7 incredible places to spend Christmas in Sri Lanka

The holidays are getting closer. It’s not too late if you want to escape for an exotic and alternative festive season. Here, we’ve selected the best places in Sri Lanka to wake up at on Christmas Day...
Resplendent Cylon's Tea Trails is one of the most luxurious places to stay in Sri Lanka
Tea Trails: Norwood Bungalow at dusk

Tea Trail's Norwood Bungalow is a beautiful place to watch the sunset. Photo: www.resplendentceylon.com

Before getting lost in Sri Lanka’s most luxurious and festive places to stay, remember one thing: all of these hotels can be added to an itinerary with Insight Guides. Simply speak to a local expert today to start planning your trip or browse our ready-made itineraries now.


1. Fortaleza villas, Galle, Southwest Coast

Fortaleza has a collection of beautiful boutique hotels spread throughout Galle Fort, an impressive place in its own right, on the island’s southwest coast. The 16th-century Dutch colonial fort and designated Unesco World Heritage site is an ideal base during the festive season. You’ll find something for every type of traveller here, from boutique shopping (for last-minute Christmas gifts) to rich culture and glorious beaches nearby.

Fortaleza’s five villa hotels are dotted around the fort, and each offers their own unique design and style. Choose from an extensive, restored spice warehouse or an exclusive apartment. You’ll find luxurious settings with a homely touch and welcoming service throughout. According to our local expert, Imran, their restaurant (within their No.9 Church Cross Street property) serves the best Mahi Mahi dishes in Sri Lanka too. 

2. Tea Trails, Bogawantalawa, South-central Region

One word = wow. This place will offer you a Christmas escape like no other. Located in the high hills of the south-central Bogawantalawa region, Tea Trails offers guests luxurious service on a restored colonial tea plantation. The estate hosts five bungalows, each with detailed finishes, exquisite furnishings and an entire house team at your service. Want to have a personal butler serve you Champagne on Christmas Day? This is where you'll find it.

For active guests, tennis, white-water rafting, biking, hikes and more can be organised through the hotel. Alternatively, guests can relax with in-room spa treatments available or in one of the private pools or jacuzzis.

Photo: www.elysiumsrilanka.com

3. The Dutch House, Galle, Southwest Coast

Located a little outside of the city centre, away from the crowds but close enough to still explore, is The Dutch House. This country house, built back in the 18th century, hosts four grand, elegant suites for highly-private stays. A tropical English garden (including a croquet lawn), serene pool and spacious verandah area offer incredible views across what is undoubtedly a beautiful setting.

Rooms are spacious and decorated with period Dutch antiques (as well as lush silk drapes and claw-footed, grand bath tubs) but blend seamlessly with the hotel’s contemporary collection of art. With a guest’s relaxed attitude in mind, breakfast is served at any time of day (where a full English is an option), and evening dining options change daily to match seasonal ingredients available.

If you’re looking for a quiet Christmas, with things to do close by, this is the one for you.

4. Jungle Beach, Trincomalee, East Coast

Sri Lanka is popular with those travellers either looking to escape the Christmas festivities altogether or celebrate in a more exotic location. The problem is many places get booked up early in the season. Jungle Beach, located on the island’s east coast, is a great last-minute option. The east coast has more unpredictable weather at this time of year (although, let’s be honest, what’s a day or two of rain when you’re relaxing on one of the world’s most beautiful islands?), compared to the west and south coasts.

Jungle Beach provides a wonderful hideaway for this time of year. Choose from three room types: facing the beach, by the lagoon or fully-immersed in the jungle. Whichever option you go for, you’ll always be able to hear the lapping of the waves on the nearby shore. Your days will be spent poolside or on the golden stretch of sand here, relaxing in your rustic hut or being pampered silly in the on-site spa. Swap a traditional turkey dinner for a meal in the hotel's restaurant, which serves fusion cuisine with both traditional and international flavours. Alternatively, make your evening extra special with a private dining experience. Whether it's a romantic picnic on the beach or a candlelit meal under the stars, it will be a moment to remember.

Jungle beach makes for an incredible stay over Christmas. Photo: www.ugaescapes.com

5. Galle Face Hotel, Colombo

The Galle Face Hotel is for those who want to have a traditional Christmas celebration while they’re in a tropical location. The hotel is decked out in true Christmas style, with elegant decorations on show throughout the iconic property. You’ll get a truly festive feel during your stay here, which is pretty unique in Sri Lanka.

Even without the Christmas spirit, however, this is an exclusive stay and one to splash out on. The hotel is home to centuries of history, remembered and respected by the official flag-lowering ceremony daily on the beach. Plus, you’ll find beautiful ocean views, delicious dishes and elaborate cocktails in the on-site restaurants and bars, while the rooms take luxury to a whole new level.

6. KK Beach

Bearing in mind the Kahanda Kanda Beach only opens in mid-December not only will your trip be a lush stay but a brand new one too. Who wouldn’t want to spend the December break relaxing on some of the island’s best beaches, surrounded by serene sea views, a cool blue pool and plenty of places to soak up the sunshine? Rooms are decked out in crisp furnishings and simple colours, while on-site services include yoga classes and dining too.

Christmas Day here will be a relaxed affair for those who are ready to recharge, with a beach-side barbeque hosted at their sister property (KK), fruity mimosas from 11:00am, and a cool calypso band to provide entertainment.

The Elysium Collection's properties are all found in relaxing settings. Photo: www.elysiumsrilanka.com

7. Elysium Collection

The best choice for families, the Elysium Collection consists of three private properties, each beautifully furnished and finished. All feature only five bedrooms but offer the opportunity for one group or family exclusive access during the festive season. Extra beds can be added for children and each will be fully-staffed during your stay to make sure that your every want and need will be catered for.

This article was originally published on 6th December, 2016

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