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Luxury Sri Lanka Holidays

  • Luxury Beach Hotels
  • Luxury Escorted tours
  • Private touring with your own car + driver
  • 2 centre holidays

Sri Lanka has amazing scenery, fantastic wildlife, culture and exotic beaches, but what is the best way to see it all? I have travelled around Sri Lanka seeing the major sites, and stayed in many of the best beach hotels and would be delighted to help you create your perfect trip.


Polonnaruwa, which is easily reached from Habarana

  Info / Booking:   01462 677111

4 Ways to enjoy a luxury holiday to Sri Lanka

OPTION 1

Stay in a luxury beach hotels

On this holiday you stay in just one hotel throughout your stay. This means you just have to unpack once, and can take advantage of any trips and excursions that the hotel offers. The main reason for the holiday is to relax, with the possibility of a bit of sightseeing thrown in. For example if you book a week at the Fortress, then the UNESCO city of Galle is just a 15 minute taxi ride away.

Please call 01462 677111 for recommendations and prices


OPTION 2

Luxury Escorted Tour of Sri Lanka

I work with many of the finest luxury touring companies such as Cox and Kings, Titan, APT, Collette, Insight Vacations, Trafalgar Tours and more. Each have their own unique selling points, and you can usually extend your holiday afterwards to include a beach stay. You will be entitled to favourable rates through us with all these companies, representing a saving off the normal prices.

Please call 01462 677111 for suggestions and prices

OPTION 3

Private Touring with your own car + driver

This option is best if your main reason for visiting Sri Lanka is to see the main sights, some wildlife, and experience the culture, rather than just being a simple beach holiday. You have your own car + driver / guide who will take you to the best places, and crucially gives you complete flexibility on where you go and how long you stay for. This is very much tailored to your own interests, budget and dates.

Please call 01462 677111 to start building a draft itinerary.


OPTION 4

2 Centre Holidays

If you don't want a full blown tour but equally want to see some of the best sites that Sri Lanka has to offer then this is a great alternative. You can easily spend several days in one of the hotels around Habarana and enjoy various excursions at a relaxed pace. Then head to the beach for the remainder of your stay.

Please call 01462 677111 for prices.

A typical Sri Lanka luxury holiday - (option 3 above)

This map shows a typical Sri Lanka and Maldives itinerary

Here is a typical itinerary for a 13 night luxury Sri Lanka tour. This is a private tour with your own car and driver, and therefore is entirely flexible - you can change any of the places, hotels and durations shown below to suit your needs and budget

  • Negombo - 1 night at Jetwing Lagoon (B&B)
  • Habarana - 3 nights at Jetwing Vil Uyana (B&B)
  • Kandy - 2 nights at Cinnamon Citadel (Half Board)
  • Nuwara Eliya - 1 night at Ceylon Tea Trails (All Inclusive)
  • Galle - 6 nights at the Fortress in Galle (B&B)

Total: 13 nights

The touring part of the trip is best done with a private car and driver. He will be at your disposal for the whole of the touring part of your holiday, while normal transfers are included to and from the airport.

The itinerary in more detail is shown below...

Negombo (1 night)

  Fly from a choice of airports in the UK to Colombo

The only direct service from the UK to Colombo is with Sri Lankan Airlines, but many of my customers who fly business class prefer to go with Emirates via Dubai. Not only is the in flight service top quality, but you can also enjoy the lounge at Dubai Airport while you break the journey. And there is a complimentary chauffeur service from your home to the airport, and back again, subject to some conditions.

As many flights arrive in Colombo early to mid afternoon, I always prefer to have a short transfer time to a nice hotel for the night - in fact because of the transfer times to other parts of Sri Lanka, you often have no choice.

Many tours use a hotel in Colombo such as Mount Lavinia, which is although is a great value hotel, takes about 90 minutes to get there. Instead, I suggest the resort of Negombo, a fishing village only 20 minutes from the airport, with a golden beach and a lagoon.

Your private transfer to Jetwing Lagoon is included - the next morning you will start your tour proper.

Travelling Time:   20 minutes

What to do?

  • Freshen up, and chill out for the afternoon then have a good meal in the evening in one of the hotel's two excellent restaurants.

Your Hotel      Jetwing Lagoon

Just 20 minutes from the airport is the wonderful little resort of Negombo with its fine choice of restaurants. Jetwing Lagoon is the best of the hotels, and makes a wonderful retreat after the long flight. Relax by the pool, or take advantage of the water sports in the lagoon, or take a trip into town.

