It might come across as a bit of a Big World Small Pockets anomaly to be listing my top 5* Sri Lanka hotel favs, but sometimes we’ve all got to push the boat out y’know!
And that’s particularly true in Sri Lanka, where good value travel means many of us budget travellers can afford to splash out a little!
Couple this with the fact that I was travelling here with Sri Lanka tourism (read: I was looked after!) and I really did get to experience the best places to stay across the island.
So if you’re heading to this fantastic south Asian spot and looking for a lick of luxury, here’s my top 9 picks when it comes to standout stays…
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- 15 Things to Know Before You Travel to Sri Lanka
My trip to Sri Lanka was sponsored by Sri Lanka Tourism but, as always, all views are my own.
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The Best 5* Hotels in Sri Lanka
Here’s my round up list of the top 5 star hotels I’ve picked as the best across Sri Lanka.
- Jetwing Blue
- Aliya Resort & Spa
- Cinnamon Lodge
- Cinnamon Wild
- Jetwing Kaduruketha
- Tabula Rasa Resort & Spa
- Shangri-La Hambantota
- Jetwing St Andrew
- Madulkelle Tea and Eco Lodge
I’ve picked each of these thanks to their location, comfort, uniqueness and commitment to environmental practices.
For more info, scroll down to the relevant section below…
#1 Jetwing Blue, Negombo
Coming in first on my list of top 5* hotels in Sri Lanka it’s Jetwing Blue.
And the reason I’ve listed this one first is because it’s only about a 15 minute drive from Sri Lanka’s airport.
If you’re arriving from Europe, or other long haul destinations as many people are, then my recommendation is not to drive too far from the airport for your first night here.
And Jetwing Blue is the perfect option.
Located right on the coast at chilled Negombo, this is a great spot to acclimatise to the culture and humidity in this part of the world.
With a glorious pool, set just back from the beach, you can lounge (or sit!) here in peace, before heading to the Indian ocean for your first swim… although be careful of the strong currents and waves.
The restaurant here serves up a mega buffet breakfast, including Sri Lankan specialities such as hoppas, and a delicious dinner and lunch menu too, including local and international options.
But perhaps, best of all, is this hotel’s commitment to sustainability.
I was lucky enough to get a tour of their eco-minded operations and from the recycled glass bottles which hold water in each room, to the power system behind the aircon and laundry service (which runs on a combination of biomass and solar energy) and even the rainwater harvesting system, the Jetwing brand is doing everything it can to lead the green way in Sri Lanka tourism – very impressive.
Book your stay at Jetwing Blue here.
#2 Aliya Resort & Spa, Habarana
Next we make our way inland to explore the cultural triangle in Sri Lanka and the best 5* hotels in this part of the island.
First up is the incredible Aliya Resort & Spa in Habarana.
Fantastically located for those who want to climb Sigiriya, the Lion’s Rock, this hotel offers a stunning view of this iconic mountain too.
With genuinely one of the most incredible pools I’ve ever seen, you’ll walk up the steps of the grand entrance to be greeted by an open reception area that extends out the other side to an impressively long pool with a view of Sigiriya looming out at you from the other end!
Seriously striking, especially at night!
Accommodation here are in mini bungalows, stacked 2 high.
I was lucky enough to get an upper level option, which meant a lovely view over the lush landscaped gardens.
If you do have time, then don’t miss a trip to the spa either – I got a delightful massage here which, along with the peace and quiet of this hotel’s location, sent me straight to sleep.
But not before a delicious dinner – choose from a la carte or buffet most evenings.
Book your stay at Aliya Resort & Spa here.
#3 Cinnamon Lodge, Habarana
If you’re looking for an alternative to the Aliya Resort & Spa, then the Cinnamon Lodge in Habarana is another top 5* hotel in Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle.
Close to Minneriya National Park – which is the prime spot to see elephants in this island – the Cinnamon Lodge is part of a locally-owned chain that you can trust for top class facilities good accommodation.
Also well-placed if you want to explore other attractions in the nearby area, including the Dambulla Golden Cave Temple, Cinnamon Lodge feels slightly less boutique than Aliyah, but is still a comfortable place to stay in this fab part of Sri Lanka.
Book your stay at Cinnamon Lodge here.
#4 Cinnamon Wild, Yala
Then, down on the south coast of Sri Lanka, we come to Cinnamon Wild.
Another 5* hotel in the Cinnamon group, this hotel feels more unique than the Cinnamon Lodge and I love the safari glamping style options it has – perfect for those who want to experience the wildlife in Yala National Park to the max!
One of the top places to safari in Sri Lanka, Yala is famous for its leopard populations, so if you’re keen to spot one of the these elusive cats, you’d be hard-pushed to get better a luxury stay near this park than this.
