The Best Bed and Breakfasts to Book in Sri Lanka

Many B&Bs in Sri Lanka are just steps away from the beach
Many B&Bs in Sri Lanka are just steps away from the beach | Courtesy of Palm Beach Inn and Sea Shells Cabanas / Expedia
Emma Sparks

From stylish city boltholes to surf shacks and mountain retreats, B&Bs in Sri Lanka are as varied and appealing as the landscapes. You might favour an ecofriendly spot near Yala National Park, a hilltop guesthouse in Ella or one of the many comfortable places to stay in Colombo – though if there’s one thing that’s guaranteed, it’s a decent cup of Ceylon tea. Quench your thirst at one of these top bed and breakfasts in Sri Lanka, bookable on Culture Trip.

1. Palm Beach Inn and Sea Shells Cabanas


Garden exterior of the white-painted, two-storey Palm Beach Inn and Sea Shells Cabanas, with a green lawn, trees and bushes
Courtesy of Palm Beach Inn and Sea Shells Cabanas / Expedia

Palm Beach Inn and Sea Shells Cabanas is warm and welcoming, thanks to a sunshine yellow reception, smiling staff and a garden strewn with hammocks. Rustic cabanas have outdoor living spaces and wood-panelled bedrooms, while deluxe doubles come with balconies and garden views. The B&B is a short walk from the baked golden sands just south of central Bentota. Don’t miss a visit to the Induruwa Sea Turtle Conservation Centre, a five-minute drive south along the coast.

2. Beach Wave Hotel


Two wooden staircases leading to a two-storey hut amid green trees at Beach Wave Hotel; there are two doors at ground level
Courtesy of Beach Wave Hotel / Expedia

The budget-friendly Beach Wave Hotel sits right on the sand in Arugam Bay and features 10 soundproofed two-storey huts and an oceanfront restaurant. It may be hard to venture far from the beach bar, thanks to the many hammocks and beanbags under twinkling fairy lights. However, a bottle of Lion beer will feel all the more rewarding after a surf lesson (beginner-friendly Baby Point is a short walk away) or yoga class.

3. RiverSide Cabana


Double bed with mosquito net in wooden treehouse at RiverSide Cabana; two trees climb through holes cut in the wood
Courtesy of RiverSide Cabana / Expedia

With a selection of standard rooms, jungle cabanas and sky-skimming treehouses, the family-run RiverSide Cabana is ideal for budget travellers looking for an ecofriendly escape. The Tissa Temple, Yatala Museum and Yatala Dalada Wehera are all within walking distance. Here for the wildlife? The accommodation sits roughly halfway between Yala and Bundala National Parks (known for their leopards and birdlife, respectively) – your host can arrange reasonably priced safaris.

4. Oasis Bay


Garden with thin walkway across grass lawns, three steps down from the white-painted exterior of Oasis Bay
Courtesy of Oasis Bay / Expedia

You get great value for money at Oasis Bay, where clean, minimalist rooms come with private terraces or balconies, and you’re likely to receive a free iced tea upon arrival. The candlelit seating area in the garden is ideal for meeting fellow travellers after a day spent riding the waves at Arugam Bay. At breakfast, make sure you try the popular smoothie bowls. Aching after all that surfing? Book a herbal oil massage at the ayurvedic centre next door.

5. Ella Hilltop Guest House


For a fuss-free stay with five-star views, look no further than Ella Hilltop Guest House. While the rooms are a little dated, they’re clean, comfortable and come with mosquito nets. Breakfasts here are particularly memorable – the restaurant has wraparound windows showcasing epic mountain scenery. For more beautiful visuals, hike up Little Adam’s Peak (not to be confused with the main pilgrimage site), or take your camera to the Nine Arch Bridge to snap a classic Sri Lankan railway scene.

6. Paraiso Guest House


Single bed set against wood-panelled wallwith plug socket in white-painted room at Paraiso Guest House
Courtesy of Paraiso Guest House / Expedia

The basic double and family rooms at Paraiso Guest House in Ella each feature a balcony or terrace; the newest rooms are flooded with light, thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows. Owner Dhana is exceptionally accommodating, making breakfasts that are so varied and generous that you may end up skipping lunch. However, if you fancy a spot of ceylon tea, take a tuk-tuk to Uva Halpewatte Tea Factory or Kinellan Tea Factory and Tea Centre to learn more about the precious local leaf.

7. Black Cat Cafe + Stay

Bed and Breakfast

Four-poster bed in ensuite room with wooden chair and clothes storage rack at Black Cat Cafe + Stay
Courtesy of Black Cat Cafe + Stay / Airbnb

The Cinnamon Gardens neighbourhood is one of the more gentrified places to stay in Colombo, and Black Cat, a hip cafe and hotel inside a 1920s colonial house, fits right in. Five simple white rooms are spruced up with vintage prints and modern four-poster beds, while the breakfast menu features the usual suspects of flat whites and avo toast. However, the cinnamon apple and bacon pancakes are truly original. The National Museum and Number 11 (once home to renowned architect Geoffrey Bawa) are less than 10 minutes away by tuk-tuk.

8. Jack’s Bed and Breakfast Sri Lanka

Bed and Breakfast

Outdoor pool area with four loungers under two parasols with tall trees behind them at Jack’s Bed and Breakfast Sri Lanka
Courtesy of Jack’s Bed and Breakfast Sri Lanka / Expedia

With a handful of comfy double rooms overlooking a private garden pool, Jack’s Bed and Breakfast prioritises simplicity and comfort over fussy frills and extras. Gracious British hosts Jacky and Jim have lived in Sri Lanka for more than a decade, but they haven’t forgotten how to make a proper full English breakfast. There’s an excellent Sri Lankan cooking school next door, and Unawatuna Beach and Galle Dutch Fort are a short drive away.

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