Hotel J is a comfy budget hotel in Negombo (from Jetwing). We loved their colourful interior decor and considering the quality of the rooms, we thought it was good value for money.
The rooms are actually quite nice - comfy and big-ish, A/C'ed with space for a double bed, a reading table, a little closet space by the door, and a private balcony. All the rooms are the same, save for the suite which is double this size. A room with a sea-view costs Rs. 8K a night, while without the sea-view it's Rs. 6K. The Hotel J concept itself is pretty minimalist, it's not a place that tries to pamper you - the rooms don't have water bottles or shampoo, you can get these yourself at the lobby counter.
Check out the cool pop art on the walls.
Each floor has a bright colour theme - we stayed on the teal/turquoise floor. We liked the style of the hotel - it's all quite simple and unassuming, but the spaces are still very comfy and cheerful.
We love the colour pop of the hotel's restaurant, which is also walk-in, so if you want to grab some food while you're in Lewis Place this is a pleasant place to drop by. There are also dining seats outside by the pool, beyond which there's the beach if you feel like an after-meal stroll.
The food goes with the hotel theme - quite simple, but appealing. For breakfast we got a tasty classic combo of scrambled eggs, sausages with toast and cups of tea. The place seemed like it had a small staff, who were very casual and friendly when spoken to - service is good, though again very direct and there's none of the coddling you get at regular vacation hotels.
We had some nasi goreng, devilled prawns, barbecued chicken and a Hotel J cheese pizza. They also had pasta, rice and curry, and the usuals. The food is quite spicy, oily and it tasted good - the meals have got a simple fast-food kind of vibe and it's a decent place to stop by for lunch, for around Rs. 700 for a meal.
The Pool & Rooftop
The pool looks big from your balcony but it's actually a bit small and it feels crowded if there's more than two people in it. We like the little artificial green lawn next to the pool, a nice place to recline and enjoy the view of the sea.
Hotel J has a really nice rooftop, with a reasonable bar. There's simple furniture in solid colours, though during non-rainy season we've spotted comfy bean bags strewn around here.
There's a great view of the sea and the Negombo sky from here, if you're too lazy to lug yourself through the sand. You can get a boat ride on the ocean from Catamaran boats at the shore but it's for about Rs. 3000 so take a group with you.
We recommend you make the effort to get to the shore from the pool-side when the sun is about to set. There's a wide shore area with overturned boats for you to sit on and enjoy the concert in the sky - check out our photographs of the Negombo sky
We had a pretty pleasant experience at Hotel J. It's a simple, affordable hotel, where the staff isn't going to make too much of a fuss over you, which we found refreshing. The rooms are comfy but not so luxurious that you want to just stay indoors instead of exploring the city. So if you're in Negombo and you want a cheerful place to stay, this is one place to consider.