Take a look at the best party hotels in Sri Lanka.
This 340-room, mid-range hotel is sometimes overshadowed by its sister property, Cinnamon Grand, but is a major Colombo player in its own right. Lakeside Colombo sits on seven pretty acres overlooking Beira Lake and contemporary rooms have flat-screen TVs, free bottled water, coffee/tea, and spacious bathrooms with tub/shower combos. Common for all Cinnamon properties, food and drink options are a standout, starting with the breakfast buffet and ending with late-night dancing at the classy library-turned-nightclub. The Executive Floor lounge is stocked with gourmet snacks and cocktail-makings, and has a balcony for impressing clients. Paying for breakfast and a crowded fitness center are downsides.
Part of the stylish OZO brand, this upper-middle-range hotel is located on a hillside with stunning vistas, and a 15-minute walk from the heart of Kandy. The 122 rooms are smart and modern, featuring 40-inch LCD TVs with cable channels, tea- and coffee-making facilities, and minibars, plus some have balconies. An all-day restaurant serves Sri Lankan and international cuisine, but good gets average reviews. The highlight here is the rooftop area with a trendy bar and pool set against the magnificent views of the hotel's verdant surroundings. While there is a well-equipped gym, there's no spa. Also note that some guests have complained of noise from adjacent rooms and the rooftop bar. Travelers looking for a property with more local charm and well-reviewed dining could check out Cinnamon Citadel Kandy located by the Mahaweli River.
This 158-room upscale Eden Resort & Spa, on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka, opened in 1995 and claims to be the first spa hotel in the country. Following a 2013 partial renovation, today it attracts Asian and European tourists who rely on its contemporary and elegant rooms with wood or granite floors, flat-screen TVs, and patios or balconies. The pool and swim-up bar draw a lively crowd during the day, as does the pub in the evenings, though the resort's lawn and the on-site Ayurvedic spa also offer peace and quiet. Great food and drink options include fine dining at Temptations and the new rooftop lounge, 7th Heaven, though guests should keep in mind that the adjacent public beach isn't the best for swimming. For a more intimate vibe, guests should try Nisala Arana Boutique Hotel, with stunning tropical grounds, though it's not next to the ocean.
This 226-room colonial hotel near Sri Lanka's capital -- named for a governor's mistress -- is oozing with history dating back to British rule in the 19th century. Set on a cliff with beautiful views, the sprawling property has easy access to two beaches (one that is private), though most tend to catch their rays at the outdoor pool. Some room types are renovated, with wood floors and new furnishings, while others are more traditional (and dated) with antiques and carpeting; some have ocean-view balconies. There are a Balinese-themed spa, a modern fitness center, and three restaurants, including one that serves fresh seafood on the beach. Mount Lavinia is wildly popular with local weddings and business events, so this is not the place for peace and quiet, especially with the nearby train track. This being said, the historical character and special features (like a the secret passageway) help distinguish it from every other hotel around.
This swanky and yet competitively priced option in Colombo's commercial district draws business types and families with good taste. Features include an attractive infinity pool for catching rays (though sun loungers may be hard to snag!), spa, fitness center, and small man-made beach area, but a major port project across the street is a bit of an eyesore. Rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows (views vary), luxurious bedding, and beautiful marble bathrooms with designer toiletries. There are three restaurants, one a romantic seafood option with an expansive wine list. Younger guests often enjoy the rooftop Sky Lounge for sunsets and music that thumps well past midnight. For a more intimate luxury property, consider Casa Colombo, but lose the Fort location and water views.
Debuting as one of the hippest kids on the block, the upscale and fresh-faced OZO Colombo opened its doors -- and 158 super-stylish and modern rooms -- in 2014. Rising high with 14 floors, this uber-contemporary hotel is full off large floor-to-ceiling windows with stunning panoramic views, functionally chic rooms with snazzy amenities, a rooftop infinity pool deck, nightclub lounge, small but decked out gym, 24-hour reception and snack bar, and daily happy hours with unparalleled sunset views. While it attracts all types, the vibe is best for younger couples and groups of friends who want a "sexier" Sri Lankan vacation.
This large, mid-range hotel sits along a pretty palm-fringed beach in southern Sri Lanka. The central location in the town of Hikkaduwa (known for surfing) offers easy walking distance to town; guests also have plenty to eat and do on-site: a trendy lounge, wine cellar, and live music. The infinity freshwater pool area has ample sun loungers, though towels are not allowed on the beach -- an irritating rule for those wanting to swim in the ocean. Colorful rooms have stocked mini-bars, flat-screen TVs, and dehumidifiers, and sunsets can be enjoyed from furnished balconies. Group events (and kids) are common, therefore its not the most intimate place for romantic interludes. Free Wi-Fi and yoga on weekends are nice bonuses.
The 85-room Camelot Beach Hotel is a mid-range property with an excellent setting along Negombo Beach. Rooms show wear and are in need of an update, and have little insulation from outside noise, though standard amenities include free Wi-Fi, coffee- and tea-making facilities, and flat-screen TVs. Most of the action takes place outside at the two pools, one of which has a small kiddy pool, and they're surrounded by tables and lounge chairs. The open-air restaurant is open for all three meals, serving a substantial breakfast buffet that's included in most rates. Despite the widespread dingy look of the property, reasonable rates and a 20-minute drive to the airport make this hotel a popular option. It's worth comparing rates with the similarly priced Paradise Beach Hotel, which has more modern rooms.
Part of the fun of arriving at the 146-room, mid-range Club Bentota is the five-minute boat road across Bentota River, giving the resort an authentic, secluded vibe. However, most aspects of the resort need some TLC, and though guest rooms have private terraces or patios, we saw lots of wear and tear. The proximity to a wide, clean, and tranquil beach is a main draw, as are the all-inclusive packages that attract plenty of groups and value-minded European tourists, though drink options in these packages are limited. The hotel offers extensive water sports on Bentota River, an outdoor pool, and an extensive Ayurvedic spa menu, though it lacks resort-wide Wi-Fi. Guests looking for a more upscale, intimate option at a lower price point in the area should try Club Villa, though it lacks direct beach access.
The Palms Hotel is a 106-room upper-mid-range option with a dated and slightly abandoned colonial vibe. A large pool, huge backyard, wide stretch of beach, three restaurants, and two bars can be found throughout the beautiful garden grounds. All rooms have personal terrace space with ocean views, but upgrades to Suites get you more contemporary decor and luxe features. There's also a small pool for kids, event and meeting space for business folk, and a relaxing (if relatively simple) spa. The Palms is best suited for groups of friends or families who don't need a lot of privacy.
This clean and basic 66-room hotel along Negombo Beach is close to the airport and a good pick for those seeking budget accommodations in Sri Lanka. A variety of rooms and suites have balconies, flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, and free bottled water. Bright colors and contemporary furnishings add pizzazz to the overall look, but bathrooms have outdated tiles. There's a standard buffet restaurant serving all three meals (breakfast is free), and a fun highlight is the Pirate Bar with authentic English pub decor. Manicured grounds lead to a public beach area -- sunsets are beautiful from here -- though most guests choose to plant themselves around the outdoor pool, which could use more lounge chairs.