A beautiful pool, wooden terraces with comfy loungers, plus polished cement floors across much of the rest of the property, create a wonderful space of oneness with the surrounding natural environment, which thanks to the lovely national park and beautiful sandy beach nearby, make the perfect combination!
Book your stay at Cinnamon Wild here.
#5 Jetwing Kaduruketha, Wellawaya
And now we come to something a little different.
And that’s because the 5* Jetwing Kaduruketha isn’t necessarily near any of Sri Lanka’s major attractions.
But what it lacks in flagship attractions, it more than makes up for with space, because Jetwing Kaduruketha is a mini agro-farm accommodation stay with 5* bonuses!
Delightful accommodation is set across individual mini-villas, and every effort is made to keep eco-heavy resources and energy to an absolute minimum.
My beautiful bedroom, with its chic Bali-esque semi-open bathroom and lovely bespoke furniture, was truly in-keeping with the eco lodge feel.
Surrounded by green paddy fields and a stunning view across this landscape from the pool this was definitely one of my favourite 5* hotels in Sri Lanka.
Offering nature walks at dawn and sunset, as well as spa treatments and bird watching tours, this is the ideal spot to get away from it all and relax.
Book your stay at Jetwing Kaduruketha here.
#6 Shangri-La, Hambantota
This is a great option for those who want a 5* star hotel slap back in Sri Lanka’s central southern coast.
High quality, with several pools, a sandy beach alongside and a multiple restaurants to choose from, this hotel is seriously luxurious.
Great for families, the Shangri-La Hambantota is not quite as personal as some of the other hotels on this list, but has enough entertainment and different activities to keep most people happy.
If you’re looking for a safe bet in Sri Lanka to keep all age groups content, this is a top choice… just beware of the rough waves from May to October and strong winds that can blow up the coast here.
Book your stay at Shangri-La Hambantota here.
#7 Tabula Rasa Resort & Spa, Unawatuna
And just slightly further along the south coast, along to the western side and the UNESCO-listed city of Galle, is the amazing Tabula Rasa Resort & Spa.
This absolutely had to be one of my favourite 5* hotels in Sri Lanka!
Owned by Dutch couple – Abouk & Arnie – the personal feel throughout this property shines.
From the amazing staff and glorious pool, to the international restaurant and cute bungalows, some with private pools (#7 is pretty special!), this place is hard to leave!
Set slightly back from the beach, the stunning jungle and coastal views you get from this elevated property are pretty magical and, tucked away in lush landscapes, you feel truly hidden from the rest of the world here, despite many top attractions and beaches (including the turtles of Angel Beach) being only 20 minutes away.
The UNESCO city of Galle is only about 35 minutes away.
Book your stay at Tabula Rasa Resort & Spa here.
#8 Jetwing St Andrews, Nuwara Eliya
And now for something totally different, Jetwing St Andrews is a 5* property located in the central highlands of Sri Lanka.
Found near the town of Nuwara Eliya, which lies at a height of 1868m, it’s no surprise that things can get pretty chilly in this part of Sri Lanka (despite the fact you’re only 5 hours from the coast and still in the tropics!)
Perfectly capturing the sense of cooler climes, the Jetwing St Andres is a cosy, Scottish themed hotel, full of rich fabrics, cute corners and warm fires, which are ideal for the cold nights here.
In the warmer days you can enjoy tea in the lovely gardens – with leaves plucked, of course, from the famous plantations around – while buffet breakfasts and speciality cocktails are the perfect way to begin and end the day!
Book your stay at Jetwing St Andrew here.
#9 Madulkelle Tea and Eco Lodge, Kandy
And last but not least on this list of the top 5* hotels in Sri Lanka we come to something a bit different, but well worth a visit in my opinion.
The fabulously unique Madulkelle Tea and Eco Lodge is located high in the hills outside of Kandy and sits amidst a working organic tea farm.
Owned by the slightly eccentric, but amazing Phillipe, this property offers spa and massage services, along with yoga lessons, cooking classes and hiking excursions from its pristine natural environment.
Nights are spent in executive glamping tents, which provide stunning views over the 24 acres of tea plantations.
The glamping safari tents are permanent structures and each boast their own balcony and ensuite bathroom, plus double bed, while breakfast is best savoured leisurely overlooking the gardens and infinity pool.
If you want to get away from the world, but still experience an authentic sense of Sri Lankan culture, it’s hard to get better than this eco lodge, which offers so much to do in the surrounds you really need at stay at least 3 nights!
Book your stay at Madulkelle Tea and Eco Lodge here.
Top Sri Lanka Travel Tips
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And there you have it, my list of the top 5* hotels in Sri Lanka.
No matter whether you want to stay and lap up the tropical coastline of this island, or head inland to its cultural attractions, safari parks and highland tea plantations, this list has you covered!
So tell me, have you visited Sri Lanka?
What was your fav 5* hotel?
Please drop any recommendations into the comments box below to help fellow travellers out…