*All stays in Unawatuna was sponsored, this post contains adlinks
For other languages, please use the translator tool found in the right sidebar of this page
In a word full of AirBnB’s, hotels, guesthouses, influencers and social media, it can be really hard to discover the most beautiful places to live in while travelling. Who’s opinion should you trust, and what photos will do the real venue justice? You will often find yourself searching for hours, when looking for the perfect venue for your next vacation.
When I look for places to stay on my travels, I always look for a place with a kitchen for home cooking, a clean bathroom, good location, and I also try to find a place which matches my personality so that I feel comfortable living there.
When I booked my flight to Sri Lanka, I had a really hard time figuring out which areas I should consider living in, and which type of houses would fit me the best. There is such a huge diversity in both nature and people in Sri Lanka, so how could you ever choose what to pick for your next journey? After hours of searching, I finally found that the Unawatuna area fit me well, as the beaches looked amazing and the whole coast vibe was tempting. We got really lucky, and got in touch with Cecilia Jensen on AirBnB, of which owns the three first venues we stayed in during our trip to Sri Lanka. CJ made sure that we got the best possible experience in Sri Lanka, as she helped us arrange both field trips and living arrangements. For our first two nights, we stayed at the Handugoda Lodge, which lies next to a rice field in the middle of a Sri Lankan village close to Unawatuna. It gave us an amazing chance to really get used to the area, without being thrown into the most hectic city. The Handugoda Lodge was really intimate and peaceful, so we got to really relax after our flight and interact with some very pleasant locals.
After we stayed at the Handugoda Lodge, we stayed at a breathtaking beach house called Marley’s Beach House, which lies directly on one of the most beautiful beaches on the Unawatuna coast. As soon as you step out from this bright house and onto the terrace, you can feel the ocean breeze against your hair while admiring the iconic Unawatuna palm trees which hangs over the ocean. I honestly cannot justify just how beautiful this place is by just showing you pictures. You have to see it, and feel it by yourself to really understand how amazing this place is.
After staying at Marley’s, we moved on to one last beach house, called The Skinny Beach House. And wow, just wow. I was in awe when I walked through this house, and saw the huge windows revealing the spacious deck next to the sea. The Skinny Beach House is not too far away from Marley’s, so if you decide to live in both places like we did, you can just grab a tuk tuk, and you’ll be there in two minutes.
I also have some suggestions for you for where to stay in Kandy, Ella and Sigiriya, as we moved along quite some times in Sri Lanka. Read on to discover more!
You cannot stay in Unawatuna, without trying to live directly on the beach in at least one of your nights. The Unawatuna coast is such a magical place, different to any other coast I have ever experienced. The sand is dense, fluffy and dark, and the palm trees grow for meters and meters, hanging over the beach as the prettiest accessory to any coast. I was lucky enough to meet Cecilia Jensen of “Srijourneys” , whom arranged for me to stay in all three villas of her during our stay in Unawatuna. I will never forget her kindness as a host, or her amazing Villas- which you can book through AirBnB.
The Skinny Beach House
The skinniest beach house, with the most amazing interior and coolest vibe. I highly recommend this place. It is a three story house with a pool, and a deck with a great ocean view, right next to the famous Unawatuna beach rock. In the SBH, you get to stay hip and clean, while being next to the beach and local markets. The area is very safe, and is surrounded by lots of kind locals. While laying down next to the private pool, you can enjoy the sight of coconut palms swaying in the wind above the house. Book the lovely Skinny Beach house HERE.
The Handugoda Lodge
A jungle house situated next to a rice field hosting peacocks, monkeys and geckoes, yet it is close the Unawatuna coast line. The Handugoda Lodge is the best of both worlds. You get luxury, but you also have the opportunity to interact with local people, as the villa is situated next to a small village where untouched markets and curious locals are to find. A perfect starter for those of you who are planning to experience different sceneries and people while travelling Sri Lanka! With a moody private pool and an outdoors sitting group, you can enjoy a relaxed vacation. Book it HERE.
Be sure to check out the cute little creature on the roof, hehe.
Marley’s Beach House
Marley’s beach house… You cannot leave Sri Lanka without having stayed here. This house has a Malibu vibe to it, with a secluded, yet big beach to wake you up with the sound of waves every morning. How would you feel, sitting down on the beach with a smoothie bowl and a cup of tea, all on your own enjoying breakfast? This is what you can expect, staying at Marley’s beach house. I experienced such a peace of mind while staying there. There are nothing but waves to hear when you wake up in the morning, and you can even enjoy an outdoors shower and a bathtub with a window towards the beach. Book it HERE.
We went to beautiful Kandy just as a transfer, as we really wanted to take the epic train ride from Kandy to Ella, with the blue train! As we only wanted to stay for one night, we figured we would stay in a hostel to meet some other travellers and to not spend too much money on just the one night. After a week with luxury villas, it felt good to be a bit shabbier in a cute hostel. We found a hostel called “City Monkey Hostel”, of which we really liked. We were greeted in the entrance by auntie (the hostel lady, which everyone calls auntie because of her great warmth and good heart). We were showed to our room, and were very relieved that the hostel was actually clean and of good standards, because that is not always the case. We cooked some food in their kitchen, and got accompanied by auntie, which was really cozy. I hope the best for her, and wish that all of my readers stay at the City Monkey Hostel at one point just to meet this cute lady. Book it HERE.
Luxury can be expensive, but it can also be very cheap (what?). During our stay in the mountains of Ella, we stayed in a mid range AirBnB for two nights, which had the prettiest view ever. The place is called Village View Homestay, and costs about 30$ each night, which is a good price if you split it by two! Ella is a very cool backpacker town with a reggae vibe to it, and we really enjoyed staying up in the mountains yet close to the hip city center. Book it HERE.
After staying in Ella for a few days, we were headed off to Sigiriya to get some wildlife into our journey. In Sigiriya, you can access multiple national parks with elephants and other animals in them, and there is also quite the good nature outside of the parks in this area. We were a bit spontaneous, and drove to Sigiriya with some local guys, without really booking any place to live. After arriving in Sigiriya with our driver at 1pm, we realised that oh, we don’t really have a place to live and it’s dark outside! All the guest houses we drove by were closed for the night, so we had to call the reception of everything on Booking.com. After a while, we found a guest house where Elise and me stayed for a night. I don’t remember the name, but it was horrifying! The place reaped of cockroaches and dirt, so I would not even mention the place anyways.
After our night of horror in this random guest house, we decided to spend our last night in a luxury hotel called Sigiriya Village, to get the most of our very last day. The hotel was amazing, and I could not believe how cheap it was compared to its high standards! It was like being at a four seasons hotel, except the price was so low. The staff was very kind, and, the hotel breakfast was AMAZING. Book it HERE.
If you have any questions regarding any of these venues, or Sri Lanka in general, feel free to leave a comment in the comment section below. For longer requests, please use the contact form in my contact section.