The rooms are beautifully furnished with rich dark woods and bright neutral shades. Deluxe rooms have a view of the lagoon and a rain shower, while a suite also has a separate living room.

Meal Plan:   Bed & Breakfast (can be upgraded to Half Board)


Negombo beach - a good place to stay for 1 night after your flight, before the touring starts the next day

Habarana (3 nights)

Most tours include 1 or 2 nights here, but some of the very best parts of Sri Lanka are in this area that you really need more time. Not only are the 'iconic sights' of Sri Lanka such as Sigiriya Rock Fortress close by, but there are some fabulous things to do around the hotel.

A 3 night duration gives you two full days. I would spend one full day at both Sigiriya and Dambulla, and the second full day either on a safari at Minneriya National park or in the old city of Polonnaruwa. You will also have the first afternoon (the day of arrival) and the last morning (the day of departure), when you could do some of the excursions around the hotel such as the elephant rides.

Travelling Time:   4 hours

What to do?

  • Visit and/or climb Sigiriya Rock Fortress - it is a bit of a climb but the views from the top are amazing, and you will see the remains of the Royal Palace at the top. About half way up is a sheltered gallery containing a series of paintings. Back at the bottom are the landscaped Royal Gardens. The best times to visit are early morning and late afternoon when it is a bit cooler and the light is fantastic.
  • Dambulla Cave Temple - a UNESCO World Heritage Site which has 5 caves housing Buddhist statues and paintings, and dates to 100 years BC - this is a MUST SEE, and just 20 minutes from the hotel. In the largest cave is a gigantic 150 ft long reclining Buddha. There is a smell of incense in the air as people place offerings to the Buddhas.
  • Elephant safaris - these can be done around the hotel and by the lake
  • Minneriya National Park - enjoy a Jeep Safari and see a wide variety of wildlife especially elephants - it is also a fantastic location for bird watching. If you are travelling to Sri Lanka between June and September then I would definitely recommend you include a day at Minneriya National Park because during this time herds of up to 150 elephants are more easily spotted. The park is also home to sambar deer, macaques and leopards although to be honest these are hard to spot.
  • Kaudulla National Park - if you are travelling to Sri Lanka later in the year, especially around October, then there is a gathering of up to 250 elephants in the park as well as sambar deer, leopards (hard to spot), fishing cats and sloth bears.
  • Lake activities - include bird watching, elephant rides, horse rides, sunset boat rides (there is a 'Bird Island' in the centre of the lake where you can watch the birds settle down on tree tops for the night)
  • Jungle treks and Mountain bike hire - there is a 9 mile cycle route from the hotel, or a longer 18 mile route.
  • Puranagama Ancient Village - a rare opportunity to see traditional Sri Lankan village life, Puranagama is located at 25 minutes walk from the hotel.
  • Visit the sacred city of Polonnaruwa with spectacular shrines, Buddhist statues, and the ruins of the Royal Palace. It is actually 1000 years old and probably better than Anuradhapura from a tourist point of view because the monuments are in an excellent state and it's easy to get around and see them. One way of doing so is by bicycle which are easy to rent.

Your Hotel      Jetwing Vil Uyana

A tranquil and unique hotel close to Sigiriya Rock, it is designed on a wetland system with a choice of rooms in the forest or on stilts above the water or paddy fields or marsh land.

There are just 25 rooms, and many have their own outside dining table for private dining, Alternatively, Apsara is their fine dining restaurant while Sulang is a little more casual, and the Graffiti Bar is the perfect place to enjoy a few drinks.

Some of the facilities include an open air library lounge, swimming pool, spa, yoga, fitness centre and bicycle hire.

Tip: If you have a bit more time to spare, why not stay an extra night here. That way you can take the sightseeing at a very gentle pace and make time for just enjoying the peace and tranquillity of the hotel.

Meal Plan:   Bed & Breakfast


Sigiriya Rock Fortress which is only half an hour from your hotel

Kandy (2 nights)

Kandy is the cultural heart of Sri Lanka, and it is here that you can do one of the many cultural evenings. It is also a very pleasant town to have a wander around.

Please note that I am no longer recommending a stop at Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage. There are a number of alternative places to see elephants in Sri Lanka which I think you will gain far more enjoyment from. Please feel free to call me.

Travelling Time:   2.5 hours

What to do?

  • Visit the Royal Botanical Gardens which include a spice garden and hundreds of exotic tropical plants
  • See the Temple of the Tooth on Kandy Lake - this is one of the most sacred temples in Sri Lanka and all Buddhists in Sri Lanka aim to make a pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime.
  • Enjoy an evening Cultural Show with food and dancing

Your Hotel      Cinnamon Citadel

A lovely location on the slopes overlooking the river, the Cinnamon Citadel has a good range of facilities including a choice of two restaurants and a bar. We use the deluxe rooms which overlook the river.

