Located in the heart of Jaffna City, the luxurious Tilko City Hotel beckons if you seek a modern and comfortable haven to unwind in after the breathless excitement and adventure of exploring the North. Its also perfect for business conferences and strategic meetings, due to its central location, professional services and modern facilities. It is literally an oasis of peace and greenery contrasting with the comparatively arid city, hosting as it does an area of lovingly tended landscaping flowering and leafy trees that cool the eye and calm the senses. The City Hotel has 42 rooms and one penthouse for accommodation. The pool area is surrounded by cool foliage, and as a result visitors can escape the heat and glare of the sun while privately indulging in a leisurely swim to cool their senses.
Roaming in the hotel, you will meet Maaran, the tallest man in Sri Lanka who happens to have worked here for the past so many years. Measuring up to 7’2 ft, he is the just one of the friendly, cheerful and helpful staff members you will meet during your stay. Ask to meet their charming French speaking bartender Ananthi who will mix you the smoothest of beverages, and of course the Resident Manager Stanley who will be direct you to seeing the not-to-be-missed sites of Jaffna. Try learning a bit of spoken Tamil from any of the staff who will be delighted to help.
We graciously invite you to take your pick from our range of rooms that are strikingly spacious, tastefully furnished and coolly inviting for the adventurous traveller. Super luxury rooms have a balcony area to relax and unwind with a view of the Jaffna town’s skyline. The Penthouse is located at the very top of the hotel and offers a fantastic view overlooking the town of Jaffna. Double rooms include a Queen sized bed that is excellent for couples and solo travellers, while the twin rooms and triple rooms are perfect for two to three people in groups. They are spacious enough to comfortably hold a family with active children. You can also use the well-equipped gymnasium and sauna facilities that are in the hotel.
The cuisine can be considered by far the most eagerly awaited wonder of the Tilko experience. Authentic Northern cuisine is an exotic blend of local spices and seafood. As such, at Tilko we insist you try out the local culinary experience.Dishes include the famous Jaffna Crab Curry and other regional specialities made to perfection by the experienced kitchen crew. A number of specialities only found in the North are given the expert and perfectionist Tilko treatment by Chef Ravi who insists on personally combing nearby markets for the finest of fresh produce. Among the Eastern and Western cuisine on offer at very affordable prices, Northern Sri Lankan specialities stand out, such as the Jaffna Crab curry, the Jaffna Mutton Curry, Jaffna Kool as well as that spicy and delicious appetizer, the Rasam soup (and did you know that it was called millagai-thanni meaning Pepper-water, in Tamil. Sounds familiar? yes that's how Mulligatawny came to be!). You can also order decidedly western cuisine in the form of soups, English breakfasts, Fish and Chips if you want a touch of home, and a variety of salads. Outdoor dining and BBQs can be arranged on request.
The thoughtfully shaded swimming pool, with its quiet leafy privacy welcomes you to a refreshing interlude at any time you feel you need a break from the sunny glimmer of the city. It’s also enticing in the cooler evenings when you just want to sip a beverage and wind down.
Whether it is for a meeting of minds or a marriage of souls, Tilko Hotel offers weddings and conference halls to suit your requirement. Choose from the three halls that are named after Kings of Jaffna; namely Chola (with a capacity to house 500 guests), Chera (housing 100 people) and Pandyan (a small conference hall accommodating around 13 guests) that are at your disposal. The management will help you organise other facilities such as audio, translation and catering.
Denoting the roots of the hotelier, the Piccadilly Bar brings in a touch of London to Jaffna as murals of Marilyn Monroe and Muhammad Ali drawn by a local artist adorn the walls of the Bar. The ambiance and furnishings are definitely and contrastingly western and modern, so that you feel at home in the plush air conditioned surroundings although you can look out at upon tropical day. Friday and Saturday nights are the busiest days for the Bar Manager Vidushan who happens to be a personal favorite of the local bar goers. He is known for his chummy ways with and excellent cocktails to the extent that some only visit the bar after making sure he is around on that particular evening. The Bartender Anantih, with twenty years of experience in France really knows his drinks. Ask him for the long cocktail drink that is a local speciality rich in palmyrah arrack and topped with ice.
Step outside the Piccadilly Bar and you can relax by the pool, calmed by the surrounding valley of trees. The pool’s ambience adds to the evening and you can escape the warm Jaffna weather by sitting under the umbrella huts that are illuminated by the gentle glow of the poolside lights.
Built by the Portuguese in 1816, the stark grey stones of this iconic monument are etched deep with history, echoing legends, countless battles and voices long silenced. Like all fortresses the world over this one was considered a strategic location and the scene of many a battle as recently as two decades ago where a civil war raged for over 30 years. Fittingly in post war Jaffna with its atmosphere of a phoenix arising gradually from massive destruction, you'll see scenic moats and mysterious green water, rocks and stones of the fort itself and much much ruin, that tells you so many stories without words. The fort was usurped in turn by the Dutch, then the British, then passed to the Ceylon Army, occupied by the IPKF, captured by the LTTE who strategically destroyed a large part of its defenses, and recaptured by the Sri Lankan forces in 1995. Legends of miracles abound, surrounding a statue of the Virgin Mary in a church inside the fortress and it has also been the scene of discovery of more than three dozen skeletons during various stages of excavations, although finding skeletons in Jaffna is unfortunately not very rare. ( Well, its another of those things that make it a bit different from other tropical holiday locations!) While you walk along the Fort, you may notice that the “bricks” of the Fort are in fact corals. Upon close inspection, you will notice that even the gallows in which the Dutch “took care” of those who went against the law, consists of corals/limestone. The Sri Lankan Army, with Dutch funding began carrying out painstaking renovations of this timeless monument and visitors are allowed access during day time. Please be mindful to avoid littering. Jaffna’s climate is that of the tropical rainforest nature, and it has the highest temperature in Sri Lanka which reaches 28C. Its hottest between April/May and August/September and coolest around December/January. Rain comes with the monsoon which varies from place to place and over time.
The Palmyrah tree was chosen as the symbol of Tilko Hotels being is a sturdy tropical palm of extreme versatility, strength and charm which represent the people of Jaffna. Entire industries stem from the various parts and produce of this plant which yields fruits, nuts leaves, syrup and jaggery (unrefined solid sugar) among other things. The robust palmyrah leaves can be fashioned into an unbelievable number of useful items including hats, baskets, mats, ornaments, rice sieves, wall hangings, roof thatching, banners, bags,wallets, purses and many more. The palmyrah leaf is also the basis for the Ola Leaf systems of ancient manuscripts which have miraculously survived in Asian libraries for centuries, in spite of tropical humidity and voracious insects. There is also the secret somewhat hard-to-source delight of legendary Palmyrah Toddy, which the Hotel will locate for you if you request.