We have reviewed the best luxury hotels in Sri Lanka. These are the very best luxury hotels for families, couples, and for business in the city and for pools and spas.
The sun-kissed island of Sri Lanka can be found in the Indian Ocean, to the southwest of the Bay of Bengal, and to the southeast of the Arabian Sea. There is so much to explore, from its 1340km coastline to tropical rainforests, ancient Buddhist ruins, and safari tours. Sri Lanka’s historic heartland offers up the Cultural Triangle, ancient cities with cave frescoes, and the rock fortress of Sigiriya. To the south is the pilgrimage city of Kandy, surrounding the Temple of the Tooth. Ride the train up from here, the cooler central highlands, to see tea colonial estates nestle in carpets of forest. Beyond these higher hills, you will find national parks and rainforests inhabited by elephants, sloth bears, and leopards.
The Dutch fortress of Galle sits firmly and proudly on the coastline, where palm-fringed coves will tempt you to laze under the sun. Flights from London to this tropical paradise take just under 11 hours, but the Sri Lanka experience seems even further away, in a different world altogether.
I have compiled a list below containing the best boutique hotels in Sri Lanka:
1. Fort Bazaar Hotel
Fort Bazaar Hotel (pictured above) is a hidden gem of a boutique hotel in a faraway land. This recently renovated 17th-century townhouse is situated in the stunning Galle Fort. The hotel is hip and achingly stylish, and its restaurant has a growing reputation as the place to eat and be seen in Galle.
Fort Bazaar is an 18-bedroom boutique hotel situated in the very heart of the town of Galle; featuring the acclaimed Church Street Social restaurant, library, and Z spa. The hotel is built around a traditional Galle Fort private courtyard which is very much the hub of Fort Bazaar.
While retaining the colonial feel (and, where possible, the original features – with original teak rafters used for the bar and in the cinema room), there is a Moroccan vibe. Think beautiful patterns and prints with beautiful Moroccan colors but with a quirky modern twist. The courtyard is a beautiful spot to just hang out and relax in your own hidden gem.
There are 3 main room types available; Bazaar Bedrooms, which feature gorgeous high ceilings and overlook the central courtyard, Banyan Bedrooms, all include a private terrace or veranda, and there are 3 Upper Suites which feature freestanding bathtubs and the only private balconies in Galle Fort with fantastic views of the busy Church Street below. You can also opt for the Family Upper Suite with a connecting additional room, a great option for traveling families. All rooms include a Nespresso machine, breakfast, minibar soft drinks, and afternoon tea.
The Church Street Social restaurant not only boasts delicious food, but the location is simply fabulous too. Sit out on the bustling Church Street and watch the world go by, or relax under the veranda. The food is simply sensational, from breakfast right through to the evening meal, with the Moroccan influence reaching right to your plate! A tapas menu is also on offer, with fun-sharing platters featuring a great mix of Asian and International flavors.
The beautiful Z spa at Fort Bazaar has 3 treatment rooms where you can relax, be pampered, and leave refreshed and rejuvenated. Galle Fort itself is a UNESCO-protected site and is fascinating to explore during a walk around its walls. Hiring a guide is advisable to ensure that you don’t miss any of the best bits! The town of Galle is full of cultural highlights, shops, restaurants, and cafés; keep an eye out as there are several stylish boutique shops tucked away that are well worth a visit.
The hotel is part of a small group called Teardrop Hotels; they are passionate about Sri Lanka and have a growing portfolio of hotels (currently 6), all with 3 things in common: the properties are all beautifully renovated historic buildings, their service is first class and the dining a sumptuous fusion of Asian and Western flavors.
If the idea of a hidden, but a very funky gem, in this sensational country appeals, then Fort Bazaar should definitely be on your horizon; get here quickly before everyone else discovers it!
There are numerous beaches nearby, including the surfing hotspots of Midigama and Weligama, while whale-watching cruises embark from picturesque Mirissa. Exploring Galle’s verdant inland hinterland rewards with glimpses of rural villages, oceans of paddy fields, and temples. Close to Koggala Lake is a lowland tea plantation that offers absorbing estate tours.
2. Reef Villa & Spa
The laid-back paradise of Wadduwa in Sri Lanka draws visitors with its golden sands and lush coconut plantations. Stay in one of Sri Lanka’s most desirable hotels, the delightful Reef Villa & Spa, for a tranquil retreat that compliments your exotic destination.
The Reef Villa & Spa is tucked in a coconut grove in three acres of tropical gardens in the small unspoiled seaside village of Wadduwa on the south-west coast of Sri Lanka. The village is a chilled-out dream which boasts one of the most beautiful stretches of coast in the region. You are about 1.5 hours south of Bandaranaike International Airport and about 45 minutes south of the buzzing capital of Colombo.
