Caroline Clements

The Wallawwa
  • Where:Ja Ela, Sri Lanka
  • Why:Respite at the end of a two-month trip around Sri Lanka.
  • When:May 2017
  • Who:Me and @helloscruffalo (and my brother came to visit).
Get a

A warm welcome at the secluded hotel entrance. Stripes are a theme here.

The hotel is very open. Many of the rooms come of this outdoor courtyard surrounding a big pond full of lily pads – a very Balinese feel here.

Colonial style pillars and wicker chairs to linger and play games of chess while you sip on a G&T.

We tried the typewriter and it didn’t work, but it looked the part.

Carrom – a traditional Sri Lanka board game that is similar to billiards, only you use your fingers to strike and pocket the pieces.

More gaming on the lawn – cricket, croquet and petanque.

Z Spa, the inhouse spa where you can relax and get pampered.

Incredible bathtub in the suite. The bathrooms here have a sauna-like feel - lots of wood, stripes and a bright overhead skylight.

Secluded pool tucked away in the gardens on the property.

Inspecting pineapples grown on the property and served every morning with breakfast. When they have surplus, the hotel gives them to staff or sells them for jam.

Highs & Lows

  • Close proximity to the airport (it’s about 15 minutes away), as opposed to staying in Colombo which is about an hour from the airport. Great place for respite the night before you leave Sri Lanka.

  • There are so many games to play at a hotel to while away the hours - scrabble, chess, cricket, Uno, croquet and the traditional Sri Lanka flicking board game of carrom.

  • The food at the hotel restaurant is delicious. The chefs use fruit and vegetables grown in the huge garden on the property. There are seven full time gardeners here and they grown everything from pineapples and papayas to cucumbers, beetroots, cinnamon and curry leaves.

  • You’re in the middle of nowhere here, so there isn’t all that much to do. Probably wouldn’t stay more than a day or two.

The Barometer

  • Design

  • Website

  • Environmental Consciousness

  • Night's Sleep

  • Service

  • Amenities

  • Takeable Treats

  • Refer a Friend

  • Overall Value

  • Life Changing

Total: 39/50

Important Bits

  • Type

    Small, boutique luxury hotel in a restored 200-year-old manor house.

  • Vibe

    Classic colonial luxury.

  • Location

    In a small town called Ja Ela, 30 minutes from the nearest city of Negombo and an hour from Colombo, but very close to the Colombo airport. The purpose is to stay at the start or end of your trip in Sri Lanka.

  • Rooms


  • Music


  • Year Opened


  • Designed By


  • Pool/Gym

    A pool, no gym.

  • Restaurant

    Yes, a great in-house restaurant serving both Western and Sri Lankan dishes using fresh fruit and vegetables, mostly grown in their huge garden on the property.

  • Bar

    No but you can order drinks from the restaurant and sit in one of many lounge areas / rooms / gardens around the property.

  • Minibar

    Very basic, some soft drinks and some milk, but it’s all free.

  • Children

    Yes, bring them. They can provide cots and baby seats at the restaurant. One room has a separate bedroom for children.

  • Price

    Standard five star prices for luxury boutique hotel.

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