The Queen's Hotel is an institution in Kandy. It is a three star hotel, biult in the colonial style, which has kept the furniture of the British era. It has a lot of charm, and is a very coveted, especially during the Esala Perahera festival. The reason is because the elephant and dancing parades pass right in front of the hotel. If you do not have a balcony (you have to book almost a year before to get the best rooms) overlooking the street, you can buy a ticket with good views for about $40. There are a total of 62 rooms, all are air-conditioned, they are spacious and modern. There is a jacuzzi, pool and sauna, making the hotel one of the nicest places to stay in Kandy. Count on spending about $70 per night for a room during normal season.
Dharshani is a family run place in the center of Polonnaruwa. The modern town is 3 miles from the ruins but in a good location. It is the main attraction of the town. The family prepares some dishes for dinner or lunch, and you have to order a couple of hours before eating. Like if you want a breakfast it is best to ask the day before to be sure that you don't have to wait too long. The rooms are decent and a good size, it's clean and safe, and it's next to the tourist police. Prices range from 1000 - 1200 rupees for a double room without breakfast included. The rooms have fans and mosquito nets. They rent bicycles in order to go explore the ruins for 250Rs per day.
The Lake Inn Guest House is in the town of Polonnaruwa, not far from where the buses coming from Habanara and Anuradhapura drop you off. The place is a little sloppy, but it's the cheapest place in the city to stay. When we went, it was 500 Rs per night for a double room, simple, small and breakfast wasn't included. But it had a fan and considering the heat, this is basically all you need in this city. The hotel is 500 meters from the lake and close to a tank where people bathe, so there are a good amount of mosquitoes at night. The hotel rents bikes for 200RS to go exploring the ruins. In August it gets hot very quickly and you'd better go explore from 6 in the morning in order stop at noon.
The Ceybank Rest is a hotel in Anuradhapura. It is not far from the temples and ruins of the old imperial city. The Sri Maha Bodhi is near the hotel. It is the temple of the sacred tree, a very holy place in the country. It's in a good place, with a large garden around it. There are some rooms that are on the street and they can sometimes be noisy. There are a total of 6 family rooms and 10 double rooms. The place accepts reservations two weeks before the public. But before that, bank employees have priority. Prices differ, but you can stay in a double for 10 euros, which is reasonable.
The Mahagedara hotel is close to the central hospital in the modern part of Anuradhapura. It is on a street parallel to the main street, with much less traffic. But it's a bit far from the center, and you have to take a tuk tuk to get to the ruins or the bus station. It's too far away to walk, and taking a public bus in the city is quite complicated. The Mahagedara is a comfortably large colonial house in a nice garden where you can relax after a day of sight seeing. Prices are between 15 and $ 20, with breakfast. The rooms have a private bathroom with hot water, and some are heated. The family who runs it is friendly and will help you get a guide to visit the ruins the following day.
We arrived at the Lake View hotel via tuk tuk that picked us up directly from the previous Polonnaruwa bus. They even offered to help us find a hotel. In this case the boy takes commission but in return they take you for free to a place within your budget, and that way you don;t have to look to see where you are. This guesthouse is run by an old man and has several rooms in two different buildings. Some are cheaper than others, but I don't know how they are because they were all taken. Some were for 1000 Rs. Knowing that we paid half a few days before, we declined, but in the end we realized that the city of Anuradhapura is more expensive for hotels than Ampara or Polonnaruwa. The rooms have a private bathroom, a fan and a mosquito net, no AC.
The YMCA is similar to the YMBA but means Bouddhist Young Mens Association. It is at the foot of the hill which overlooks Kandy, and not far from the lake, but on the opposite side to the center, so you still have to walk for about 15 minutes to get downtown. It is a clean and organised, where there is order, and you can not return after 10 pm. The dormitories are among the cheapest in the city, you can sleep for two euro per person, but the rooms are large with many beds. Downstairs is a restaurant that is open to the public and also offers very cheap meals. The place organizes activities, sports, music ... for young people throughout the year. Below there is a tuk tuk rank which will take you downtown in five minutes.
