Mount Lavinia Hotel (Pool).

Sea bathing at Mount Lavinia was an old colonial tradition and for over a century the Mt Lavinia hotel has been the place for an afternoon swim. The swimming pool itself is a modern creation and, well, it’s fine, but not stunning in any way. There’s a handy ledge on which you can perch and pose before plunging into the deeper water in the centre, which is nice, but we found the pool a little on the small side and crowded. Its popularity with sun loving Northern-European tourists means that you’re unlikely to ever have it to yourself.

The key to its appeal, however, is that the lovely poolside terrace is surrounded, on three sides, by the Indian Ocean. So you have one of the best views of the capital – sitting on the terrace sipping a beer and munching a club sandwich while staring as the city’s rising skyline is one the defining Colombo experiences.

It must be noted, however, that the pool fails abjectly to take advantage of the hotel’s eye-popping views. In fact it’s the one place on the terrace from where you can’t see the sea. This really is a shame – without views it’s just another hotel pool, fine, but not really worth Rs. 1000. Its time they invested in an infinity pool on the edge of the Indian ocean. They have the space as well as an elevated location, so we really don’t know what’s stopping them…

Good for: Views from the terrace but sadly not from the pool.

Bad for: Service. They struggled with simple things like providing an umbrella or a beer, and were slightly on the surly side.

Price: 1000

Length: 15-20 meters

Depth: 1.5 Indis at the deep end

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