Located in the coastal town of Mount Lavinia, which is just 12 kilometres south of the City of Colombo and 54 kilometres from the Bandaranaike International Airport, the hotel is easy to reach, yet away from the congestion of the capital. It is situated atop a rock and looks over the aquamarine waters of the Indian Ocean. The hotel allows direct access to the beach.
The town of Mount Lavinia was originally known as Galkissa in Sinhala. It's said to have acquired the latter name in memory of 'Lady Lovinia'.
The Governor''s Palace
In the year 1805, Sir Thomas Maitland, a gallant military General, sailed to the island of Ceylon (as Sri Lanka was known at that time) to assume duties as the second British Governor. He was better known by the sobriquet ''King Tom''.
King Tom had the desire to build a grand country mansion for himself, as he was very dissatisfied with the accommodation provided to him on arrival, which he regarded as hardly fitting for a man of his rank and stature. On his travels around the island he discovered the perfect location for a stately house, on a promontory overlooking the sea in the village of Galkissa, not too far from the capital, Colombo.
It was in the year 1806 that King Tom built his new residence, a symbol of the power and authority vested in him, as His Majesty''s Governor of the island of Ceylon. Indeed King Tom built a house fit for a king, wherein he fulfilled his greatest desire of creating a pleasure-dome filled with excitement and entertainment to escape the inevitable pressures upon his freedom as Governor, within a rigidly circumscribed colonial English society.
Here within the portals of this house, King Tom first set eyes on a beautiful mestizo dancer, Lovina Aponsuwa, the half Portuguese and half Sinhalese lead dancer of her father''s dancing troupe. As she danced before him, enticing him with her long flowing jet black tresses and fixing his attention with her large, expressive, hazel brown eyes, King Tom was mesmerised. He fell instantly in love with Lovina, for nowhere had he seen such perfection, such beauty, and such grace. Lovina and her dance troupe became regular performers at the Governor''s house. Flattered by the attentions of this high-ranking official, Lovina, the lowly dancer was further elated when, as a token of his growing affection, she learned that he was to name his grand country mansion Mount Lavinia, after her.
Before long, King Tom and Lovina were engaged in a clandestine romance, their deep passion for one another flourishing in secret, away from the disapproving eyes of the English society in Colombo, and the moral imperatives of such a closed community.
Lovina''s life could not have been more different from that of her exalted paramour. She was from the lowest caste among the Sinhalese, the Rodiya community, looked down upon by the higher castes. She lived in humble dwellings a short distance from the Governor''s grand mansion. An underground tunnel allowed the Governor and his beloved to keep their trysts secret. The mouth of this tunnel was a disused well near Lovina''s dwelling place, and the underground passage led to the cellars of the Governor''s House. Their romance continued for six years with Lovina a regular visitor at King Tom''s private residence.
The duties of conscientious Governorship soon took their toll on King Tom, however, and poor health forced him to leave the island of Ceylon and his adored Lovina. The Governor, an honourable man, who wanted to do the very best for Lovina within the social mores of the time, presented her with a parting gift: a large piece of land in Attidiya, a village some distance away from Galkissa.
Although the departure of King Tom was to naturally seal the end of their love affair, Lovina''s name is remembered as providing the inspiration in naming the Governor''s house. Indeed, it is believed that her descendants still live in the vicinity of Mount Lavinia. The legend is the story of Lovina, how she fervently held the attention, and captured the heart of a distinguished British Governor of Ceylon.
To this day, the secret tunnel remains, keeping alive the memory and spirit of the beautiful mestizo dancer, elevated in the popular imagination to ''Lady Lavinia''.
The premier restaurant of the hotel provides an ambiance of old world charm. Enjoy the ambiance of a colonial era Ceylonese style restaurant, with a creative blend of regional and continental specialties. The Governor's Restaurant can comfortably seat up to 200 people. A La Carte is served at lunch and dinner. Dress up and go to the Governor's for an evening of elegance and sophistication.
Designated by Newsweek magazine as one of the "World's best gathering places", this is one of the most sought after dining locations for both national and international clients in Colombo. Enjoy the enchanting experience of dining under the stars, seduced by a soft tropical breeze, while lounging by the pool. The bright pinks, oranges and purples of the sky as the sun sets over the Indian Ocean will mesmerise you while you enjoy your meal or sip a tropical cocktail. You can dine to the soothing sounds of live music over a gourmet dinner; on Sunday a live jazz band plays while you enjoy our brunch. The Terrace features daily international lunch buffets and a world of themed nightly buffets that takes you on a gastronomical journey, while A La Carte is served daily from 9.00am to 1.00am. Walk in for breakfast and lunch in casual wear, or take out an elegant dress for dinner.
Sea food cove
Enjoy the magic and romance of the Seafood Cove, with a table set right on the beach, candle light, the warm ocean breeze and the surf breaking softly just a few feet away. Watch the flickering illumination of hurricane lamps throw shadows of history on the soft sand underfoot. It is designed to make your heart skip a beat: a rustic island style Cadjan-thatched gazebo that shades you from the sun and shelters you from the rain, perched on the pristine sands of the paradise beach overlooking the Indian Ocean. It is a quaint yet stylish venue with the ambiance signifying the natural aesthetic beauty with a setting that is nothing short of picture perfect. The cool night breeze will caress you while waiters in ethnic island style attire cosset you. Freshly caught seafood straight from the Indian Ocean is on display on a massive ice filled basket, to be cooked just the way you want it, grilled, sautéed, devilled, poached, fried or in any other style that you prefer. Enjoy the rustic setting and live calypso band that plays during dinner while you tuck into your lobster, jumbo prawns, cuttlefish, squid or fish. So pay us a visit on a starry night to the superlative Seafood Cove. You don't even need to dress up to dine on the finest cuisine at the Seafood Cove - come as you are.
