Top 10: Sri Lanka's Best Coastal Retreats

Sri Lanka
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by Emma Boyle, The Telegraph, January 17, 2019

An insider's guide to the greatest beach-side retreats in Sri Lanka, from breezy rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking curvaceous coastlines, to infinity pools peering over waves sliced by surfers, in locations including Weligama, Hambantota and Yala National Park. 

KK Beach Habaraduwa, Sri Lanka

8Telegraph expert rating

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Galle’s curvaceous coastline is home to a string of beaches, yet Habaraduwa’s two-mile champagne-coloured strand, flanked by high-end villas, is picture postcard-pretty. KK Beach is fresh and contemporary, with simplistic, impeccably laid-out interiors and a strong focus on training your gaze towards the indigo ocean. Its rooms are indulgently comfortable yet not overdone and open to the well-tended garden and tropical breezes. The walls of the hotel display artwork by local artists. The food does not disappoint, and you’ll never dine without a sea view. Tables can also be set up beneath palms in the garden or on the beach. Read expert review. From £163per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

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The Sandhya Ahangama, Sri Lanka

8Telegraph expert rating

The Sandhya has a charmed location at the centre of unspoilt Kabalana Beach, where surfers slice through the waves by day and the lights of fishing boats illuminate the horizon at night. Modern and a touch minimalist, its pared-back interiors bring to life mid-20th century modern styling, with a sweeping staircase that leads to the first floor. All nine rooms are Indian Ocean-facing, but they don’t just peek at the sea – their floor-to-ceiling sliding doors really allow you to drink in the rolling waves and the cornflower-blue sky from king-size beds. The Asian-international all-day menu focuses on a farm to table concept. Read expert review. From £147per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

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Saman Villas Bentota, Sri Lanka

9Telegraph expert rating

Few locations in Sri Lanka can match Saman Villas’ superb panorama-blessed promontory, which benefits from infinite views north to Bentota, south to Induruwa and deep into the Indian Ocean. The hotel, popular with honeymooners, is reminiscent of traditional Sri Lankan temple design and the 27 ocean-facing suites boast dramatic sea views. The roomy interiors have a tropical modernist feel with split level timber-floored bedroom and lounge areas. Read expert review. From £275per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

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Eraeliya Villas & Gardens Weligama, Sri Lanka

8Telegraph expert rating

There are just nine villas and suites at this hotel located on a quiet sliver of beach near the southern coastal surfing destination of Weligama. The best sea-facing rooms, which are contemporary in design, offer a balcony or poolside terrace. Instead of a central restaurant, butlers deliver meals to the veranda, terrace or interior of the suite or villa. There’s also a small Ayurvedic spa. Read expert review. From £79per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

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Amanwella Tangalle, Hambantota District, Sri Lanka

8Telegraph expert rating

Amanwella’s pristine banana-shaped bay is easily one of Sri Lanka’s most scenic. Despite occupying most of its 880yd beachfront, this contemporary hotel has just 27 suites, which are so spacious and serene that guests are rarely seen around the resort, whose tropical minimalism remains faithful to Aman’s philosophy of barefoot luxury. The main restaurant is a simple, pavilion-style building adjacent to the bar and the two share a terrace, which basks in superb sunset bay-view panoramas every evening. Private dining is also possible; choose from the beach club (which is usually open only for casual lunches), the palm grove or the beach. Read expert review. From £766per night. Check availability. Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith.

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Jetwing Yala Yala, Sri Lanka

8Telegraph expert rating

The setting is superb – perched just behind natural sand dunes and coastal scrub, the hotel overlooks the dramatic southern coastline, just a few miles from the Palatupana entrance of Yala National Park: one of the world’s best sites to spot leopard. Wildlife isn’t confined to the park – families of wild boar habitually visit the hotel, and a resident elephant roams nearby. The hotel’s minimalist architectural style allows the spectacular coastal views to shine and it’s amply spacious. Even when the 80-room hotel is full, it doesn’t feel crowded – and you can’t beat the bar right out on the beach. Read expert review. From £105per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

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Buckingham Place Tangalle, Hambantota District, Sri Lanka

9Telegraph expert rating

Straddling a long promontory between the Rekawa Lagoon and a seemingly endless stretch of wild beach, this is a nature-lover’s paradise. Rekawa’s beach is a vital nesting ground for Sri Lanka’s five marine turtle species; while Yala, Bundala and Udawalawe national parks can be visited within the day. The palm-shaded grounds, home to resident peacocks, a rescue pony and wild troupes of langur monkeys, are private and serene. Rooms are clean, crisp and spacious, dining is a pleasure, there’s a sensational sea-gazing infinity swimming pool and a near-deserted beach. Read expert review. From £170per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

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Kumu Beach Balapitiya, Sri Lanka

9Telegraph expert rating

Most guests wind up here for a week at the end of an island-wide itinerary, and this west coast setting is superb. You can wander down on to Balapitiya’s sandy strand from the hotel’s broad garden and scramble up on to the rocks opposite to photograph crimson sunsets. Annika Fernando, a recognised Sri Lankan designer, transformed the interiors of this symmetrical sea-facing hotel into chic, elegant and calming spaces. Furnishings are beautifully crafted and rooms brought alive by contemporary colour-splashed batik cushions. Sip sundowners on the deck or the sunken loungers in the pool. Read expert review. From £141per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

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Paradise Road The Villa Bentota Bentota, Sri Lanka

8Telegraph expert rating

The Villa Bentota is the latest incarnation of one of Sri Lanka’s oldest boutique hotels, the Mohotti Walauwa. Shanth Fernando, founder of lauded lifestyle store Paradise Road, has converted the Seventies hotel into a contemporary seaside resort. Superior Suites are roomy and offer good value, coming with private veranda, balcony or roof terrace. The Villa Café is the hotel’s open-sided restaurant and the casual vibe belies a seriousness about food as it offers some of the island’s best Sri Lankan dishes. Located along Bentota’s quieter southern coastline, the hotel is 150yd from the beach. Read expert review. From £46per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

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Cape Weligama Weligama, Sri Lanka

9Telegraph expert rating

Occupying a secluded promontory on Sri Lanka’s southern tip, it would be hard to dream up a more ruggedly romantic setting. There are uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean and the beaches which flank the resort are suitable for swimming and largely deserted. Each free-standing residence is at an angle to the next, amid swaying palms and manicured grounds. The resident restaurants and bars feature alcoves and terraces that encourage the sense of seclusion. Dining at the De Mauny Pavilion at night is a treat. Read expert review. From £298per night. Check availability. Rates provided by


This article was written by Emma Boyle from The Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].

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