Accommodation guide to Sri Lanka

Why an accommodation guide to Sri Lanka?

Star class ratings and categorizations can be confusing given regional difference, this guide gives an outline on what to expect from different hotel properties.

Some boutique hotel charge very high per night rates and offer Seven star service  these claims to seven star status are difficult to verify. It is important to read reviews and assessments before making any bookings.

The official government website also carries a classification of different types of tourist accommodations and facilities they can be seen here.

Boutique Hotels and Villas

Some of the boutique hotels are Anilana, Craigbank, Aditya, Amangalla, Amanwella, Apa Villas and Boulder Garden

Typical characteristics of boutique hotels:

  • Consist of about 3-15 rooms
  • Mainly located at the coastal areas
  • Home comforts as well delicious food are their specialty
  • Offer tariffs for room individually
  • Construction mainly depict the history of Sri Lanka
  • Well known for their luxurious facilities and spa or ayurvedic treatment

It is also a requirement for these boutique type accommodation to register with the tourism authorities and those that have done so have been listed.

Star Class Hotel Accommodation

Five stars - the highest official category recognized these include hotels such as the Cinnamon Grand as well as the Hilton. Colombo boasts of many five star hotels some of which need urgent upgrade. However most of the popular hotels have invested significant amounts on refurbishment. Some of the typical five star hotels are as follows:

  • Cinnamon Grand Hotel - Colombo
  • Heritance Hotel - Kandalama
  • Cinnamon Lakeside - Colombo
  • Hilton Hotel - Colombo
  • Taj Samudra Hotel - Colombo
  • Heritance Hotel - Ahungalla
  • Vivanta by Taj (formerly Taj Exotica) - Bentota

Four stars - A very good rating but some of the older hotels are run down - so please inquire the last date of refurbishment before booking. Also a good guideline is to check whether the hotel has obtained certification of the Ceylon Tourist Board

A few typical four star hotels:

  • Ramada Inn - formerly Holiday Inn Hotel Colombo Sri Lanka
  • Mahaweli Reach Hotel - Kandy, Sri Lanka
  • Bentota Beach Resorts Hotel Sri Lanka
  • Riverina Hotel - Beruwala Sri Lanka
  • Tropical Villas Hotel - Beruwala Sri Lanka
  • Mount Royal Beach - Sri Lanka
  • Grand Hotel Nuwara Eliya - Sri Lanka
  • The Blue Water Hotel - Wadduwa Sri Lanka

Three stars Good to average rating these include many "Club concept" properties that market the "all inclusive concept" a good example of three star hotels in Sri Lanka are the Dolphin Hotel and Club Palm Bay Further the Club Palm Garden is also a very old hotel in Beruwela on the Golden Mile but it is under renovation now.

Typical three star hotel:

  • Grand Oriental Hotel Colombo
  • Pegasus Reef Hotel Colombo
  • Sapphire Hotel Colombo
  • Hotel Hunas Falls Kandy
  • The Citadel Hotel Kandy

Two star and below are properties that cater to the budget traveler. These are basically no frills accommodation that are bed only or B&B. Recently many Ayurvedic treatment centers have marketed themselves as two star hotels - it is best to check is the property has a license to operate issued by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority.

A complete list of hotels with their star class officially recognized and registered with the government is available. Also note the large number of unclassified hotels. The list is available at the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority website.

Guest Houses

A guest house differs from hotels and bed and breakfasts. They are typically those that do not have staff 24 hours on site. The quality of service can vary greatly but the prices are low. You can see a list of guest houses registered by district in the list below: There contact numbers too are provided.

o Aqua Pearl Lake Resort -201, Galkanu Rd, Gorakana,Moratuwa
o Bon Bon Guest House- 104/3, Katuvana Road, Homagama
o Chanuka Tourist- G.H 29, Fance Road, Colombo-06
o A Ocean View Tour Inn- 34/4, De Saram Road, Mt.Lavinia
o Miyurasa Tourist Hotel Parana Road

Holiday Homes - Home stays

Due to the global financial crisis the modern traveler chooses to travel on a budget and these home stay or bed and breakfasts provide the ideal opportunity for many to see the world on a shoe string budget. Sri Lanka too boasts many home stay properties.

o Anuradhapura Rest House
o Bandarawela Domestic Holiday Resort
o Bentota Resort
o Kataragama Rest House

These have been categorized into three types home stays, apartments and bungalows. you can see them below:

Also a dedicated website is available that provides more indepth information.

Eco Lodges

The central idea of Eco- tourism in Sri Lanka is to be close to nature with a minimal infrastructure & to stay at Eco Lodges made from natural materials found at the place. Just enough facilities to make life reasonably comfortable – no more.

Nights in the jungle is an experience of darkness & strange sounds. When elephants pass by they are usually very silent but sometimes heard breaking branches or trumpeting. The lucky ones will hear the ‘song of elephants’ - herds long distance communicating with sound waves like waves. Bird lovers need no luck. 161 species are recorded in our area. A few of them are Sri Lankan Hanging Parrott, Sri Lankan Jungle Fowl, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Green Bee- eater.

Compared to the one sided romantic image of nature on a traditional jeep ‘safari’ a stay at an Eco Lodge involves an alternative perspective on the Sri Lankan eco – systems & insight into today’s interaction between wildlife & humans in a remote area. A range of environmental & agro tourism eco- retreats that combine natural living with tourist accommodation.

A range of standards & infrastructure. Some offer yoga & Ayurvedic facilities whilst others allow guests to join the local community in their organic farming.

Sri Lanka has numerous national parks which are home to hundreds of elephants & the famous leopards. Populations are strong & our luxury safari campsites in the parks are the way to live close to nature & yet live & dine like kings or queens. Be at one with Sri Lanka’s nature - Adventure , wildlife , birdlife or the real veddha villages of Sri Lanka.

Luxury camping in the national parks to catch the morning elephants or sunbathing leopards. Tangalle has the best beaches & sunsets on Sri Lanka & excellent diving nearby. 

o Extraordinaire - Dambeyay
o Tree Tops Jungle Lodge - Buththala
o Sigiriya Village Hotel
o The Boulder Garden Resort - Kalawana
o Hotel Tree of Life - Kandy

Sports Holidays!
Special golfing holidays can be arranged at the Victoria Golf and Country Resort facility

Eco friendly hotels that are close to nature have mushroomed over the last two decades. If you are the kind of traveler that likes to rough it out then these ones are for you. Getting you closer to nature and to the local culture these are ideal for the adventurous traveler.


Some hotels boast of adventure/ experience holidays that include trekking, biking, surfing, white water rafting etc which are enjoyed by locals as well as foreign travelers.

For a list of hotel on accommodation guide to Sri Lanka

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