Named after the Jaffna town of Manipay, boutique hotel Maniumpathy is steeped in Ceylonese history. Passed down through five generations of the accomplished Hallock family, this charming home is now a stylish retreat of just eight suites, all arranged around a peaceful central courtyard and petite lap pool. Colonial trappings are de rigueur at this Colombo hideaway: expect roll-top bath tubs, four-poster beds and perfectly manicured lawns.
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One afternoon pot of tea for two with biscuits or cake a room, per stay
Dressed in rich heritage hues, Maniumpathy’s eight colonial-chic suites are named after the much-loved women of the Hallock family who’ve owned this stately house for five generations. With an ebony four-poster bed swathed in crimson drapes, Master Suite Annapuranie is the most theatrical of them; we also love its private garden and the roll-top bath tub. Split-level Chrysantie has an extra queen-size bed on a mezzanine; although smaller, the ground-floor Vasanthi and Anithra suites have imposing king-size beds and secret gardens to lounge in.
Maniumpathy’s freshwater pool may be small, but the genteel courtyard, inviting sunloungers and masses of tropical foliage make it a picturesque spot for a cooling dip.
Bring a copy of Cinnamon Gardens by Shyam Selvadurai to thumb by the pool, for an evocative peek at life in 1920s Ceylon.
Ground-floor suites are accessible to wheelchair users, as are the lounge and dining areas.
Over-sevens are welcome. Children can stay on the sofa bed in the Chrysanthie suite (US$45 a night for 7–12 year-olds and US$65 for older children, excluding tax). The restaurant has highchairs and can adapt the menu for picky eaters.
Book the Grand Ebony Room for a small-scale celebration: the long, linen-draped table sits 16 below an antique chandelier.
Embrace the low-key colonial vibe with breezy linens, hand-woven batiks and a neutral palette.
The Nandi is as laid-back as restaurants get: light lunches of colourful salads, fragrant curries and comforting sandwiches (fish bap with mushy peas, anyone?) are served in the courtyard, on shaded terraces or – for the irremediably languid – at your sunlounger by the pool. Dinners are more elaborate three-course affairs of Sri Lanka-influenced international cuisine, such as tamarind soup, cashew-crusted mullet and mango-topped pavlova.
Sip on post-excursion sundowners in the courtyard or the lounge.
Breakfast is served 6.30am–9.30am, lunch noon–2.30pm, dinner 7pm–9.30pm.
Order in-room feasts from the restaurant’s menu round the clock.
On a quiet side street at the heart of the leafy Cinnamon Gardens neighbourhood, Maniumpathy is within easy reach of Colombo’s s best shops and historic sights.
The nearest airport to the hotel is Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport, a 40-minute drive away depending on traffic. Call our Smith24 Team on 03300 376 891 to arrange flights and transfers.
A 15-minute drive away from Maniumpathy, Maradana station serves Sri Lanka Railways trains to Kandy and Galle.
Driving on Colombo’s overcrowded roads can be a nerve-wracking experience, but there’s free parking at the hotel should you wish to bring your own wheels.
Worth getting out of bed for
Step away from Maniumpathy’s immaculate lawns and genteel atmosphere: the hotel can arrange two- to three-hour guided walks to take in colourful Colombo. Bustling, dizzying Pettah Market is a good place to start; wander around the history-steeped neighbourhood and stock up on spices, exotic fruit and intricate jewellery. Renting a tuk tuk for the day is a good option; if you’re wary of the hot and humid climate, ask staff to fill a cooler box with cold drinks for a comfortable tour of the city’s historic landmarks. Take in the kite flyers, street-food-vendors and courting couples at cannon-studded Galle Face Green, visit the floating Buddhist temple of Gangaramaya or pay homage to the country’s history at Independence Square. Shopaholics would do well to visit nearby Odel department store or interiors haven Paradise Road for antiques and curios to take home. If your body is as much in need of a workout as your purse, Prana Lounge offers yoga and meditation classes in a tranquil heritage building (you’ll need to book classes in advance) and the Royal Colombo Golf Club is just a 10-minute walk away.
Housed in a 400-year-old former Dutch hospital, Ministry of Crab is one culinary institution that certainly gets our vote. Sri Lanka’s delicate lagoon crabs are the star of the show here – call ahead if you’d like yours simply chilled and served with warm butter – but the country’s river prawns aren’t to be sneered at either, particularly when flash-fried with garlic and pepper. Cheap and cheerful Beach Wadiya serves enormous seafood platters from a thatch-roofed cottage right on the sands. At the other end of the foodie spectrum, pared-down Nihonbashi is a refined spot for melt-in-the-mouth sashimi: sample fine fusion fare in the Zen dining room, or grab a spot in the laid-back bamboo-fringed garden for charcoal-grilled yakitori.
Decked out with newspaper cuttings and memorabilia, the Cricket Club Café is a photogenic hangout for sporting fans; snack on nachos, burgers and Sri Lankan staples while keeping an eye on the score. Handily located next to Paradise Road boutique, The Gallery Café is an art-filled pit stop for the shopping-weary.
Teahouse by day and hip tapas bar by night, Zaza mixes some of the best cocktails in town. Pragmatically named On14 has startling views of the Indian Ocean from a 14th-floor poolside bar. If you’re in the market for something a little bit more peaty, drop by Curve’s whisky vault for a fortifying sip of single malt.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this boutique hotel in Colombo and unpacked their batiks and cinnamon sticks, a full account of their cosseting break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Maniumpathy in Sri lanka…
When it comes to taking a break from the bustle and dazzle of Colombo’s lively streets, boutique hotel Maniumpathy in chi-chi Cinnamon Gardens has perfected a winning recipe. A breeze wafts gently through an elegant lounge; the lawns are impeccably manicured; inviting wicker chairs are artfully scattered around shaded terraces circling a serene central courtyard. Even the pool – a slim rectangle of turquoise blue framed by verdant tropical foliage – is just right: large enough for a cooling dip, but small enough to dispel any graceless thoughts of strenuous activity. Prepare to be seriously looked after: with just eight colonial-chic suites and an expert kitchen dishing out comforting staples and fine dining alike, this seductive bolthole’s charms are confidently Sri Lankan.