We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Great Colonial-Style Hotel; Great Hospitality” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Mount Lavinia Hotel

Best prices for your stay
Enter dates for best prices
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
and 5 more sites!
You added Mount Lavinia Hotel to your Saves list
Mount Lavinia Hotel
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   100 Hotel Road, Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia 10732, Sri Lanka   |  
Hotel amenities
Chicago, Illinois
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Great Colonial-Style Hotel; Great Hospitality”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2010

I actually wanted to give 4 and a half stars, and decided to go with five for now....The hotel has a lot of charm and character, and the hospitality is quite good, but they occassionally mess up easy things.

For example, they did not respond to email from their website, and also when I booked my reservation through their website, they got the number of days wrong, and kept interruping us based on this glitch--one night as we were asleep, someone actually opened the door!!!

Secondly, I had reserved a Direct Ocean View room, which costs the most. However, when we showed up, they told us that they had a colonial room for us and could move us the next day into the Direct Ocean View room. So, the first night, I was a bit upset and confused about why they hadn't kept our reservation. However, the next day, they showed us the Direct Ocean View room, and we agreed that it was not very nice at all. Yet at checkout, despite being in the colonial room, they still charged us the top rate--which I was unhappy about.

Finally, I have stayed in this hotel several times, and there is a huge discrepancy between the quality of the rooms. Some rooms are beautiful---gorgeous floors, high ceilings, old colonial furniture. It's just a treat to stay in one of those rooms. However, in the same hotel, there are un-renovated rooms (I think these are the Direct Ocean View rooms), which are nothing that special--they feel like any typical hotel; you could be staying at a run-of-the-mill Hilton. So, I don't know how to explain it, but you want to be in what they call the Ocean-View rooms across the courtyard, not the ones in the building where the lobby is (I think). I am not quite sure, but that is what I believe.

Having said all that, I really love this hotel. I love the character, and the hospitality. But, I also love the 24-hour room service, the govener's dining restaurant (such great food); I love the beach huts, and the private beach. The fish market restaurant on the beach has a huge selection of fresh fish each night, and you select from 37 different ways of having it cooked! I love how everyone is so kind and helpful. The rooms have all the amenities you would expect (AC, hot running water, hairdryer, minibar, room service, etc.)

The wireless internet is provided by a card that you purchase (4 hours is 800 rupees, valid over three days), but the internet is a bit tempermental, which didn't bother me, but it would bother someone who was trying to work.

Overall, this is still one of my favorite places to be!

  • Stayed February 2010, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

1,538 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
See reviews for
Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (462)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Indonesian first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Norwegian first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Turkish first
  • Any
English first
Canterbury, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
144 helpful votes 144 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 8, 2010

