Sri Lanka is an incredible country to visit with pristine beaches, fabulous food, vivid culture & history, breathtaking wildlife and wonderful people. Over the past three years, I’ve made it my mission to explore as much of the country as possible and have climbed Sigiriya Rock Fortress, surfed in Arugam Bay, gone on elephant safaris in various national parks, taken the scenic train through hill country, practiced Yoga in open-air beachfront pavilions, frolicked down empty beaches in the Southern Province and enjoyed Ayurvedic treatments with experienced Ayurveda doctors. These things are just the tip of what the country has to offer, and one of my favorite aspects about traveling in Sri Lanka is the incredible choice of hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs available throughout the country. Not convinced? Click here for 10 reasons why you need to visit Sri Lanka now!
I’m passionate about promoting unique and boutique travel experiences, and personally look for comfort, beautiful decor and warm hospitality when I travel. Without further ado here are some of the best boutique hotels in Sri Lanka to book yourself into for your next trip! Make sure you subscribe to the e-mail list as this list will be updated on a regular basis.
1. Central and North Central Provinces
The Central Province is primarily in the central mountainous terrain of Sri Lanka and contains popular tourist destinations such as Sigiriya, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Minneriya and Kaudulla National Parks, Dambulla, Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura.
Madulkelle Tea & Eco Lodge in Kandy
Madulkelle Tea & Eco Lodge is an hour’s drive away from the heart of Kandy, and offers 18 safari-like lodges with the most incredible views over Kandy’s mountain ranges. Each room has its own private balcony overlooking the tea plantations below and the breathtaking sunsets and sunrises. The climate, unlike coastal Sri Lanka, is dry and much milder, so expect warm days and cool nights. Click here for my full review of the property, and click here to book your stay at Madulkelle Tea & Eco Lodge!
Things to see and do in the area: Temple of the Tooth, Royal Botanic Gardens, Knuckles mountain range, Kandy lake.
Unique Cottages in Nuwara Eliya
Nuwara Eliya, the “City of Light”, is high up in the mountains and the start line for those hoping to visit World’s End and Adam’s Peak. Nuwara Eliya is also home to Lake Gregory, a reservoir in the heart of the tea country. Unique Cottages offered a comfortable 1 night stay at a reasonable price. The staff are friendly and helpful, and can help to book transport and tours to Horton Plains/World’s End.
If you are planning to stay here, try to avoid the attic room as there is only 1 small window for ventilation. Click here to book your stay at Unique Cottages, or click here for more accommodation options in Nuwara Eliya!
Things to see and do in the area: Horton Plains National Park, World’s End, Adam’s Peak, Devon Falls, Lake Gregory.
EKHO Sigiriya in Sigiriya
EKHO Sigiriya (formerly named Zinc Journey Sigiriya) offers beautifully decorated rooms, incredible service and is right next to Sigiriya Rock. You can even see the rock fortress from the hotel! The hotel staff can also arrange safaris to Minneriya and Kaudulla National Parks to spot wild elephants. If you have hired a driver to take you around the island, clean and roomy driver accommodation is available here. Click here to book your stay at EKHO Sigiriya!
2. Eastern Province
The Eastern Province is made up of the districts of Batticaloa and Trincomalee and is popular for people visiting Nilaveli Beach, Arugam Bay, Pottuvil and Pigeon Island.
Kottukal Beach House by Jetwing
Situated in Pottuvil, Kottukal Beach House is operated by Jetwing Hotels, a local Sri Lankan-owned hospitality chain. The property offers beach access, a pool and spacious rooms at a reasonable rate. The hotel is a short 15-20 minute drive away from the main strip of Arugam Bay, so is perfect if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the town during the peak season (November-February). Click here to book your stay at Kottukal Beach House!
One thing to note, however, is that the driver accommodation onsite is subpar (our driver opted to sleep in the van instead) – things may have changed since our visit in October 2016, so it’s worth calling ahead and asking if you have hired a driver to take you around the island.
Things to see and do in the area: Pigeon Island National Park, Nilaveli Beach, Arugam Bay, Gal Oya National Park.
3. Southern and Uva Provinces
The Southern and Uva Provinces are home to beautiful beaches, incredible national parks, parts of hill country, stilt fishermen and Galle Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Most visitors to this region travel to Ella, Galle, Talalla, Unawatuna, Mirissa, Koggala, Hambantota, Matara, Ahangama, Weligama and Tangalle. It’s easy to move around this region by train, car or tuk tuk, so if you only have a few days I would recommend picking 1-2 hotels and venturing out for day trips.
