After landing in Colombo, Sri Lanka at 5am, I decided that it would be a great idea to drive 4 hours in a foreign country to my hotel in the city of Anuradhapura. I had to pull over a couple times to get keep myself from dozing off but overall it was a fairly uneventful drive and at least there was little traffic.
The Lakeside Hotel is well situated in the city and just a few minutes ride from the historic area. It’s located along the Nuwarawewa lake and is a picturesque place to stay. However, the noise seems to be amplified by the design and the you can hear if people are coming and going in the rooms around you.
The hotel is located off a busy street and about a block away from the tourist information center. It’s off the busy street a bit so you won’t hear the traffic from the road too much (except the honking). If you’re looking for restaurants, grocery stores, or ATMs, everything is a couple blocks down. If arriving by train, the station is about a 15 minute walk and if arriving by bus, the main bus terminal is about 2 blocks down. Overall, I thought the location was fantastic.
When I arrived, it was actually a bit of a mess for me because I was expecting more of a pronounced entrance to the hotel. Instead, there’s just a sign with a security shack at the entrance so it doesn’t look like much.
Once I arrived at the check in counter, the staff couldn’t be nicer. The hotel didn’t seem that busy so they checked me in right away and escorted me to my room.
The hotel has a restaurant and a pool even though I didn’t get a chance to visit either. However, the restaurant never seemed busy when I was there even though I imagine tourism figures were down so I don’t think that is an accurate representation of the hotel at all.
My room was simple but had everything I needed A simple bed, desk, minibar, bathroom and a MUCH needed AC unit were all there. I was also lucky to get a room that faced the courtyard (even though I didn’t go outside since it was so humid). It was nice though to look outside and see the monkeys in the morning.
The one thing I did notice was that you could easily hear what was going on outside the room. Although I couldn’t hear the people in the adjacent room, I could easily hear when someone was knocking on their door or if they were talking outside. The door knocking was especially noticeable since there were times I thought they were knocking on my door.
The bathroom again was a basic setup and the shower curtain was a plastic curtain. They had some amenities like soap, shampoo, and conditioner as well. Because the bathroom fan opened to the hallway outside, you would get the occasional ant or other native crawling about but it wasn’t serious. It was never an issue for me.
The staff was very friendly and helpful. They were happy to give suggestions on where to go and spoke English really well. To be honest, I think some of the staf enjoyed getting a chance to practice their English and they got a kick out of speaking as much as they did helping.
The Lakeside Hotel is a nice place to stay if visiting Anuradhapura. The rooms are standard but I don’t think it matters too much since anyone visiting isn’t going to be spending more than a couple days here as a tourist. It was terrible to see how much of a negative effect the bombings from 7 months ago has affected the tourism industry in Sri Lanka (a reoccurring theme) especially for hotels that might be considered middle of the road. I thought everything about the experience was fine and the staff genuinely pleased and eager to help.