Jetwing's Ayurveda Pavilions is an unsung hero, in our opinion. People often opt for the bigger, shinier Jetwings down the Porutota hotel strip like Blue, Beach, or even the elegant (and slightly further away) Lagoon. But Ayurveda Pavilions is serene, private, and features good food, a lovely pool, and a fully-equipped ayurveda center.
Another reason we're fans of AP is because we've managed to stay here for as low as Rs. 8000 for a double room in the past (within the last 6 months). This includes either an A/C or non-A/C room, and breakfast or even an ayurveda treatment if your booking includes a deal.
The rooms are multi-tiered, pristine, minimalist, and comfortable. Lot of natural light, a rainwater shower, a little balcony, you don't really need much more. They also come equipped with full amenities, and glass bottles of water that they replace upon request (which is superb, given the amount of plastic waste the tourism industry creates).
The premises are pretty spread out, and give off a rustic, leafy vibe. You're on the other side of the road so beach access isn't directly on the property, but there's a gorgeous rough-stone pool that's generally pretty empty. You'll also find an inner yoga shala area, and classes conducted in the mornings.
The hotel also boasts a full ayurvedic spa section, complete with local herbs, plants, baths, and massage sections. It's really peaceful, with a lot of crickets chirping and croaking birdlife – a far cry from the exciting bustle of the neon and reggae Negombo strip.
I'd suggest you opt for the Lankan breakfast here, as I've had it in the past and it's been great. The Continental breakfast on the other hand isn't awe-inspiring, just a regular egg and wrinkly sausage combination. Our meals were much better though.
For lunch, I opted for a fettuccine and grilled chicken, topped with gravy and a side of stewed vegetables. At Rs. 800, it was absolutely value for money, healthy, and a hefty portion. We've had good experiences with the food at Aurveda Pavilions, and found it generally well-executed and cheap, so go ahead and experiment with their menu.
The service is almost always amazingly slow. We've stayed here thrice, and it's basically impossible to flag down a member of the waitstaff if you're at the pool or in your room, unless you go and track them down yourself. It's also never taken less than 20 minutes to get checked in, even with a prior booking. I guess it really fits in with the serene, slow, yoga vibe they have going here.
There's an in-house ayurveda doctor who will give you a 10 minute consultation, check what your ailments/issues are, and accordingly suggest a treatment and particular herbs/ oils for you. The spa itself is styled in a very rustic village-type fashion, with open courtyards, no A/C or trappings, just simple wood and stone and plenty of natural light.
The therapists are also trained ayurveda professionals, and my massages here have always been stellar, and done wonders for easing daily aches and knots. However, keep in mind that the oil they use is very strong, so the colour/aroma may be too intense for some. You'll also have to be careful in washing it off properly after an hour or so, or it will taint your clothes.
We'd recommend Jetwing's Ayurveda Pavilions. Negombo may seem a surprising option for a yoga/ayurveda retreat, but this hotel is quiet and totally sets the scene for it. There's also plenty of vegetarian fare, good ayurvedic treatments, and a serene pool. And the best part? It's probably one of the cheapest upscale hotels you can find in Negombo. It's only missed a 5 star from us due to the shavasana service.