Colombo, Sri Lanka


Price per night from$219.56

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (USD219.56), via, using today’s exchange rate.


Lavish colonial pile


Nestled in Negombo

The short jaunt to the airport may be handy, but Wallawwa boutique hotel near Colombo is so much more than a pre- or post-flight crash pad. Basking in its pindrop-peaceful rural setting and lovingly tended tropical gardens, the Wallawwa is a super-sensitive restoration of a 200-year-old manor house, where graceful original features have been spiced up with luxuriant interiors and a lush-as-you-like spa.

Smith Extra

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A 10-minute head massage for two


Photos Wallawwa facilities

Need to know


17, including 15 suites.


Noon, but flexible subject to availability. Late check-outs up to 6pm are charged at 50 per cent of the nightly rate. Check-in, 2pm.


Double rooms from £230.87 ($292), including tax at 33.12 per cent.

More details

Rates include à la carte breakfast.


Bibliophiles will find plenty of joy in the cabinets of prized old books in the library, carefully chosen by the property’s owner. The hotel shop sells one-of-a-kind souvenirs, which you can feel good about buying as all profits go to local charities.

At the hotel

Z Spa, two-acre garden, library, shop, free WiFi in public areas. In rooms: flatscreen satellite TV, DVD player (on request), games and local-brand toiletries.

Our favourite rooms

Garden Suites have bigger bathrooms, sumptuously upholstered sitting areas and private outside perches. If you're after seclusion, opt for Garden Suite 6 as it’s the furthest from the action. If you’re swooping in late and leaving early, a Wallawwa Bedroom will suffice.


The stone-lined 16m pool is encircled by tropical trees and shrubs, and hidden out of sight of the hotel. There’s a shallow chill-out ledge and a grass and gravel terrace lined with cushioned loungers.


Book yourself in to the hotel’s Z Spa for a jetlag reviver. The coconut or sandalwood scrubs and sigh-inducing wraps work wonders for travel-weary bodies.

Packing tips

Glam garb for after-dark Colombo soirées; casual cotton threads for lounging poolside.


Baby cots are free for kids aged under two. The window seat in the Garden Suite can sleep one under-12 for US$30 each night, including breakfast.


Baby cots are free for kids aged under two. The window seat in the Garden Suite can sleep one under-12 for $30 a child a night, including breakfast.

Best for

All ages.

Recommended rooms

Family Suites come with two interconnecting bedrooms (a king and a twin). Garden Suites’ window seats can sleep one child up to 12 for $30 a night.


You'll find stacks of board games in the rooms, including Jenga, Uno and Sri Lankan carom (the staff will provide a demo), as well as a selection of kids’ books in the library. Outdoors, there’s croquet, badminton and volleyball up for grabs.

Swimming pool

There’s a shallow ledge but no dedicated children's pool.


Home-spun favourites, including spaghetti, fish and chips, corn-crumbed chicken breast and fruity milkshakes, are on offer for kids. Highchairs are available, and staff are happy to heat milk, prepare baby food and pack lunches.

No need to pack

Highchairs and baby cots (but it’s best to book these in advance).

Sustainability efforts

Fresh water is pumped from the garden’s wells, and solar power is used.

Food and Drink

Photos Wallawwa food and drink

Top Table

Lawnside tables on the sienna-stoned terrace are open to the skies, but for a real rush of romance, have your table prepped in the garden.

Dress Code

Laid-back loungewear – anything from Mela Purdie should do the trick.

Hotel restaurant

Make a beeline for the Veranda for breakfast, all-day dishes and à la carte supper menus. This striped-walled space is filled with smart rattan furniture that spills onto a frangipani-shaded terrace. Cuisine is international with an Asian twist, and vegetarians won’t have any quibbles with the range on offer. Sri Lankan curries are a must – try the coconut and mustard seer fish or the cashew and green pea curry.