If you would prefer a small and quiet alternative, then Clingendael is fabulous - it has just 5 rooms, and is a little further out of Kandy.

Meal Plan:   Half Board


Kandy Lake

Nuwara Eliya (1 night)

Nuwara Eliya is a beautiful hilltop town in Sri Lanka where you'll find the tea plantations. At 6,000 feet above sea level, it is cooler than other parts such as Kandy and the coast, but the scenery is spectacular. It is also home to a famous hotel called the Tea Factory which sits at the top of a hill with stunning views across eastern Sri Lanka.

There is a much more colonial atmosphere in Nuwara Eliya than in most other parts of Sri Lanka. English country clubs, rose gardens and even the place names will make you feel quite at home. But it is cooler here than the rest of Sri Lanka because of the elevation - at over 6,000 ft above sea level, you'll need warm clothes especially during the winter.

Travelling Time:   2 hours

What to do?

  • Watch the tea making process - you can do this at the hotel itself
  • Waterfalls - the best is St. Clair's
  • The Hakgala Botanical Gardens
  • Bike rides - hire mountain bikes from the hotel and ride on beautiful traffic free routes

Your Hotel      Ceylon Tea Trails

Ceylon Tea Trails is actually a collection of 4 very special colonial tea planters' bungalows, each with a handful of rooms, in the middle of stunning scenery near Nuwara Eliya. The wonderful friendly service, quality of food and exceptional views are what makes this place so special. You can visit the tea estate, or enjoy walks in Horton Plains which is nearby. There are swimming pools, and trekking, biking, water rafting, rock climbing and golf can be arranged.

Meal Plan:   All Inclusive


Tea plantations near Nuwara Eliya

Sri Lanka Beach (6 nights - flexible)

Travelling Time:   4 hours (varies depending on which resort)

Your Hotel      The Fortress

The Fortress near Galle is my favourite beach hotel in Sri Lanka and has tremendous reviews and feedback from customers. It is a boutique style hotel with just 53 rooms, and a swimming pool, wine cellar, tea tasting bar, spa, gym, two wonderful restaurants and some shops.

As it is just 20 minutes by taxi from Galle, you can easily visit the Unesco World Heritage Site of the Dutch Fort and wander through the old streets of the city soaking up the atmosphere. Also nearby is Mirissa which is a top spot for whale and dolphin watching - blue whales and sperm whales especially - December to April are the best months.

Meal Plan:   Bed & Breakfast or Half Board if staying at the Fortress


One of Sri Lanka's golden sandy beaches

Sri Lanka luxury holidays and tours - What else?

Of course if you have a special interest, for example walking or wildlife then you might want to consider other parts of Sri Lanka, and I can tweak the itinerary accordingly.

  • The national parks for a wildlife safari - Udawalawe and Yala. Please note that sometimes only one is open at a time. Yala has a slightly higher standard of accommodation but Udawalawe involves less travelling to get to. Yala is one of the best places in the world to see leopard but even so you are not guaranteed to see them. Wild elephants are abundant, and you will also hopefully see spotted deer, jackal, and sloth bears. The best times to see elephants and leopards is from February to July, while the best time to see birds, deer and crocodiles is between October and December. Please note that Yala especially can take several hours to reach from Nuwara Eliya, and you have just as much travelling the next day to get to the beach. Or if you are going all the way back to Colombo it can be as much as 9 hours. I would therefore suggest that you spend 2 nights in Yala - my customers give excellent feedback about Yala, and so it is worth going to, but if you can spare the time, consider 2 nights rather than 1 just to make the travelling seem less of a pain.
  • The North East of Sri Lanka has now opened up to tourists, with hotels centred around the resorts of Trincomalee and Passikudah. They are further from the airport than the resorts on the South West coast, being about 4.5 hours, but the main draw are the beaches and coral reefs. Quite simply, you get the white sandy beaches and good quality snorkelling and diving that you simply don't get on the South West coast. I can recommend two superb hotels - Uga Bay (http://www.ugaescapes.com/ugabay/) which is in Passikudah and Uga Jungle Beach Resort (http://www.ugaescapes.com/junglebeach/) which is in Trincomalee.
  • The idyllic islands of the Maldives are only 90 minutes away by plane from Sri Lanka, and make a wonderful end to your trip. There are over 70 islands open for tourists, with one hotel on each island. My favourite island is Baros (http://www.baros.com/) because of the exceptional food and high standards of accommodation, but if it's too quiet, or you prefer and all inclusive meal plan then I can suggest a number of good alternative options.

