Updated: June 2019
Planning your travels and looking for the best places to stay in Sri Lanka? Hotels and accommodation that will make your trip even more memorable?
We spent a month in Sri Lanka and stayed at some really cool places around the country (and a few not so good). This is a list of our favourite places to stay in Sri Lanka that stood out from the rest, based on our own experiences.
Not sure where to stay in Sri Lanka or looking for something specific? We found Booking.com to be the best booking site while looking for Sri Lanka hotels and places to stay. By reading reviews of other peoples experiences, considering all the available amenities and comparing the overall value for money, we discovered some pretty cool and wonderful places. AirBNB is also worth checking out.
If you planning a trip to Sri Lanka for the first time then make sure you read our Sri Lanka travel tips to make your stay even more amazing. You can also check out some of the best Sri Lanka attraction & things to do during your visit.
We stayed everywhere from luxurious hotels, beachfront hotels, home stays, bed and breakfast, tree houses, eco-lodges, backpackers, beach villas, boutique hotels and even a jungle lorry!
14+ of the best hotels in Sri Lanka and other unique accommodations that we would recommend:
1. BELLA NILAVELI BEACH (Nilaveli)
“Doorstep to a beach paradise”
Bella Nilaveli beach offers an eco-friendly stay, just a few steps away from the peaceful and calm Nilaveli beach. We stayed in the coconut hut which was not just cute from the outside but comfortable inside too. The en-suite room had a mosquito net, fan and a fridge to keep our water cold. The hut was clean and towels were provided. We had a good Wi-fi connection in our room and the little balcony outside was a great spot to chat and catch up on our blogging.
The beach is definitely worth raving about with Insta-worthy views, white sands and clear waters. It’s clean, secluded and there are hardly any people around which made us feel like we were on our own private beach. The beach has a few huts and shaded loungers available if you want to spend your day unwinding in the sunshine or spend time enjoying the sound of the ocean. If you prefer you can take a dip in the swimming pool.
Leo’s café is situated on the property, offering a variety of tasty breakfast, lunch, snacks and delicious dinners. The chicken noodle’s and homemade carrot, ginger and lime juice were favourite for us. At night the pathway to the cafe is lit adding a tranquil ambience overlooking the beach. There is a popular curry buffet served once a week which is worth looking out for. The breakfast changed daily ranging from pancakes, homemade bread, roti’s, dassa’s, eggs and don’t forget the tasty coconut sambals.
Owners Samir and Anna are excellent hosts. Anna offers Yoga lessons twice a day in the upstairs studio to rejuvenate your body, mind and soul. If you would like to experience the sensation of “walking on water” then hire a stand-up paddleboard (SUP) and explore the coastline with a unique elevated perceptive.
Activities such as canoeing, diving, snorkelling, bicycle hire and scooter hire can all be arranged. Enquire about going on a fishing trip – the best part is that Leo’s café can cook your catch with a side dish at a small fee. Make sure you don’t miss these cool things to see in and around Trincomalee while you there.
What we loved most about Bella Nilaveli beach?
The vibes are chilled between the coconut trees, breathtaking secluded beach and the delicious meals from Leo’s cafe didn’t leave us hungry. Bella Nilaveli beach is what lazy beach holidays are all about!
Beach lovers, health-conscious travellers, families and couple getaways.
Making a booking:
If you would like to make a booking or check availability for Bella Nilaveli beach then click here
2. BACK TO BEYOND TREE HOUSE (Pidurangala)
“A jungle experience to cross off the bucket list”
Staying in an open-air tree house was a first for us and certainly a fantastic experience to cross off the bucket list. Sleeping in Back to Beyond’s tree house offered us an adventure that not only exceeded our expectations but that we will remember throughout our travels. It was certainly one to cross off our bucket list!
We were in the middle of the jungle, surrounded by nothing but the wonderful outdoors and sounds of nature. We listened to the different birds and spotted everything from monkeys to the giant Sri Lankan squirrel. The tree house offered everything we needed to make our stay comfortable from the ample plug points to charge our devices, a fridge with cold water, clean towels, a fan and loads of space to look out and just relax.
