Staying at these seven best hotels in Sri Lanka will send you on a luxurious circuit of the country’s finest wildlife and cultural treasures. The luxury hotels in Sri Lanka all offer good proximity to the key sites, unique architecture, inclusive breakfast and lots of amenities. But each the following hotels offer their own unique experiences.
How to Book Luxury Hotels in Sri Lanka
You’ll note that the hotel links below go to both Agoda.com and Booking.com. I like Booking.com because they have a lot of variety and offer me “genius” discounts which is a brilliant way to seduce me into loyalty by appealing to my ego. But I have also used Agoda and the conventional wisdom says that they offer better deals for Asia. It’s wise to check both to snag the best deal possible.
Or outsource the work by booking with Audley Travel. My group used them to arrange our last minute itinerary and they were able to pull it off with excellent service.
Booking hotels are just part of the travel planning process, check out the Sri Lanka travel guide for other pro planning tips.
7 Best Hotels in Sri Lanka
Negombo: Jetwing Lagoon
Start (or end) your itinerary in Negombo. This beach town is near the airport and is a good place to get your footing.
The Jetwing Lagoon is a Sri Lankan luxury hotel with affordable rates. It’s modestly priced by American standards but the rooms are very large, featuring a separate outdoor bathroom. The property is unique for its gigantic pool. I managed just two laps before I collapsed panting in a lounge chair, wondering where my next beer was coming from. Well fortunately, it came from the cute pool guy who later served it to me while I watched the sunset. Good start to the trip. The Jetwing Lagoon also offers a vast breakfast buffet with a mix of western and Sri Lankan dishes…and donuts! And if you have the time, I recommend the peaceful Ayravedic spa.
As the name implies, this hotel is on the lagoon and not on a swimmable beach. So if you want beach action or more of a bustling town vibe, you should also check out their sister hotel, Jetwing Beach.
Golden Triangle: Vil Uyana
The Vil Uyana is located in the center of Sri Lanka’s Golden Triangle. From there, you can fan out to Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa, Dambulla caves, and Kadulla or Minneriyra national parks.
This hotel is the absolute ten-star best hotel in Sri Lanka. It has a sprinkling of villas on centered around a lagoon in the jungle. We had a large room with a platform bed, soaking tub, seating area and a private deck. Some rooms have pools and others are elevated for a birds eye view of the water. The resident crocodile will greet you for breakfast and the hotel has a open air library and infinity pool.
The hotel also has a resident endangered fishing cat and some loris, which you may be able to see by taking their night hike. However, there is no guarantee that you will be able to see these nocturnal animals. Even at luxury hotels, the wildlife doesn’t always cooperate.
Regardless, the hotel is a beautiful property. And given the price tag, I would recommend staying there only if you really have the time to enjoy it. Our itinerary was fairly packed for the two day stay and I regret that I didn’t have more time to enjoy the grounds.
Plan your itinerary for the Golden Triangle and other cultural sites
Kandy: Villa Rosa
Visit Kandy to see the temple housing the Buddha tooth relic, stroll through the Udawattakele Royal forest park and to catch the scenic train to Ella.
The Villa Rosa is a small boutique hotel perched atop a hill overlooking a wooded valley. Each room has a porch and lounge chairs from which you can listen to Buddhist temple gongs and watch the fog roll in. The setting is very peaceful. They have two resident dogs whose jobs are to guard the place but they are also available for ear scratches.
If you need some decompression, they will arrange to bring in a practitioner to give you an energetic Ayruavedic massage.
Check reviews or book through Trip Advisor.
Get inspired for your Sri Lanka trip by reading some books that are set there.
Ella: Ceylon Tea Bungalows
Visit Ella Falls, a tea factory and hike to the beautiful nine arches train bridge.
Ceylon Tea Bungalows only has five rooms so you will have lots of peace and quiet as you lounge on the lawn overlooking the verdant tea fields. They are located up a hill off the main road but are only a 15 minute drive to Ella. Since it’s a small place, you can order up a custom breakfast (or dinner). The staff is unobtrusive but always there if you need them.
Udawalawe: Grand Udawalawe
Udawalawe Park offers prime elephant safaris. While there, you can also visit the Transit Center which runs a rehab center for orphaned and injured elephants.
This hotel welcomes you onto the property with a nice cold papaya juice. It’s prime location is within an easy 15 minute drive to either of the above locations. It’s very family-friendly and has a great pool area. We had a room in the newer part of the hotel. Each one is slightly different but ours offered a vast outdoor shower, private patio and living room area.
Yala National Park: Cinnamon Wild
Yala is your best chance to see a leopard in Sri Lanka. But the park also has a healthy elephant population and views of the Indian Ocean.
Cinnamon Wild feels like a luxury summer camp. Each room is its own elevated hut/suite. They are sprinkled throughout the property and designed to make you a part of a landscape that includes resident monkeys and the occasional elephant.
The pool and restaurant areas offer views of the nearby lagoon. And if you climb up to the top deck, you get beautiful views of the Indian Ocean. I also liked their more casual a la carte restaurant which is separate from the more formal buffet-dining options.
Check out these other spots for seeing wildlife in Sri Lanka.
Marissa/Galle Area: Mosvold Villa
Go whale watching and beach combing in Marissa or learn about Sri Lanka’s Dutch colonial history in Galle.
The Mosvold Villa is another boutique property located between Marissa and Galle. Here, you get the ultimate welcome with a candle lighting ceremony, flowers and fresh coconut. Another spacious bathroom awaits you, as do the double doors to your patio and loungers arranged throughout the property. When you finish your coconut, you can swim and go beachcombing on the long beach.
Treat yourself to one (or all) of these luxury hotels in Sri Lanka and experience its wildlife and cultural treasures in style.
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