Hotel Alakamanda is a great place to relax after a day exploring the Sacred City of Anuradhapura. The hotel offers a little bit of luxury and excellent service, but it comes at a price.
The hotel was opened in 2012 and originally had only six rooms, however, a new (and simply stunning) section opened within the past month. I was lucky enough to be allocated one of the new rooms, which could not be faulted in terms of its cleanliness, facilities and comfort. The queen-sized bed was heavenly, and the adjustable air-conditioning meant the room temperature was just right for me. The hotel surroundings are beautiful with plenty of greenery and the area is quiet and perfect for relaxing after a day of sightseeing in the Sacred City.
The pool is not large and is located rather close to some of the rooms, offering little privacy for bathers, but it is beautiful, and very well maintained. Poolside showers are also a bonus. There is also no poolside fencing for safety or areas suitable for children to play, so probably not the best option for families.
The restaurant offers a combination of Sri Lankan and western cuisine, and depending on the day, meals are either buffet or a la carte. The western cuisine is well-prepared with a good selection of healthy salads, vegetables and meats and fish. The sear fish, fresh salad and roasted vegetables were very nice, and you can eat as much or as little as you like. The Sri Lankan food is also good, but if you’re a rice lover, it’s not always on the menu. If a typical rice-and-curry meal is what you’re looking for, you’re best to eat elsewhere where you know what you’re getting and the prices are cheaper - the dinner buffet will set you back Rs. 1000, and much of the food is western-style.
The service is excellent. The porters and reception, restaurant and room staff were all polite, very professional and willing to help. The hotel offers many activities, including mountain-biking, safaris to Wilpattu National Park, visits to Sigiriya and other cultural visits and airport transfers can be arranged if required. The hotel can also accommodate weddings, meetings, conferences and other such events.
Overall, there is little to fault with Alakamanda Hotel. Facilities, ambience and service are all impeccable, but you do pay for it. A double room, however, will set you back around US$100 per night (with breakfast), so certainly aren’t suitable for those on a budget.
Don't be afraid to ask the staff for tips on things to do or see in Anuradhapura. Their customer service is impeccable.