The Devon hotel has a great location just a 10 minute walk from Kandy Lake and the Temple of the Tooth. It is a modern hotel, lacking a bit of charm, but it has all the comforts. The rooms have a big enough bed and are spacious with western décor. There are 27 air conditioned rooms, but honestly it is not a necessary luxury in Kandy. They also have satellite TV, hot water, and music. The hotel has a 24-hour reception. On the roof there is a terrace serving drinks, and there is a gym downstairs. They offer a free taxi service to the airport if you're a group of at least six people. Rooms start at $70/night and there are good deals during the low season.
The Beach Hotel Negombo belongs to the Jetwing chain which has several hotels in town. This is a 5 star hotel and the most luxurious of the chain in the area. The rooms cost about 120 euros per night, sometimes a little more if it's high season. There is a gym, a spa, a center which offers massages, and a restaurant. Each room has TV, a flat screen tv with DVD, and you can make tea or coffee. All rooms have AC, a tub and separate shower, and a safe. Close to the airport, closer than the capital. For evening, there are several bars and restaurants in the area, but there are also 3 bars within the hotel itself.
The calidan is one of the many pensions that are in the city of Mirissa. It is on the main road between (Galle to Matara) and the beach. As you can see, the next beach is amazing. And it is a very quiet village where there was almost no one when we went in August. We were charged 1200 rupees per night, which is about 6 euros for a double room, with mosquito net, fan and a bathroom. They made us a meal traditional of Sri Lankan culture, curry rice that was prepared with white rice and many small dishes containing different vegetables, breads and walnuts. There are not many rooms but if it is full you they will recommend a nearby location. It is perfect for those traveling with kids because you are a 5 minute walk to the beach and there is a market in front as well.
The New Old Dutch House is an the old house of the Galle Fort colonial district. The house has been fully renovated and converted into a pension. It is next to the sea and is very quiet. You can walk 5 minutes to the beach or a little further if you're looking for an ever quieter beach. There are 8 rooms with private bathrooms and a garden where you can have breakfast. The rooms cost between $ 25 and 45, depending on the size and also the season. They also have a refrigerator which you only really need for water and maybe some fruit. It´s so cheap to eat in a restaurant that it´s not really worth eating in the hotel. Lastly, some of the rooms are air-conditioned and some just have a fan.
The Beach Hut in Arugam Bay is at the beginning of the beach when you arrive from Pottuvil. It's a bit far from where the surfing is, but even so many surfers stay there for the atmosphere. I loved the little cabin, elevated as they say, five meters from the sea. The hotel was so well built and the cabins so high that they resisted the Tsunami in 2004. The owner, Ranga, is friendly, and sometimes cooks seafood and lobster at night. Apert from that they have a restaurant but the rice with curry I did not like very much, it was very simple and too expensive. The cabin, however, was faultless. 6 euros the night, with mosquito net and fan provided,and with one of the best views of the beach, and the cabin stays nice and cool during the day. There is also a cheaper part of the hotel where the bathrooms are shared, and there are large tables, where all the surfers come to eat after your session.
The Rest Devon hotel is on the edge of Lake Kandy, not far from the bus station and the temple of the tooth, which you can see from the hotel, across the lake. It is situated well because the main road is traveled by many tuk tuk and buses that take you to any place you want. Beware if you reserve a room in this hotel because there is another hotel called the Devon and is on the lake too. The hotel is old, and most of the guests are nationals or pilgrims. It's pretty cheap and has large rooms at good rates. Next door there is a small restaurant, and you can go out to eat in the center too. It is a safe neighborhood day and night.
The Paradise Beach Club is a hotel in Mirissa. It is one of the most beautiful beaches in Sri Lanka (and even the world!). It is not a particularly touristy place, if you compare it with other popular destinations, and you can enjoy this paradise to yourself and just a handful of other people. Golden beach, coconut palms, and the Paradise which is in the eastern part of the beach. It is a hotel with a pool, which is filled mostly from November to April, during the peak season you can go surfing. Between April and November, you can get very good discounts if you arrive at the reception directly to negotiate. Especially at the end of the day. Do not worry, it is not necessary to book, the place is half empty. It is a very large hotel, comfortable and soon you will know everyone there. There is air-conditioning in the rooms, and hot water. The cottages overlook the sea.
