The Sanctuary at Tissawewa was built by the British in 1907, as The Grand Hotel. In this slice of tamed jungle, birds sing and monkeys wander, whilst the sacred Bodhi Tree, museums, temples and ancient bathing ponds of the ruined Sri Lankan capital of Anuradhapura are all a short walk away. A former Dutch governor's residence, it was designed in an unrepentant colonial manner. Now modernised, some elements still point to its roots in the early 20th century, such as wooden floors and period furniture point. It is relatively good value and is the closest hotel to the archaeological site of Anuradhapura, with wonderful views of the Tisa Wewa (reservoir). Ideal for those who want to spend time in historical Anuradhapura whilst sampling an affordable taste of colonial living, perhaps from a rickety cane chair on a private balcony or veranda. The views are inspiring: the white Dagoba (dome-shaped temple) of the Mirisawetiya Chaitya is just across the gardens.
22 rooms all with a/c. Rooms are double or triple. Triple rooms open out to the courtyard, lawn or a balcony.
The original dining room with very little changes, still remains. A choice of Sri Lankan, Eastern, and Western cuisine is offered here. Herb soups are a specialty. Other facilities include laundry service, doctor on call, bicycles for hire, foreign currency encashment, and TV lounge. There is no pool, nor alcohol license, but guests are welcome to use the facilities of their sister property - the Nuwarawewa Rest House located nearby.
Why We Like It
Big gardens and wide balconies help compensate for simple rooms in a heritage-style hotel that is well placed for Anaradhapura's ruins.
The Sanctuary at Tissawewa has an envied location, standing in what was once the Royal Pleasure Gardens of the old capital of Anuradhapura - capital of the Sinhala kingdom from the 3rd century BC to around the 11th century. The journey from Colombo takes about 4.5 hours.