The 10 Best Hotels In Kandy, Sri Lanka

Participate in a festival while visiting Sri Lanka
Participate in a festival while visiting Sri Lanka | © SamanWeeratunga / Shutterstock
Photo of Lena Blos
28 November 2017

Kandy, the last capital of the ancient kings as well as the cultural hub of Sri Lanka, is situated in the center of the country, surrounded by scenic hills and magical tea plantations. Home to one of the most revered relics, a tooth of Buddha, it also hosts the annual esala perahera ceremony. Whether you are looking for the peaceful tranquility of the hillside or a central location close to all the main sights, our list of Kandy’s top boutique hotels has got you covered.

Kandy | © Ronald Saunders/Flickr

Freedom Lodge

Located near the scenic Kandy lake and away from the noise of the city streets lies Freedom Lodge, a lovely guesthouse which is run by a local family. The charming hosts, who speak English fluently, offer eight spotless rooms within a welcoming and homely environment. All rooms are equipped with basic necessities such as mosquito nets and fans and feature modern, private bathrooms. Two garden areas invite guests to kick back and take a relaxing break from haggling market vendors and speeding tuk-tuks. Additionally Freedom lodge provides a standard yet tasty breakfast with fresh fruits, toasts, fried eggs, honey and quality coffee, which can be hard to come by in the tropical country. Freedom Lodge is a marvelous option for backpackers as well as travelers on a budget, due to its ability to provide real comfort in spite of its low prices.

Madulkelle Tea and Eco Lodge

Visiting a tea plantation is a must during a holiday in Sri Lanka, so why not kick it up a notch and spend your nights in one? The Madulkelle Tea and Eco Lodge is located just under an hour away from Kandy and is nestled 1000 meters above sea level in the scenic Knuckles Mountain Range, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Guests can rest in charming tents which feature all the luxuries and comforts of solid buildings, including en suite bathrooms and WiFi access. From the dazzling terrace or the infinity pool you will be able to enjoy magnificent views over the surrounding hills and lush greenery. The property additionally features an intimate fine dining restaurant serving a large variety of dishes made using organic vegetables from its very own garden. Trekking and day trips to the local tea factory as well as romantic campfires can be arranged upon request. There’s hardly a more magical stay than at Madulkelle Tea and Eco Lodge.

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Madulkelle Tea and Eco Lodge | © Courtesy of Madulkelle Tea and Eco Lodge

Ellerton Bungalow

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Ellerton Bungalow
Ellerton Bungalow | © Courtesy of Ellerton Bungalow
Away from the at times overwhelming bustle of Kandy, but within comfortable distance, the Ellerton Bungalow has set up its quarters in a stunning 200-year- old manor. The six-acre estate opened its doors in 2005, making it the city’s first high-end boutique hotel. White arches and pillared verandas are complemented by colonial artifacts and decorations creating a truly memorable atmosphere. The tranquil chants of Buddhists from the nearby monastery as well as the endearing parrots and butterflies fluttering through the trees further make this place one of the best places in Kandy to rest your head at night. The property features eight magnificent rooms which retain a skilful balance between modern comfort and old charm. An outdoor pool, a scenic courtyard and terraces filled with hammocks and lounge chairs invite you to lean back and forget about your worries.

Helga’s Folly

Helga’s Folly is without a doubt Kandy’s most extraordinary hotel and is characterized by its quirky decor and eclectic architectural styles. Designed by Helga da Silva, this place hosted guests such as Gandhi and Paula Yates and reflects the colorful life story of its famous owner. Offering 35 uniquely decorated rooms which are appointed individually, the labyrinthine hotel is filled with wall and ceiling paintings, vivid colors, family portraits and temple relics, illuminated by dripping candles in every corner. A walk through the garden feels like you have stepped into A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with wild monkeys and birds moving through its confines and a glistening pool surrounded by fairy lights. Needless to say, the rooms continue the colorful themes and offer all modern comforts. Visitors can take their pick from no less than seven dining rooms and, if they are in luck, they may enjoy an evening with the charming hostess herself, who is always happy to share her adventures. Should you be unable to find a room, Helga’s Folly is worth a stop for a flamboyant cocktail in any case.

