Don’t skip Colombo on your next Sri Lankan adventure. Stylish eateries, bustling markets and stunning colonial architecture make the Sri Lankan capital one of South Asia’s most popular travel destinations. Colombo offers excellent hotels for every taste and budget. Here is our pick of the best, bookable with Culture Trip.
This modern high-rise hotel sits on the edge of the upscale Cinnamon Gardens neighbourhood. Rooms and self-contained studios feature floor-to-ceiling windows, but the best views are found at the rooftop bar and infinity pool. Go for brunch and shop for vintage books at the cool Black Cat Cafe, just around the corner, or take a tuk-tuk to the nearby National Museum, where you can learn about the ancient and colonial history of Sri Lanka.
Like your city stays with a side of windswept walks and sea views? Taj Samudra, one of the oldest luxury hotels in Colombo, commands a prime 5ha (12 acre) stretch of coastline overlooking Galle Face Green. Deluxe rooms have city or ocean views (it’s worth booking the latter) and downstairs you’ll find an ample outdoor pool and squash courts. If you’re a seafood fan, don’t miss dinner at the nearby local institution, Ministry of Crab.
The huge outdoor pool (apparently the largest in Colombo), waterfront bar and tension-busting spa treatments at this lakeside monolith make the traffic-clogged streets of the Sri Lankan capital feel a world away. Galle Face Beach, Gangaramaya Temple and the busy market stalls of Pettah are all within a 2km (1.2mi) radius.
Locals often joke that Colombo is a coastal city built with its back to the sea. Not so at the Mandarina Colombo. Its modern suites, fitness centre and 11th-floor restaurant make the most of its enviable Indian Ocean views, as does the glass-fronted infinity pool. The location makes it handy for the business district, as well as Colombo’s eclectic array of restaurants, boutiques and galleries.
Its generously proportioned rooms and central location make this hotel a good choice. But, it’s the large rooftop that really adds the extra sparkle. The vast infinity pool has ocean views, as does the adjacent tropical garden, bar and viewing deck. On the lower levels, there’s a shopping mall, which includes among its attractions a 9D cinema, virtual reality centre and food court.
This 180-year-old building, near the city’s port, is something of a Colombo icon. Initially the residence of the Dutch Governor, it was transformed in 1875 into a striking hotel. Today, the 80 rooms remain traditionally furnished, many with grand four-poster beds. It’s worth taking a short stroll over to the Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct; this 17th-century building now houses an excellent mix of boutiques and restaurants, including that other well-known Colombo institution, The Ministry of Crab.
Tintagel Colombo has seen a number of distinguished guests pass through its doors – including the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall. The premium hotel offers 10 suites, while the professional staff are happy to provide any additional comforts. On the ground floor, you’ll find a cool indoor lap pool, while the first floor is home to a fitness centre and massage room. Situated in one of Colombo’s most prestigious neighbourhoods, the Tintagel Colombo continues to make a name for itself as one of the most exclusive residences in the city.
Lake Lodge is a family-owned hotel which has been providing travellers with accommodation for several years. Located within easy access of Colombo’s business district, it offers nine charming rooms and a garden suite, which have all been individually furnished by the owner. Additionally, the hotel features an exquisite restaurant with an extensive lunch and dinner menu. Whether on holiday or business, Lake Lodge is one of the most charming places to rest your head.
With its elegant blend of rustic charm and modern luxury, the Colombo Court Hotel counts among the city’s most exceptional stays. True to the idea of sustainable hospitality, this hotel is carbon neutral – they use solar panels for power and purified rainwater for drinking and washing. Inside, the Cloud Cafe dishes up causal bites, while the Loft Lounge Bar is the place to unwind with a glass of wine from their extensive cellar.
The Havelock Bungalow was one of the city’s first boutique hotels. Dating back to the colonial era, the bungalows have since been lovingly restored. Tucked away on a side street, it’s a real oasis among the hustle and bustle, and with just seven rooms, you can expect attentive service. Enjoy a dip in the serene outdoor pool followed by breakfast on the terrace, surrounded by lush foliage and butterflies.
The Wallawwa boutique hotel is one of the finest addresses in the city. The renovated manor house has been standing for more than two centuries and is surrounded by magnificent tropical gardens. It’s an ideal spot to re-energise after a day sightseeing; inside, you’ll find a soothing spa and outdoor pool where you can while away a scorching afternoon. It’s no surprise this hotel has won multiple awards, given its professional service and impeccable rooms.
Mount Lodge is situated in Colombo’s charming Mount Lavinia district, which attracts visitors with its beautiful beaches and tranquil atmosphere. The magnificent hotel was designed by one of Sri Lanka’s finest architects and skilfully uses light, air and space to enhance the mood of the place. Mount Lodge offers three rooms with extensive communal areas. In the tropical gardens, you’ll find Buddha statues, flourishing ferns and rustic wooden furniture, ideal for a quiet retreat with a book. If you are looking to escape from the noise of the city, you’ll experience a peaceful ambiance in the heart of Colombo.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
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