Ivory Inn is a mid sized bed and breakfast, located in Mount Lavinia. They have clean and comfortable rooms starting at around Rs. 3500.
The place has simple Sri Lankan charm and is surrounded by greenery – it feels like a tasteful house in Sri Lanka, instead of a motel in a former Soviet state, which is the blueprint many local hotels tend to use.
Ivory Inn is one of a handful of actual hotels in Mount Lavinia. The rest tend to rent rooms by the hour (1.5 hours is the norm, oddly enough). Ivory also happens to be one of the oldest hotels in this area, created sometime in the late 70s. I'm told they were really popular in the 80s, back when Mount Lavinia was a major tourist destination. They still continue to get lots of visitors during tourist season but at other times the place is more quiet.
The rooms upstairs (I prefer these) have lovely high wooden ceilings. The decor is simple and mildly Barefoot-like - the linen is clean, and the bathroom was decent (mine included a cheerful rubber-duck shower curtain - why I feel the need to mention this, I have no idea).
The beach is a short walk away. There is nice little a balcony where you can sit and gaze in the general direction of the sea if you want to.
Breakfast (included) is good. I requested tea, a slice of papaw, toast, jam, and eggs. Having a friend join you for breakfast costs a modest 200 extra.
My room, however, did have a few issues. The flush required a bit more yanking than a normal flush should, and the AC had two modes - off or Siberia. I am sure staff would have fixed these or switched my room, but I didn't think the flush was much of a problem, and by the time I found out about the AC, I just felt too sleepy and didn't think it was a big deal.
Honestly, I like this place. If you're a fan of modern sanitized hotels where everything is tiled and the toilet has a paper seal and some scribbling to the effect that using it won't cause your genitals to fall off at an awkward moment, then this isn't the place for you (try Palm Beach instead). If you just want a simple, cozy room with a Sri Lankan feel, surrounded by greenery, this may be a good option.
Rates: Starting at 3550 for a single non AC room (includes breakfast).
Cleanliness: 3.5/5 (linen, room, towels, bathroom were clean.)
Staff: 4/5 (friendly, helpful and cheerful, without being annoying.)
Quietness Factor: 4/5 (the rooms were relatively soundproof, fans and ACs weren't too loud. The fan did have a soft “Duck-a-duck-a” sound but if you live in Sri Lanka you are used to that - or require the sound to sleep even).
Comfort: 3/5 (beds were OK, mosquito nets existed, no mosquitoes found in the room.)
Utilities: 2/5 (issues with AC and flush.)
Fauna: Room did not contain any extra 'guests' (bugs etc).
Shower: 2/5 (as with most places, the shower works via a heater, and doesn't have much pressure. It was uninspiring – Kramer would disapprove.)