For once I’m going to tell you about the accommodation we used in Ella, Sri Lanka, and then tell you to stay somewhere else. I won’t give you the name, that wouldn’t be fair. We stayed for 3 nights, the location was good, the price was good, the breakfast ( not included) was divine and the young men who ran the place were absolutely lovely, but we had a little problem, I’ll explain that in a moment. If you’d like links to accommodation in Ella that we DO recommend, you’ll need this post.
We write these posts about the accommodation we use on the road to give our readers an idea of where they can expect to stay and how much it will cost on a typical backpacking tour of Sri Lanka. At other times we use luxury and mid range accommodation, this was a backpacking trip. Accommodation in Srilanka is very good value. Guest houses in Ella seemed to cost slightly more than accommodation elsewhere on the island, demand is high in Ella and there is quite a lot of hard sell from the touts waiting for arriving buses.
Guest House Ella, Sri Lanka
Cost per Night: 2,500 Rs ( $20 AU)
Number of Beds: 4. one double, two singles.
What we got for our money: A very large room, own bathroom and patio, mosquito nets, fan, OK wifi.
Location: The entrance to the guest house is 100m from the bus drop off point in the centre of Ella. To get to the guest house you need to go down a few steps and then up 90 steps ( we counted!). It’s a really nice spot with decent views and a pretty garden.
Negatives: When we looked closely, the room was dirty. It looked superficially clean at first, but once we untied the mosquito nets and saw the mattresses when the too-small sheets slipped off, we saw that it was absolutely minging. Three days later, we realised we’d been hit by bed bugs.
The electric shower system was a little nerve wracking, but it worked, we had hot showers.
Our Verdict: We really liked this place, Ella and the guest house. We stayed 3 nights despite the grottyness of our room. The pre-ordered Sri Lankan breakfast was excellent and it was lovely to sit outside on the side of the hill and eat. The boys running the place were lovely, so I feel really bad having to mention the bed bugs, but you wouldn’t thank me if I didn’t!
Our room was the large cottage. The main building had a series of newer, really nice-looking, clean rooms. They may well be bug free. We were offered one of these rooms, with a triple bed for 2,500 Rs, same price, unfortunately we opted for the bigger one.
Accommodation in Ella Generally
We must have looked at 20 guest houses and hotels in Ella before we settled on this one. Prices were high by Sri Lankan standards, 4,000 to 8,000Rs. We walked a long way with heavy packs, up lots of hills and steps and we felt we weren’t treated very well, not what we’ve come to expect from Sri Lanka at all. Quite a few owners would tell us the price, make us walk up several flights of steps to show us the room, then double the price. Their other trick was to tell us there was wi-fi and then, at the top of the stairs, tell us there wasn’t. They really weren’t bothered whether we took the room or not, they knew there were plenty more where we came from, Ella is a very busy backpacker town.
It was pretty cold in Ella when we were there, we needed fleeces and hats. It’s a lovely town, a great spot to just hang out for a few days, walk and explore.
We arrived in Ella by bus from Tangalle and left by train to Kandy, both were very easy, transport in Sri Lanka is great and incredibly cheap. You don’t need to pay for fancy tours.
Our Ella Recommendation
Ella Holiday Inn. It’s a big place, right in the middle of the main street on the right. The manager offered us a room for 3,000, which we turned down. We ended up eating most of our meals at Ella Holiday Inn and the attached Rotti Hut (excellent hoppers and Indian style masala dosa ).
We got a bit friendly with the manager, he was great with the kids. He told us we could have had the room for 2500 if we’d asked! When we first saw the room I couldn’t be bothered haggling, I just thought it was too expensive so we moved on to the next place. I wish we’d stayed.