Ella Mountain Heavens in Ella
For amazing views of the Ella mountain gap, stay at Ella Mountain Heavens, a cozy boutique hotel high up in the hills. Make sure you get a room with a balcony overlooking the mountain gap, and park yourself outside while admiring the sunset from the comfort of your own room. Click here to book your stay at Ella Mountain Heavens.
Things to see and do in the area: Hike Mini Adam’s Peak, visit a tea factory and plantation, swim in Ravana Falls, check out the Nine Arch Bridge.
The Bamboo in Ella
The Bamboo is a Sri Lankan family-run boutique guesthouse that is convenient located in the heart of town. The room rates are reasonable and the room is massive and tastefully decorated, but because of its location you will hear some street noise. The guesthouse provides earplugs if you need them. Click here to book your stay at The Bamboo or click here for more accommodation options in Ella!
Talalla Retreat in Talalla (or Thalalla)
Talalla Retreat is conveniently located near the southernmost point of Sri Lanka which makes it a great place to base yourself to explore the Southern Province. The rooms, while basic, are comfortable and the rates are reasonable given it offers a pool as well as beach access. The hotel also hosts daily Yoga classes and surf lessons for anyone hoping to try their hand at catching a wave. Click here to book your stay at Talalla Retreat!
Things to see and do in the area: Dondra Lighthouse, Hummanaya Blowhole, Paravi Duwa Temple, Mulkirigala Raja Maha Vihara Rock Temple.
Fort Printers in Galle Fort
Galle Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a great place to wander around. I would recommend that you stay the night at The Fort Printers, a converted heritage hotel in the heart of Galle Fort. The rooms are tastefully decorated and extremely spacious. Click here to book your stay at stay the night at The Fort Printers!
Things to see and do in the area: Book a massage at Spa Ceylon, sip on a cup of tea at the Amangalla, visit the old Dutch Hospital, do some shopping at Barefoot Gallery and Salt Clothing, spend some time strolling through the town, see the iconic Galle Fort Lighthouse and walk along the fort wall for panoramic coastal views.
Eliyanth Udawalawe in Udawalawe
Udawalawe National Park is one of the most popular parks to visit in Sri Lanka for wildlife lovers. It is home to a large population of Asian elephants and elephant sightings are almost guaranteed. Book yourself into Eliyanth Udawalawe, a small hotel that offers incredible value for money. The rooms are spacious and clean with a private balcony overlooking the river, the safari jeep driver/spotter is professional and the manager is incredibly helpful if you need any help booking transportation.
This is also a great hotel for you if you’re looking to visit the nearby Elephant Transit Home which looks after orphaned baby elephants and returns them to the wild once they are rehabilitated. The one thing to note is that they only accept cash, but there are nearby ATMs that you can use. Click here to book your stay at Eliyanth Udawalawe or click here to look for other accommodation options in Udawalawe!
Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle in Tangalle
Looking to add a touch of luxury to your Sri Lanka trip? Book a stay at Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle, a 5-star property offering beautiful rooms, beach access, incredible dining facilities and wonderful hospitality. Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle is a fantastic place to relax and rejuvenate and is also a great base for day trips around the southern coast or a safari in Yala National Park. Click here to read my full review of the property, or click here to book your stay at Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle!
Shangri-La’s Hambantota Golf Resort & Spa in Hambantota
Shangri-La’s Hambantota Resort & Spa is probably one of the best beach resorts in Sri Lanka. It opened last June and is the newest luxury venture to open its doors in southern Sri Lanka, and is also the largest resort in country at nearly 60 hectares (or 150 acres). Aside from the incredible rooms, the hotel offers a plethora of facilities and activities including a trapeze, trampolines, fitness centre, 18-hole golf course, Ayurveda spa, children’s playroom and cultural artisan village. Click here to read my full review of the property or click here to book your stay at Shangri-La’s Hambantota Resort & Spa!
Jetwing Yala in Yala
If you plan to stay overnight in Yala, there are a number of boutique hotels and tented safari camps. I stayed at Jetwing Yala in October 2017 and loved the property. The rooms are spacious, the food is delicious (they have 2 restaurants and a beautiful cocktail bar), beach access as well an incredible pool. Wait for it – the pool has a swim-up bar! So you can lounge by the pool with cocktails after your morning safari. Click here to book your stay at Jetwing Yala or click here for more accommodation options in Yala.
