Sri Lanka’s reigning rock star, home to a mighty fortress, hosts hotels that hone in from every angle on one of the country’s best views.
Situated in Sri Lanka’s mountainous Central Province, Sigiriya is the ideal base for discovering some of the country’s ancient cities and cultural sights. Perhaps the most famous of all is Sigiriya Fortress, a dramatic ruin atop a soaring flat-topped outcrop; there are many hotels nearby, each vying to offer the best view or easiest access to the mysterious monument. Which to pick? Find your perfect place to stay in Sigiriya.
With clean, simple rooms set around a sparkling tree-lined pool, Flower Garden Eco Village makes a great base from which to explore Sigiriya. Order the Sri Lankan breakfast to give you the energy needed to climb the 1,200 steps of Lion Rock – the region’s landmark, just a 15-minute walk away.
Want to feel like a VIP? Take your pick of the six grand suites at Roo Mansala boutique hotel – many of which have clear views of Sigiriya Rock and its lesser-known cousin, Pidurangala. The hotel owners have planted 300 trees throughout the property, so you stand a good chance of spotting birds such as the Malabar pied hornbill as you relax by the turquoise pool.
You came here for Sigiriya Rock and, at Hotel Sigiriya, that’s what you’ll get: it dominates the skyline here, making for striking poolside pictures. The immaculate garden is home to light-fingered macaques, mind – so you’ll want to keep an eye on your camera and, for that matter, your sunglasses and snacks. You can learn more about local wildlife and book tours at the Eco Centre.
Simplicity reigns at EKHO Sigiriya. You won’t find a pool, spa or fancy facilities here, but the location is second to none: Sigiriya Rock is just half a kilometre away, making it perfect for beating the crowds on a sunrise visit. While the Asian fusion restaurant does decent enough dinners, the cluster of bars and restaurants nearby mean you have plenty of options.
The wooden steam bath at Sigiriya Village’s Ayurvedic spa may look like a medieval torture device, but trust us: you want to try it. The entire hotel is designed with relaxation in mind; acres of sculpted gardens feature meandering nature trails and there’s a large pool overlooked by – you guessed it – Sigiriya Rock. Rooms aren’t bang up to date, but they’re wonderfully clean and comfortable.
Wake up to a cacophony of birdsong and rustling branches in an eco-friendly treehouse at Back of Beyond, found in the verdant foothills of Pidurangala. If you prefer a little more protection from the elements, the pristine jungle cottages are just as appealing. Whichever you choose, make sure you try the coconut pancakes at breakfast.
Water Garden Sigiriya isn’t just a spot to lay your head after a day or two exploring Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle – it’s a destination in itself. This place is seriously opulent, offering a personal butler service, couple’s massages and even helicopter tours. The grounds are peppered with lakes, streams and a fabulous pool, which glitter in the evening light as you sip sundowners on the terrace.
Rock, eat, sleep, repeat. There’s little else you need to do at this luxurious resort just a 15-minute drive from Sigiriya Fort. Four-poster beds come as standard here – you’ll need to upgrade to get a plunge pool or mini sundeck and pool all to yourselves. This place makes a nice pitstop for honeymooners or those looking to pop the question – staff are more than happy to accommodate any romantic request.
Eight impeccably designed villas sit within 25 acres (10ha) of jungle at Wild Grass Nature Resort. They all feature huge bathrooms with open-air, solar-powered rainfall showers, ample living space and panoramic views from the treetop bedroom. If you can bear to drag yourself away from your private cocoon, staff can arrange a romantic lakeside or hilltop meal for you.