Choosing accommodation in Sri Lanka is a delightful challenge. The variety and quality offered here are so exceptional that you may find it hard to leave your hotel and explore the country. From traditional establishments in tea plantations and colonial towns to modern beach retreats and architect-designed safari camps, Sri Lanka’s luxury hotels offer an unforgettable experience. Read on to discover our top picks.
Galle Fort Hotel, Galle
The Galle Fort Hotel, once the mansion of an esteemed 18th-century gem merchant, has retained its charm over the years. The stunning colonnaded courtyard and spacious verandas, teak floorboards, wooden window shutters, and antique furniture all contribute to its old-world elegance. However, the addition of a sleek swimming pool and a lively café-bar adds a contemporary touch. The individually styled rooms, some with private gardens and others with separate lounges, are spread over two floors. Our personal favorite is the Porcelain Suite, adorned with glass cabinets showcasing 19th-century china.
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Uga Jungle Beach, Trincomalee
Tucked away amidst the trees, Uga Jungle Beach offers charming thatched suites that exude a Robinson Crusoe vibe from the outside. But fear not, as these accommodations provide all the modern comforts you could desire. While enjoying a short stroll from your cabin to the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, you can also opt for alfresco showers to enhance the tropical experience. Wooden walkways guide you to an open-air restaurant serving both traditional Sri Lankan and Western cuisine. Alternatively, the staff can arrange a torch-lit dinner on the private beach.
Designed by renowned architect Geoffrey Bawa, Kandalama is a true architectural marvel nestled in the Cultural Triangle. This modernist hotel blends seamlessly into its surroundings, almost disappearing into the cliff face on which it’s built. The building is adorned with creeping plants, as if being embraced by the jungle. The public spaces offer breathtaking views of either Dambulla Rock or the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sigirya. The wood-lined rooms and suites provide a tranquil atmosphere, with balconies that practically beg you to soak in the mesmerizing vistas.
Ceylon Tea Trails, Hatton
Indulge in the captivating world of tea plantations by booking a stay at Ceylon Tea Trails. This collection of five bungalows, once the homes of estate managers, is nestled in the lush tea fields of Sri Lanka’s hill country. Immerse yourself in the ambiance of a tropical Downton Abbey, complete with butler service, gourmet dinners, and a croquet lawn. The interiors, adorned with four-poster beds, antiques, and roll-top baths, pay homage to colonial times. And, of course, your stay will be punctuated by the finest tea, served from morning to night.
Goatfell, Nuwara Eliya
Formerly a tea estate, Goatfell now stands as a boutique hotel with just four spacious rooms, offering the intimacy of a private home. The contemporary styling complements the breathtaking setting, with emerald tea bushes rolling across the hills and stretching towards the distant mountains. The infinity pool provides the perfect vantage point to soak in the picturesque views while enjoying a G&T brought to you by your private butler. Located just 30 minutes from Nuwara Eliya, a charming hill station reminiscent of the English countryside, Goatfell offers a serene escape.
The Mudhouse, Anamaduwa
For an authentic Tarzan-like experience, head to The Mudhouse, a charming complex of thatched mud huts deep in the jungle. Embracing simplicity, this retreat allows you to spot peacocks, buffalo, and hornbills during forest walks, learn to cook Sri Lankan cuisine over an open fire, swim in ancient reservoirs, and relax in hammocks. With lanterns and candles illuminating the nights and refreshing outdoor showers, who needs mains electricity or hot water? The Mudhouse offers a sense of adventure for kids and a secluded, romantic experience for couples.
Wild Coast Tented Lodge, Yala National Park
Prepare for a unique safari camp experience at Wild Coast Tented Lodge. Hidden within the dunes of Yala National Park, this extraordinary establishment features tented suites in the shape of boulders, equipped with luxurious amenities. Copper bathtubs, canopied beds, and leather furniture create a lavish atmosphere. Some suites even boast private plunge pools, while an infinity pool overlooking the ocean awaits all guests. Once you tear your eyes away from the accommodations, embark on a game drive (included in the price) to catch glimpses of elephants, leopards, and the elusive sloth bear.
