Sri Lanka holiday with boutique hotels

Description of Sri Lanka holiday with boutique hotels

This Sri Lanka holiday will allow you to explore this culturally rich and environmentally diverse country while staying in a selection of unique boutique hotels. You’ll take in World Heritage sites, view diverse animal and bird species, visit national parks and verdant tea plantations and relax on an Indian Ocean coastline boasting sandy tropical beaches. This is the perfect way to experience Sri Lanka - exploring the culture, history, landscape and wildlife of the island while staying in some of its finest heritage houses and luxury villas, all of which provide an exceptional standard of accommodation, service, cuisine and surrounds.

First stop is the Wallawwa, an ideal venue for post- and pre-flight pampering. Set in a former manor house surrounded by tropical gardens it offers chic guestrooms, gourmet cuisine, discreet service and a decadent spa. Next you’ll travel up into the hills for a stay at Bougainvillea Retreat, east of Kandy. The personalised service of this small hotel, along with its meandering swimming pool, home cinema and easy access to natural surroundings makes it a good option for couples, families and groups.

A real gem at the southern end of the Hill Country, Living Heritage Koslanda is next on the agenda. Surrounded by 80 acres of deciduous woodland, known locally as ‘God’s Forest’, with a river running through it and a secluded waterfall, this off-the-beaten-track boutique hotel has only four rooms and celebrates Sri Lanka’s traditional architectural design. From here you’ll leave the hills for the island’s low-lying southern plains, and on to the south coast. The Last House is located on a gorgeous 2km curve of bay west of Tangalle, a busy fishing town. With barely another soul to be seen on the beach here, this is a destination for relaxing in tranquillity beside the sea.

Continuing west along the picturesque southern coastline you’ll end your trip in Galle, famed for pretty beaches, a 17th century Dutch fort and a cosmopolitan vibe. Here you’ll stay at the Fort Bazaar right in the heart of Galle Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This 18-room boutique hotel has a pool as well as fabulous eating and drinking venues.

Travel Team

If you would like some help or advice, or just want to discuss your ideas for your next trip, do give us a call.

Departure information

Our tailor made Sri Lanka holidays can be arranged at any time to suit you, and adapted to your requirements as necessary although we do not offer trips for under 10 days.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Sri Lanka holiday with boutique hotels


Wildlife Conservation and Rehabilitation
Sri Lanka has diverse habitats and a great variety of indigenous wildlife and plant life. To help maintain breeding populations of some of the more vulnerable animal species endemic to the island, conservation projects have been started. Through our Sri Lanka holidays we encourage travellers to visit some of these projects to support their conservation work.

The Elephant Transit Home in Uda Walawe National Park is another example. It's an excellent way of seeing baby wild elephants in their natural environment and as a project supported by the Born Free Foundation, it has animal welfare at its heart.

This conservation project takes in baby wild elephants that have been separated from their mothers and cares for them until they can be returned to the wild. The young animals spend their days roaming freely in a section of the park, being observed at a distance by a few members of the ETH staff. They are fed at three-hour intervals in a specially constructed feeding yard, and this is the only time that they can be seen by tourists, who watch from a viewing platform separated from the yard itself. At no point can the tourists have physical contact with the animals. The sight of feeding time is very popular with local and foreign tourists alike as the elephants are enthusiastic, relaxed and full of character, unlike the elephants at Pinnewala Elephant ‘Orphanage’ (see below).

We do not promote or visit Pinnewala Elephant ‘Orphanage’ following adverse reports from Travellers’ Animal Alert, the global animal welfare campaign of the Born Free Foundation we support (see below), and some of our own customers. Please contact us for more details.

Born Free Foundation
The Born Free Foundation is an international wildlife charity working throughout the world to stop individual wild animal suffering and protect threatened species in the wild. Born Free's Travellers’ Animal Alert campaign works around the world to generate a greater public awareness of animal suffering and exploitation, encouraging the public to report animal 'attractions' they encounter both in the UK and abroad, and to promote the philosophies of the Born Free Foundation.

