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Budget hotels & hostels
Guesthouses and B&Bs
One of Kandy’s longest established guesthouses and still one of the best. Excellent views and scrupulously clean rooms decorated with Sri Lankan arts and crafts add up to a relaxing place to stay. Cheaper rooms share a bathroom...
The Trevene Hotel
Open the door of this beautiful colonial villa and you’ll discover that it contains an excellent guesthouse. The rooms are filled with so much old-fashioned charm you’ll struggle to fit yourself into them...
Around 70 years ago they wisely stopped updating the furniture at this venerable tea planters’ club. Now, in a new millennium, this hotel is a jolly fine show...
The Hill Club
Commanding its location with elegance and gravitas, the stone-clad Hill Club is the most profound evidence of Nuwara Eliya’s colonial past...
On top of a hill overlooking the town, Topaz has 75 rooms, most with air-con. The decor is a little tired, but a friendly welcome, good views from the bar and a swimming pool tick the ‘Worth Considering’ box...
‘Luxury in the City’ proclaims the brochure. That’s stretching it a bit, but downtown Kandy’s most business-oriented digs has comfy rooms with satellite TV, air-con and minibars...
Serene Garden Hotel
This new hilltop place may look like an overdesigned apartment building, but the spacious rooms still have that crisp and clean ‘just been built’ ambience. This is the tropics though, so it is to be seen how long it would last.
Royal Tourist Lodge
Cane furniture, garden patios and a warm family atmosphere combine to make this feel more like a homestay than a mere guesthouse. It’s a particularly good bet for those staying a while who have more time to immerse themselves in Sri Lankan family life.
The Grand Hotel
Right by the golf course, this vast mock- Tudor edifice has immaculate lawns, a reading lounge and a wood-panelled billiards room...
The exterior of this inn is all twee wood panelling and glass and looks very impressive. The 25 rooms are decent enough but some can be decidedly musty. There’s a large restaurant and pub with snooker and darts...
Tea Garden Holiday Inn
Friendly staff and a friendly cat feature at this hilltop spot with wraparound balconies and brightly coloured rooms. Get your sketch book out for the Ella Gap views, and then use a new page for the vista of Rawana Falls from the rear balcony.
Hotel Country Comfort
Down a quiet garden-trimmed lane near the train station, Country Comfort combines older – but darker – character-filled rooms in the original colonial building and spotless newer rooms with chunky wooden furniture, modern bathrooms and bay windows.
Lakshmi Guest House
One of the cluster of good guesthouses up Saranankara Rd, Lakshmi is a cheap, clean and cheerful option from the owners of Palm Garden. That means you’re guaranteed good food and very friendly service.
Ella Highest Inn
More like a cosy bed and breakfast than a guesthouse, the Highest Inn has a shared lounge with Asian art, a stereo and DVD player, and clean and simple rooms...
Single Tree Hotel
The most popular backpacker guesthouse in town has a main building where the rooms have bright colours and loads of warm timber trim. The rooms in the annex building are a little darker and less inviting but still pretty good...
Simple, very quiet rooms feature at this wonderfully secluded family guesthouse on a winding road on the edge of Udawattakelle Sanctuary. It’s popular with birdwatching types, and Kandy’s bright lights are just a 10-minute walk away...
Sri Lak View Holiday Inn
Haputale’s best place to stay combines 16 spotless modern rooms with views that stretch a few hundred kilometres. If the weather’s good, have an end-of-day beer on the grassy deck. Otherwise park yourself in the cosy restaurant...
This rambling colonial building has period-style rooms, though check a few first as some are better than others. If you get a good one then it’s arguably the best-value heritage property in town...
Castle Hill Guest House
This place has beautiful gardens with simply breathtaking views over the lake, town and distant mountain peaks playing peek-a-boo with the clouds...
Up a quaint hillside lane, the Sunhill is popular with visiting Sri Lankans. It’s worth going for a more expensive deluxe room (Rs 3200) as the standard rooms are a tad pokey. Karaoke-phobics may want to avoid weekends.
The Plantation Hotel
Comfortable but overpriced business-class rooms and a restaurant serving ‘Western and Eastern’ cuisine beside the river.
Kitulgala Rest House
One corner of the dining room at this old rest house is a veritable shrine to the David Lean epic. Black-and-white stills punctuate a feature wall, and the hotel was actually used in the movie...