Red Dot’s Top 25 Places to Stay in Sri Lanka

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After weeks of excitement and anticipation, today we present you the top five properties to stay in Sri Lanka. These hotel stays are utterly unforgettable- top-notch service, delightful dishes and jaw-dropping locations. There’s no wonder that these five properties are the ones that our guests loved most this year. So let us present Red Dot’s Best Places to Stay in Sri Lanka, without further ado. Read on and check whether your favourite is on the list.

Ceylon Tea Trails


Dunkeld is one of five luxurious bungalow under the Tea Trails collection, perched high above the spectacular Castlereagh Lake near Dickoya and overlooking the lush green tea plantations of the Dunkeld Estate. It is a four-bedroom luxurious bungalow with a standalone cottage in Sri Lanka’s central highlands.


Clingendael is a luxurious five-bedroom villa situated in the Victoria Golf & Country Resort in Kandy, with magnificent views of the Victoria Reservoir and the golf course. Designed along the lines of a colonial-period Kandyan Wallauwa (ancestral house), this magnificent boutique hotel and villa exudes a stately grandeur yet is infused with cutting-edge technology. The creation of Clilngendael took five years with its Dutch owner painstakingly putting together original doors, windows, staircases, floorboards and furniture collected from old colonial houses. You don’t need to be a golfer to relish Clingendael’s terraced gardens, cascading waterways, verandas and tranquil setting.

The Dutch House

The Dutch House is perched on a hillock overlooking Sri Lanka’s southern highlands town of Bandarawela. This is a land of tea-covered hills, gushing waterfalls, mountain peaks and a fresher climate. This oft-praised boutique villa is set on a two-acre garden filled with fruit trees and flowering plants that attract many birds. It has reopened under new Sri Lankan owners who have created a distinct local feel with the use of antiques, art and soft furnishings. The villa has a satinwood and ebony staircase, boarded floors and a spacious verandah that lets you take in the mountainous scenery. It offers well-appointed bedrooms and an informal and relaxing ambience

Villa Talangama

Villa Talangama has long been loved by Red Dot clients. It enjoys a quiet, unspoiled lakeside setting, seemingly a world away from the commercial heart of Colombo about half-an-hour away. The villa setting is best described as a `village in the city’ surrounded by paddy fields, lotus filled lakes and birds everywhere – perched on the veranda, flitting onto trees in the small and secluded garden, and even on the buffalo that relax on the lakeside and that provide a daily delivery of curd and treacle from the farmer next door. Villa Talangama is a meticulous Sri Lankan home.

Santana Wellness Resort And Spa

Santana Wellness Resort & Spa, one of Sri Lanka’s finest, promises to pamper the mind, body and soul in the comforts of the lush mountains in Digana. Spread across 48 acres of verdure overlooking the Knuckles and Hunnasgiriya mountain ranges, Santani is the perfect place to relax and take refuge from the chaos of day-to-day city life. The latest addition to the portfolio of wellness resorts in Sri Lanka, Santani specialises in ayurvedic treatments but also offers relaxation treatments

Camellia Hills

Overlooking the picturesque Castlereagh reservoir in Sri Lanka’s central highlands in Hatton, Camellia Hills is a modern tea bungalow that offers accommodation in five bedrooms. Decorated in soft colours and contemporary furniture, the villa is cosy and creates the perfect ambience for relaxation. The bungalow has been designed to provide guests with a spectacular view of the glass-like waters of the reservoir and surrounding tea plantation, whether you’re sitting in the spacious living area or enjoying a cup of tea in the balcony.

Wild Coast Tented Lodge

 Wild Coast Tented Lodge ,located in the buffer zone of Yala National Park, is a luxurious campsite offering accommodation in 36 uniquely designed cocoons. It is the latest addition to Resplendent Ceylon’s collection of high-end hotels. Taking in natural colours and shapes of the area, this Relais & Châteaux resort is designed by a group of Dutch, English and Sri Lankan designers with the intention of seamlessly blending in man-made structures with the local landscape.

Kulu Safaris

Kulu Safaris the pioneers of mobile tented safaris in Sri Lanka, are a respected wildlife company. Discuss your wildlife interests in advance and, whether birds, leopards or elephants, the Kulu team will personalise your game drives and take you on routes where you are more likely to see your favourite animals. The Kulu Safaris camping experience is highly recommended for nature lovers including families with children. Kulu Safaris follow a strict eco-friendly policy and avoids the use of plastics; uses solar energy for lighting and ensures that all waste material is removed from the campsite.

