Already flagged as one of the best value destinations for 2023, Sri Lanka is eager to welcome visitors to its shores this year. After a difficult economic year, tourists can enjoy a favourable exchange rate and discounts on hotels covering a range of prices, sizes, and styles. This is in addition to the island’s usual delights that have seen Sri Lanka consistently included in the world’s top holiday destinations during the last decade: amazing wildlife, diverse locations, a rich culture, and blissful sunshine. Make your holiday the trip of a lifetime by browsing part 1 of our expert guide on where to stay in Sri Lanka in 2023. This guide was put together by reputed Sri Lanka holiday company Kingfisher Tours Sri Lanka who specialise in creating tailor-made trips for all types of traveller.
When people start looking into Sri Lanka wildlife, one of the first destinations to emerge is Yala National Park, renowned for its high density of leopards. In fact, it is one of the best places in the world to see leopards in the wild, and tourists also have the chance to spot sloth bears, elephants, crocodiles, and countless exotic reptiles and birds.
Cinnamon Wild is a fantastic option for those seeking a good value hotel close to the park which offers all the usual amenities including large central swimming pool and atmospheric rooftop restaurant. Serious wildlife enthusiasts may prefer to invest in a stay at Ceylon Wild Safaris, a luxury glamping outfit run by expert naturalists who also love to share their tips for wildlife photography.
A quieter but equally special Sri Lanka wildlife destination is Wilpattu National Park in the opposite corner of the island. This park, named ‘land of the lakes’, is the largest and arguably most beautiful park and also offers the chance to see a similar variety of animals. Laidback couples or small families should try The Ibis Wilpattu, a two-bedroom villa close to the park surrounded by nothing but nature.
In addition to its astounding wildlife, Sri Lanka also offers an endless array of beautiful beaches. Travellers can while away their days soaking in some rays and strolling the golden palm-fringed sand, or indulging in exhilarating water-sports including surfing, jet-skiing, scuba diving, and snorkelling.
Couples can ensure that their beach time is the most idyllic part of the holiday by choosing accommodation that inspires romance at every turn. Buckingham Place, poised between bay and lagoon, offers sensational views over the beaches in Tangalle, Sri Lanka’s most romantic beach destination. Chena Huts, luxury wildlife hotel in Yala, provides guests with the chance to dine under the stars serenaded by nothing but the sound of the ocean.
One of the best things about travelling in Sri Lanka is that the country has amazing accommodation to suit all budgets. Backpackers will find beautiful hostels buzzing with life, while those longing to be overwhelmed by opulence will discover no shortage of hotels and villas that go above and beyond the imaginable. Kingfisher Tours specialises in seeking out excellence within the mid-market: they have a strong collection of properties that commit to offering high standards of service, comfort, cuisine, and character – at the best price.
The latest to join the collection is Roo Mansala, a boutique hotel in a peaceful setting within easy reach of the iconic Sigiriya Rock Fortress at the centre of Sri Lanka’s historic Cultural Triangle. Quality facilities, surprising privacy, and great staff elevate this hotel beyond the other properties in its price range. This is also true of Villa Hundira, an atmospheric small hotel that sits on the edge of Negombo Lagoon just half an hour from Colombo International Airport.
One of Kingfisher's longstanding favourite best value properties is Roseland Cottages in Bandarawela. These two cottages stand proudly high in the heart of Sri Lanka’s glorious tea country and offer a peaceful and private alternative to staying in Ella, the neighbouring town that is more popular with hikers and backpackers. Simple rooms make the most of the stunning setting, and guests could not ask for more attentive service.
Coming up: where to stay in Sri Lanka – part 2. The follow-up section of this guide covers views, heritage, and the all-important location, location, location!