A TAPESTRY OF EXPERIENCES
Tamara Rebeira unravels the diversity of Sri Lanka’s hotels and resorts
Nestled in the embrace of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka – the teardrop shaped island – beckons travellers with its pristine beaches, lush jungles and historical locations. For the discerning wanderer seeking that perfect retreat, the country’s hotels offer an exquisite blend of unique luxury, culture and natural beauty.
The island boasts a plethora of beachfront hotels, each offering a unique perspective of paradise. They provide unparalleled access to sun-kissed sands and crystal clear waters. Guests can indulge in water sports and spa treatments, and witness mesmerising sunsets, without leaving the comfort of their retreat.
For travellers seeking to explore the island’s rich heritage, many hotels and resorts blend cultural experiences with luxury stays. Nestled amid historical sites or cultural villages, these properties serve as gateways to a vibrant past.
Guided tours, traditional performances and authentic local cuisine enable visitors to experience the essence of Sri Lanka’s diverse history.
The lush greenery and wildlife are breathtaking, and some hotels take advantage of their surroundings. Tucked away in jungles or perched atop hills, these sanctuaries offer a surreal escape into nature. Encountering wildlife visitors in your surroundings during a stay is a given.
At the heart of Sri Lanka lies a network of lakes and rivers, and dozens of hotels and resorts have found their home alongside these waters. Boat rides, bird watching and serene strolls along the banks make for a tranquil retreat from the hustle and bustle of the cities.
An integral part of the island nation’s appeal is its architecture and old colonial mansions. Some hotels have restored and converted these historic buildings – and these lodgings project charm while offering modern amenities.
And there are hotels that have found their dwelling amid the hills of the island’s famed tea estates. Surrounded by plantations, guests can savour a variety of the finest brews and witness tea pluckers at work.
Wildlife is another major attraction for nature enthusiasts, and many hotels offer eco-lodges and safari experiences. Located near national parks and reserves, these lodges enable guests to encounter diverse species in their natural habitats, making it an unforgettable experience for animal lovers and adventure seekers alike.
While Sri Lanka’s natural beauty is captivating in the outstations, its cities – including the commercial capital Colombo – are vibrant in the realms of culture and commerce. Urban hotels offer an entirely different experience, combining contemporary comforts with the energy of city life.
From rooftop bars with panoramic city views to sophisticated dining experiences, city hotels cater to urban explorers, business travellers and transit visitors.
Sri Lanka’s hotels and resorts have also gained a reputation for offering world-class service on a par with stays in popular destinations in Southeast Asia.
Sri Lanka is renowned for its warm and welcoming hospitality, making it a favourite travel destination. Visitors are greeted with heartfelt smiles and genuine friendliness. Sri Lankans take immense pride in sharing their rich traditions, culinary delights and customs with visitors, creating a sense of belonging and warmth that resonates throughout their stay.
Celebrated chef and restaurateur Peter Kuruvita, in a recent interview with LMD International, said: “Sri Lankans are among the most hospitable, warm and welcoming people. At the end of the day, hospitality is a part of Sri Lanka’s DNA. People I’ve spoken to have said that no matter where you go, the hospitality, smile, warmth and openness are amazing.”
Room rates in Sri Lanka vary depending on factors such as location, season and the desired level of luxury but there are options to accommodate every budget.
The island continues to shine as a top travel destination, earning accolades from renowned sources. This year, the country garnered the coveted first place among the top 24 countries to visit by travel site TravelTriangle.
Sri Lanka was also celebrated in 2022, being among the 20 Best Countries in the World by Condé Nast Traveller’s esteemed Readers’ Choice Awards. And the charm factor isn’t limited to one list, having also been ranked among Forbes’ top 23 Best Places to Travel this year in the prestigious Europe/Asia category.
Local hotels weave together a vibrant experience, catering to the diverse tastes of travellers. Whether you yearn for tranquil beachside getaways, immersive cultural adventures or close encounters with nature’s wonders, there is a perfect hotel or resort that will meet every desire.