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.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.