Hotel bar

A roving bar serves tipples on the veranda, in the rooms or in the gardens until 10.30pm or when the last guest shuffles off to sleep. Complimentary tea and coffee is served between 3.30pm and 4.30pm; if you fancy something stronger, the hotel hosts a 'Social Hour' from 5pm to 6pm, serving complimentary wine and local beer.

Last orders

Around 10.30pm for food, but fairly flexible (with advance notice) to accommodate late flight arrivals. Guests snooze early here, and the bar shuts at around 10.30pm.

Room service

The all-day menu is available 24/7, but for overnight orders when the kitchen’s closed, requests must be made the evening before.


Photos Wallawwa location
Minuwangoda Road, Kotugoda, Katunayake, near Ja-Ela and Bandaranaike Airport
Sri Lanka

Such is the serenity offered by the hotel's setting in Negombo that it’s hard to believe the airport is just a hop and a skip away. The capital, Colombo, is a 45–60-minute drive south, depending upon the time of day.


The nearest airport to Wallawwa is Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport, which is just 15 minutes' drive away. Sri Lankan Airlines flies direct from Sydney and selected European destinations. One-stop operators include Emirates, Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific. For domestic journeys, Sri Lankan Air Taxi Otter planes land in Peliyagoda, a 35-minute drive south of the hotel. Call our Smith24 Team on 03300 376 891 to arrange flights and transfers.


The nearest train station is Colombo Fort, which connects with the west-coast town of Bentota, the southern city of Galle and a number of hill-country destinations.


There’s no point hiring a car when the hotel’s so close to the airport – and Sri Lanka’s traffic-clogged roads are so terrible.


Deccan Aviation helicopters can touch down at the international airport or the nearby Taj Garden Hotel.

Worth getting out of bed for

The beaches of Negombo are a 30-minute drive away – head for the main hotel strip for golden sands and a slew of watersports. Negombo’s break-of-day fish market is worth the early start just to experience the unique atmosphere, the boisterous banter and the staggering (and slightly stinky) array of fish. If you’re keener on seeing your wildlife still flapping, then the Muthurajawela Wetlands, just north of the hotel, should be your port of call. This serene saltwater haven is adored by water-loving birds, crocodiles, monitor lizards and macaques. Hire a boat from the visitor centre or ask the hotel to arrange a two-hour guided cruise, taking in the mangrove-lined wetlands, the old Dutch canal and the southern end of the Negombo Lagoon. Nearby Henarathgoda, the island’s lesser-known botanical garden is famed for its century-old rubber trees and is a picturesque spot for shaded strolls.

Local restaurants

The closest dine-out spot is Black Coral restaurant at the seaside Jetwing Beach hotel, which serves decent food and wine in an air-conditioned room facing the sea. For the lushest nosh, head to Colombo, a 45-minute drive away. Book at table at Paradise Road Tintagel, a historic hotel whose seductive candlelit courtyard and dark-as-night dining den are divine for feasting on the capital’s most eclectic modern cuisine. Sister-property The Gallery Café (2 Alfred House Road, Colombo 3) is a local favourite for its Asian-leaning dishes and a wicked range of desserts. Between courses, dash next door to splurge at super-shop Paradise Road. If raw is more your thing, nip to Nihonbashi, near the Galle Face Green, for authentic Japanese dining – try to nab one of the stylish tatami rooms. If you're seeking spice, then the Hilton’s evenings-only Curry Leaf restaurant is the place to savour the unfamiliar all in one go; hoppers (rice-flour pancakes), sambols, pittu (coconut bread) and curries galore are served buffet-style in rustic surroundings.


Photos Wallawwa reviews
Katja Gaskell

Anonymous review

By Katja Gaskell, Global roamer

Buttery beaches, turquoise seas and coconut-fuelled food... By the time we set course for Wallawwa, we’ve already spent a week exploring Sri Lanka's west coast and have fallen in love with the country. We’ve also stayed in some sublime hotels so this boutique abode, our final stop before heading home to Delhi, has a lot to live up to.

