An unforgettable stay at the newly opened Hilton Yala Resort in Sri Lanka

Aerial Hilton Yala

Nestled on the edge of the extraordinary Yala National Park in Sri Lanka, the recently opened Hilton Yala Resort is a luxurious sanctuary.

It seamlessly blends modern elegance with the wild beauty of its surrounding landscape, creating a haven of hospitality within the wilderness.

This exceptional property offers guests an unparalleled opportunity to immerse themselves in nature while enjoying the comfort and hospitality synonymous with the Hilton brand.

From the moment we arrived, we knew we were in for a treat. A very warm welcome and utterly exquisite design were our first impressions – and it only got better from there.

Here I share my honest review of our stay at the Hilton Yala Resort, including all the experiences we enjoyed in the park.

If you prefer video over a blog post then you can watch my vlog of staying at the Hilton Yala Resort.

Author Bio: Jessie Moore

Jessie Moore is a luxury travel expert with years of experience travelling the world to find the best destinations, hotels and adventures.

Design, facilities and location

The resort is thoughtfully designed to harmonise with the natural environment, featuring architecture that draws inspiration from the local culture and the rustic wilderness of Yala.

Its buildings and rooms are spread across a vast expanse of lush grounds, ensuring privacy and tranquillity for all guests.

Birds Eye View Hilton Yala Resort

With panoramic views of the Indian Ocean on one side and the dense, wildlife-rich forests of Yala National Park on the other, the Hilton Yala Resort serves as a gateway to exploring the wonders of Sri Lanka’s most famous wildlife reserve.

The resort also boasts a range of facilities and activities that allow guests to connect with the natural beauty of Yala – more on the activities later.

An expansive outdoor swimming pool, a state-of-the-art fitness centre, and a luxurious spa provide relaxation and rejuvenation. 

Rooms and suites

Accommodation at the resort is a blend of luxury and nature, offering a range of options from deluxe rooms to private villas with their own plunge pools.

Hilton Yala Room

Each room is designed with an elegant, contemporary aesthetic. Floor-to-ceiling windows allow for an abundance of natural light and provide gorgeous views of the surrounding landscape.

I loved the use of natural materials and traditional Sri Lankan art, which added a touch of local charm to the sophisticated decor.

We stayed in a villa with our own private pool, where there was every possibility that an elephant could meander past at any moment. Sadly this didn’t happen during our stay, but knowing it could was a dream in itself!

Our room had everything we could possibly need – a cosy living area, a desk, walk-in wardrobe, plus all the touches and modcons you’d expect from a luxury hotel.

The bed was incredibly comfortable, ensuring a peaceful night’s sleep after a day of adventure.

While the bathroom, with ‘his and hers’ sinks, a high-tech toilet (yes, really), huge free-standing bathtub and rainfall shower, was just perfect for our needs.


Dining at the Hilton Yala Resort is an experience in itself, with several different menus and options to cater for a variety of tastes and preferences.

We indulged in a mixture of traditional Sri Lankan and Asian cuisine, as well as some more ‘Western’ style dishes. 

Every dish was excellent, with delectable flavours and intricate presentation.

A special shout out to the Executive Chef, Jerome Tissera, who took the time to chat with all the guests every single day. 

I also have to mention how brilliant they were with my gluten intolerance.

Each day I was given some delicious homemade gluten free bread – and believe me, it makes all the difference when it’s freshly made, and not pulled from the freezer like many hotels do.

When I asked if I could have one of the battered fish options, the chefs kindly made a gluten free batter from scratch. Gestures like this may seem small, but they honestly make all the difference.

Each evening we dined al fresco, with beautiful views over the resort and out to the Indian Ocean. 

While in the mornings, we stayed inside to retreat from the heat and take advantage of the air conditioning! 

Breakfast was a wonderful affair, with a selection of continental options plus a menu of hot options.

They were wonderfully flexible with your order too, happy to adapt the dishes to personal preferences and intolerances.


The hotel itself is exceptional, but what really made our stay memorable was the experiences we had during our stay.

Safari in Yala National Park

We enjoyed a private guided safari in Yala National Park, where we went in search of elephants, leopards, crocodiles, and more.