PALM Hotel, Ahangama
PALM Hotel in Ahangama offers a unique twist on Sri Lankan accommodations. With its steel-framed windows and concrete interiors, it resembles an urban warehouse conversion rather than a typical tropical retreat. The sleek and calming rooms are housed in A-framed cabanas scattered throughout a beautiful palm grove, each with its own terrace. After a day on the beach, just a short tuk-tuk ride away, wash off the sand under your outdoor rainfall shower. Take a moment to enjoy a sundowner from a hanging chair overlooking the infinity pool and indulge in delicate Sri Lankan dishes in the open-air dining pavilion.
Escape from the hustle and bustle of Colombo at Maniumpathy, a boutique hotel converted from a family home that has been passed down through five generations of the Hallock family. With only eight antique-filled suites set around a pool in a green courtyard, Maniumpathy offers an intimate and peaceful retreat. The gentlemen’s club ambiance, complete with leather Chesterfields, dark furniture, and chandeliers, adds to the sense of sophistication. Guests rave about the exquisite food, especially the traditional Sri Lankan curry and rice, which can be enjoyed on the colonnaded veranda atop marble-topped tables.
Tri Lanka, Lake Koggala
Enjoy the serene ambiance of Tri Lanka, located on the shore of Sri Lanka’s largest lake. This eco-friendly hotel is designed to minimize its environmental impact, with recycled wood, local granite, and living walls incorporated into its clean-lined design. The yoga shala, infinity pool, dining areas, and 11 suites and villas all offer stunning views of the glass-still lake. Here, you’ll relish waking up early, listening to the dawn chorus from your terrace as mist gracefully envelops the surrounding rainforest.
Amanwella, belonging to the esteemed Aman hotel group, sets the standard for luxury accommodations. This exquisite hotel is nestled within a coconut plantation overlooking a secluded private beach. Its 30 suites, each featuring a plunge pool, courtyard, and terrace, provide guests with a haven of tranquility. The attentive staff go above and beyond, fulfilling your every desire, whether it’s arranging a helicopter ride, a temple blessing, or a cooking lesson in a paddy field. From fine dining in the restaurant to barefoot barbecues on the beach, Amanwella promises an exceptional culinary experience.
Karpaha Sands, Kalkudah
Karpaha Sands offers unparalleled views of the Indian Ocean and 15 kilometers of golden sand. This secluded beach resort features safari-style tents nestled among palm trees, allowing you to fall asleep to the sound of the surf and wake up to the sight of local fishermen pulling in their nets. It’s an ideal choice for a romantic escape, with couple’s massages available at the spa and the option to enjoy a private barbecue and cinema experience on the beach under a starlit sky.
Nestled on a former tea plantation near Kandy, Santani is an eco-retreat designed to provide a true sanctuary for its guests. With multiple wellness activities included in the price, such as sunrise yoga lessons and Ayurvedic spa treatments, Santani offers a rejuvenating experience. Balanced, low-carb meals made with organic garden ingredients are also part of the package. The modern architecture of the cantilevered chalet suites and the timber-and-glass restaurant perfectly complement the awe-inspiring mountain views.
Living Heritage Koslanda, Koslanda
For a true escape from reality, Living Heritage Koslanda is the perfect choice. Situated conveniently between the beaches of the south coast and the tea plantations of the hill country, this hotel offers guided nature walks through its expansive 80-acre grounds. Explore waterfalls, spice gardens, practice yoga by the pool, and enjoy the cozy stone and wood hotel itself. With only 12 suites available, including five forest pavilions (essentially treehouses) and a garden cottage perfect for couples, tranquility and seclusion are guaranteed.
Inspired to visit Sri Lanka? Don’t wait any longer! Book your trip now with DHPL Travels, the ultimate authority in Sri Lankan travel. Explore the best that Sri Lanka has to offer and embark on a tailor-made journey created just for you.
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