Colombo very much has 5 star accomm.
Magnificent Mt Lavinia Hotel and historic, British colonial Galle Face Hotel, are just 2 good examples.
From what I’ve seen so far, Sri Lanka does high-end and low-end accomm very well: So, the exclusive big $ and the very cheap backpackers/surfers. It is yet to properly cater for the “mass middle market” with short-stay accomm of a standard such as Mantra/Quest/Travelodge/Mercure that appeals to the bulk of Aussie/Kiwi/European couples and families.
The accomm owners – I’m told only a few locals and Germans own most of the hotels on the popular Hikkaduwa Beach strip – seem to be relying on the Russian guests but who are tight arses who stock up at the supermarket on arrival and stay in their rooms at night rather than eat/drink in the restaurants. A hotel manager told me the Russians get pissed and want to fight everyone… what’s new.
I have a nice “cabana” – the only room left so obviously not the best, the rest being booked out by Russians – at Royal Beach Hotel which backs directly onto the beautiful beachfront and very good surf. I was told $US40 a night but that translated into AUD$61 after taxes/charges/conversion. It’s big, clean, clean linen, large clean bathroom with hot water (you really need hot water to wash T-shirts daily), friendly Sri Lankan staff, good aircon, flimsy old door lock-and-key I don’t trust, no safe for passport/cash, no TV (not so important for me but a couple might like to watch movies and have music), it’s at the front of the property and – dammit – just out of reach of the hotel’s excellent wi-fi, and next to busy Galle Rd (Sri Lanka’s main arterial road) but horn obsessed bus drivers and tuk tuks are nothing after my previous hotel on the railway line.
Maybe I can cap it off by next picking a hotel by the main runway at Colombo international airport…..