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The best hotels in Sri Lanka for the perfect Indian Ocean getaway

Whether you want the ultimate in luxury or more of a family feel, our guide to Sri Lanka hotels will help you plan your perfect stay

Talia Stanton
Contributor: Talia Stanton
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Looking for a little bit of affordable luxury in your life? Then only the best hotels in Sri Lanka will do. Home to endless beaches, a wealth of history, fascinating culture and some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, there’s a reason why Sri Lanka is such a popular destination. Tucked away in alluring locations and offering guests beautiful views and exciting experiences, Sri Lanka’s best hotels are known for their standards of service and exquisite cuisine. From riverside guesthouses such as Colombo’s Villa Red to the modern penthouse at Kandy’s Theva Residency – find your home away from home in our list below and treat yourself to the best of Sri Lankan hospitality. 

Updated June 2024: Two new hotels for the list? Coming right up. Check out the latest additions, including a resort with luxury villas and a cliffside haven with an award-winning spa. 

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Who makes the cut? While we might not stay in and review every hotel featured, we've based our list on our expert knowledge of the destination covered, editorial reviews, user reviews, hotel amenities and in-depth research to find you the best stays. This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, see our affiliate guidelines.

The best hotels in Sri Lanka

1. Mandarina Colombo

A booking at Mandarina means infinity pool swims, tucking into international dishes and looking out over irresistable vistas of the Indian Ocean. The contemporary hotels is designed to suit stays for both business and pleasure, with deluxe rooms that guarantee a good night's sleep. It's one to watch if you're looking for Sri Lanka hotels with luxury facilities – there's even spectacular views to be seen from the gym. 

Mood? High quality while still being modest. 
Location perks? A 10-minute walk from Majestic City and Casino Marina. 
Budget range? A fair price. 
Time Out tip: Make sure you book a table at the enchanting and exotic open-air rooftop restaurant, On The Eleventh. 

2. Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort

Boasting 32 five-star villas with individual plunge pools and professional butlers, sat on a secluded beachfront, Anantara Peace Haven is the ultimate place to relax. There are six dining options including a Teppanyaki beach restaurant and a speciality Italian eatery. There's also cooking classes available for food lovers. 

Mood? Panoramic sea views set the scene. 
Location perks? A 30-minute drive from Mulkirigala Rock Temple and 90 minutes from the infamous Galle Fort. 
Budget range? On the pricey side, but worth it. 
Time Out tip: Sign up for one of the award-winning spa's multi-day wellness programmes, combining exercise, nutrition and treatments. 

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3. Madulkelle Tea and Eco Lodge

Fancy waking up to jungle forested mountain vistas covered in magical rolling fog? This collection of luxe mountainside tents is dotted around the wild, secluded greenery near the UNESCO Knuckles Mountain Range, each one is kitted out with hardwood floors, king-sized beds, ensuites with rolltop baths and wrap-around terraces where you can have breakfast looking out over the Sri Lankan countryside. There’s an infinity swimming pool, for top-notch Insta shots, you can book personalised spa packages at the onsite wellness centre, and the bar and restaurant serve dishes with organic vegetables picked in the hotel garden. 

Mood? Wilderness luxury. 
Location perks? Right in the heart of a UNESCO-certified mountain range.
Budget range? Super affordable.
Time Out tip: Ask staff to arrange trekking and day trips, as well as campfires and visits to the nearby tea factory. 

4. Kurulu Bay

Kurulu Bay, Sinhalese for ‘bird island’, describes itself as a ‘private sanctuary’. Its chic and minimalist yet cosy buildings overlook Koggala Lake – one of the largest in the country and filled with sea turtles. The 14 suites and cottages are surrounded by lush jungle greenery, while inside you’ll find calming cream interiors accentuated with art deco and blonde wood furniture. On-site restaurant ‘The Kitchen’, serves up ‘sea-to-table’ which you can eat alfresco underneath trees filled with playing monkies. Or, sit by the lakeside pool with a cocktail. 