The Dutch Fort at Galle with its lighthouse

Leopard at Yala National Park

The lounge at Baros Maldives, one of the most idyllic of all the Maldives islands

Notes

  • Sri Lanka entry regulations - all foreign nationals staying in Sri Lanka must have an ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization). The ETA is issued online and no passport copies or photographs are required. To apply please visit www.eta.gov.lk. The ETA is only valid for three months from the date of issue so please do not apply too early. The cost to obtain an ETA is US$30 for tourists staying up to 30 days. This fee is payable online using Visa, MasterCard or American Express. A minimum of 24 hours prior notice is required. Transit passengers and children under 12 do not need to apply for a visa. Should you be travelling on honeymoon, the name you arrange on your ETA in must match the name on the valid passport you are travelling on. If you are travelling to Sri Lanka on your honeymoon and you intend to apply for an ETA in advance, then your ticket, passport and ETA MUST be in your maiden name. The Sri Lankan authorities will not accept an ETA application made in your married name until you are actually married. You can however wait and apply for an ETA on arrival.

Sri Lanka Luxury Holidays - Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Is the holiday ATOL protected?
A. Yes. You are 100% financially protected, and will receive your ATOL certificate by 1st class post once the booking has been confirmed.

Q. Am I buying a package?
A. Yes - this means that you have 100% financial protection.

Q. What type of transport will it be in Sri Lanka on a tailor made holiday?
A. For a couple or small family, you will travel around in a standard car. However if there are more of you, lets say 5, then a bigger vehicle is used. Cars are always big enough to accommodate all your luggage.

Q. Are entrance fees included on tailor made holidays in Sri Lanka?
A. No - entrance fees to the sites are not included, although the transport to get there is. This is because you may not decide where to go until the day itself.

Q. Are entrance fees included on escorted tours in Sri Lanka?
A. Yes - this is because escorted tours follow a fixed itinerary.

Q. How long is the flight?
A. The direct Heathrow to Colombo service takes 10.5 hours.

Q. What airports can I travel from in the UK?
A. Sri Lankan Airlines fly direct to Colombo from Heathrow, and are the only airline to fly direct. I do though have many customers who if flying business prefer to fly with Emirates, and take advantage of the complimentary UK home to airport chauffeur service.

Q. What other countries can I combine it with?
A. If you travel with Emirates then you can also include a stop in Dubai to make a triple centre holiday - Dubai, Sri Lanka and Maldives. But it is also simple to add an extension to the Maldives.

Q. When do I have to pay the balance?
A. 10 weeks before departure.

Q. Do you have a credit card surcharge?
A. Yes it is 2.5%. But I don't charge this if you are just paying a deposit.

Q. What is the currency used?
A. In Sri Lanka it is the Sri Lankan Rupee. Credit cards are widely accepted, especially to pay any hotel extras. In the Maldives I recommend US dollars.

Q. Do I need a visa for either Sri Lanka or the Maldives?
A. You do now for Sri Lanka. It is US30 - you just enter your passport details in to www.eta.gov.lk

Q. Is alcohol freely available?
A. Yes except on one day every month in Sri Lanka called a Poya day. You can only get alcohol on that day via room service or the mini bar.

Q. I am confused about travelling distances in Sri Lanka. Some websites say that it takes 4.5 hours to get back from the airport from Galle, while you say just over 2 hours.
A. It used to be 4.5 hours but a new road has now been opened (at last!) which means MUCH quicker journeys down to the beach resorts of the South West.

More Information & Booking

Make a Provisional Enquiry


You will not be committed to making a booking by submitting this form!
We only require the first 2 names at this stage.

  1. Please call me on 01462 677 111 with your initial ideas about your luxury Sri Lanka holiday - I will ask a few questions such as when you want to go, any thoughts you already have and any budget you are trying to stick to.
    For face to face advice, in store appointments are available at a time to suit you - please call to arrange a time.
  2. If you are undecided, I will advise which might be the best option i.e. a simple Sri Lanka package, or a tailor made holiday, or an escorted tour.
  3. Please tell me if this is your honeymoon as some hotels will offer little extras such as room upgrades.
  4. You will receive a full costed itinerary going to all the places in Sri Lanka you want to see, including any extra nights at one of the beach hotels.
  5. Make as many changes as you need before booking.
  6. If you decide to book, pay a deposit and get your written itinerary, receipt and ATOL receipt sent by 1st class post.
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01462 677 111

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