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Helga’s Folly | © snowflakegirl / Flickr

Burmese Rest

You are unlikely to find a cheaper place in the city than Burmese Rest, but don’t let the low prices worry you. The former pilgrim’s guesthouse, which is run by monks, offers perfectly clean rooms within the confines of an old building which retains a unique beauty in its gradual decay. The hostel is only a few minutes away from the city center and lies within reach of the famous Temple of the Tooth and the scenic Kandy Lake. The basic rooms all have shared bathrooms and the friendly monks are happy to engage in a chat, although visitors should remember to behave and dress respectfully. The scenic courtyard reflects an old-time grandeur and is often filled with tortoises, slowly creeping through its ruins.

Elephant Stables

Once the home of Sir Cudah Ratwatte, the colonial bungalow was lovingly restored and converted into the Elephant Stables boutique hotel, surrounded by the lush jungles of Kandy. Located outside the city center, this place has a tranquil atmosphere and offers charming guestrooms as well as a marvelous outdoor pool. Decorated in warm tones with wooden accents, the rooms have been equipped with all amenities, from air conditioning to a minibar and flat-screen TVs. Additionally, the Elephant Stables provide their very own library in which visitors can browse the extensive collection before retreating into one of the comfortable lounge chairs to read and enjoy the exotic panorama. Under the watchful eyes of master chef Indika, its Green Room restaurant serves up delicious Sri Lankan, Thai and international dishes bursting with flavor. It should be noted that, while most boutique hotels do not accept underaged guests, this place welcomes them with open arms.

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Kandy City Hotel

The Kandy City Hotel offers the ideal accommodation for those who do not want to sacrifice upscale comfort yet are looking for affordable options. With its central location and its proximity to the central railway station, the Kandy City Hotel provides easy access to all the main sights as well as offering rooms fitted with all desirable amenities. The building dates back to the 18th century when it served as a tea room. After undergoing extensive refurbishment it reopened its doors in 2014 and has since provided numerous travelers with a relaxing stay. The 23 rooms have been decorated in modern designs with warm, wooden features and en-suite bathrooms as well as air conditioning and a TV. Three luxury suites are available which include private balconies and extra luxuries. Guests have free WiFi access throughout the hotel. Additionally, visitors can enjoy a tasty meal in the on-site restaurant with culinary influences from Sri Lankan, Asian and European cuisine, browse the souvenir shop or rent a bicycle or car to venture into the nearby mountain areas.

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Royal Tourist Lodge

Surrounded by a spotless garden and lush greenery, the Royal Tourist Lodge is run by a Sri Lankan family and offers comfortable stays just a stone’s throw away from the central parts of the city. The warm atmosphere and homely feel as well as the comfortable rooms make this place a popular option. Both Sri Lankan and Western dishes are available at the restaurant and the staff at the 24 hour front desk are more than happy to assist with any queries and the organisation of trips. In the immaculate garden area visitors can enjoy a good read in the hot climate and soak in the peaceful ambiance. All of the modern rooms come with air-conditioning, en-suite bathrooms and other amenities. Should you find yourself in need of more, the friendly owners are incredibly accommodating.

Anna Shanti Villa

Situated near the magnificent Kandy Lake, visitors can book their stay at the enchanting Anna Shanti Villa, a hotel with an excellent reputation, quality rooms and friendly staff. The seven rooms fitted with en-suite bathrooms and air-conditioning provide all modern comforts, and the tasteful decor makes it hard to believe that this hotel comes at reasonable price. Visitors are greeted with freshly brewed tea during the morning hours and can retreat to the immaculate garden area to marvel at the surroundings. In the dining room, international and Sri Lankan dishes can be tasted, and the incredibly accommodating service assists with any queries and wishes. Anna Shanti Villa offers marvellous stays for various budgets, and with its excellent level of comfort it might even make you prolong your stay.

The Richmond House Kandy

The three-star Richmond House Kandy is situated a few miles from the city in the picturesque hillsides. The colonial villa reflects the sophistication and grandeur of a long-gone era while skilfully having incorporated modern luxuries. From ancient artifacts to comfortable beds and an elegant lobby, the hotel offers a magnificent refuge from the stresses of your daily routine. With 24 hour service, a magical garden and panoramic views, it’s hard not to get comfortable and forget about your worries. The property features three suites and five deluxe rooms which have been lovingly decorated in colonial designs. The outstanding service will ensure that guests are satisfied, and staff go out of their way to fulfill any wishes. The Richmond House’s take on luxury stays with a touch of historical charm make it one of Kandy’s most noteworthy hotels.

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The Richmond House Kandy | © Courtesy of The Richmond House Kandy