The Beach Resort is one of the first hotels one finds when they reach the beach of Arugam Bay. We went to this beach because in August the west coast beaches are not very nice, and this one seemed to be paradise. Prices are more expensive, but do not go above 10 euros per night! It is surf season and most of the people who come stay here a couple of months. We were asked how many weeks we would be staying there! The place is nice, at the water's edge. They rebuilt after the Tsunami of 2004. A little further from the water this time ....
The Hibiscus Beach Hotel is located near the beach, near Kalutara elephant orphanage. The restaurant serves the best regional cuisine and international dishes. There is an outdoor pool and an equipped business centre. Each room has a private balcony or terrace and cable television.
When we arrived to Anuradhapura via Tuk Tuk with the goal of that they would take us to a hotel where they would then charge a commission. But everything that they offered us was ugly, so in the end we left and went to this hotel. It looked good in appearance, but we didn't try out the bed and that proved to be horrible. It was incredibly hot and we slept very badly. But the next day, the worst thing was that we wanted to leave, and people didn't come to pick us up. We waited, trying to wake the owner timidly, until finally we got so angry that we went and got change. They wanted to add a 10% "service" which obviously we objected because there was no service. I do not recommend this place, because it looked good, but turned out to be terrible. Anuradhapura is more expensive than other cities for hotels, so we expected something good, and we were wrong.
Goldi Sands Hotel Negombo is situated in the tourist center of the town, on the beach, to the north of the historic center. It is a modern hotel that also uses the city for their weddings and corporate events, as it has a conference room there. Now they are doing a promotion for the season, with single room priced at $ 50 per night and double room at $ 55 per night, including breakfast. The rooms are large, they offer a total of 75, with a.c. and a private terrace, some with a sea view. The best time to visit this hotel is from the months of October to April. They have packages for honeymoons but, to be perfectly honest, I think staying there for a week would be boring, because the visits are limited options. There is a nice pool overlooking the sea.
Jetwing Blue Oceanic Hotel is on the east coast, near the fishing village of Negombo. Jetwing Hotels chain have several hotels in Negombo, this is in the lowest category - average service and low-budget. There's 102 rooms and some family suites. It's on the Negombo beach and the best season is from October to April. When we went in August the sea was brown, but hey, the hotel has a pool, tennis courts, fitness center ... they organize visits to the rest of the country, but given the state of the roads, if you're going to Kandy, for example, it is probably better to spend the night there than return to Negombo in the same day. The restaurant has a pizza area, seafood, roast meats ...it is a place where many Englishmen come to spend the whole week, up to two weeks, and spend all day at the pool sipping cocktails. For one night it is fine, prices starting at $55 per night.
The King's Park Hotel is situated on the shore of Lake Kandy, not far from the center of the city and the Temple of the Tooth. It is a place that has been in operation for only 10 years, but it is a reference for the service it provides. It has 22 rooms in a large modern building, which has views of the lake that are coveted. The neighborhood is very safe and you can go for a stroll at any time. The rooms have AC, and a level of comfort worthy of a European hotel. Rooms are decorated without charm, but are a good size and clean. The restaurant serves Asian, Chinese and Western cuisine at the buffet or a la carte. There is a small garden surrounding it. You can book online which is convenient especially during the Buddhist festivals, when all the hotels fill up months before.
The Sunset Guest House is large in the center of the beach of Mirissa. As you can see, it is a lovely beach, with golden sand and coconut trees. It is halfway between Galle and Matara and buses run every 5 minutes. The hotel was badly damaged by the tsunami in 2004 but has become to be renovated and renewed. It has several cottages and standard rooms, some with air-condition, some with fans. All have mosquito net. The best season is from November to April, the peak surfing season. $ 25 per night more or less in low season you can negotiate.
