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Sri Lanka has one of the most diversified array of hotels, bungalows, guest houses and Bnbs to choose from. From mainstream hotels to boutique hotels to Bnbs- you name it.
I had a rollicking time staying at a variety of places, some you can only dream of, and some you can taunt me for.
Interestingly enough, almost all the places I stayed at turned out to be good places, sometimes even great. The reason you need to stay at these places is because they are tailor-made for the budget traveler [except two] with the right amount of comfort and customer service to make your stay a memorable one.
So without further ado, here is my list of places to stay in Sri Lanka.
- Geethani’s Home – Colombo –Airbnb
- Theva Residency – Kandy
- Manor House – Kandy
- Olde Fort Hotel – Kandy
- The Lion Rock Hotel – Sigriya
- New Tour Inn –Nuwara Eliya
- Aurora Bungalows – Ella
- Shalimar Hotel – Colombo
- Ancient Lanka Hotel- Kandy
GEETHANI’S HOMESTAY – COLOMBO [AIRBNB]
If you’re looking for a low cost dwelling in Colombo that is squeaky clean and in a good neighborhood, Geethani’s house in Battarmulla is your best bet. At $25 for a non-AC room and $35 for an AC room, you can’t get cheaper than that in the costly Colombo. You could, but then it would be a shady dwelling or something even worse. The rate includes breakfast of your choice. And may I add she’s an excellent cook in addition to being a hostess par excellence. The walnut banana muffins she made were the best I’ve ever had, and I’ve had quite a few.
The room has an electric kettle equipped with coffee, tea and milk.
The room does not have Wifi connection or TV but both are available in the lounge which is accessible to you throughout the day.
Perera Mawatha, Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte, Western Province
Theva Residency – Kandy
Theva Residency is an awesome boutique hotel on the zenith of Kandy from where you get a spectacular view of the entire city and more.
But that view doesn’t come cheap. Expect to pay somewhere in the range of $100 to $400 per night depending on the type of room you get and the time of the year.
But the price is not just for the view. Expect to be pampered by some awesome customer service led by their manager Robin. Not only that, the food is heavenly sumptuous as well.
You can read a review of Theva Residency here.
MANOR HOUSE – KANDY
Manor House is not exactly in Kandy but about 10 km outside of Kandy. This place is in sharp contrast to Theva Residency in terms of ambience but a force to be reckoned with. It is a UNO preserved Heritage Site – a sprawling mansion dating from the colonial era. Its garden itself boasts of a number of unique species of birds.
If you are looking for something old and majestic which reeks of history, this is the place to be. But again all this history doesn’t come cheap. Expect to pay the same rates as Theva – $100 to $400 per night depending on the type of room and the time of the year – for a chance to walk down the memory lane.
OLDE EMPIRE HOTEL – KANDY:
Olde Empire is yet another colonial era hotel located smack in the middle of the Kandy city. It’s a very small and cozy hotel owned by an old and friendly couple that lives in Colombo and visits the hotel off and on.
Surprisingly, it’s also one of the cheapest hotels – $25 to $40 depending on….. you know what. So expect to not being able to secure a room here because of the huge demand. Everyone wants to be within walking distance of the city centre.
The upkeep and the conditions of the rooms is understandably not up to the mark, as you would expect at such low rates. But definitely worth checking out if you want to be able to explore the city on foot. What’s more the Temple of Tooth Relic is right beside this hotel. So expect to get woken up from your slumber at the crack of dawn by a booming voice as the Pooja session kicks off.
Olde Empire Hotel
21 Temple St, Kandy
Tel: 94 – 0812224284 / 94 0777619637
THE LION ROCK HOTEL SIGRIYA:
Guest houses like this one are a dime a dozen in Sigriya. I stayed at this one because my driver recommended it. And although I stayed here just overnight, it was a squeaky clean place with rooms scattered all over the woods. If you want to be around nature, you can’t have it better than this – an isolated room in the middle of the woods.
It didn’t have TV understandably, but amazingly it had WiFi! Can you imagine that? Wifi in the middle of the woods. What’s more, my 3G connection was going strong as well. That’s how advanced Sri Lanka really is.
It cost a mere $25 and that included an appetizing breakfast as well. The place has started recently so everything was spanking new.
