We traveled just a few miles/kilometers South of Colombo to visit the beaches of Mount Lavinia and stayed at the Tropic Inn.
We’d heard that Mount Lavinia was a fun beach… I’ll get back to this later.
Tropic Inn is listed as a Hostel but is more of a small Hotel. I think they were converting them for more traffic.
We booked through Hostelworld.com for $106.82 USD for 2 Nights lodging.
Our goal was to get at least 3 beds so the kids don’t ever have to sleep together or so none of us have to bunk up. We were all excited to find 4 Twin Beds all in one room Ensuite (shower and toilet attached).
Upon arrival we were given cold water bottles and fruit punch – the drink of Sri Lanka!
The staff doesn’t speak English well but we managed to pay for our room and they escorted us to our 2 flights up.
Most places we stay don’t have elevators so we are used to trekking upstairs.
We had one key, air conditioning, a fan, a Gecko climbing on the wall, TV with Cable, a fridge, big bathroom and…4 beds – not bunks!
Shawn and I pushed ours together and the kids separated theirs even more. Boom, we were ready to get some food!
We headed to the restaurant downstairs.
When they say “restaurant” that is within a hostel or AirBnb in Sri Lanka…they mean a room or an area with tables that they will serve you food in. Generally, the people who check you in also take your order, serve you and clean up after.
There was one gentleman who did the most work at the Hostel. I feel bad because we can’t remember his name now as it’s been 2 months since our stay. He’s older and is very sweet, friendly and works every day between this hotel and another so he can support his family. If you go there, you will quickly find out who he is.
We had to wait a very long time to order at the Tropic Inn Restaurant and then for our food to arrive but, in the meantime we met a couple from Quebec Canada who sold everything they owned also – so they could travel the world for over a year before they became Grandparents. They were super cool and had a 6 month start on us.
Once our food came – we were SUPER Happy. It was great!
We headed out to the beach to catch a couple hours of afternoon sun and headed back to the Tropic Inn for the night.
When you come in from the beach they ask you to rinse off by the stairs so you don’t drag sand upstairs. We complied.
This meant we were going to eat dinner at the Tropic Inn again a it was crazy rainy outside. Again, great food.
We called it a night! Our room was a great place to tuck ourselves away and get some rest. The beds were okay and the room was quiet enough.
The shower was warmish. The showers were old and they weren’t the greatest but they worked. Our toilets worked fine but the Bum Gun leaked all the time which left constant puddles we stepped in.
We didn’t get out much in Mount Lavinia. Just 2 days at the beach for a few hours and then with the heaviest rains we had the entire time we were in Sri Lanka.
I did venture up to the main street about 4 blocks away, in the rain, with Shawn. We wanted to snacks and waters so we got our flip flops and umbrellas and made our way.
We stopped at ATM’s along the way and they all didn’t work with international debit cards. I finally had to ask someone where a Commercial Bank was – as they work on all my cards. If you head from the Tropic Inn towards the main street, take a left and it’ll be a couple of blocks down. I got my money!
We were at the Tropic Inn and Mount Lavinia during low season (monsoon season) so the place was pretty dead. I don’t think it’s really set up for socializing much anyway though so if you are hoping for a happening Hostel with lots of chatting – this probably isn’t the right place for you.
On the whole, we didn’t care too much for Mount Lavinia as the locals just harrassed you for Tuk Tuks and on the beach they were even more relentless. One woman came by with Pineapple and a Machette and one tooth.
She insisted that we buy a pineapple and when we politely refused about 10 times, She stared at Alex and said she had money…and then was kind of playing with her knife. CREEPY and just odd. I mean, we could’ve probably taken here since she was at least 80yrs old but I bet she’s good with the machette.
I’m sure we got more than the lions share of attention because the beach was so empty (aka no tourists).
We really enjoyed our time at the Tropic Inn though. Quiet and easy hotel.
We kept having hot water brought to our room as we travel with our own instant coffee (yes, Nescafe is the instant coffee of choice in all of SE Asia) and Teas.
Our Summary of The Tropic Inn
All in all, there isn’t much to report about the Tropic Inn other than the food is great but the service in the restaurant is kind of like a ghost town. Maybe it’s different in high season.
We’d have no problem recommending the Tropic Inn to anyone passing through looking for a safe and clean place to stay.
The Tropic Inn Hostel isn’t the cheapest place we stayed but for a family of 4, $50 a night was exactly our budget so we were happy.
Make sure to tip the staff when you leave as they work hard and are great.
TIP: Check out La Voile Blanche on the Beach. At the beach entrance take a right and head down until you find it. It’s worth a visit. The food is more expensive but it’s really really good.