Where to stay
SriLax Boutique Hotel
A creative, peaceful, and stylish oasis conceptualized and executed by the husband and wife duo Isuru and Shana Dandeniya. These five rooms are designed in a modern, minimalist, and Sri Lankan style with an emphasis on locally sourced items. Each room is unique and equipped with everything you could ever need during a short stay here. And if they don’t have it, they can get it – the staff will seriously go completely out of their way to ensure guest satisfaction. They even helped my boyfriend plan surprise flowers and wine for me on arrival!
Where to play
The Design Collective and The PR Concept Store
Who knew that Colombo was full of fashionable concept shops loaded with independent brands. Shopping in Colombo is such a treat because everything is really unique and different from what you typically find in the west. The PR Concept Store features a wide variety of Sri Lankan independent brands, with a nice mix of modern and traditional styles along with everything in between. The shoe section is particularly creative and cool, offering custom designs for clients. On the other side of town is The Design Collective, boasting showrooms of more than 50 independent designers. This shop houses Asian designed clothing, shoes, swimsuits, and accessories. The diversity in designs here is incredible and you’re bound to leave with something you love.
I was in dire need of a pedicure and was recommended this place by Shana from SriLax. She seriously kills the recommendation game. This salon is spotless and they do a great job for an awesome price. Not only is this spot the cutest, family run nail salon, it also doubles as a coffee shop with authentic Vietnamese offerings like egg and condensed milk coffee. Every service was fantastic and my man enjoyed hanging out in the lobby sipping on his first ever egg coffee. Safe to say he’s now addicted.
Ask for Fern
An unassuming plant shop just happens to be the coolest place in town to have a cocktail and get your groove on. You journey up some stairs and through a club to get to the cool, dark patio. The drinks are really unique and delicious and the music and vibes are unmatched. The DJ mostly played hip hop, R&B, and rap music so you know the dance floor is poppin’. We went on a weekday so it wasn’t too busy but it’s definitely the spot to be on the weekends.
Where to eat
This place is pure insanity! To say we were in Colombo for a weekend but spent three meals here is no exaggeration, it’s just that good. They do fusion food right, creating a unique gem in an unassuming location. The second you walk up the stairs and step through the door you feel as if you’ve been transported to a cool cafe in Japan. This was my favorite place we ate in Sri Lanka, that’s a favorite restaurant in an ENTIRE COUNTRY. If you take a glance at the menu you’ll know exactly why this place is so special. The Topaga Bagel and Wafu Pasta were just two of our many favorites from this perfectly constructed menu. Do not miss this place if you visit the wonderful country of Sri Lanka.
Another masterpiece from those behind SriLax. Located right below SriLax, is this hip, healthy, naturally lit cafe and hangout. The menu is mostly Western food with Sri Lankan influence. There’s a beautiful front AND back garden and ample indoor seating ranging from communicable tables to couches. Serving up delicious and fresh food daily!
Name: Morgan Sands
Pao username: @morgui
About: Morgan is a digital nomad, foreign culture enthusiast, and self-declared foodie from Southern California. After graduating from USC, Morgan worked as a Digital Content Creator and Marketing Manager at Pao while backpacking the globe. You can typically find her in Spain, Asia, and almost everywhere in between. She spends her free time doing yoga and trying any vegetarian street food she can get her hands on.