What Perched on the edge of the Indian Ocean, eclectic OTP is just 10km away from Galle. Offering 17 suites, the small hotel has a homely vibe with cushions everywhere and a patchwork-style interior that will make you smile. The locally sourced produce is often served raw, including gotukola (a medicinal herb) and mukunuwenna (an aquatic plant). Yoga retreats are available during low season (October to May), with Ayurveda consultants offering advice on sleep, nutrition and exercise.
Best for Those looking for truly authentic Sri Lankan food. Superstar chef Anthony Dcosta takes guests on a tour of the local market before cooking up his findings back at the hotel.
Don’t miss A massage in the open-air therapy hut just metres from the ocean.
N.788, Matara Road, Thalpe, Galle; +94 91 203 0600
What Found near Ahangama, this four-room hideaway and café lives up to the “slow living” hype with a sustainable ethos that you just can’t fault. Launched by two travellers in 2016, The Kip is embedded among jungle and towering palm trees, a stone’s throw away from the best surf breaks on the south coast. Despite its cut-off location, the owners claim to travel 45 minutes every week to the nearest recycling point and the café strives to serve produce grown on-site. The hotel also organises gatherings that include supper clubs and life-drawing classes.
Best for Woke warriors on the hunt for an eco gem with good surf. Balancing sustainability with socialising, it’s away from the crowds yet fosters conversation among guests.
Don’t miss Perusing the carefully curated lifestyle store for artisanal goods collected from neighbouring communities.
Mahavidana Gedara, Dharmarama Road, Ahangama Central, 80650; +94 76 263 4610
What In the centre of Yala National Park, the Wild Coast Tented Lodge combines the comforts of a luxury hotel with the back-to-nature freedom of a wilderness safari camp. The 28 Cocoon Suites boast soaring vaulted ceilings and panoramic jungle views, while the interiors fuse colonial chic with contemporary details. Designed to mirror the boulders of the golden beach, the open-air bamboo bar and restaurant wraps around the resort’s enormous free-form swimming pool.
Best for Nature lovers wanting to brush up on animal trivia. Expert naturalist guides can talk guests through the wildlife, including elephants, sloth bears, water buffalo and spotted deer.
Don’t miss New for 2020, the hotel will launch its very own leopard conservation station, where guests can assist rangers with data collection and analysis.
Wild Coast Tented Lodge Palatupana, Yala; +94 11 774 5730
What Launching in February 2020, the Harding Boutique Hotel Ahangama will open its doors just 30 minutes away from the Unesco-listed Galle Fort. A bastion of Tropical Modernism (the architectural movement pioneered by Sri Lankan Geoffrey Bawa), British starchitect Jonathan Ashmore has followed the brief to a tee. Materials used throughout the hotel include ribbed local hardwood, and polished concrete and granite – all typical of local Sri Lankan architecture. Surrounded by coconut groves, the suites will offer rain showers, sea-facing tubs and ocean-view balconies.
Best for Design geeks eager to check out the hottest opening. Offering just six suites, the intimate hotel promises exclusivity and VIP levels of service.
Don’t miss The showstopper staircase covered in foliage, which leads guests up to an open-air roof terrace with phenomenal 360-degree views.
Galle, Matara Road, Ahangama
What Hidden in a palm jungle just a few steps off Dikwella Beach, new Verse Collective is more of a co-living concept than a hotel. Bringing together travelling creatives on a pilgrimage for the good life, you’ll find a café, co-working space, music recording studio and surf shop as well as private rooms and dorms. Offering peace during the day and partying by night, guests will rarely spot another soul in the crystal blue waters, and yet at sundown you can expect things to liven up with live music and cheap drinks.
Best for Digital nomads who don’t want to stray too far from good Wi-Fi. Chatting with like-minded creatives is encouraged in airy communal spaces.
Don’t miss The on-site café serving handcrafted speciality coffee and a twist on the traditional Sri Lankan roti.
Dikwella, Southern Province; +94 76 776 8163