Masses of atmosphere, a good mix of colonial architecture, local colour and great views.
Our Superior Bay Wing room was a good size, with large, comfortable bed, mini bar, kettle with tea and coffee, safe, desk with chair, two comfy chairs, dressing table and plenty of space for hanging clothes and for suitcase storage. Two bottles of drinking water are supplied on arrival and the kettle is topped up each day. Bathroom was adequate with both bath and shower, though the temperature of the shower water wasn’t always consistent.
We were on the 5th floor and had a pleasant private balcony with two wooden chairs that looked out over a little headland and bay; pretty, but don’t look too closely at the sea – it’s full of plastic bags and bottles at this point. This doesn’t seem to worry the local swimming club though, who gave us a wonderful display of distance swimming one morning despite having to start and finish surrounded by floating plastic. The main beach of the hotel where the beach bars are (to the south of the hotel) and the long public beach (to the north) looked much cleaner.
The swimming pool is not vast but is in a beautiful position.
Superb. We stayed at 4 hotels in Sri Lanka and none of the other 3 (all of which had a higher star rating than Mount Lovinia) came close. Extensive breakfast buffet with fruit, pastries, American, Sri Lankan and so many other choices was a lovely start to the day. And to have a choice of dining area (air-con, outside in shade, outside in sun) was good too. Most evenings we had the dinner buffet – a different theme each evening – and everything had so much flavour. Usually a small band or cabaret accompanied the meal and it was very romantic to sit outside looking at the lights all the way along the sweep of the coast up to Colombo.
On our last night we reserved a table, but when we arrived it had been given to another couple. Obviously disappointed, we were led to the part of the dining area where the very best views are and asked if that would be OK. We said yes, but there was no table there. No problem, we were told and within two minutes a fully furnished table arrived, complete with linen, cutlery, glasses, flowers and candle, carried by two smiling waiters. It made our day!
We found everyone to be friendly and helpful and everything was kept very clean.
The Mount Lovinia is a very special hotel. There is the usual mix of international clients, but it also has a definite feel of Sri Lankan culture. Many (rich!) Sri Lankans use it for weddings and other celebrations and this isn’t hidden away in a different part of the hotel, you frequently come across a wedding party beautifully dressed in traditional clothes in the lobby or the grounds and they were happy for us to take a photo when we asked.
If you’re staying on a sunny Sunday, it’s worth a stroll along the public beach to the north. Slightly daunting if you've just arrived in Sri Lanka for the first time as you have to go down an alley, walk across the rails of railway line without a proper crossing and join what looks, from a distance, a seething throng of locals not knowing if our presence would be resented. We needn't have worried -thousands of people go there to enjoy themselves with games of cricket and football, pony rides, sandcastle building etc and we were made to feel very welcome (conspicuous as we were with our straw hats and pallid complexions!) and invited to take photos and videos of boys doing their best acrobatics and killer cricket batting strokes.
The only thing wrong with our stay at Mount Lovinia was that it ended too soon. We plan to return there for much longer next winter.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 3, 2010

The only good thing about this hotel is the view of the sunset over the Indian Ocean!

Arrived for 10 nights at the start of our honeymoon to 2 single beds and stained bedsheets. Twice after that we found other stains, one was dried blood!

Staff seem to be trained to answer every question with "NO!" and to turn and walk away with no explanations at all.

Was burned by the chef's hot oil at breakfast. Took them 10 minutes to bring me some ice. Asked for burn cream, or antiseptic cream - waited 45 minutes and went to reception to be met by blank looks and an exasperated "but we'll need to go out to the chemists to get you some" and the offer of a band aid!!

Hotel food is simple and overpriced. Must mention that the Seafood restaurant on the beach is good though, choose your fish by weight and they'll cook it whatever way you want - but still expensive for Colombo. But there is an overall lack of local food here - buffets in the restaurant at night showcase American, Latin, Italian - local food only once a week. Not good if you like to sample local cuisine.

Visit Loon Tao on the beach for much better and cheaper food and drinks for 1/3 the price - even the Hilton Colombo is cheaper for a beer (Lion is RRP 110 rupees - Hilton 320 rupees after tax, Mt Lavinia 400 rupees before tax).

Can't get a place at the beach as there's always a marquee being erected / dismantled for a wedding.

Can't get any sleep in the main wing before 1am as there's always a wedding (they've got about 3 a day) going on in the main ballroom - music drifts up through the single glazing balcony doors.

Staff are disinterested and arrogant - especially on reception

Overall - AVOID!!!!!!!!