There are 2 double beds in the tree house, both kitted with mosquito nets which offered us a comfortable night sleep, free of any late night bugs and mozzies. The only thing that woke us up at night was the sound of a nearby owl.
If you wondering about the bathroom, well that is is an experience on its own! Just below the tree house, we had our very own eco-friendly outdoor bathroom. There is nothing quite like taking an outdoor shower in the middle of the jungle. It’s one of those “wow cool” moments that you just need to experience for yourself.
Although off the beaten track, Back to Beyond couldn’t be nestled in a better location. There is so much to see and do around the jungle and its surroundings. We spent the afternoon exploring the Buddhist temple and some ancient ruins which is a 5 min walk from the property. The bygone era left us in awe and with not many tourists around we captured some incredible photos. Early the next morning we watched the sunrise from Pidurangala rock. (Don’t miss one, it’s one of our top experiences in Sri Lanka and well worth the early wake-up call) If you plan to climb Sigiriya rock, it’s only a 15 min walk or 5 min tuk-tuk ride away.
Back to Beyond also offers a fantastic variety of exciting tours from bird watching, jungle trekking or even biking through all the hidden paths around the jungle. Just speak to one of the staff members, they all very helpful and offer lots of knowledge on the area. There is a restaurant available with a good selection of food, everyone was passing compliments on how good the food was, admittedly we will easily rate the curry a 5 star.
What we loved most about Back and Beyond Pidurangala?
The thrill of staying in an open-air treehouse, prime location and the eco-friendly approach. (they will even refill your water bottle with filter water)
Adventurers, couples who love the outdoors and friends travelling together.
Making a booking:
If you would like to make a booking or check availability for Back of Beyond Pidurangala then click here
3. TEALEAF RETREAT (Nuwara Eliya)
“Elevated between the tea plantations”
If you love tea, comfort and good food, then you going to love the Tealeaf retreat. Elevated between the picture perfect tea fields, the English style hotel is the perfect stop for a couple of nights while visiting Nuwara Eliya
Our room was clean, well maintained and comfortable with hot water, cable TV and complimentary coffee/tea/biscuits. We recommend indulging in a cup of tea and admiring the views from your balcony which is a priceless experience at your own leisure. We felt like we were in the heart of the tea plantations.
There is a homely restaurant available on the property which offers wholesome and delicious cooked meals. The breakfast gave us a good morning boost before boarding the train to Ella.
The staff was friendly with a wealth of knowledge of the area and its surroundings. We loved exploring the tea fields and captured some fun pictures. If you got a bit of time during your visit you can learn all about the tea making process at Pedro’s tea which is a 5-minute drive away. Nuwara Eliya’s city centre, it’s only a couple of kilometres away and if you would like to visit Lovers Leap, it is a short hike away.
What we loved most about Tealeaf retreat?
The rolling green tea hills, balcony views and delicious home-cooked meals.
Couples, single travellers and tea lovers of course
Making a booking:
If you would like to make a booking or check availability for Tealeaf Retreat then click here
4. VILLA OCEANE (Mirissa)
“A 5 Star beach villa experience”
Now, this is what we call a beach villa! From waking up every morning to the incredible view of Madiha beach to falling asleep to the waves breaking on the shores. Villa Oceane is situated in an excellent location between the coconut trees and with the beach right in front of the Villa to wiggle your toes or watch the sunset from the balcony. Madiha beach is a hit for surfers and also a well-known snorkelling spot. Mirissa beach is a 5min tuk-tuk ride away.
Villa Oceane offers 5 private villa’s which are spacious, modern and well decorated. Each room offers an elegant yet modern feel with air-con, fridge, safety deposit box, toiletries, warm jet shower and one of the most comfortable beds in Sri Lanka.
Eating at Villa Oceane is spectacular with the finest attention to detail and flavours from the kitchen. The devilled chicken was a favourite! We loved starting the day with a good breakfast served on the balcony which included a variety of fresh fruit, eggs, pastries and toast with a jam from the balcony.