The Thinnai

Situated in the quieter part of Jaffna town, The Thinnai is a 39-suite hotel with 58 bedrooms. The hotel is ideal for guests who are keen on exploring the Northern peninsula while enjoying modern day comforts. Thinnai which roughly translates to rest spot in English is inspired by the verandas found in traditional Jaffna houses which is commonly used by residents and visitors as a rest area where they can relax taking in the beauty of the garden while sipping a hot cup of tea.

Frangipani Tree

Frangipani Tree is a stylish, nine-bedroom boutique hotel by a secluded beach in Thalpe on Sri Lanka’s South Coast. Designed by Channa Daswatte, a protégé of Geoffrey Bawa, it is a tranquil and luxurious setting. Windows and verandahs that open onto the Indian Ocean, high-clay tiled roofs, cooling cement floors, courtyards with frangipani trees, white washed walls and interiors with contemporary timber and steel furniture make this a luxurious getaway. Sister property of Fort Printers in Galle’s 17C Dutch Fort.

Ulagalla Resort

Ulagalla is one of Sri Lanka’s finest properties. This expansive holiday retreat spreads over 58 acres of lush woodland, paddy fields and the Ulagalla Reservoir in the rural village of Tirappane near Anuradhapura. Here is a resort that offers high levels of privacy. It was once the abode of a village chieftain. The original walawwa (ancestral mansion), which was built in 1885, still remains and has been renovated maintaining its traditional architectural features, and now houses the resort’s reception area. Accommodation is in luxurious villas scattered across the estate and overlooking paddy fields and reservoirs.

Taru Villas- Rock Villa

 Taru Villas- Rock Villa is a fabulous 170-year-old Sri Lankan wallawwa with a fine reputation set on a two-acre coconut grove fronted by the spectacular sun-kissed beaches of Bentota, which are safe for swimming between December and April. This wonderful beach villa is is set back from the turquoise seas behind a 60 metre-wide growth of lush green mangroves and coconut palms providing much privacy. It is owned by Nayantara Fonseka (Taru), a renowned Sri Lankan lifestyle designer and creator of several other dream destinations on the island.

Villa Rosa

 Villa Rosa is an enchanting guest house with great views over the Mahweli River close to the centre of Kandy. It offers excellent value and is a true taste of Sri Lankan living at its most serene, and has long been one of our favourite properties in Kandy. This charming little property has a subtle colonial flavour, a simple, intelligent ambience and a sense of shabby chic which is viewed with much affection by Red Dot travellers seeking to reconnect with life’s simple pleasures. More upmarket than a guesthouse, less style-obsessed than the more austere sections of the boutique market, Villa Rosa tempts you to relax outdoors on its private little patios and take in the soothing sights and sounds of the Mahaweli River below. Interior décor is simple and comfortable.

Chena Huts

Chena Huts is an enchanting boutique hotel sprawled across seven acres of scrubland edged by the sea, just a five minute drive from the main entrance to Yala National Park.. The first boutique accommodation to be offered in the Yala area, Chena Huts is comprised of fourteen luxurious cabins, set apart from each other and shaded by trees to offer guests maximum privacy; a reception and dining area on the edge of the sea, and a pool and spa. The resort is innovatively designed: each building is in the style of a local village house, with a palm-thatched roof and artfully mottled walls, and winding wooden walkways lead between the cabins, surrounded on either side by the scrubland plants of the deep south.

Sri Sharavi Beach Villas

Sri Sharavi Beach Villas is a spick-and-span holiday retreat with a fabulous beachside setting in Mirissa on the South Coast. It consists of four well-appointed villas fronting a 45 metre swimming pool and the turquoise seas beyond, as well as two Garden Suites. These self-contained, two-storey villas are contemporary in design with bright and airy interiors, polished cement floors, high roofs, large windows that provides for spectacular sea views, and luxurious ensuite bedrooms. The villa butler offers a personalised service. A stay at Sri Sharavi is a relaxing and laidback holiday experience which is perfect even for families with children.

The Kings Pavilion

The Kings Pavilion is a nine-bedroom boutique hotel in a quiet residential area of Kandy, surrounded by greenery and birdlife, Kings Pavilion is a nine-bedroom boutique hotel. Spread across three acres with a large garden overlooking the Hunnasgiriya and Knuckles mountain range, this contemporary style hotel blends in seamlessly with its environment providing guests a comfortable place to relax.