We spent three nights in the city of Kandy to take part in the Esara Perahera festival, the full moon in late July. Before and during the festival, accommodation prices double or triple in the city, and to secure a place to stay, we booked this hotel online. The owners, seeing us arrive, didn't let us rest, we immediately tried to take in addition to already high price of the room, more for food or drink. During this season it is forbidden to sell alcohol throughout the region, but they asked us if we wanted beer. The room was nothing special, and very expensive for what it was. And then we did not give more, and we did want to eat there. They locked us on the balcony where our room was and we had to ring a bell for uthem to come and open the door. In the end, as I had booked in dollars, they used a higher exchange rate, plus a "tax" added to the account, presumably to compensate for the fact that they had not taken money for meals ... Not recommended!
This small hotel has half a dozen rooms and a very friendly lady who lives downstairs with her family. She was always available to help, advise and answer questions. Plus the place was cheap, I think we paid 4 euros/night, for a clean room, double bed, private bathroom with hot water, but no breakfast. It serves food, but on a recommendation we went to eat elsewhere. The first room they showed us had a bed that was too small for two Westerners, but we changed it without any problems. The lounge has a few books and previous guest feedback. There was no view, just to the garden which had some fruit trees and vegetation. It's a very clean place. The Rainbow has rooms painted in various colors, hence its name.
Jetwings Seashells Hotel in Negombo is a fishing village 30km north of Colombo. We decided to go there because the price wasn't bad. A double room with private bathroom was 20 euros, and it came with hote water, a mosquito net, and a fan. It is a beachfront hotel, where many people spend a whole week, but I don't recommend it because you will get bored. But it is only 10km from the airport and as we arrived too late to go anywhere else, it was good. I liked the staff, as they were very helpful and accommodating, even when we went they were running into the street behind us to make sure that we had time for breakfast! The international buffet breakfast, was welcome after two weeks of spicy food. The prices are much cheaper online than in if you just arrive.
The Paradise Holiday Villaje is on the coast of Negombo, about 20 minutes by taxi from the international airport. It's a nice place with a great pool that is not directly on the beach but very close. The hotel has 16 rooms, decorated in a modern and simple decor. Some are like apartments with a microwave and a small kitchen. There are 12 apartments and some single rooms. The basic room costs $ 40 per night with breakfast, a 2 bedroom- apartment is $ 90 per day, but without food. There is also a restaurant that makes seafood and international dishes as well.
The Paradise Beach Hotel is a big contemporary hotel on the beach in Negombo. The best time to go is winter, we went in August and the "golden beach" was brown and dirty. But the hotel has a beach with umbrellas and chairs for guests. The rooms have a fan, are large and most have views of the sea. If this is not the case, and the hotel is not full ask to change. In the middle of a swimming pool there is a tropical garden and you can have your meals there. There is an animation about the weekend, but nothing special. Double rooms are $ 47 in low season and will include breakfast. Up to 55 in half a season, and $ 82 in high season. There are also triple and family.
The Ocean View Guest House is a tiny family run hotel in Lewis Place, in the middle of the biggest and most luxurious hotels. It has fair prices, but in low season, you can get great prices on hotels that are similar and have access to a pool, and breakfast included. The Ocean View does have ocean views but no direct access to the beach, you have to cross the street, and from there it is a 5 minute walk. The basic rooms start at $ 12, the balconies start at $ 15, and then have anac and are decorated a little thin at $25. You are bound to find best online few days before arriving at a hotel more stars. Organized tours across the country and you can go at the airport.
The Golden Star Spa is on Lewis Place, a street full of resorts and family pensions north of the town of Negombo. It´s right next to the sea and has a little shortcut through the back. Unfortunately the sea in August is brown and not great for swimming even though it´s really hot. Interestingly, it´s called the "Gold Coast" which is probably why the hotel is called the Golden Star. The high season is during winter in Europe. There is a pool and a total of 62 rooms that are a bit old but well maintained. The decor does seem a tad old too but it isn´t overpriced. A single room is 30 euros, a double is 37 and a triple is 50. There are sometimes deals on their website.