Excellent 218 Reviews
Jetsetter Approved
This Hotel meets our standards
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What We Love

  • Huge suites start at 797 square feet
  • Choose to dine anywhere on the grounds
  • Suites are decorated with artworks
  • Kayaks, motorboats and tuk-tuks are all available to hire at reception

What To Know

  • Free WiFi
  • The library is stocked with books and DVDs
  • In-room massages are available (on request)
  • Children are welcome, but this is more of a couples hideaway


  •  Babysitting
  •  Bar
  •  Free WiFi
  •  Parking On Site
  •  Pool
  •  Restaurant
  •  Room Service
Disclaimer: This content was accurate at the time the hotel was reviewed. Please check our partner sites when booking to verify that details are still correct.
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Intimate riverside retreat in southwestern Sri Lanka with huge suites, a secluded pool and an eat-where-you-like dining concept

The Lowdown

Set on seven acres of tropical garden on the edge of the Madu River on Sri Lanka’s southwest coast, the River House is an intimate five-suite hideaway. The suites are huge, starting at 797 square feet, and they feature vaulted ceilings, Sri Lankan artworks and kingsize beds topped with delicate Indian fabrics. The cavernous bathrooms have concrete floors and sizable showers. Cool off in your private pool in the Plunge Pool Suite (Menik Suite), which also features stunning views of the Madu River from a private balcony. The open-plan restaurant serves Sri Lankan specialties, but the beauty of this property’s laid-back vibe is that you can choose where you want to dine within the grounds; pick a nook below a palm tree or a spot by the river, and a candle- or lantern-lit table will be waiting for you. There’s no spa on-site, but in-room treatments are available, and the hotel can provide kayaks, motorboats or tuk-tuks to explore the area.

In the Area

The 400-year-old Fort Galle, built by the Portuguese and then fortified by the Dutch, is about an hour’s drive away. Take a daytrip to Udawalawe National Park to spot elephants, wild buffalo, deer and leopards; the variety of wildlife rivals the savannah reserves of Africa. A little farther afield, Yala National Park is home to the world’s highest concentration of leopards. A visit to the Handunugoda Tea Factory, a traditional low country facility that produces some of the best silver tips, is not to be missed. The Madu River is a designated wetlands area and a top spot for birdwatching. Take an early morning boat trip for the best viewing opportunities.

How to Get There

The River House
No. 70 Uththamagnana Mawatha
Balapitiya, 80550 Sri Lanka


5.0 Excellent 218 Reviews
Wow. Superb Stay. Great Staff. Delicious Ceylonese Cuisine
Reviewed 2 days ago

Welcome respite after a long flight from the UK. Truly unique and beautiful location in tropical wilderness. We stayed at the Plunge Pool (Menik) Suite and it's a stunner. Lovely staff, and the Ceylonese cuisine is oustanding. Definitely take the boat ride and, if you love massages, the in-room massages by the spa from their sister hotel is well worth the money. We stayed in three hotels during our time in Sri Lanka and we are so glad that the River House, as the final hotel, was the clear winner.

Serene Place for a Quite Stay
Reviewed 4 days ago

Lovely place in a nice and quite environment placed on the banks of Madhu Ganga. Extremely friendly staff. Good food with limited choices but if you need can personalize the order. Has a nice outdoor pool which is used commonly. Have the option to experience a boat ride along the Madhu Ganaga.

A Hidden Gem!
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

The River House is a perfect hideaway for a relaxing, peaceful and extremely restful holiday. Nestled in a secluded area by the Madu River, the River House has just 5 rooms so that even if they are fully booked, chances are you won't see the other guests.

The rooms are large and spacious with everything you require including a coffee machine for the coffee addict! The bathrooms are huge and are very clean as well. Each room is named after a river and are very private. If you wish you can dine in your room or in the dining area which overlooks the river. The food was delicious and we definitely put on a few extra pounds!

One of the best things about the hotel is that there are no restrictions on the time you want to have your meals or where you want to have them. Chef Amal is always at hand to take your order and is more than happy to oblige if you want something which is not on the menu.

The staff is good and attentive and the young manager Heshan is also present making sure everything is perfect. You can take a boat ride on the river or just walk around the property, take a swim in the beautiful pool or just relax on a sunbed.

The ideal location for a complete break from a hectic schedule! Thank you Heshan, Amal and the staff! We will be back!

Beautiful escape
Reviewed 1 month ago

When choosing a holiday thousands of miles from your home, the carefully chosen pictures and words on hotel websites and feedback sites don’t always reflect reality. So many times hotel quality falls into poor or average, but on occasion a gem is found.
The River House, in our experience, exceeded our expectations. A small five room hotel offering idyllic surroundings and very high quality food and service. Hashan, the young manager, has created an atmosphere that larger hotels can only aspire to.
Surrounded by a passionate team, everything from the gardens to the rooms, is maintained and serviced to a five star standard. If you are looking for bustle, background music and fast food service, this is not the place. Should you need to unwind, relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings, then come and enjoy what the River House has to offer.

The few days we spent here passed so quickly, but our lasting memory is of meeting a team of people who care passionately and deliver high quality service. Little gems like this can be spoilt by scale and over ambition, but Hashan is clear about the future: the success for this team is all about the client experience. Special thanks to Hashan, Chef Amal, Nipun, Ashan, Tilan, Mendis and Sanjaya – a great team.

Cinzia & Rob Dunachie (UK)

Peaceful haven surrounded by nature with great Sri Lankan hospitality.
Reviewed 2 months ago

One of our favorite hotels in Sri Lanka! We are extremely satisfied with the stay, The Hotel's Manager, His assistant, and the team were extremely friendly and helpful. Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner were exceptional, Chef and his team were best. We enjoyed the Sri Lankan best hospitality.