The Wallawwa

Colombo, Sri Lanka Book from Book from £110 per night

An elegant and tranquil retreat nestled in exotic tropical gardens, close to Colombo's airport
Whether you are disembarking from a long flight or preparing to jet off, an ice-cold drink, a friendly face and a restful room seem heaven-sent. But The Wallawwa’s small spa, excellent chef, gorgeous pool and exotic gardens make it the kind of place you might want to linger. In the 17 spacious and comfy rooms, dark woods offset bright striped and floral fabrics, and fresh flowers waft their scent throughout.

Once a country estate belonging to the head chieftain of Galle, history buffs will love the hotel’s fascinating heritage; tired bodies will luxuriate in the comfy beds. It's beautifully quiet and just 20 minutes from the airport - perfect for a couple of days' gentle acclimatisation. Equally, it’s an ideal base for exploring Colombo’s shops, museums and nearby golf courses (40-60 minutes’ away).

Best of all, the staff are stand-out; as you get to know them by name and it feels like being with family. The Wallawwa is a great hotel by any standards - not just a great stopover on your way in or out of Sri Lanka.

Highs

  • Wondrously spacious rooms decorated in a tropical colonial style; outside you'll find perfectly manicured gardens with lush planting
  • Just 20 minutes from the airport - ideal for pre- or post flight stopovers
  • Truly excellent service; staff have been trained in some of the best hotels in Sri Lanka and it shows
  • A refreshingly varied menu combining Sri Lankan curries plus adventurous western styles
  • On-site spa with an excellent masseuse

Lows

  • You're a fair way out of Colombo and need to take a taxi to other restaurants and shops
  • Our air-conditioning was quite loud, possibly due to being ready for an upgrade
  • You’re in the jungle so expect creepy crawlies

Best time to go

Any time of year - this hotel is open all year and is an ideal place to stop off on your way in our out of the country. A great base if you want to explore Colombo but not stay right in the city.

Our top tips

If this is your first stop after a long-haul flight, be sure to book a 40-minute head and neck massage - you get 15% off by booking through i-escape. It's a refreshing way to beat the jet lag and soothe yourself into an easy sleep.

Great for...

Eco
Family
Foodie
Spa
Wedding
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 17
  • Restaurant (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

All rooms are vast - our jaws dropped when we saw the size of our bathroom - and high ceilings and lots of windows mean they are light, cool and very comfortable. Add huge beds, super comfy mattresses and black-out shades and you're pretty much guaranteed a great night's sleep.

Decor is stylish and rooms are well equipped with flatscreen TVs, plenty of wardrobe space and window seats (which can be made into an extra bed for a child) as well as a small terrace. Relaxing and calm, they impart a definite sense of serenity.

Our only quibbles were to do with the bathroom. Sizewise things were amazing, but we were slightly disappointed by the lack of a tub (heaven knows, there's space for one!). On the upside we loved the bamboo towel rails and bathroom products (which you can use but not take away - environmentally sound).

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Mosquito net
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • Torch
  • Tv
  • Umbrella
  • WiFi

Eating

Breakfast and dinner are taken at the small open veranda restaurant; lunch too, if you are around. When we asked about dining times, we were told "Any time, this is your home now." And we really felt that we could order as we wanted (there's 24-hour room service if you feel it's too cheeky to do so in the restaurant).

The food was amongst the best we had in Sri Lanka. A mouth-watering global fusion menu, combining everything from Balinese tuna skewers to eggs Benedict and excellent, authentic curries. It's kept small so you're guaranteed high quality and fresh produce, much of it from the hotel's gardens. For dinner we opted for the Sri Lankan curry and were delighted with the array of steaming bowls that arrived - curry for one can definitely be a curry for two here!

At breakfast, the egg hoppers with a fresh and spicy sambal, and the buffalo curd with treacle, were just the ticket to set us up for our journey.

If you want to dine out, Colombo has a vast array of restaurants to choose from - just ask for the latest recommendations.

Features include:

  • Children meals
  • Organic produce
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Book a massage in the spa - a must for those coming off a long haul flight, but an affordable treat at any time
  • Head to the pool for a swim, or lounge by its side on those too-hot-to-move days
  • If it rains, curl up in the library with a book or play one of the board games till the storm passes
  • If you want to play golf, the team will arrange a game at The Royal Colombo course, or further afield at the Victoria Golf and Country Club in Kandy
  • The National Museum and the Dutch Period Museum are both worth a visit in Colombo
  • Colombo has the best shopping on the whole island, so ask the team for some advice and grab a taxi into town if retail therapy is your vice

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Horse-riding
  • Hot air ballooning
  • Kayaking
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Snorkelling
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Windsurfing
  • Yoga

Kids

A good option for families, with safe, lawned grounds and excellent, flexible service. Note that the pool and pond are not protected in any way.

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Garden Suites have an extra bed for a child - actually a window seat made into a bed. Two pairs of rooms are interconnecting (1 double Garden Suite and 1 twin Wallawwa Room, in each case).

Baby equipment:

High chairs

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

Kids menu available

Families Should Know:

There are unfenced ponds and a pool so keep an eye on small children at all times.

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 18 independent reviews from i-escape guests

9/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
9/10
Value
9/10
Overall

Super relaxing place that makes your adjustment to the holiday mood seamless. Happy smiley staff welcomes you any time of night whenever the long-haul flights land. The rooms are big and comfy, the grounds are beautiful. We loved the "green" aspect of it - they have their own vegetable garden and very proud to include the produce in the excellent cuisine. We enjoyed the pool, the afternoon tea and the massage. The kind of place that you would happily spend whole holidays, not just before or after the flight. We simply didn't want to leave.

10/10,

Fantastic food and staff and a beautiful hotel. Highly recommend. Booking drivers through them is very expensive though - much cheaper to arrange your own.

10/10,

Great stopover close to Columbo airport as our flights arrived /departed in the middle of the night. Quite expensive for a stopover, but it made a very pleasant start and end to our trip. Huge comfy room, lovely pool and excellent restaurant - Sri Lankan breakfast was delicious, as were the curries at dinner, where each dish came with a wonderful selection of small vegetable curries and sambol etc.

9/10,

Beautifully designed hotel in a tropical oasis. Perfect place to stay when arriving or ending your holiday in Sri Lanka.

10/10,

For the one short night we stayed, It was outstanding in every respect.

10/10,

Wonderful!

10/10,

This was a tranquil haven, perfect for our (very) early arrival into Colombo. I don't think we could have chosen a more perfect place to stay - just wish it had been more than one night. The room was spacious, bathroom huge, food amazing and a massage essential after the long flight. Very peaceful pool area - bliss. We would definitely stay again.

10/10,

Staff were excellent as was the food

10/10,

The serenity of the Wallawwa is the perfect way to kick start any holiday. Throw in a magic spa treatment and I could feel the kinks iron out. Now ready to venture further into Sri Lanka.

10/10,

Wonderfully attentive staff, beautiful surroundings, a really relaxing experience.

10/10,

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Rates for The Wallawwa