It started with one hotel, surrounded by dense trees and a swimming pool looking straight out on to Sigiriya rock.
As I delved through the hundreds of hotels in Sri Lanka I started finding more and more with incredible swimming pools. From infinity pools to those on a mountain surrounded by tea fields, it became a mission to find as many awesome pool hotels in Sri Lanka as possible.
If that sounds like your kinda mission too, I’ll save you having to do all the searching…
*No free stays, just honest, pool loving advice (and a few affiliate links)
Habaraduwa – Canteloupe Aqua
This could be one of my favourite hotels of all time. It’s small with a range of boutique rooms all with sea views. The executive rooms have baths looking out on the ocean, as above, and the infinity pool is a winner sitting right on the water front with a vast expanse of beach to one side which was near empty the whole time I was there.
It’s a little bit away from everything else, which isn’t a bad thing (a 2km walk from the nearest train station) or a rickshaw drive to Unawatuna but with a restaurant onsite, seriously chilled vibes and super friendly staff it’s a great place to switch off for a few days.
Unawatuna – Canteloupe Levels
The sister property of Aqua above, set up on a hill looking out to Galle on one side and Unawatuna on the other, I didn’t actually stay here but was taken for lunch and a tour by the owner from the group after mentioning I was heading to Galle.
The executive suite has incredible fully frontal windows looking across the ocean at Galle and the view from the pool with its double beds surrounding it ain’t half bad. You are super close to jungle beach here but watch out for snakes on the walk down.
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Bentota – Vivanta by Taj
Taj are an upscale hotel chain which have hotels around the world. This Instagram shot does not do any justice, if you were to zoom out you would see the whole resort and pool sit on a cliff with crashing waves and a private beach just below.
It’s one of the more expensive hotels along the coast but there is a bit more to do around here and a few dining/shopping options once out of the resort so if you are here for a special occasion and don’t want to travel too far from the airport (1.5 hours) it’s a good spot to relax and pamper.
Kandy – Ozo Hotel
Ozo is set high up on one of the hills that rise up around Kandy, most famous for the temple of the tooth. It is a surprisingly modern hotel in an otherwise old world city and has a much more hip buzz than anywhere else I stayed in the country.
The rooftop pool has epic views looking back down across the city though the pictures make it seem larger than it actually is. When the clouds and mist roll in it makes for a great spot to smoke some shisha in the adjoining bar and watch the cool nights roll in under a heater.
Kandy is also the starting point for the incredible slow train from Kandy to Ella.
Ella – 98 Acres Resort
This place is epic. It’s quite a walk out from Ella itself, through tall trees and past lush tea fields and it in fact sits on a huge plantation itself, can you guess how many acres?
From the pool you can look out at mini Adams peak (header photo on this post) completely surrounded by nature. The bungalows with their straw roofs and dark frames fit into the landscape perfectly and it is almost a retreat more than a resort.
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Even if you aren’t staying here, swing by the tea house/restaurant which is next to the pool for a quick drink on the way to Little Adams Peak.
It’s the perfect base to explore the incredible treks and tea plantations around Ella.