The best family-friendly hotels in Sri Lanka, from trampolines and trapezes to outdoor film nights

Advice

Please check the latest travel guidance before making your journey. Note that our writers visited these hotels prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

Rich in outdoorsy attractions, thought-provoking history and natural diversity, Sri Lanka is an inspiring destination for families seeking a well-rounded tropical adventure. Their locations – near sandy beaches and ruined palaces, deep within forests or on the fringe of reserves home to elephants – provide sufficient allure, yet our recommended hotels go the extra mile by offering family suites or interconnecting rooms, inventive and nutritious children’s menus, and activities such as treasure hunts, evening campfires and outdoor cinema nights. Here’s our pick of the best family-friendly hotels in Sri Lanka.

Shangri-La’s Hambantota Resort and Spa

Ambalantota, Sri Lanka

7
Telegraph expert rating

Set on a former coconut plantation, this stylish resort offers a range of family-friendly activities, a great choice of restaurants and an Ayurvedic spa on the wild and untouched south-eastern coast. Despite its size, the hotel feels intimate with local craftsmanship evident throughout. Facilities include three pools: adult, family and children’s, the latter with a slide. Bikes are supplied for pedalling up to the nearby temple. There’s also 23ft-high trapeze and trampoline for guests to try while a drone films the moment for posterity. The 50 interconnecting rooms kids’ club and a babysitting service seal the deal.


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From


£
72

per night

Rates provided by
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Camellia Hills

Dickoya, Sri Lanka

9
Telegraph expert rating

Here is a highly contemporary interpretation of a traditional tea bungalow, with just five bedrooms, set in lush gardens, with marvellous lake and hill views. For a small establishment, the all-inclusive food is ambitious. Everything is beautifully presented, and breakfast, including dishes such as nuts, banana and chia seeds on toast or traditional egg hoppers with seeni sambol, luna miris is imaginative; there is a special children’s menu too. Rooms are thoughtfully equipped and uncluttered. Prettily covered hot water bottles are provided at night, and there are plenty of books from which to choose. Cots are provided on request.


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From


£
280

per night

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Mr & Mrs Smith

Why House

Galle, Sri Lanka

9
Telegraph expert rating

Set in spacious gardens, just inland from Galle’s palm-studded coastline, Why House is one of those rare hotels that suits couples and families alike. It’s also a favourite with returning guests charmed by its accommodating staff, tranquility and home-from-home vibe. Classically styled pavilions with deep verandas and lacy fretwork evoke the island’s Dutch colonial past, though the whitewashed interiors feel fresh and contemporary. Suites in the Main House have anterooms where children can sleep next to, rather than in, their parents’ room and some rooms interconnect.


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From


£
83

per night

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Rosyth Estate House

Kegalle, Sri Lanka

9
Telegraph expert rating

Rosyth works really well as a first or a last stop on a circuitous itinerary as it’s around a two-hour journey from the airport. It’s in a locale blessed with hilly views, with Kandy in reach and a tea factory to visit. Rooms are suitable for a range of budgets and food is superb. The original three-bedroom bungalow dates back to 1926, while a series of more recently built pavilions up the room tally to 10. A good choice for families, some rooms interconnect while one, Clove, sleeps four. There are cots, extra beds (£45 for children aged three to 11), high chairs, boxes of Lego and DVDs, and a children’s menu too.


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From


£
196

per night

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Rock Villa

Bentota, Sri Lanka

8
Telegraph expert rating

An impeccably maintained boutique hotel on the west coast, with a handful of room types and suites to suit a range of budgets, a modern menu of exceptional food and a relaxed garden setting seconds from the wide, southern end of Bentota Beach. At the heart of Rock Villa is a modest 170-year-old, two-bedroom wallauwa (manor house), the former holiday home of owner Nayantaru Fonseka before she converted it into a hotel, adding a pool, a new wing of rooms and a secluded two-bedroom villa-style pool suite. Families will love the big enclosed garden and beach beyond, and should book a suite.


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From


£
550

per night

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The Wallawwa

Kotugoda, Sri Lanka

9
Telegraph expert rating

Although located a 15-minute hop from Colombo Airport, this historic manor house-turned-boutique hotel feels as far removed from an airport hotel as you can possibly get. Luscious tropical gardens, a hidden-away swimming pool, large rooms and good food (top marks for the well-conceived children’s menus) await the travel weary. The public areas form the main house while inconspicuous new wings to the rear and side house the 18 contemporary-styled guestrooms. Family suites sleep up to five, while cots and extra beds are available in other rooms.


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From


£
180

per night

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Living Heritage Koslanda

Koslanda, Sri Lanka

8
Telegraph expert rating

A serene and stylish boutique hotel with traditional architecture, a hilltop pool blessed with amazing views and a woodland waterfall for secluded swims. Set in 80 acres of calming forest and gardens, the hotel is ideal for adventurous, nature-loving families. Excellent touches include a secluded pool with valley views and cushioned ambalamas (traditional wayside resting pavilions). In terms of rooms, the Luxury Villa suites can accommodate two extra beds and interconnect through their courtyards. The two-bedroom Walauwa Suite is a private house within a hotel, which offers a long, furnished veranda with garden views.


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From


£
157

per night

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Sri Sharavi Beach Villas & Spa

Mirissa, Southern Province, Sri Lanka

8
Telegraph expert rating

With rooms divided between four near-identical villas, this stylish hotel with swimming pool and spa offers a setting of relaxed conviviality beside a slender beach. Each villa offers three bedrooms and communal living/dining areas apiece and feels like a mini hotel with the management doing their best to match like minded guests together; this friendly setup is especially good for families whose children will quickly meet and bond. Alternatively, families could book each villa or the entire property exclusively. Another plus is the shallow kids’ wading areas at each end of the pool.


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From


£
270

per night

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Water Garden Sigiriya Hotel

Sigiriya, Matale District, Sri Lanka

8
Telegraph expert rating

Water Garden Sigiriya is a beautifully laid out, resort-style hotel in Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle, with spacious, free-standing chalets designed to indulge guests with stunning views of the area’s principle attraction: the ancient rock fortress of Sigiriya. As its name suggests, the design of the hotel is based around landscaped water gardens, in a nod towards the water gardens of Sigiriya. The chalets are all big enough for extra beds though the Duplex Villas, which have a ground-floor king-sized bed and an upper floor twin, two bathrooms and living space, plus a plunge pool, are most suitable for families.


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£
118

per night

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Ellerton Bungalow

Kandy, Sri Lanka

8
Telegraph expert rating

This superb-value boutique hotel in the Kandy hills is extremely welcoming. Carved out of a colonial-era bungalow, and surrounded by manicured gardens, spices, fruit trees and tea, there’s terrific potential for nature-filled hikes or bike rides, or simply blissing out poolside. The management are very pro-children, arranging board games and outdoor film nights. There’s one designated family room and extra beds for other rooms plus baby cots available. Most guests staying here book on half-board basis and the food is very good.


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From


£
224

per night

Rates provided by
Booking.com

Contributions by Sara D’souza & Emma Boyle

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