Our guide was incredibly knowledgeable and the whole experience was really special. Unfortunately we didn’t see any leopards but we did see plenty of other wildlife.

Elephant in Yala National Park

Bird on Water Buffalos Head

The only downside to the safari was that it can feel quite busy with all the different jeeps transporting guests throughout the park. 

However, I do think this is inevitable with any safari – because as soon as someone radios in a sighting, everyone heads to the same spot.

This was slightly compounded by the fact that a number of routes in the park remained closed off after some incredibly heavy rain a few weeks back that completely shut down the park.

Jeep Safari in Yala National Park

Bird in Tree Yala

I would say that if you’ve been on safari in Africa then this likely won’t compare – but it was still a remarkable experience and one I’d do again in a heartbeat.

After our safari, we returned to the hotel for a sundowner to find the staff had created a dreamy set-up.

Perched on a rock, there was a table made from slates of rock, comfy seats and a bar, with views of the ocean as the sun set. 

Hilton Yala Sundowner

All lit up with candle lit lanterns, it was wonderfully romantic. We were served some signature cocktails and some delectable snacks while we reminisced about a fantastic day.

Sithulpawwa Rock Temple

Another memorable experience that the hotel arranged was a sunrise visit to Sithulpawwa Rock Temple. 

After a very early start (but believe me, it was worth it), we were driven through the National Park in our private jeep, with the chance to spot more wildlife. 

Sithulpawwa itself is an ancient Buddhist monastery with a history dating back over 2,000 years.

Sithulpawwa at Sunrise

This historic site is renowned not only for its spiritual significance but also for its remarkable architectural and archaeological features. 

The temple is perched atop a rock that rises dramatically from the surrounding plain, offering panoramic views of the park and the Indian Ocean on the horizon.

The complex includes a series of caves, stupas (Buddhist reliquary mounds), and meditation halls that have been carved into the rock. 

Sunrise View of Yala

Exploring the site was truly incredible, but the real highlight was witnessing the sunrise over Yala National Park.

Made even better by the utter peace and quiet that we found at the temple, especially given that we were the only visitors at that time in the morning.

Bush walk 

Our final experience at the hotel was a guided walk through the National Park with our ranger. 

Seeing the park on foot, rather than in a jeep, was a really special experience – if not a bit nerve-wracking when there are crocodiles only a few feet away! 

Water Buffalo Bush Walk

Crocodile Head in Water Yala

But we felt in very safe hands with our ranger, Sameera, who imparted more interesting snippets of information and wisdom about the wildlife and the park.

We ended our bush walk with a sunset stroll along the beach. It was a thoroughly dreamy way to end another great day in Yala National Park. 

Sunset Yala Beautiful

Sunset on Beach at Yala

Sustainability efforts

I also love that sustainability and eco-consciousness are at the heart of the Hilton Yala Resort’s ethos.

The resort employs environmentally friendly practices and technologies to minimise its impact on the surrounding ecosystem.

Initiatives include water conservation measures, energy-efficient lighting, and programs to support local wildlife conservation efforts.

It’s heartening to see a luxury resort take such significant steps towards minimising its environmental footprint.

Final thoughts

I’ve been lucky to stay at some truly exceptional hotels across the world – and this may just be my favourite of them all.

It’s more than just a hotel stay at Hilton Yala Resort – it’s the whole experience, enriched by the incredible staff and surrounding wilderness. 

Drone Shot Beach at Hilton Yala

Whether it was the unforgettable safari, the tranquil moments by the pool, or the exquisite dining experiences, every aspect of the resort was designed to offer a unique and memorable stay. 

For anyone seeking an escape into nature without compromising on luxury, Hilton Yala Resort is a destination that promises a true travel bucket list experience. 

Book here

You can find my vlog of staying at Hilton Yala Resort here:

For more Sri Lanka travel inspiration, you may also like:

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Jessie Moore
Jessie Moore

Jessie is a luxury travel expert with years of experience travelling the world to find the best destinations, hotels and adventures.

Find me on: Web | Instagram


Want up to 25% off hotels?

Subscribe to my newsletter and get immediate access to my guide on how to save money on flights and hotels. Our weekly emails are filled with adventure inspiration, insider travel tips and exclusive discounts.