We are an active supporter their Travellers’ Animal Alert and we encourage all travellers to be aware of potential animal exploitation while on their holidays.

In order to help Travellers’ Animal Alert, we promote the following guidelines as a provider of responsible tourism:
• Promote Travellers’ Animal Alert in our customer travel documents and on our website
• Pledge not to promote any exploitative animal 'attraction' through our company literature or website
• Encourage all our holiday service providers not to promote any activity that involves animal exploitation
• Encourage our staff and customers to look out for captive animal exploitation and report any suffering to Travellers’ Animal Alert
• Actively encourage compassionate and responsible tourism.

Green energy
There is no need of generators at the mobile tented campsites since all energy required is produced via renewable sources. The campsites use photovoltaic cells to produce solar power for the lights in the tents to recharging batteries in the jeeps. Not only does this mean that there are no power cuts, it also means that there is no need for a noisy generator – solar power is totally silent – which benefits the environment and the safari experience by reducing noise and air pollution. We believe that for the perfect safari you should be able to enjoy the blissfully fresh air of the jungle and hear only the sounds of the wild, and in doing so we can fight climate change too!

Green products
Recycled paper is used at the campsites wherever possible to reduce paper waste and our safari camp specialist is working on going completely paper-free as it believes that trees belong with their roots – firmly in the ground. In the meantime, it ensures that as much paper as possible is recycled.

A range of organic toiletries are provided for showers and washing to ensure that unnecessary pollution is kept to a minimum around the nature reserves. The harsh chemicals found in certain soaps and shampoos can have a detrimental effect on the campsite and so all toiletries provided are 100% natural.

There is a serious attempt to reduce the amount of plastic used at the mobile safari campsites. Plastic bottles can be harmful to the environment as they are non-biodegradable and can be poisonous to wildlife. To cut down on plastics used within the park, our safari camp specialist provides stainless steel water bottles in tents as a re-usable and more sustainable alternative.

Green cuisine
Eating sustainably doesn’t have to be at a sacrifice of the dining experience. Our safari camp specialist truly believes that it serves up some of the finest food you can find in Sri Lanka. All of the food is locally sourced, which means that it is not only supporting the local community and economy, but it is also reducing gas emissions and energy consumption caused by industrial farming and long-distance produce transportation. Over time, locally-sourced products help contribute to healthier soils, fresher air, and better water quality, as well as supporting small businesses and fighting climate change. Knowing that your food comes totally fresh and at no detriment to the environment means that you can enjoy our award-winning alfresco dining with the satisfaction that you are helping to save the environment, one bite at a time!

Reducing water consumption
• Less than 20% of the world's water is fresh water.
• Acute water shortage has become a recurring problem in many parts of Sri Lanka and the rest of the world.
• Conservation is the greatest resource when it comes to water supply.

Sri Lanka, like many countries around the world, suffers from acute water shortages at certain times of the year. Even though the island experiences two monsoons a year, the reservoirs and tanks are not of sufficient capacity to supply the country’s requirements. This not only causes water shortages in villages and towns – in some areas they are limited to only one hour’s supply a day during these periods – but also contributes to power cuts since much of Sri Lanka’s electricity is generated by hydroelectric power. Reducing water consumption while travelling in Sri Lanka will contribute directly to conserving essential water supplies. Much of the Sri Lankan population wash in rivers and lakes and so supplied fresh water is used mainly for cooking and drinking.

Limiting non-degradable waste production
In previous times many of the goods and products sold in Sri Lanka were packaged in natural biodegradable materials. Today, however, much of the packaging is non-degradable and this waste pollutes the environment, particularly when it is not disposed of correctly. Limiting the amount of non-degradable waste generated helps to preserve the environment and reduces the potential negative impact on wildlife.

