Best Accommodation in Sri Lanka for post-Covid travel
A Sri Lanka Unbound private tour includes a focus not just on sites, activities and experiences, but equal attention to accommodation. Sri Lanka offers accommodation options to suit all travellers. They cater to families to couples to groups travelling together and solo travellers. There are equally good accommodation for budget requirements and preferences of all visitors. What we’ve discovered in decades of travel across Sri Lanka, is some of the best boutique hotels and resorts we’ve experienced in all of our travels around the world.
Best Boutique Accommodation in Sri Lanka
Boutique accommodation in Sri Lanka is unique. They are stylish, full of charm and often luxurious. These properties will often reflect the country’s distinctive architecture and aesthetics with references to Sri Lanka’s colonial past, ancient history and designs and traditional woodwork.
Some of the best-known and uniquely Sri Lankan properties showcase the designs of Geoffrey Bawa, Sri Lanka’s globally renowned architect and the father of tropical modernism. Often, Sri Lanka’s best boutique properties are situated in picturesque natural settings surrounded by tea gardens, rural landscapes, national parks, beaches and mountains. Those which are situated in the cities such as Colombo, Galle and Kandy. They still retain a sense of privacy, keeping the hustle and bustle of the city outside.
Our private tours are always tailored to suit your individual needs to give you an idea of the impressive range of accommodation options in Sri Lanka. Here are 10 of our favourite places to stay in Sri Lanka (in no particular order). We believe these will suit post-Covid travel.
#1 Ulagalla by Uga Escapes
Location: Cultural Triangle
Ulagalla is a luxurious, charming and stylish property. Located in the area referred to as Sri Lanka’sCultural Triangle, Ulagalla is situated in a quiet rural landscape. 25 private villas spread across 58 acres of rural land of forests and paddy fields, coupled with excellent service, delicious cuisine and impressive facilities including what is possibly one of the largest swimming pools in the country. The villas are spacious with private plunge pools and views that expand into the forests and paddy fields. Serenity is a given during your stay. You can easily explore the iconic Sigiriya Rock and the ancient heritage city of Anuradhapura from here, which are located within 30-minutes to an hour drive. To make the most of your stay, we recommend a full day spent at Ulagalla to relax and enjoy the facilities and onsite activities which range from horse riding to kite making. Read more about Ulagalla
#2 Water Garden
From the porch of your private villa at Water Garden enjoy views of the iconic Sigiriya Rock Fortress and the adjoining Pidurangala Rock on the horizon. As the name itself denotes, the property is designed based on the famous Sigiriya water gardens. With close proximity to one of Sri Lanka’s best-known cultural heritage sites, Sigiriya Rock Fortress, this is one of our favourite properties to stay to explore the Cultural Triangle. The property is designed to give guests a sense of privacy and space with a focus on the natural spaces around. Expect stylish and elegant interiors inside your room, exceptional service and food, and enjoy the facilities of the spa and swimming pool. We love to sit at the bar with a sundowner and watch the stunning sunset across Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Discover more about Water Garden here
#3 The Kandy House
The Kandy House is an ideal place to stay to explore Sri Lanka’s hill capital, Kandy. This stylish boutique hotel is situated outside Kandy but is near enough to explore the city itself and surrounding attractions. The heart of the property is the restored old manor house, originally built in the 1804 as the home for an aristocratic family. The rooms are charming, with Kandyan architectural designs, overlooking the lush, colourful tropical gardens. The property boasts a welcoming swimming pool overlooking a set of tiered paddy fields. Expect friendly staff ready to treat you with Kandyan hospitality and delicious Kandyan meals. Being an old Manor house, this boutique property does not encourage children under 12 years. Read more about The Kandy House
#4 Nine Skies Bungalow
Location: Tea country
A small five-bedroom upmarket property, nestled among the verdant hills of the tea country, Nine Skies Bungalow is a welcome hideaway outside the busy little town of Ella. Located approximately 20 minutes by vehicle from Ella town on the hills of Demodara, where the famous Nine ArchedBridge sits.
Wake up to misty mornings and savour cups of Ceylon tea as you watch the clouds move across the mountains and listen for the sound of the train going through the Demodara loop. This is one of our favourite sanctuaries in the tea country. With close proximity to Ella and all the beautiful hikes and mountains waiting to be explored, Nine Skies Bungalow is the perfect place to indulge and get over any tiredness of travel. It is just 3-hour drive from Yala National Park and the south coast making it even more desirable to avoid long drives to the coast.
This lovingly restored plantation bungalow features contemporary and elegant interiors which we love. Help yourself to round the clock G&Ts, dine on gourmet meals and let the butler take care of all your needs. We recommend 2-to-3 nights at Nine Skies to give you ample time to explore the tea country as well as time to relax. Nine Skies is great for families, couples and solo travellers.
Read more here about Nine Skies
#5 Gal Oya Lodge
Location: Gal Oya
Surrounded by nothing other than jungle, Gal Oya Lodge is one of our favourite wildlife lodges to experience the backroads of Sri Lanka and its lesser-explored wildlife parks. Gal Oya sits towards the east of Sri Lanka, remote and frequented by fewer visitors. It is home to the indigenous people of Sri Lanka, the Veddah community.
