Experts’ Choice 2019: the best hotels in Colombo

Heading to Sri Lanka? Here’s an essential list of Colombo’s best hotels

Cosmopolitan Colombo is now firmly a destination in its own right, boasting an exciting variety of restaurants, luxury hotels and shops mixed with bustling temples, mosques and markets. Of the hundreds listed on TripExpert, these six hotels score the highest. Each one has superior features – whether it’s bold design, striking interiors, or sensational views.

All our Experts’ Choice hotels have a TripExpert score of 80 or more. This score is based on more than 4000 reviews in leading travel publications, and is comparable across all cities and countries, meaning you can be sure the standard is high wherever you choose to go.

The first carbon-neutral hotel in Asia, eco-hotel Colombo Court renewed its certification in 2018 – and pledged to eliminate plastic waste. Small and chic, it is handily located near Bambalapitiya train station, from where you can take the train to Galle and the South. Facilities include a rooftop restaurant, small spa and swimming pool with an attractive poolside area. The design brings nature inside, incorporating stone, wood, bamboo and recycled metal.

According to Lonely Planet, Lake Lodge “gets everything just right.” Owned by successful interior designer Nayantara Fonseka (‘Taru’), who has a growing portfolio of boutique hotels and villas, it is a small, elegant hotel, located within walking distance of the lively Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple and National Museum. Full of smooth concrete, wood and neutral furnishings, it makes a perfect choice for the design-conscious. Although there isn’t a swimming pool, the hotel is known for its excellent cuisine and has a rooftop terrace where you can enjoy it.

Paradise Road Tintagel is a restored heritage building and was once owned by the Bandaranaike family, three of whom served as political leaders in Sri Lanka. The current owner is proprietor of Sri Lankan homeware brand Paradise Road. The interior is plush: think chandeliers, antiques, hand-woven carpets and dark hardwood floors. With only ten suites, it is small, but has just enough space for an intimate bar and gourmet restaurant. Located in the quiet suburb of Cinnamon Gardens, this is a good choice if you are looking for peace and privacy.

According to Oyster, the Taj is “an ideal pick for business travellers.” Located on Galle Face Green right in the midst of Colombo’s current urban regeneration project, this five-star hotel might not be the best option if you want to relax – but it couldn’t be more central. There is a large swimming pool, and many of the 300 rooms boast stunning views of the Indian Ocean. Restaurants offer several different cuisines including Chinese, Indian, Japanese and crab in ‘the Crab Factory’ – a destination seafood-lovers won’t want to miss.  

With 501 rooms, the Cinnamon Grand is the largest five-star hotel in Sri Lanka: Oyster calls it “a Colombo institution.”  It has a lively ambience and central location close to Galle Face Green. Facilities include a large swimming pool, spa and sauna, kids club, shisha lounge, and a range of dining options – both traditional and international. At Sri Lanka's 2018 tourism awards, the Cinnamon hotel group won in six categories. Known for their sustainable tourism initiatives, their elephant conservation project also received recognition at the 2018 International Travel and Tourism Awards.

Cool, urban, and promoting sustainability, Cinnamon Red won 'Best Three-Star Hotel' at Sri Lanka’s 2018 tourism awards. Ideal if you’re seeking affordable luxury, this hotel boasts an infinity pool on the 26th floor. Centrally located, you can easily walk to Park Street Mews where you’ll find a handful of good restaurants. According to Lonely Planet, the hotel’s rooftop bar Cloud Red is somewhere “everybody visiting the city should drop by,” – and it also happens to be the highest rooftop bar in the city.  

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