Luxury Holidays To Sri Lanka: An Overview

Sitting pretty at the southern tip of India, the teardrop-shaped island of Sri Lanka is a small country with a big combination of attractions - culture, beaches and nature - that make this the perfect destination for a luxury holiday.

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Miranda, Katie and Rosie are here to help give you the inside track.

Why we think you’ll love it

  • Yala National Park on the south east coast; the pristine jungle plays host to both man and beast, who live good naturedly side-by-side.
  • The ancient site of Sigiriya, built on the fresco-adorned 'Lion Rock' that towers 200 metres above beautiful surrounding gardens, is spectacular.
  • Sri Lanka is home to an abundance of exotic species of wildlife, making the country's national parks a flora and fauna haven.

Sri Lanka Luxury Holidays: The Detail

Long a favourite Original Travel destination, Sri Lanka has no fewer than seven World Heritage Sites, including ancient cities, temples and nature reserves. No wonder the country is known as the 'island of serendipity' by those fortunate enough to stumble upon it. To be sure, Sri Lanka is being stumbled upon on a more regular basis now, but the country's appearance on the luxury holiday radar merely means more and better boutique hotels and improved logisitics.

Now for some context. Sri Lanka was once of huge importance to European powers with an eye on spice markets and trade routes, and fascinating vestiges of the colonial control wielded by first the Portuguese and Dutch and latterly the British can be seen around the country.

Did you know

  • Before 1972, Sri Lanka was known as 'Ceylon'
  • Spicy curry is Sri Lanka's most common dish, served with rice and vegetables
  • Sri Lanka is also called the 'Teardrop of India' because of its teardrop shape and, you guessed it, its proximity to India
  • The elephant is the symbol of Sri Lanka
  • Every year Sri Lanka serves as a venue for an elephant pageant

But in our opinion it's the Ceylonese cultural heritage that marks Sri Lanka out as a truly extraordinary luxury holiday destination. The Cultural Triangle in the northern centre of the country, comprising the tongue-twisting cities of Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura, as well as Dambulla and the island's crowning glory - the rock fortress of Sigiriya - together making this an astonishing heritage heartland. Heading south the leafy holy city of Kandy and Sri Lanka's tea plantations are also highlights. Finally, Yala and Wilpattu National Parks might not have the tigers that make India's reserves so popular, but they are both beautiful and home to populations of leopards.

And then there are the beaches. Palm-fringed and stretching for mile upon mile, Sri Lanka's beaches are some of the least spoiled in Asia. The south coast is home to some of the very best, with an ever growing number of charming boutique hotels looking straight out onto the ocean. The centre of the south coast action is the wonderful walled city of Galle, like a Lankan Lucca and potentially worth a day or two's exploration before the lure of the beach overwhelms all your other luxury holiday plans.

The Original Travel team have been to Sri Lanka on a number of occasions over the past few years and have watched with satisfaction as the island bounces back from the trauma of the civil war years. We are passionate about the destination and know the country in detail, so when planning your luxury holiday we can suggest everything from the finest beach chic boutique hotels to stay in to the finest tea to take home as a souvenir.


Top picks for Sri Lanka

The pool at Amanwella, luxury hotel in Sri Lanka

Amanwella

Galle & the Southern Beaches

Situated in a mature coconut grove above a tropical beach on the southern tip of the country's Indian Ocean coastline, this is coastal luxury at its most chic.

Where to stay

Cultural Triangle & Tea Plantations

Cultural Triangle & Tea Plantations

Sri Lanka

The heartland of Sri Lanka contains several World Heritage listed sites, and because they are close together, these can easily be combined in one superb cultural tour.

Where to go

Casa Heliconia

Casa Heliconia

Colombo

Jungle clad Casa Heliconia is an intimate hideaway, set on a three-acre fruit and vegetable estate in the rural village of Kaleliya in Pasyala, Western Sri Lanka. Tucked away within easy reach of the international airport, and the main Colombo – Kandy highway, the hotel makes an ideal first stop in Sri Lanka, to relax and refresh after international arrivals.

Where to stay

Yala, Wilpattu & Gal Oya National Parks

Yala, Wilpattu & Gal Oya National Parks

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka's national parks are yet another attraction in a wonderful country.

Where to go

Villa At Wild Coast Tented Lodge

Wild Coast Tented Lodge

Yala, Wilpattu & Gal Oya National Parks

Wild Coast Tented Lodge is an all new canvas lodge situated on a deserted beach at the edge of Yala National Park. The lodge is set to open in mid-2017 and to say we’re pretty excited would be a slight understatement.

Where to stay

Uga Residence

Uga Residence

Colombo

Sitting in the heart of bustling Colombo, the Uga Residence is an oasis of calm nestled between leafy Park Street and the Buddhist shrine of Gangarama. The Residence was built in the 19th century by Sheikh Salehboy Moosajee, a wealthy barrister, and throughout the years, the Residence has seen Indian Maharaja’s, European nobility, and British governors grace its halls.

Where to stay

The Fortress

The Fortress

Galle & the Southern Beaches

The Fortress is a boutique resort on one of the south coast's most expansive sandy beaches, Koggala Beach. Only 10 miles from the historic city of Galle the building design and interior furnishings successfully blend traditional Dutch, Portuguese and Sri Lankan architecture with contemporary design.

Where to stay

Galle & the Southern Beaches

Galle & the Southern Beaches

Sri Lanka

Stay in a luxury hotel in Galle Fort and combine the city's culture with some of the best beach destinations in the world.

Where to go

Fort Bazaar Courtyard

Fort Bazaar

Galle & the Southern Beaches

Fort Bazaar is set within a sensitively restored 17th century town house right in the heart of Galle Fort, once the home of spice, tea and gem traders, and offers plenty of charm and an ideal location. 

Where to stay

Colombo

Colombo

Sri Lanka

For a slice of multicultural Sri Lankan life, a bit of buzz, and some interesting colonial architecture, Colombo is a worthy stopover, for a full exploration of this fascinating country.

Where to go

East Coast Beaches

East Coast Beaches

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s east coast has, until recently, remained firmly under the traveller radar. But no more. What with the recent boom in boutique hotels opening throughout Sri Lanka, the east is beginning to emerge from shadows of the popular west and south coast beach scenes, as the more laid back, rustic beach spot for those in the know.

Where to go

The Wallawwa

The Wallawwa

Colombo

Sitting pretty within five acres of landscaped tropical gardens, the Wallawwa is a charming, colonial style boutique hotel located conveniently close to the international airport - never before has an airport hotel looked so good. However, The Wallawwa is deserving of much more than an overnight stay, and is the perfect option for the non-city types, who still want a glimpse of bustling capital Colombo.

Where to stay

Our second holiday with Original Travel and once again you came up trumps.

Richard

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