Surrounded by nature, Gal Oya Lodge is by far the only accommodation to enjoy the region. Spread across 20 acres of private jungle, Gal Oya Lodge has individual bungalows opening to the forest. The bungalows are designed to create a rural Sri Lankan feel; they are elegant simplicity embracing nature. Surrounded by quiet jungles, jeep safaris in the nearby Gal Park National Park will reveal a unique world of wilderness and are accompanied by the Lodge’s experienced naturalist. Boat safaris in the close-by Senanayake reservoir (the largest manmade reservoir in Sri Lanka) is the best way to get up close to wildlife including rare opportunities to witness swimming elephants. These combined with great picnics and walking trails in the great outdoors are some of the best experiences we have had in Sri Lanka.
Read more here about Gal Oya Lodge
#6 Leopard Trails
Situated in a quiet area bordering Yala National Park, Leopard Trails is one of our preferred luxury stays in the wild. It is also one of our best picks on wildlife accommodation in Sri Lanka. This property features luxury tented accommodation providing exceptional comfort, features and amenities while allowing guests to connect with the natural surroundings. The luxury tents are set apart in the property, some with forest views and others overlooking the lake where birds can be seen active in the morning and late afternoons. We loved sitting on the porch and enjoying a cup of tea when we were not on safaris. Expect candlelit dinners under the starts, private dining, amazing cuisine and outstanding service.
From here, explore Yala National Park, best-known for leopard sightings, but stay away from the hustle and bustle to be found closer to the park. The experienced naturalists from Leopard Trails accompany guests during safaris. This wildlife accommodation is great for families with younger kids. Its onsite rangers have interesting, fun and educational programmes to keep the young minds curious.
Read our full review of Leopard Trails
#7 The Last House
Location: South coast of Sri Lanka
The Last House is the final design of the world-renowned Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa. It showcases Bawa’s design of tropical modernism with its open spaces, lush tropical garden and bold colours. Sitting adjacent to the pristine Mawella beach, there is no better place to escape along the south coast than at the Last House. Situated close to Tangalle, possibly the busiest little town in the south coast with a good selection of beachside restaurants should you wish to explore and dine out.
This luxury boutique property is surrounded by nature and you are likely to see many birds including endemic species. If you love nature and enjoy birdwatching, this is certainly the place to stay. If you are travelling as a group, it is possible to book the entire property. Great for couples to spend quiet days by the beach and equally so for families. The Last House is one of our best picks for accommodation in Sri Lanka.
Read more about the Last House
#8 Why House
Location: South coast of Sri Lanka
Why House is a luxury villa type property situated close to the heritage city of Galle in the south of Sri Lanka. Unusual and beautiful, the spacious villas at Why House are chic and homely. Great for families, including multi-generational families, to spend a few days in a coastal home-away-from-home complete with friendly staff and delicious, freshly prepared meals. Henrietta is your host at Why House and is attentive to the needs of all her guests. Why House has a cheerful atmosphere and you will never feel far from home. Galle Fort and Hiriketiya beach are just short 15-minute drive.
This boutique accommodation is beautiful, conveniently located and best suited for families. Read more here about Why House
#9 Fort Bazaar
Fort Bazaar resonates old style charm with contemporary chic. This upmarket boutique accommodation sits in the heart of Galle Fort, one of Sri Lanka’s UNESCO heritage sites famed for its history and character. From the outside Fort Bazaar looks like the many well-restored manor houses of Galle. But step inside and you will discover a contemporary boutique property, stylishly decorated with elegant, modern interiors. From the spacious suites on the upper floors to the so-called Bazaar rooms, the interiors are modern and minimalistic with personal touches. The hotel’s central courtyard is a great place for afternoon tea, a drink at the bar or a coffee the small coffeeshop. Dining here is a treat from breakfast to dinner with fare that combines classic continental to Sri Lankan with a modern twist. While there are many upmarket properties in Galle Fort, Fort Bazaar is one of our favourites.
Discover why you should stay at Fort Bazaar in Galle
#10 Notary’s House
Location: Northeast of Colombo
An easy one-hour journey from Colombo’s International airport takes you to the serene village of Makandura, home to Notary’s House, a small boutique hotel. You can’t help but fall in love with Notary’s House. We arrived passed midnight after a 10-hour direct flight from Melbourne and were warmly greeted by smiling and friendly staff at 1.00 a.m. The staff are cheery, helpful and unobtrusive – they are available when you need them but give you ample privacy to rest and recuperate from travel and jetlag.
Wake in the morning to the sound of chirping birds as this hotel faces a lake that’s home to many avian species. Surrounding the hotel is landscaped garden with a sprawling lawn, gently extending into the surrounding coconut trees, paddy fields and shady trees of rural Sri Lanka. Colourful interiors coupled with traditional Sri Lankan designs and furniture give this boutique accommodation a cheery and a laidback feel.
There is plenty of space to relax with fresh air and sunshine all around. Swim in the pool surrounded by a lush tropical garden or take a gentle walk into the quiet village accompanied by a local guide. Notary’s House is one of the best places to enjoy Sri Lankan cuisine, and we especially love the Sri Lankan breakfast here.
Notary’s House is an ideal place to settle into your journey in Sri Lanka and great for couples, solo travellers and families alike Read more here on Notary’s House
You can discover more of our favourite hotels at https://srilankaunbound.com.au/hotels-we-love
Read our latest travel advice and learn about our special, flexible booking terms and conditions here.
Read more about post-Covid travel in Sri Lanka on our blog here
To know more about accommodation options and travel in Sri Lanka, contact us at https://srilankaunbound.com.au/enquire