The plantation house-style beach hotel oozes luxurious colonial charm and is packed with stunning antiques and artifacts from days gone by. The hotel was designed from scratch, and the result is wonderful; hidden pavilions, lily ponds teeming with koi, and shady verandas transport you to a world where time seems slower.
The infinity pool is simply beautiful, surrounded by the manicured tropical gardens it’s the perfect spot to start your relaxation, pick a lounger and enjoy the complimentary mango sorbet. There’s also direct access to the glorious beach, and if you’re feeling active, there’s a tennis court, table tennis, and a yoga pavilion. As if you weren’t relaxed enough, the Ayurveda Spa offers indulging traditional treatments such as Abhyanga massages.
There are two Suites in the main Plantation House, four Ocean Suites, and the Lily Pond Suite. All are huge, gorgeous rooms with 150-year-old four-poster beds and free-standing bathtubs. The ultra-romantic Lily Pond Suite can only be accessed by stepping stones across the water. Although it doesn’t have the sea view of the other suites, it does have an outdoor sunken mosaic-tiled jacuzzi and offers a great deal of privacy being hidden in the tropical gardens.
Next to the swimming pool, hidden in the gardens, you’ll find the thatched, shady restaurant, which offers dazzling views across the Indian Ocean, offering a fusion of Asian and international flavors all washed down with a selection of fine wines and an extensive cocktail list.
3. Kahanda Kanda
Perched on a hilltop and set amidst the palm-fringed jungle of Southern Sri Lanka, Kahanda Kanda is a hidden gem offering exquisite views of the working tea plantations and Koggala Lake. Kahanda Kanda is just 5km from the coastal Galle Road, at the northeastern shore of Koggala Lake. From Bandaranaike International Airport, the drive will take approximately 3 ½ hours.
Designed with the luxury traveler in mind, this compilation of twelve bespoke villas (five with their own private pool) forms part of the beautiful boutique KK Collection and is the epitome of indulgence, offering romance, adventure and providing a sanctuary for guests to relax and unwind. No children under the age of 12 are allowed to stay, which makes this an ideal location for dream weddings, serenity-seeking honeymooners, and couples. Dream of unrivaled views of the lush green jungle and velveteen lawns, and you are dreaming of Kahanda Kanda.
4. KK Beachfront
For those seeking a stylish sandy sojourn, it doesn’t get much better than KK Beachfront hotel. KK Beachfront is situated nearby to Kahanda Kanda, just 12 km from the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Galle. If you just can’t wait to reach your exclusive retreat, it is possible to take a seaplane from Colombo to Koggala Lake which has a journey time of around 45 minutes. Located on the west side of Habaraduwa, this boutique hotel is just twelve km from Galle and has ten exclusively chic suites with amazing views of the Indian Ocean. This beachfront bolthole is exquisitely furnished and offers style, space, and privacy. If you are looking to completely switch off and immerse yourself in a world of relaxation, it really doesn’t get much better than this.
5. Living Heritage Koslanda
Living Heritage Koslanda is set in the heart of Sri Lanka’s hill country on its own estate with beautiful tea plantations beyond. You can fly direct from London to Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, in just over 10 hours with Sri Lankan Airlines. The hotel is then just a 5-hour drive from the airport.
The hotel feels like a tranquil, hidden gem tucked away in the middle of nature. You are surrounded by magical forests, waterfalls, and stunning views. There is a feeling of exclusivity and calm, but you never forget the stunning natural world that envelopes you. The villas feature traditional Sri Lankan architecture, design, materials, and colors and have been furnished with beautiful antiques.
This hotel has an infinity pool to top all infinity pools! Cleverly placed the opposite way to how you expect, with the narrow edge facing the view, it seems to frame the view even more dramatically. It is set right above the paddy fields, so the vista is incredible.
The hotel has 3 Ambalamas, these are 3 open-sided, roofed houses, ideal for relaxing in the shade or perhaps for some yoga or meditation. The poolside Ambalama enjoys the same magnificent view as the pool and is surely a favorite spot. Food is also important here and is generally a set menu with beautifully presented Sri Lankan delicacies; think steaming curries and fresh fish.
There are 80 acres of stunning forest to explore, and it’s just a 20-minute walk through the jungle to the waterfall; the resort will organize you a picnic lunch to take with you if you want to spend a few hours there.
The 4 suites are all spacious and luxurious with huge Emperor sized beds, ensuite bathrooms, private courtyards, private plunge pools, private walled gardens with hot water garden shower (where you can shower by moonlight – an experience not to be missed!), and long verandas. Choose the Private Pepper Garden Villa, as it offers total privacy and is entirely on its own.
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