Luxury Sri Lanka Holidays
Sri Lanka is the perfect place for those who want more than just a fly-and-flop holiday. Ancient fortresses, Buddhist temples, tea plantations, wildlife reserves - there's a lot to see on this teardrop-shaped island. That's not to say the beaches aren't worth talking about. The coastline here is long and sandy, and the beautiful beaches tend to come backed by palm groves and the odd luxury hotel. The beach at Bentota is one of the best, with golden sands and first-class sunset views. At its southern end, you'll often see the famous stilt fishermen, who perch on precarious poles in the shallows to reel in their catch.
Venture away from the coast and you'll find lush rainforest and hills carpeted in emerald-green tea plantations (the leaves for your morning cuppa are likely to have been picked here). The mountains are best explored by rail - old-fashioned trains chug through them, stopping off at quiet hill towns along the way.
Sri Lanka has an incredibly rich history, which is on show in its ancient kingdoms and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Head to Anuradhapura and you'll find centuries-old temples and stupas, visit Kandy for impressive colonial architecture, or spend a day exploring the walled old town of Galle. Sigiriya, an ancient fortress city sat on top of a rocky outcrop, is worth a visit, too.
Incredible wildlife is another feather in Sri Lanka's cap. Explore one of the country's nature reserves or national parks and you might spot elusive leopards, cheeky monkeys and herds of graceful elephants. The birdlife is also pretty exotic - keep your eyes peeled for endemic species like red-rumped swallows and orange-billed babblers.
If you fancy extending your holiday, Sri Lanka is just a short hop from the paradise islands of the Maldives, so it's easy to combine a stay here with a week on a postcard-perfect Maldivian beach.
Flight time from the UK to Sri Lanka is around 10 hours 30 minutes.
When to go
Sri Lanka has two monsoon seasons - one in the south-west between May and September, and one in the north-east between October and January. Galle and Bentota are in the south-west, and Hambantota is a little further east. The best time of year to visit this part of Sri Lanka is between December and April for hot, sunny weather and an average temperature of 30°C.
The Sovereign Standard
To help you choose your perfect holiday we have rated all of our hotels using our own system.
Classical Sovereign hotels are more modest hotels offering charm and character, or an exceptional location. Many of these hotels have been firm favourites with Sovereign customers for countless years and offer great value for money.
Luxury Collection hotels offer everything you would expect to go hand in hand with a luxury holiday. They offer high standards of service and attention to all those important little details.
Exclusive Collection hotels provide the ultimate luxury; they are the finest, most opulent hotels offering superlative service and excellent facilities, which will satisfy the needs of even the most discerning traveller.
Family Collection hotels are some of the finest family-friendly resorts and offer a wide range of facilities for both children and parents. Families can enjoy a whole host of amenities including fun kid's clubs, a dedicated children's pool and spacious accommodation.