 Jetwing Vil Uyana

Vil Uyana is an ambitious and impressive development in Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle, more an exclusive rural holiday village than a hotel, and as such is highly recommended. Situated on extensive flatlands immediately to the west of the Sigiriya Rock, Vil Uyana – meaning a garden of ponds – is envisaged as a natural extension to the efforts of ancient Sinhala kings who developed and irrigated this area. Spread over 28 acres, at its heart is a wetland system consisting of paddy fields, marshes, and waterways reintroduced by the hotel. Individual dwellings, luxuriously appointed within, and blending seamlessly into the rural landscape, are located over lakes, marshes and paddy fields.


Aditya is undoubtedly one of the finest beach side boutique properties in Sri Lanka. The Adityas is the common name for the 12 sun gods, said to dwell in the highest heavens. It is an appropriate name for a wonderful property designed both to de-stress and exhilarate. Aditya is designed with indoor gardens, waterways, and terraces with fine sea views. Refined interiors are stylishly decorated with art and antiques from Sri Lanka and further a field.



Amangalla takes pride of place within the ramparts of the 17C Galle Fort. Owned by the exclusive Aman group, it offers the most refined accommodation in Galle, its colonial-style buildings looking down soberly on the activity below. It consists of an amalgamation of buildings dating back over 400 years, once used as an HQ for the Dutch commander and his officers in the 17C and later as a billet for British soldiers. In 1865, the New Oriental Hotel was born and in its heyday on either side of the Second World War there were no more sought-after or daring parties in Sri Lanka. Aman Resorts then undertook a sensitive and complete refurbishment. From the day it opened, in 2005, it has offered excellent old-world luxury, superb food, arguably the best spa in the island and exceptional service.

Kahanda Kanda

Kahanda Kanda  is a luxurious ten-bedroom boutique villa within easy reach of Galle, set on a 10-acre tea estate with views of the Koggala Lake in the distance. The tranquil setting is ideal for a relaxing holiday or even a romantic honeymoon. Beaches are beaches anywhere in the world but it is often said that the interior of a country is where the true spirit lies. Sri Lanka is no different and Kahanda Kanda provides the perfect example. Set on a hill amidst a working tea estate which slopes down to the Koggala Lake at one end, this stylish villa was built in 2000 as a private villa and is now an award-winning boutique hotel.

Fort Bazaar

Fort Bazaar, which enjoys a prime position in Galle Fort, is a handsome 18-room luxury boutique hotel that was once a merchant’s house. Inspired by Portuguese heritage, this Sri Lanka heritage hotel is fast becoming one of the must-see places in the fort. Tiled with handmade Vietnamese floor tiles and cosy yet stylish furnishings, Fort Bazaar is one-of-a-kind. The 18 rooms at Fort Bazaar are categorised into 11 Bazaar Bedrooms, 4 Banyan Bedrooms, 3 Upper Suites, with an additional loft room.


The kandy House

The Kandy House is a highly-sought after old colonial ‘Walauwa’ (ancestral mansion) in the spice-growing hills that surround Kandy. Its completion heralded what Sri Lanka’s hill-country-capital had been waiting for so long: a brilliant small boutique hotel capable of offering stylish and private accommodation and attentive personal service in a beautiful natural setting. The inspired refurbishment, with its white interiors, polished hardwood floorboards, jackwood staircase, Dutch-style antique furniture and careful injections of colour, has been a triumph. Channa Daswatta, one of Geoffrey Bawa’s protégés and Sri Lanka’s leading modern architects, provided the creative inspiration. The bedrooms are unquestionably the finest in Kandy.

Tri Lanka

Tri Lanka surrounded by artfully-landscaped, lush greenery and positioned on the edge of spectacular Koggala Lake, is a haven for the mind, body and soul. Designed by award-winning architect Raefer Wallis and photographer Rob Drummond, Tri is a celebration of sustainability creatively combined with the ancient Greek mathematical theory of the golden ratio, a theory of design which creates shapes that the eye sees as perfectly beautiful. It is an ideal property for relaxation and escape and can be accessed by boat, which increases the feeling of worldly-detachment that you find at this retreat.

Living Heritage

Living Heritage is an exceptional property in a gorgeous setting on the fringes of Sri Lanka’s southern highlands. Much of the estate is untouched wilderness that attracts numerous birds, monkeys, deer and even the occasional elephant. Misty mountain peaks of the southern highlands form a beautiful backdrop. Living spaces are spread across a hillside with the accommodation at the top of the hill and dining and lounging areas below. The peaceful infinity swimming pool is a short stroll away. Living Heritage emphasises Kandyan architecture.


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