Lobby lounge and bar
Relax and enjoy the magnificent view of the Indian Ocean while you sip a tropical cocktail and munch on your favourite snack. The Lobby Lounge is open 24 hours a day and the bar is open till midnight. Reserve a cocktail dress or smart shirt especially for an evening at the Lobby Lounge.
* No alcoholic beverages are served in any of the bars on Poya days and religious holidays.
Fish tale bar
The bar designed in the style of a Cajun beach tavern is where you can savour traditional blues as well as the world's finest alcoholic beverages. Located on the golden beach, this is the place to find a bit of shade and sip a cool beer or cocktail after enjoying a spell in the sun. The Beach Bar is an extension of the Seafood Cove and is open from eight in the morning to midnight. You don't need to dress up to enjoy a drink here. The Beach Bar can comfortably accommodate up to 30 guests.
In room amenities
Amenities and Services Featured in all Rooms
Air conditioning with individual temperature control
International Direct Dialing (IDD)
WiFi facility available in all rooms (Free Internet)
24-hour house keeping with daily evening turn-down service
Satellite television with international & local channels
Tea and coffee making facility
All bathrooms are supplied with luxury bathroom amenities, hair dryer and 24-hour hot and cold running water.
The following amenities are also available for guests on request.
Iron and ironing board
Bathrobe and slippers
Toiletries (Toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.), shoe polish, sewing kit
Personal wake-up call service (through the hotel operator)
Extra storage-safe facilities are available at the Front Office
3 room types
Direct ocean view rooms
Ocean view rooms
"We had a great time on last 10 days in on our honeymoon in beautiful Sri Lanka. Thank you very much for the stories, the explanations, driving, tips, care and always with a smile. Big thanks for you Cyril. We had an amazing honeymoon in this beautiful island! and you are the best guide and friend that we could have here!!! We will sure tell our friends and family about the trip and you!!! We will stay in touch and may be one day meet you again. Oded & Carol Israel 10 Oct 2014" Naim & Coral Fisher from Israel
"Thank you Cyril for caring us and giving a very enjoyable tour to all of our family while we are on holiday in Sri Lanka. Definitely we will recommend you to our friends and relatives. Hitendra Molleti and family" Hitendra Molleti
"Hello, We had 2 weeks exploring Sri Lanka and for most of that time Cyril drove for usto various towns, sites of interest. Cyril wsa a very pleasant chauffeur. Always prompt and greeted us with a smile. He was well informed about the sites we visited and pointed out many interesting historical buildings en-route. We had a great 2 weeks in Sri Lanka and Cyril's plesant and helpful nature contributed to this briliant holiday. Thank Cyril Sara and Steve from Birmingham, England" Sara and Steve
"2nd to 15th November 2016 Dear Cyril, Thank you for arranging our first visit to your beautiful country. We had a very enjoyable, comfortable, safe, interesting and memorable holiday. All the accommodations you provided were very clean and comfortable and we will always remember the welcome, we felt when the smiling staff cheerfully looked after us and our every need. The itinerary you arranged was just right for us and made even better with the care you took whilst driving your very c..." Satwant and Doug from Australia
"Dear Cyril, We would like to thank youthat you have arrange ourholiday which we have enjoyed so much, that we can call them the best holiday we have ever had. You are avery helpful guide- because you know about your beautiful country very much. We also appriciate your advices that you gave us during our two weeks long journey and your perfect trip arrangement we have enjoyed every single day. All the best to you and your family. Hope to see you again. Martha & Jarda 08 No..." Martha & Jaroslav Jirout
"We found Cyril on-line and after checking with lots of other guides we decided he is the one for us, that decision was the best one we did for our trip From the beginning, in our emails, Cyril listen to us and was very helpful, he gave us information and helped us to create the best trip for us.We had 10 days trip, for our honeymoon, to many parts of Sri-Lanka. the country is amazing, green, nice people and good food.Cyril was a great driver and even greater guide, he has so much knowledge and e..." Coral and Oded from Israel
"11th April 2014 01 week tour around Sri Lanka A fantastic week was had by all with Cyril, exploring Kandy, Nuwaraeliya and Bentota. Your meaningful insights & excellent explanations of the Sri Lanka’s culture, nature and traditions were invaluable. Your smile and charm helped is feel related and comfortable. Not getting stressed once. With your guidance & tips, the holiday flew by with only one problem: it was very short! Your comprehensive list of talents ranges from findin..." Ian Price and family from UK
"We had excellent 8 days tour with CYRIL TOURS. It's all credit goes to Mr. Cyril. From the welcoming at Air port to hotels we stayed,food we had and driver who was provided was excellent. We always introduce CYRIL TOURS to all who wiling to tarvel to Sri Lanka. Swaran Kaur and family Kuantan - Malaysia 2012 May 18 - 25 May" Swaran Kaur and family from Malaysia
"Thanks a lot for making great arrangements for the visit. The visit was very well organized with good hotels and the vehicle/ driver. I would highly recommend your agency and its services to everyone who wants to visit Sri Lanka. Anastasia - Russia, Feb 2011 " Anastasia
"Dear Cyril, Thank you for truly amazing oneweek tour your beautiful country.We have seen so many amazing sites in such a short space of time. From Sigiriya to beautiful temples, Scenic tea gardens of Nuwaraeliya the colonial land ark hotel Mount Lavinia. We have seen so much more. You have made this an utterly memorable holiday with your expert knowledge, amazing, facinating stories, patience, careful+safe drivingand your unforgetable smile. We will cetainly recommonding your tours to all of fr..." Sara Kitson - UK