While walking through the gardens, ask the staff to point out the resident tortoises. The Villa has a stunning blue outdoor pool which is available all year round, overlooking the beach to enjoy a book or catch up on your tan. We could spend hours on the loungers and let the day pass by.
What we loved most about Villa Oceane?
The pool, beach views, service fit for a king and the devilled chicken.
Honeymooners, luxury travel, families or a weekend getaway.
Making a booking:
If you would like to make a booking or check availability for Villa Oceane then click here
5. PEACEFUL HOMESTAY (Sigiriya)
“A real taste of Sri Lanka”
This was our first homestay and we loved every minute. Anura and his wife made us feel like royalty, it was a real treat to stay with such a talented chef. When we arrived Anura showed us around and introduced us to different fruits of Sri Lanka that grow throughout the garden. We got to sample many fruits from green bananas to jack fruit. The organic fruits, nuts and vegetables from the garden are often used in the kitchen to prepare fresh and delicious Sri Lankan dishes.
One night we had a full Sri Lankan cooking demonstration, it was such an enjoyable evening. We even had a chance to crush the coconut for the popular Sri Lankan coconut sambals and we learnt step by step about the various spices, fresh ingredients and the secret flavours to make a black chicken curry. The aromas had our mouth watering. The meals were beautifully presented. Watching the meals being prepared was fantastic but eating them, in the end, made them taste even better. Anura can also prepare a good variety of Indian, Chinese and Western dishes.
The room was very comfortable with hot water, air conditioning, Wi-Fi, King size bed with a mosquito net and a small balcony outside. The Peaceful Homestay is situated in a quiet neighbourhood and a short walk from the main road, making it easy to catch a tuk-tuk or bus to Sigiriya town or Dumbulla.
In the afternoon we went for a walk to the local Buddhist Temple and a small market. We loved walking around the neighbourhood. Kids rode their bicycles and were very friendly coming up to talk to us, locals waved, it really is a beautiful place.
What we loved most about Peaceful homestay?
The food for sure, the cooking demonstration, neighbourhood and wonderful hospitality
Families, couples, solo travellers and foodies.
Making a booking:
If you would like to check the prices, make a booking or check availability for Peaceful Homestay Sigiriya then click here
6. WHITE PALACE B&B (Negombo)
“Perfect location with a panoramic sunset”
White palace B&B is located on the outskirts of the Negombo lagoon. The property is only 15 minutes from the airport, making it a convenient and ideal stop when arriving or departing from Sri Lanka. With the lagoon so close, bird-watching and boating are some of the most popular activities in the area.
The room was very spacious, comfortable and we have to admit it was good to have a hot shower and watch some cable TV after spending the whole day travelling across the country. The room had air conditioning, tea/coffee facilities, good WiFi and fresh towels are provided. The property is also a popular wedding destination in the Negombo area with a selection of facilities available, including a banquet hall.
Udi, the owner is well connected, very professional and an incredible host. He has a wealth of knowledge about travelling Sri Lanka and many helpful tips for visiting Negombo. He went out of his way to make sure that we were comfortable and very accommodating. Udi and his staff ensured we had everything we needed during our stay from ordering food late at night to arranging an early morning tuk-tuk.
Depending on what time of the year you visit, don’t miss the panoramic Negombo sunset that glows across the skies.
What we loved most about White palace B&B?
The incredible hospitality, sunset and birding.
Nature lovers, travellers arriving/departing Sri Lanka and solo travellers needing travel advice
Making a booking:
If you would like to make a booking or check availability for White Palace B&B then click here
7. KUMBUK RIVER JUNGLE LORRY (Buttala)
“Unique, out of the ordinary experience with an Eco-friendly approach”
If you looking for something different to make your stay in Sri Lanka even more memorable then you can’t go wrong adding Kumbuk River Eco- Extraordinaire to your itinerary for a couple of nights. The property offers a unique experience from the quirky accommodation options, an authentic Sri Lankan culinary experience, rejuvenating wellness spa and off the beaten track activities.