‘When are we going to get there?’ screams Master Smith, the batteries in his portable DVD player having long ago given up. A few hours into the car journey, a tropical storm – the kind usually reserved for Hollywood movies – erupts. The stop-start traffic becomes even more staccato as we inch our way through Colombo, eventually turning off the main highway onto increasingly slimmer roads and past ever smaller villages. By this time we no longer care about being impressed; we just want to arrive.

‘Hooray’, shout the two mini Smiths, as our car turns into a lush, gravel-lined path that curves through The Jungle Book-type greenery. We step onto an elegant veranda overlooking a tropical garden peppered with loungers and ruby-red umbrellas. Fortunately, given everyone's frayed nerves, there's no formal check-in, and after a welcoming freshly squeezed fruit juice we're shown to our room.

'Wallawwa', we discover as we're led along a colonnaded walkway, means 'colonial house', and this 18th-century, single-storey manor once belonged to the head chieftain of Galle. Today, the hotel boasts 14 rooms that sit on opposite sides of a central pond filled with lotus flowers and dozens of frogs. Our Garden Suite is elegantly furnished with a king-size four-poster bed framed by white curtains that double as mosquito nets. A window seat with views onto the private outdoor terrace later transforms into an extra bed. The bright, terrazzo-lined bathroom is enormous, with soaring ceilings, twin basins and a rain shower. What we're all most excited about, however, are the in-room games: Jenga, Uno and a Rubik's Cube, which Mr Smith instantly sets about trying to solve.

There's a distinct Balinese feel to this old Sri Lankan bungalow, thanks to its chic, dark wood furniture, tropical-patterned upholstery and soothing water features. It's also wonderfully relaxed; the staff all wear shorts and polo shirts and are seemingly oblivious to the two small children tearing around the property. Could it be that we've finally found a stylish boutique hotel that really does cater for families? One look at the guestbook (and the numerous happy comments from kids) confirms it.

Chef Gayan heads up the kitchen at Wallawwa, and his food has a stellar reputation. For dinner, Mr Smith opts for the black pork curry and I choose the grilled mahi mahi followed by an incredible mango crumble with vanilla custard. This mouth-watering dinner sets the tone for the remainder of our stay and over the next 48 hours we proceed to eat our own body weight in food.

Breakfast the following morning consists of fruit, eggs Benedict, pancakes and granola with buffalo curd. The kids later enjoy beautifully fried fish and chunky hand-cut chips from the children’s menu, and we indulge in high tea, a Mad Hatter-inspired two-tiered platter of sandwiches, scones, biscuits, banana bread and flapjacks. Our second dinner is equally extravagant, thanks to a spread of rich local curries followed by home-made cardamom and wasabi ice-cream. Bliss.

Trips to Colombo city, the beaches and fish markets at Negombo and the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage are all within easy reach if you’re based at Wallawwa. The previous day's journey still fresh in our minds, however, we decide to stay put and make the most of what the hotel has to offer.

Child-friendly distractions abound, from cricket bats and croquet mallets, to a computer in the library, board games, and a beautiful swimming pool tucked away in a shady corner of the garden. We would have spent all day here lounging but for the over-zealous mosquitoes, which were our only grumble. Mr Smith and I take it in turns to mind the kids while the other slips into the Z Spa; I enjoy the wonderfully restorative Z Signature Massage and Mr Smith goes for a Balinese deep-tissue massage. There's even a 'Kid'Z Massage' for children aged between two and 17, but the Smith juniors are too busy searching for cannonball flowers in the Kipling-esque gardens to lie still for the requisite 20 minutes.

Wallawwa's location just 20 minutes from Colombo's International Airport makes it a popular start and end point to Sri Lankan holidays. Our flight departs horribly early the following morning but we leave infinitely more relaxed than when we arrived, not to mention a couple of kilos heavier.


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Price per night from $219.56