Things to see and do in the area: Go on a safari in Yala National Park.
Southern Sri Lanka is one of the most beautiful places in the country. Click here for more ideas for what to do in Sri Lanka’s deep south!
4. Western Province
The Western Province is where you will find Colombo, the country’s capital city, and Bandaranaike International Airport. This is likely where you’ll start or end your Sri Lanka trip, and there a number of great hotel options in this area.
Photo credit: Vidu Gunaratna / Shutterstock
Colombo Hotel by Ceilao Villas
This stylish family-run hotel has just 6 rooms, which makes it a perfect place to retreat to after a long day of sightseeing. Colombo Hotel by Ceilao Villas also offers 2 pools for you to cool off in (a smaller upper-tier dipping pool and a larger lower-tier pool) and breakfast on-demand anytime before noon. It’s perfect for couples traveling together, and if you are traveling with your family the hotel also offers larger rooms with a living room area complete with sofa and extra single bed. Click here to check current rates at Colombo Hotel!
OZO Colombo is a trendy hotel in the city that offers a great rooftop bar and pool facing the ocean and incredibly comfortable rooms. The decor is modern and the drinks are great – what more could you need? Click here to book your stay at OZO Colombo!
Things to see and do in the area: Visit Barefoot Gallery, fly a kite at Galle Face Green, see the Red Mosque, visit the Gangaramaya and Seema Malaka temples. Click here for my guide to exploring Colombo in 1 day!
Jetwing Ayurveda Pavilions in Negombo
Located just half an hour away from Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport is the bustling seaside town of Negombo. Though Negombo is not typically high up on the list of places to visit in Sri Lanka, it is home to Jetwing Ayurveda Pavilions, a leading Ayurvedic retreat and hotel in the country. Though it has no beach access, it goes offer a beautiful pool and Ayurveda spa.
The hotel’s location is convenient and offers incredibly easy access to the international airport. Click here to read my full review of the property, or click here to book your stay at Jetwing Ayurveda Pavilions!
Anantara Kalutara in Kalutara
Located along the southwest coast of Sri Lanka, Anantara Kalutara joins its sister property, Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle, as the newest Anantara hotel in Ceylon. Located only an hour and a half away from Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport, Anantara Kalutara is a wonderful retreat that will make your troubles seem so far away.
You can’t go wrong with the quality of service at Anantara properties, and the level of hospitality at Anantara Kalutara is no exception. If you want to truly feel pampered on your vacation, then look no further than Anantara. Click here to read my full review of the property or click here to book your stay at Anantara Kalutara!
Avani Kalutara in Kalutara
Avani Hotel is also managed by Minor Group, the parent company of Anantara. Avani Kalutara is located right next to Anantara Kalutara, and is a slightly more low-key property if you want a beach-side resort but a slightly lower price tag. It has direct beach access (note: the beach is public, as there are no private beaches in Sri Lanka) but the beach is not safe to swim in during the off season from May to about August. It does, however, have a pool, and the service is impeccable – their staff kindly arranged for a late check out as my flight wasn’t until midnight, and served me mojito after mojito as I got some work done at the bar. Like Anantara Kalutara, it is only 90 minutes away from the international airport in Colombo. Click here to check rates and availability at Avani Kalutara!
Villa Dominikku in Negombo
This small boutique guesthouse is located 15 minutes away from the international airport in Sri Lanka. Though it is basic, Villa Dominikku is perfect if you have an early flight/late arrival or need a safe, clean and tastefully decorated transit hotel in Sri Lanka. The owner, Dulshan, and his wife are extremely accommodating, friendly and they have a beautiful home. If you are a solo female traveler in Sri Lanka this is a great place to stay in Negombo and the owner can organize cheap airport transfers on your behalf. click here to check current rates and room availability at Villa Dominikku!
Looking for even more hotel options in Sri Lanka?
Booking.com allows you to filter your search by destination, facilities (desperate for a pool? Done!), rates and much more. Most hotels also offer a flexible cancellation policy so that you don’t lose out if your vacation plans change. Type in your destination into the search box now!
Ready to plan your trip? Click here for the perfect 2 week itinerary to Sri Lanka, or click here for more Sri Lanka travel and destination guides!
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