The property has 5 different unique accommodations with an eco-friendly approach to choose from. A world-famous hollow 40ft giant elephant villa, a tree house with 2 trees running through the centre, a colourful elephant houseboat on the banks of the river, a dorm typed tribal backpackers and our personal favourite is the jungle lorry which is an old Morris Van converted into an eccentric cabin.
We stayed in the jungle lorry for 2 nights, located right on the river banks. There is an abundance of birds and wildlife in the area which is ideal for any outdoor and nature lover. We saw about 60 different kinds of birds and were frequently visited by squirrels, monkeys and even spotted a few of the famous giant water monitors passing by outside. If you lucky you may even spot some elephants from your window along the river banks at night.
The lorry had air conditioning, 2 comfortable double beds, a small fridge and a private patio next to the cabin. The whole cabin was surrounded with large windows to admire the beautiful surroundings. The bathroom was just as unique, supplied basic toiletries and hot water was available. There is also an outdoor shower available if you would like to rinse off after a swim in the river or taking a dip in the nearby mud bath.
Kumbuk offers a divine variety of Sri Lankan meals and some western flavours too. All meals can be enjoyed under the Elephant Villa or in your room. We enjoyed a delicious breakfast on our patio in the mornings while admiring the river and listening to the birds.
There are so dozens of activities to enjoy in the area which is all arranged by Kumbuk river. Take a journey to an ancient Buddhist monastery, take a ride in the fisherman’s raft, learn to drive a hand tractor or watch a live cooking demonstration. There is also a wellness centre offering everything from Ayurvedic massages, meditation classes to mantra chanting. With so many activities and wellness packages to enjoy, there is never a dull moment during your stay. One afternoon we drove deep into the Sri Lankan outback on a 3-hour hand tractor tour. We crossed a suspension bridge and admired the panoramic view of local fisherman and wildlife at the Weli Ara Tank. We were even lucky enough to spot an elephant, all completely off the tourist path.
What we loved most about Kumbuk River?
The out of ordinary accommodation, off the beaten path activities and tranquillity from our balcony.
Adventurers, romantic breaks for couples and families.
Making a booking:
If you would like to make a booking or check availability for Kumbuk River then click here
8. KAJU GREEN ECO LODGE (Unawatuna, Galle)
“An exclusive, private island to rejuvenate your body and spirit”
Kaju Green Eco lodge is well blended on a beautiful and exclusive private island adjacent to a Sri Lankan bird and wildlife sanctuary. The lodge will allow you to escape the hustle of the busy city and take some time to unwind and enjoy the peaceful and tranquil surroundings.
There are seven units scattered around the property, each offering enough privacy with beautiful views of the natural surroundings. The Ecolodge offers a minimalist approach with excellent attention to decor and details. Our bungalow had an open roof concept with beautiful solid shaded blinds as walls allowing open air flow through the room. The bungalow has a small sitting area that overlooked the waters which allowed us to get lost in a book while enjoying the quiet surrounds. Even the bathroom has a calming feel with 2 beautiful ferns and a refreshing open shower. At night we fell asleep to the calming chants from monks at the nearby monastery.
All of the meals prepared at Kaju Green are vegetarian and catered to the Buddhist philosophy. The food exceeded our expectations offering a wonderful variety of healthy and tasty favours.
There is an array of facilities to rejuvenate your mind and soul, from the yoga classes twice a day, to massages in the spa, to ayurvedic consultations. Spend the day soaking in some sun rays next to the saltwater pool or take a canoe or SUP and explore the surrounding waters. Ask the lodge about the unforgettable bike ride along the rice fields, exploring Galle fort or catch the complimentary tuk-tuk to the nearby beach.
What we loved most about Kaju Green?
The beautiful open-air rooms, delicious vegetarian meals and the salt water pool.
Relaxation, yoga, couples and friends travelling together.
Making a booking:
If you would like to make a booking or check availability for Kaju Green then click here
9. WITHERSPOON LODGE (Kandy)
“Get lost in the captivating views of Kandy”
Located at the top of Kandy, a short drive up the hill lock, away from the noise of the busy city lies this little hidden gem.