The room was extra spacious, amazingly clean, and had a mosquito net over the bed although I couldn’t find any mosquitoes. This was the non-AC room. The AC one costs $35 per night.
The Lion Rock Hotel
No.183, Thalkote Road, Ehelagala, Sigriya, Sri Lanka.
Tel: 066 4935181 / 066 4935182 / 0777 282820
Lion Rock Hotel – Sigriya
NEW TOUR INN – NUWARA ELIYA
This Bnb sans breakfast costs about $20 per night and the biggest advantage it has is its location. Just like Olde Empire hotel, the centre of Nuwara Eliya is located hardly five minutes walk from the place. What’s more, you have a lot of tea stall situated in the vicinity with something to eat so you don’t have to worry about the lack of breakfast at the place.
Again the New Tour Inn a no-frills room without TV. Wifi is available on the upper floors so if you don’t get a room on the upper deck, better make use of the lounge upstairs.
You don’t need an AC here because its friggin cold all the year round. Thankfully the room had hot water available otherwise expect to go without a shower. You just can’t take a bath with cold water. The place is that cold.
New Tour Inn & Ayurvedic Spa
No.22, Park Road, Nuwara Eliya
TEL: 94 52 22 34 897/ 94 52 2223182 / 077 3882333k
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
AURORA HOLIDAY BUNGALOW -ELLA
This was the second last place I stayed at, and I had the good fortune to find yet another great bargain, this time courtesy my new friend Jo Saunders. Mr. Naido is the owner of this guesthouse, and just like in Sigriya, the rooms are constructed, not exactly in the middle of the woods, but in a natural setting.
The rooms are big, mosquito netting, Wifi connection, no TV and no AC. And you don’t need an AC in any case because Ella is located relatively high up where the weather is pleasant throughout the year.
The room costs about $30 and includes breakfast. Don’t forget to ask Mr. Naidu for the rice dish I forgot the name of which. He’s an awesome cook, and while I’m no fan of vegetarian stuff, this was one of the most sumptuous meal I had in Sri Lanka.
Aurora Holiday Bungalow
Bandarawela Road, Ella
Tel# 94 728103668
SHALIMAR HOTEL – COLOMBO
Now this is my least favorite hotel of all the ones mentioned above, and I wouldn’t really recommend it. Bad customer service, poor Wifi connection, somewhat dirty rooms, no breakfast, are some of the highlights of this hotel.
But the fact remains that Shalimar hotel is cheap -$25 for a non-AC room, and located in downtown Colombo very near to the Colombo Railway station. You would be hard pressed to find a cheaper hotel than this downtown.
As such, if you’ve got nowhere else to go, this is your best bet.
Also a bonus for the Muslim travelers, the hotel is located in a Muslim dominated part of Colombo with a number of Halal restaurants in the vicinity. In fact there are two mosques as well within a walking distance from the hotel.
#46, Panchikawatta Road, Maradana, Colombo-10
Tel: 094 11 2431070 / 0773 434477
ANCIENT LANKA HOTEL – KANDY
Ancient Lanka Hotel in Kandy is another hotel I didn’t have a very good time at. In fact I moved out of the place after just one night. But it wasn’t because the place was so awful, in fact it’s a nice BnB with some really good breakfast with pancakes and all.
Trouble is, the place is located awfully far from the city centre. On top of that, it is located on top of a hill in a residential area, so even if you get your hands on a tuk tuk, he will charge you a fortune because climbing steep hills really strains the tiny engine of that vehicle, and it is a damn steep climb.
Otherwise Ancient Lanka is not bad at all. Fairly new with good maintenance of stuff, Wifi but no TV. And yes hot water. At a cost of Rs.3000 per night for the non-AC room.
The meals, however, are damn expensive and I don’t know why. I had one night meal of rice and different curries at a whopping cost of Rs.750 and a simple bottle of Coke for Rs.160. If that wasn’t enough, they put an additional charge of 10% service charge for a staggering total bill of Rs.1000. That made me run away from the place as soon as I could.
31/3 Riverdale, Aniwaththa, Kandy
So how did it go for you? Did you stay at any of these places? What was your experience like? Or did you stay at some other places far more cheaper and comfortable than these?
Please do share your experience with me.