We spent three weeks in SriLanka as a family of 5 ( our kids 11,7,4) staying in a variety of 7 accommodations across the country. We stayed beachside on the West, in the cultural triangle, East coast beaches and in the capital Colombo.
Here is a list of the 7 places we stayed from guesthouses, airbnbs, small hotels and luxury resorts. We hope it gives you an idea about what kind of places you can expect, whether you need to book or just turn up and the huge variety available to stay and be part of this beautiful country.
We stayed : Suriyana Guesthouse.
Location: Negombo. 1 block back from the beach.
Booking: We booked direct online.
Price: $65 AUD a night including breakfast.
Accommodation type: Guesthouse Family room with 1 queen bed, 2 singles. Private bathroom. AC
Pros: The lovely hosts Judith and Saman. Home cooked meals.
Cons: There was none.
Overall: We loved this guesthouse as a first stop in SriLanka. Negombo is a beachside town just 15/20 min drive from the airport. The hosts are very engaging and were helpful with organising onward travel with no pressure. The food was really great and it was lovely place to ease into our adventures.
We stayed: Dambulla Raintree
Booked : Airbnb
Price : $127AUD a night including breakfast.
Accommodation: 2 bedroom house on private property. 2 queen beds, 2 singles. Fans. Bathroom.
Pros: Very private, small pool and expansive gardens.
Cons: Isolated ( you would need your own car or driver) miscommunications between owner and person managing the property in regard to food costs etc.
Overall: The property is lovely and very peaceful. However the interactions with the manager and the lack of driver accommodation ( which was promised) made a negative impression.
We stayed : Jetwing Passikudah.
Location: Beachfront Passikudah
Booked: We were thrilled to be hosted by this property. ( full review coming soon)
Price: Book direct with property. Prices from $180USD. Including breakfast.
Accomdation: Triple Room 1 extra large queen bed and rollaway. AC Private bathroom.
Pros: Right on the beach, large pool, all modern amenities.
Cons: Hotel will be in full operation come August. We were there within a soft opening period.
Overall: A perfect place to relax for two days away from the hustle and bustle. Staff were all very friendly and professional.
For more information click here.
We stayed: Victoria Inn
Location: Trincomalee town
Booked: online for the first night then negotiated for the next night.
Price: ranging from $45 AUD including breakfast.
Accomodation: Family room with two queen beds. Private bathroom.
Pros: Family feel and lovely hosts.
Cons: Not beachfront but easy to grab a tuk tuk for the 5 min ride.
Overall: The owner of the guesthouse Rameesh was very inviting and friendly. He also runs a guesthouse on the beach Dykes Rest ( on Dyke road) We felt this was a home away from home and all the staff catered to all our needs. Great snack and drink menu available. This guesthouse is extremely clean and has such a friendly vibe.
We stayed: Shivas Beach Resort.
Location: Beachfront Uppeveli Beach.
Booked: First night online then negoiated price for other nights. Breakfast from $3. ( our tip is to head up the local road and try some local delights!)
Price: $65 AUD for a family room. ( Rooms started at $25AUD for single/no AC/shared bathroom)
Accommodation: Extra large family room with 2 queen beds, 2 single beds. AC. Private bathroom
Pros: Beachfront. Beach huts to relax in. Friendly staff.
Cons: Don’t forget to try out Coconut beach lodge next door for dinner on the beach.
Overall: This is a great spot for families with the perfect water to swim in . You can access a variety of tours from the beach such as snorkelling and dolphin watching.
We stayed: Monarch apartments
Location: Colombo city
Price: $135AUD a night. No breakfast. ( Our tip try the buffet breakfast at Cinnamon Grand Next door)
Accommodation: 2 bedroom apartment.
Pros: Space! We had 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, kitchen, dining and lounge. Great pool and
Cons: little tricky to find correct entrance. Reception is on Level 2. Level 1 takes you to the mall.
Overall: This was great for a city stay overlooking Galle Face Road just up from Galle Face Green and the famous Galle Face Hotel. Check in was professional and the kids really enjoyed the kids pool.
We stayed: Jetwing Sea
Booked: We were thrilled to be hosted for this stay. ( Full review coming soon)
Price: Book directly with the hotel. Room prices range from around $100 for residents and $180 for Non residents.
Accommodation: Triple Room ( 1 Super large King bed plus a rollaway)
Pros: Professional and friendly service in all areas. 2 swimming pools. Beachfront. Amazing buffets.
Cons: You might be tempted to just stay put! Make sure you explore Negombo and take a walk along the beach.
Overall: This hotel has 83 rooms all with beautiful ocean views. The pools are beautiful and with such a variety of guests the kids loved making new friends from many different countries. Staff were confident and personable and always willing to help. They also have a gym and spa on the roof top.
We really enjoyed trying such a variety of places to stay. Each time we packed up and moved it felt like a new holiday! We found 3 -5 nights the best to really get to know a place and the people. It is amazing how close you can become to people you have just met! Everywhere we went and stayed the kids were more than welcome with a genuine love of kids and such a strong desire to make them happy and content. Our favourite places to stay are ones which you can get to know the owners, meet other explorers, taste some local food and really feel part of the local community. It is really important to us to be immersed in the local culture and to experience something very different to home.
A word on wheelchair access.
SriLanka as a whole was hard going using a wheelchair. The roads and paths were in disrepair , cracked and uneven and the hot and humid climate makes it really hard to get around the streets or sites. Public transport is a huge challenge with big gaps from train to platform and buses jam-packed with people.
Within accommodations they are committed to supporting all travellers and the new building regulations in SriLanka are seeing positive changes for accessibility. There is no shortage of people to help both within accommodations and outside in the community if you are travelling with a wheelchair.
Most bathrooms we had were It is just not at a stage yet that a wheelchair user could be fully independent.