Our room was modern, spacious and bright with natural light. The beds were comfortable rewarding us with a good night sleep to continue our adventures. Tea/ coffee facilities were provided and the shower had hot water for the chilly mornings with fresh towels and complimentary toiletries.
The balcony offered us hours of relaxation. During the day we often admired the tranquil view with clouds rolling over the mountains. We even had a squirrel visit us from the garden. At night we could watch the hundreds of city lights over the valley and enjoyed the calm sounds of the crickets croaking from the balcony.
Our host, Harsha and Sonali always was always happy to help. Their warm hospitality truly made us feel welcome and they were able to offer advice and assist with tuk-tuks and tours. They even dropped us at the train station in the morning.
Breakfast was well prepared with coffee, eggs, toast, jam, homemade fruit juice and fresh fruit. Waking up to the stunning view in the mornings won’t disappoint.
We would recommend watching a Kandy Cultural Show which will offer you a fantastic insight into the Sri Lanka culture and heritage.
What we loved most about Witherspoon Lodge?
The Kandy view from our balcony, exceptional hospitality and homely atmosphere.
Couples, solo travellers and frequent travellers.
Making a booking:
If you would like to make a booking or check availability for Witherspoon Lodge then click here
10. LUNA BEACH HOTEL (Nilaveli)
“Homely stay just steps away from the beach”
If you looking for warm hospitality with a homely atmosphere then you won’t be disappointed. Sheran, his wife and the hotel manager were friendly, helpful and did everything they could to ensure our stay was comfortable and relaxed. We can’t boast enough about their incredible hospitality.
The newly built rooms are fitted with air con, a fan, fridge and handmade furniture. The bed was comfortable and the room was spacious. In the mornings we had a good breakfast which didn’t disappoint. If you would like to try a few local bites then look out for the green tuk-tuk that sounds like an ice cream van which comes around selling fresh pastries. There is a small local shop across the road selling chips, sweets, bananas and cold drinks if you would like to try some Sri Lankan snacks.
Luna Beach hotel is conveniently located a 2 min walk from the beach. Locals in the area are friendly, always smiling and waving. The beach offers a quiet vibe, it’s clean and you can spend hours watching people pass by and soak in the sun. If you visit the right time of the year you will be rewarded with a beautiful sunset to end your day.
What we loved most about the Luna Beach Hotel?
Wonderful hospitality, newly built rooms and close to the beach.
Couples, solo travellers, families and beach lovers.
Making a booking:
If you would like to make a booking or check availability for Luna Beach hotel then click here
11. BEACH WAVE HOTEL (Arugum Bay)
“Epic backpacking experience on the beach side”
The hotel is situated in an awesome location right next to the beach and only a 15-minute walk from the world famous Arugam Bay Surf Point which attracts surfers from around the world. The hotel has 6 rooms available, only a couple of steps away from the beach.
Our room was basic and clean with a fan, fresh towels, a comfortable bed with a mosquito net and an attached outside seating area with a hammock to relax and even catch a nap. Air-conditioned rooms are available at an additional fee.
Beach Wave provides free WiFi, bicycle hire and trips around Sri Lanka can be arranged. They also have a taxi service available. There is a quirky restaurant available next door which is right on the beach, while shops, ATMs, restaurant’s and bars are all within walking distance of the hotel.
In the morning we enjoyed a hearty breakfast while listening to the waves crashing on the shores. The staff is friendly with good knowledge of Arugum bay and its surrounding area. The hotel is laid back and coincides with the chilled vibes of Arugam Bay.
What we loved most about the Beach Wave hotel?
Location, hammocks and chilled beach vibes.
Surfers, backpackers and solo travellers.
Making a booking:
If you would like to make a booking or check availability for Beach Wave Hotel then click here
12. SERENITE ELLA (Ella)
” A slice of heaven in the hills”
Serenite Ella is a slice of heaven, beautifully situated in the hills of Ella. The rooms offer a calm atmosphere where you can just put your feet up and enjoy the breathtaking views around you.
