room jutting out over the lake.
- Maya Old House is one of the best places to stay in Sri Lanka for people looking for somewhere remote and unique. It's set in amongst the jungle and the paddy fields, on its own two acre estate. The colonial style building has wide verandahs set around a wonderful courtyard pool, and the guest rooms have 25ft ceilings. They're so charmingly traditional they offer cricket, tai chi and petanque.
For a beach break
- For top end luxury right on the beach, one of the best places to stay in Sri Lanka is Amanwella. This resort is all about relaxation, the architecture is elegantly sparse - zen even, the terrace is fanned by palm trees and each of the thirty suites has its own plunge pool. But despite the focus on relaxation there's plenty to do here, from birdwatching to whale watching, to snorkelling, and windsurfing, to fishing and they even run cooking classes.
- Buckingham Place: the name comes from the owner's surname, rather than any suggestion of opulence. In fact these 12 guest lodges are modern and minimalist, with excellent views over the lagoon. Just out of a small fishing village and far from the crowds.
Galle: The Best Places to Stay in Sri Lanka to Relax
- The Sun House was originally built for a Scottish spice merchant in the 1860s, and its white, colonial elegance now houses seven rooms, including a large suite. A short walk from the fort, The Sun House has truly special views of Galle harbour. There's also an excellent restaurant serving Sri Lankan food - it's so good, even guests will need to book - and a beautiful, frangipani filled garden with a pool which feels pleasantly private.
- The Dutch House is the sister hotel to The Sun House, and is blessed with similarly lovely views of Galle, from its hilltop position. This home was built for a Dutch naval officer in 1712, so the architecture is totally different. The decor inside is as well, there's an interesting selection of antiques and contemporary art on the walls. This is a hip spot, and with just four rooms.
To get back to nature
- Tree Tops Jungle Lodge is just three canvas tents in the middle of nowhere. Staff cook up delicious Sri Lankan dishes cooked from local ingredients and guided walks are offered to take you to even remoter spots. A truly magical once-in-a-lifetime experience!
- Ulagalla Resort is a serene, boutique eco resort - different from the Tree Tops Jungle experience because it's more of a luxurious spa escape. There are Asian style chalets amongst the palms, Asian cuisine and all the mod. and most relaxing cons.