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2010

Great hotel, very good for leisure... by the Indian ocean

Stayed February 2009, traveled on business
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 25, 2010

Mount Lavinia is a great property to stay at with an attached beach and awesome seaside facing restaurant and pool. It had by far one of the best buffet breakfasts I have encountered. The service however can be improved and rooms need a bit more finesse. The hotel is located a bit far away from town though. Overall the ambiance of the lobby & restaurant was very good. The room service was however slow and the food got cold by the time it reached the room. Overall this is a very good 4 star hotel.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London UK
11 reviews 11 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2010

As part of our 2 week holiday in Sri Lanka, we decided to upgrade for one night and reading favourable reviews on TA, decided this would be the place.
The location is perfect; a large and beautiful colonial building perched on a promontory overlooking the Indian Ocean from 3 sides, and a view up the coast to Colombo. The entrance is stunning; exhibiting the charms of the building's historic past and the efficiencies of the present, Check-in was prompt and we were lead to a room in the old unrefurbished wing, which was a little disappointing as it looked like nothing in the room pictures on the internet - the room smelt very musty and damp and 1970's time warped, although clean and spacious. We called down to reception and were immediately and painlessly moved to a refurbed room, with views over the ocean. That night we slept with the windows and curtains wide open, with the air conditioner off, lulled to sleep by the crashing waves on the private beach beneath and a gentle breeze.
Lunch at the pretty poolside was very good - local dishes cooked authentically at a reasonable price, whilst watching a wedding taking place in the gardens beneath, complete with drummers and an elephant. The poolside is highly recommended to watch the sun sink slowly into the ocean, to the gentle sound of ice cubes clinking in your G&T.
Dinner in the Sea Cove restaurant is amazing, offering a choice of super-fresh fish cooked and prepared to your spec, with a bewildering number of sauces and flavours, including your choice of vegetable and side dishes in a romantic setting on the beach itself or under a roofed hut for those who like less elemental settings!
the Coconut Spa is highly recommended - prices aren't cheap, but the Balinese spa is lovely and the treatments very professional. The facial and massage left me floating!
The breakfast buffet is extensive and nicely laid out, catering well for western and asian tastes.
The tran line to Colombo is right behind the hotel, so be prepared for the odd diesel locomotive trundling noisily past the building, which enhances that old Colonial ambience.
All in all a lovely hotel in a marvellous setting.
I highly recommend Mount Lavinia Hotel for those who appreciate historical aesthetics, but are prepared to overlook a few minor quirks..

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cardiff, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
79 reviews 79 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2010

We booked 10 night stay for christmas to get away and relax. The hotel has many good points and bad faults. The bad are mainly around employee interaction.

Summary good - Beautiful hotel, great fresh food with enough variety to keep it interesting, private beach, lovely pool, evening entertainent was also good and varied.

Summary bad - Any requests prior to arrival will be ignored completely. (we arrived 5am and requested an early check in, we even booked collection by hotel car) we got to our room at 7.30pm as they had accepted late checkout request by earlier customer. We got free breakfast, dinner and first night free but not exactly a great start. (The meals were all on the final bill and had to explain on checkout as no records of this were kept). When we finally got to room after evening dinner (midnight) the windows were rattling. There are new beach bars opposite on public beach which keep going until 5am. We had to move again and luckily we found another suite on other side of hotel outside of earshot. You WILL hear beachbars from every room in main hotel building. The staff appear to be largely untrained (a couple of good people) and at no time was service offered - every drink and food order had to be proactively made and often reminders had to be given as forgotten or too long. We had also requested car seat for child which we assured would be no problem. It was and no car seat is available in hotel or with driver hire companies. I found one for €60 in the end. The roads are trecherous and I would strongly recommend taking car seat for children. Book trips with companies ouside the hotel as the in house company is minimum 100% more. Internet charges are high and no free wifi available.

Overall the good outweight the bad and I would recommend the hotel, but you should bear the above in mind.

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
Price Your Stay

Been to Mount Lavinia Hotel? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Mount Lavinia Hotel

Address: 100 Hotel Road, Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia 10732, Sri Lanka
Location: Sri Lanka > Western Province > Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 9 Hotels in Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Mount Lavinia Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 275
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Travelocity, Expedia, Agoda, Despegar.com, Hotels.com and Priceline so you can book your Mount Lavinia Hotel reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Mount Lavinia Hotel Sri Lanka/Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Mount Lavinia Hotel, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.