• Try to buy goods and products in biodegradable packaging. For example, many pharmacies in Sri Lanka dispense medicines in paper bags rather than plastic bags.
• Limit the number of plastic carrier bags acquired when shopping by putting your purchases directly into your own bag without extra packaging.
• Reduce the number of plastic water bottles used by storing your drinking water in a re-usable water container. (Bringing a water filter, potable iodine solution or water purification tablets with you will help limit the number of water bottles required.)
• Always dispose of non-degradable waste carefully since it can have a detrimental effect on the environment and wildlife.


Through our Essential Sri Lanka with boutique hotels holiday we actively encourage responsible and sustainable travel to Sri Lanka. By working on our Essential Sri Lanka with boutique hotels holiday closely with our associate company in Sri Lanka and other partner organisations, we are endeavouring to promote cultural exchange, social awareness, self-employment and self-development.

We only employ English-speaking Sri Lankan chauffeur guides who are all licensed by the Sri Lanka Tourist Board. Experienced guides for trekking, safaris and other specialist activities are hired locally and have extensive knowledge of their chosen area of expertise.

We offer private, bespoke holidays to Sri Lanka and Maldives for individuals, couples, families or groups of friends of up to eight persons. Our small group sizes allow us to use cars, small vans or jeeps when travelling around Sri Lanka and when visiting rural areas and national parks, where use of larger vehicles in such areas often results in widening and blacktopping of rural paths for coach access. The resulting effect on the environment can be devastating. We feel that our small group sizes also lead to less impact both on the environment and the people that we visit as well as allowing for more supervision, advice and explanations with the high ratio of guides to travellers. The vehicles used for our tours are all regularly serviced to maintain safety and comfort, and to reduce pollution levels.

We actively promote intimate and authentic boutique hotels that employ local workers with a flair for hospitality, showcase traditional architecture and design, and excel in offering the true flavours of Sri Lankan cuisine - with a twist!

Embracing local cuisine is an essential part of any holiday if the visitor is to understand the country’s culture and savour its culinary delights. Consequently, we encourage visitors to eat at traditional restaurants, roadside eateries, street vendors and market stalls in order for them to enjoy and experience authentic Sri Lankan food. This contributes directly to the local economy and provides employment in the local food industry, as well as helping to counter the opinion that tourists only eat Western-style fast food.

Local crafts
Local goods always make interesting souvenirs to take home for family and friends. Sri Lankan craftsmen are renowned for their jewellery making, metalwork, wood carving and weaving, and visits to artisans may be incorporated into this holiday at various points in the itinerary, particularly in Kandy and Galle. We encourage visitors who would like to take souvenirs home with them to buy locally produced goods since this helps to preserve traditional crafts while at the same time contributing to the local economy. On the other hand, we are totally against the illegal trade in endangered species and their products and therefore actively discourage visitors from buying such goods. We also do not condone the use of wood that does not originate from well-managed plantations independently certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council or that is illegally logged from ancient forests.

Sri Lanka community-led projects
The Asian Tsunami highlighted the plight of coastal communities in Sri Lanka and our initial projects were targeted at Sri Lankan individuals and communities devastated by the tsunami (please ask us for details). However, many other communities away from the coast also lack essential materials and services and our objective is to offer long-term support to such Sri Lankan individuals and communities. By channelling all donations received by Forgotten Village Sri Lanka (an independent charitable organisation) into community-based projects on the island, we hope to provide sustained assistance to these communities in their endeavour to improve their lives. We make a contribution to Forgotten Village Sri Lanka for every holiday booked.

1 Reviews of Sri Lanka holiday with boutique hotels

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 13 Mar 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

We were bold over by the quality of the hotels.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

The holiday is ideal for those wishing to relax and take things at a leisurely pace. Be aware most of the hotels are located in fairly remote locations so not ideal for sightseeing or activities but our driver was very good at suggesting an itinerary that suited us and fitted plenty of things on our travel days maximising our time.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Not directly but we did visit and support some environmental projects; elephant orphanage and turtle nesting.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

This was definitely one of our best holidays, five star rating and already we a thinking about when we could return.

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