An elegant and tranquil retreat nestled in exotic tropical gardens, close to Colombo's airport”
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 - you get to know them by name and it feels like being with family. Wallawwa is a great hotel by any standards - not just a great stopover on your way in or out of Sri Lanka.
- 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, using produce from their own herb and spice garden
- On-site spa with an excellent masseuse
- You're a fair way out of Colombo and need to take a taxi to other restaurants and shops
- Rooms are on the pricey side, but you'll leave here feeling totally spoilt and refreshed
- You’re in the jungle so expect creepy crawlies
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Hotel
- 18 rooms
- Restaurant (open daily)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
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).
- Air conditioning
- DVD player
- Extra beds
- Family friendly
- Mosquito net
- Safe box
- Satellite TV
Breakfast and dinner are taken at the small open veranda restaurant overlooking the 200 year old tropical gardens; 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 pan-seared barramundi 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’re feeling inspired by the local flavours you’ve been sampling, you can join in on one of Wallawwa’s Sri Lankan Cookery Demonstrations, in which the chefs will let you pick out fresh herbs from their very own spice garden and then share with you their tips and secrets to making a delicious traditional feast. You can also pair this cookery lesson with their Negombo Fish Market Tour for a more thorough insight into the local and seasonal produce.
If you want to dine out, Colombo has a vast array of restaurants to choose from - just ask for the latest recommendations.
- Children's meals
- Family friendly
- Organic produce
- Room service
- Vegetarian menu
- 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
- Take a relaxing canal and lagoon boat trip around the Mutharajawela Wetlands - you might catch a glimpse of crocodiles, monkeys, birdlife and flora
- If you want a learn more about the fascinating culture, the hotel can arrange a tour to the Pilikuttuwa Rajamaha Temple, a monastic meditation complex built 2,400 years ago. From there you can walk up the hill to explore the 99 caves where the monks used to meditate, and take in the panoramic views
- For those with green fingers, opt for a tour to the Henarathgoda Botanical Garden, where the first rubber tree planted in Sri Lanka still stands. The garden has an extensive collection of palms and orchids and is also home to nearly 80 species of birds and 18 species of mammal, including the Sri Lankan flying squirrel
- 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
- The hotel also arranges Colombo Art or Religious Tours, which each visit a number of significant cultural venues around the city, as well as a bespoke Negombo City walk, which concludes on a boat ride on the Negombo Lagoon
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Horse riding
- Hot air ballooning
- Scuba diving
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.
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).
Kids menu available
Kids Activities on site:
Wesak lantern and kite making
Families Should Know:
There are unfenced ponds and a pool so keep an eye on small children at all times.
For more family-friendly places, see our Kids Collection
Wallawwa is 10km / 20 minutes east of Colombo airport, and about 60 minutes' drive northeast of Colombo city centre. The beaches of Negombo are 30 minutes away. The nearest town is Kotugoda.
Fly into Colombo's Bandaranaike International Airport (10km).
From the Airport
The hotel can organise a car to collect you from Colombo airport, which takes 15-30 minutes depending on traffic.
If you want to hire a car, bear in mind that Sri Lanka’s roads are in bad condition and speed limits are low, so even short distances take a long time. It can take up to 3 hours to cross Colombo at rush hour! We recommend hiring a driver and car if you’re planning to travel around Sri Lanka. Enquire through our Tailormade Tour Operator; they can collect you at Colombo airport when you land, drive you to the hotel, then drive you to your onward destination(s) after your stay, as well as taking you on all day trips etc.
Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.
More on getting to Sri Lanka and getting around
- Colombo (Bandaranaike Airport) 10.0 km CMB
- Beach 20.0 km
- Shops 2.0 km
- Restaurant 10.0 km