“Generous Sri Lankan hospitality in an historic family mansion. Beautiful architecture and opulent decor — along with top-notch rice and curry!”
visited in January 2020
“A secret, tranquil setting from which to explore Colombo – a real urban oasis, with sublime food, a refreshing pool and outstanding architecture, right in the heart of the city.”
visited in January 2020
Boutique accommodation is relatively limited in central Colombo, so a small, luxurious heritage hotel situated in the heart of the city’s most exclusive neighbourhood is something pretty special.
Home to five generations of a family of doctors – originally from Manipay town, near Jaffna, hence the property’s name – Maniumpathy occupies a house that’s more than 160 years old. Beautifully maintained, its red-tiled roofs, white-painted columns and arches topped with intricate traditional latticework create an airy yet secluded feel.
Maniumpathy’s eight bedrooms are smart, spacious and grown-up, oozing luxury and old-world charm in equal measure – perfect for the discerning traveller eager to experience historic Colombo in an intimate boutique setting.
Staff are friendly and efficient, the courtyard restaurant serves excellent international and Sri Lankan fare – with Jaffna-inspired dishes marking it out from other Colombo hotels – and the tranquil swimming pool is a welcome rarity in the city.
Indeed, such is the tranquility of Maniumpathy’s courtyard that you can readily forget its urban situation, yet the property is within easy walking distance of countless cafés, shops and restaurants, not to mention many of the commercial capital’s highlights – and a fair few cricket grounds…
Eight splendid suites sit around a central courtyard, situated within the original Victorian house and a sensitively designed additional wing.
Named after women from each generation of the Hallock family, every room is uniquely appointed and the layout ensures a real sense of privacy. Antique wooden furnishings – including big four-poster beds in most suites – as well as huge chests and characterful ornaments evoke the charm of a bygone era, whilst block-printed textiles offer attractive splashes of colour.
The four large suites in the newer wing boast enormous bathrooms with both refreshing showers and free-standing tubs for long evening soaks. Private first-floor balconies in the Cynthia and Ranee Suites overlook the courtyard pool, whilst Vasanthi and Anithra benefit from private courtyards – ideal for sundowners in secret.
For ultimate bliss, go for the Annapuranie Suite in the main house, named for the formidable matriarch of the family. Step out into your hidden garden (with separate entrance) and recline in your private sitting room, before retreating to the comfort of the luxurious ebony four-poster bed.
Families or groups of friends may prefer the Chrysanthie Suite, previously Dr. Saravanmuttu Hallock’s surgery, where a mezzanine level allows space for a second double bed on the upper floor.
There’s also something special about the Soundhari and Poornam Suites, the property’s smallest. Beautiful decor makes for wonderfully cosy, soothing spaces, whilst the Jaffna-style courtyard bathrooms – with showers, rather than baths – are an absolute highlight (and our personal favourites).
Drinking & dining
Tuck in to fresh tropical fruit, homemade pastries with yummy eggs and sausages for breakfast, or return to the hotel after a morning of exploring to savour a hearty lunch of rice and delicious assorted curries.
The covered, open-sided verandah of the Nandi restaurant is breezy and offers stunning views of the pool and garden throughout the day.
Evenings here are cosy and atmospheric, with candlelit tables and a menu featuring superb local specialities. Whilst there are excellent international options available, we’d recommend sampling the wonderful curries – thinkg jackfruit, dhal, chicken, black pork and more – for a real taste of Sri Lanka.
What’s more, the Hallock family’s connection to Jaffna, at the island’s northernmost tip, means there is a particular focus on delectable Jaffna dishes, including a fantastically fragrant prawn curry.
The hotel doesn’t serve alcohol, but you are more than welcome to bring your own, and the hotel staff will happily point you in the direction of nearby wine shops or liquor stores. Or, for even greater convenience, download the ZipSip app and order your booze straight to the door.
Contact the hotel in advance if you’d like to dine in splendour under the twinkling chandeliers of the Grand Ebony Room, where a huge table seats sixteen for special events.
Facilities & activities
Maniumpathy’s lush garden boasts a swimming pool, ideal for a refreshing dip to cool off after strolling around the city. The terrace restaurant is open throughout the day, and private events can be arranged in the original, opulently decorated dining room.
A verdant oasis in the heart of historic Colombo 7 – also known as Cinnamon Gardens – Maniumpathy benefits from a top-notch location, ideal for discovering the best of the city. Wander the area’s leafy streets as you head to Prana Lounge for rejuvenating yoga and holistic therapies, or to Black Cat, Seed Café and Milk & Honey Café for coffee, smoothies or fabulously fresh brunches.
Nearby sights include Viharamahadevi Park, the city’s central green lung, the white-painted Town Hall and glimmering Gangarama Temple. Other neighbourhoods of interest – Fort, Pettah and Colombo 5, as well as seafront Colombo 3 and 4 – are just a short three-wheeler or Uber ride away.
The Saskia Fernando Gallery, the Sapumal Foundation and Lionel Wendt Theatre and Gallery are also nearby, along with PR and Batiks by SALT, both of which stock gorgeous locally made fashion. Venture across Viharamahadevi Park to Urban Island and Paradise Road for handmade homeware, to Fashion Market LK for more chic Sri Lankan-designed clothing and to the Lakpahana Compound for eco brands at Good Market and bright home decor from Pendi.
Cricket fans take note: Maniumpathy is close to all of Colombo’s international grounds, including the Sinhalese Sports Club (4 minutes by trishaw), the P Sara Oval (5 minutes) and the R Premadasa Stadium (12 minutes).
• The house oozes charm, with characterful antique pieces and a real sense of history
• Delicious rice and curry lunches
• Plenty of privacy: rooms are large and many offer private terraces
• The property’s small size allows guests to benefit from warm, personal service
• The property does not have a liquor licence, but they are more than happy for guests to BYOB and can direct you to nearby liquor stores – there is a good wine shop just 10 minutes away on Horton Place
• The hotel accepts children aged 8 and above: this is a heritage building and there is no fence around the courtyard swimming pool
When to visit
Colombo is a brilliant city to visit year-round, though the heat and humidity peak in April and May. The monsoon seasons are generally expected to fall in May – June and late-September – October, though they have shifted in recent years. Prepare yourself for the possibility of hiding inside galleries, cafés and restaurants as the rain pours!
Location & information
The journey from Bandaranaike International Airport to Maniumpathy takes just an hour by car. For more information about getting to and from the airport, check out our travel tips.
129 Kynsey Road,
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