Each chalet offers a view of the famous Ella’s Gap, Ravana Rock and even a waterfall. We enjoyed the clean air and a hearty breakfast on our private balcony while watching the birds and butterflies amongst the trees. In the evening we witnessed a charming sunset disappear over the horizon. The balcony offered the perfect spot to put the laptops away and catch up on some much-needed meditation, it was very calm and refreshing. This mountainous area is known to have some of the worlds best oxygen which will ensure you get the best night sleep.
Serenite Ella, it is situated 2KM from the main street of the town and has easy access to all the attractions in the area. The staff are friendly, helpful and can assist with trekking or hiking in the area as well as car or scooter hire.
The rooms are comfortable with a fridge, free Wi-Fi, towels and all bathroom amenities. We enjoyed both breakfast and dining in the comfort of our room which was convenient and homely.
What we loved most about Serenity Ella?
The fresh air, balcony sunset and good location.
Couples, honeymooners and anyone looking for a breakaway.
Making a booking:
If you would like to make a booking or check availability for SerenitySerenite Ella then click here
13. YALA DREAM PARK TREEHOUSE (Hambantota)
“10 Meters up between the Ironwood tree”
If you planning on doing a safari at Yala National Park, then Yala dream park tree house is the perfect stopover to add some extra adventure to your soul.
The tree house is located 10 meters up between a beautiful Ironwood tree. The view from the tree house window. The view allowed us to see some interesting birds and other small animals. We even had a squirrel come and visit us one afternoon while watching the sunset from our tree house lounge. The view from the outdoor bathroom is even more unique with no walls, no windows – just an open view of the surrounding nature.
The tree house has a small lounge area, bar fridge, fan and mosquito net. There are also 2 small tented camps on a wooden platform available if you prefer to keep your feet on the ground. A restaurant is also available for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In the evening we enjoyed a BBQ and stargazing under the beautiful Sri Lanka sky is spectacular.
The quiet 4-acre property in the middle of nowhere and a good way to get away from everything to just enjoy nature and outdoors. If you are lucky, you may even see elephants pass by.
What we loved most about Yala Dream Park?
Outdoor bathroom, views from up high and sense of adventure.
Safari stopovers, adventure junkies and couples.
Making a booking:
If you would like to make a booking or check availability for Yala Dream Park tree house then click here
14. ICEBEAR GUESTHOUSE (Negombo)
“Tranquil gardens and sea side vibes”
The traditional villas have a beautiful Swiss twist with personal touches that will make your stay in Negombo a memorable one. The Icebear Guesthouse is conveniently located next to the beach, close to the airport and along the main road which has dozens of bars, shops and restaurants to explore.
We were welcomed with traditional fruit welcome drinks and felt right at home from the moment we arrived. We stayed in room 1 which was spacious, clean and beautifully decorated with tapestries and paintings. The room was fitted with a mosquito net, fan, air conditioning, basic catering facilitates. The Wifi connection was excellent.
The small touches made a big impact on our stay, from the complimentary fruit and water in our room to the traditional refreshing Tambiti (orange coconut). The free bicycle hire kept us entertained for hours exploring the city of Negombo.
Icebear’s gardens offer a laid back vibe with tables, chairs, swings and hammocks. It is the perfect spot to escape and read a book from the library or take an hour or two to relax and unwind. In this beautiful garden setting complementary tea and biscuits is served in the late afternoon under the trees. Look out for the tortoise family or play a game of Le-balls with the family.
The Icebear restaurant offers delicious meals in a relaxed setting. We loved listening to the ocean and the cool breeze was most welcome. If you prefer you can wiggle your toes in the sand by the beach.
What we loved most about Icebear guesthouse?
The hospitality, tranquil garden, attention to detail and complimentary bike hire. A better alternative to staying in Colombo
Friends, airport stopovers and couples.
Making a booking:
If you would like to make a booking or check availability for Icebear Guesthouse then click here
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* Thank you to all the properties that hosted us during our stay in Sri Lanka. Although we try to ensure that all information provided is as accurate and corrects, we cannot be held liable for any errors. All opinions are our own. All images from these Sri Lanka accommodations to stay may be used around the web as long as you credit us and link back to our website souldrifters.com.
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