Mood? Scandi-style chic on Sri Lanka’s south coast. 
Location perks? Views of Koggala Lake and a short walk from both 
Ahangama Beach and Kathaluwa West Beach. 
Budget range? High end.
Time Out tip: Treat yourself to a spa day for the ultimate relaxation sesh. 

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5. Gal Oya Lodge

Nestled in an isolated patch of the Sri Lankan jungle, Gal Oya Lodge lets you explore one of the most remote and least-visited parts of the country. The palm leaf-thatched, bamboo-walled huts have four-poster beds hung with dreamy white gauze, open rainfall showers, furniture made by local villagers and terraces where you can sit and look at the misty mountains beyond. Swim in the shadow of Monkey Mountain in the outdoor pool and feast on plates made from home-grown herbs and vegetables grown on neighbouring village farms. As you’d expect the place also has sterling eco-credentials including energy conservation and sustainable materials. 

Mood? A luxe getaway for adventurers. 
Location perks? In the middle of the Gal Oya National Park, perfect for trekking and wildlife spotting. 
Budget range? High-end.
Time Out tip: The main draw here is the experiences on offer. Hotel staff will help arrange walks, wildlife visits and tours with local village chiefs.   

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  • Colombo 3

The Cinnamon Grand Hotel is a hive of activity exuding an energetic and lively atmosphere; giving it an air of ‘the place to be’. Rooms of various categories (including a swish executive floor) are located in two wings in the quiet section of this opulent five-star hotel. There are 14 restaurants and bars differing in style, including Lagoon – the best seafood restaurant in the city. Other options range from the esteemed Koimala eatery and a beachfront hangout for cocktails on the sand. The Crescat Shopping Centre and award-winning Angsana Spa and gymnasium, are within the hotel compound.

Mood? Eclectic luxury
Location perks? In the centre of Colombo right next to landmark shopping complex Crestcat Boulevard. 
Budget range? A range of options.
Time Out tip: There are a veritable goldmine of dining options here, but we particularly love Chutneys, filled with spicy aromas and where you can order signature Indian dishes.

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Tintagel lends itself to the discerning traveller seeking comfort, seclusion and exclusivity. The 1930s building opened its doors as a hotel in 2007 and, since then, has established itself as a top-notch boutique hotel in the prestigious residential area of Rosmead Place. The colonial-style building has a palatial air outfitted with modern amenities and plush comforts. Tintagel’s discerning taste extends to the cuisine, serving fusion dishes be it authentic Sri Lankan or Italian.

Mood? Colonial-style boutique
Location perks? A private, walled retreat with pool and gardens
Budget range? High-end.
Time Out tip: Take a dip in the hotel’s private pool within a secluded walled courtyard surrounded by beautiful stone statues and palatial ceilings.

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  • Kandy

Theva is a modern resort located in Kandy, which is gaining popularity for its simple yet alluring charm. Accommodation is in suites, deluxe, and superior rooms, and there’s a penthouse if you really want to splash out, all with minor differences in views and availability of balconies. The tiled rooms have a modern, sleek appearance and the superior rooms have white décor with dashes of vibrant colour. Georgian windows look out on a spectacular view and there are plenty of facilities for a recreational holiday are available. 

Mood? Tropical bohemian paradise. 
Location perks? Right on the slopes of the Hantana mountain range.
Budget range? Mid-range.
Time Out tip: The hotel’s glorious infinity pool is perfect for sun-drenched holiday snaps with the mountainous jungle in the background.

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Set in shady, tranquil gardens close to the sacred town of Kataragama in Sri Lanka’s south-east, this bright, airy hotel has 52 well-appointed, fully air-conditioned rooms which are spacious and cosy with tastefully furnished facilities including satellite TV, telephones with IDD facilities, in-house movies and mini bar. Make a beeline for the swimming pool, which is the largest in the region with a novel underwater music system. 

Mood? Slick and comfortable. 
Location perks? Yala and Bundala are within easy distance, as is Yala National Park for wildlife spotting trips. 
Budget range? Affordable.
Time Out tip: Check out the ayurveda spa for traditional and signature treatments after a long day’s sight-seeing. 

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