Our whole stay was blissful — there’s plenty to see in Colombo, but you’ll struggle to drag yourself away from the tranquility of Aathma. The Sri Lankan breakfast was also a real highlight!– Saskia, visited in September 2019
Originally built as the beautiful private home of co-owner Dushy Kumar, Aathma has been tastefully transformed into a marvellous 8 room lakeside oasis, just twenty minutes from the heart of Colombo.
Modern architecture with sliding doors and large open spaces ensures that airy rooms are filled with light, whilst the eclectic interior design is playful and sophisticated: antique finds have been carefully curated, and there is excellent attention to detail: from the patterned edging on towels and napkins to the colourful mosaic floors.
This is a curious space and one which encourages calming creativity — the perfect antidote to the hustle and bustle of Sri Lanka’s commercial capital.
Aathma’s eight characterful rooms are a real joy to behold. Uniquely designed and decorated, each air-conditioned suite feels like a private haven, kitted out with everything you might need for your stay – plus oodles of quirky creativity.
We stayed in Tulua, just steps back from the terrace where we ate breakfast, with a view onto the garden and the little island across the water. The bed was incredibly cosy and the hidden reading room was a superb, secluded spot to relax after a busy day in the city. We also had a wonderful bathroom with a huge rain shower and one of the bright mosaic floors which make Aathma so special.
Treat yourself to the opulent Rajkumari Suite for a panoramic vista of Diyawanna Lake from two balconies, a dreamy whirlpool bath and four-poster bliss on the upper mezzanine. The Simha Suite, on the other hand, is the largest of the rooms, offering private sun terrace dining, a jacuzzi and more of those lush lake views.
Drinking & dining
Aathma’s menu offers a lovely array of flavours: from the spicy Indian Summer omelette in a grilled ciabatta sandwich to a light garden salad, or delicious grilled prawns marinated in chilli and lime. There are savoury snacks, fresh juices and yummy puddings to devour — cleverly ensuring that there’s something here for everyone.
Our absolute highlight, however, was the gorgeous Sri Lankan breakfast spread, which we had pre-ordered the previous evening. Wake up with fresh fruit and a strong coffee, before feasting on dhal, string hoppers, pol roti and curries of your choice. An absolute treat! There is of course a wonderful European breakfast of sausages, bacon and eggs available too, but we’re big believers in starting the day Sri Lankan style.
What to eat
We sipped tea and nibbled on papaya, pineapple and watermelon topped with buffalo curd and treacle, before filling up on glorious egg hoppers dipped in dhal curry and spicy okra.
This is primarily a spot to chill out: the 20-metre pool wraps around the edge of the main house, offering a quiet place to paddle – within view of the birds flitting atop the trees on the island across the water. Cosy seating in little nooks across the garden and the open-sided sitting room invites readers to curl up with a cup of tea, or to map out plans for an exploration of Colombo.
The city itself is easily accessible, with museums, restaurants and cafes aplenty. Aathma’s in-room guides offer plenty of suggestions, and you’ll find our favourite places to eat in Colombo here.
Appetite for adventure sated, unwind with a massage on the terrace at Aathma, before savouring an in-house dinner or hitting the town.
• Though you’re on the edge of a busy, bustling city, this spot feels tranquil and relaxing
• Brilliant service — everyone we spoke to was so friendly and efficient
• Bright and bold decor: Aathma is filled with antiques, vibrant patterned fabrics and quirky pieces of artwork
• You’ll need a three-wheeler or Uber to get to the centre of town, and the route can take a while at rush hour. The rest of the day, however, it’s pretty straightforward.
• The hotel does not have a liqour licence, but staff are happy to purchase alcohol for guests upon request
When to visit
The hotel is open year-round, and Colombo is the gateway to much of the island. April and May are the hottest months, and the monsoon season (June – July) is cool but quite wet. We visited in September, which was wonderful, but with A/C, the breeze from the lake and a lovely pool to cool off in, we think Aathma will be brilliant even during the hot season.
Location & information
The journey from Bandaranaike International Airport to Aathma Colombo House is just an hour by car.
485/69 Diyawanna Residencies
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