The key objective of Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority/Ministry of Health (and Buckingham Place) is to create a bio-bubble and keep you and our communities safe. During your days on the island, the aim is to protect everyone from each other, and for you to have a really special holiday with only minimal inconvenience.
FREQUENTY ASKED QUESTIONS
(Please also see Health Protocol for Arrivals to Sri Lanka Tourism Travel Bio Bubble)
Q. Has Sri Lanka reopened its airports?
A. Yes. Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA/Colombo) and Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA Mattala – Hambantota) are open for international arrivals.
Q. Is Buckingham Place open and if so, how do we make a reservation?
Q. Is Buckingham Place a ‘Safe & Secure Level 1’ hotel?
A. Yes (Valid from 1st March 2021), but first and foremost it is a small boutique hotel with a reputation for making travelers smile! For everybody’s wellbeing, our Covid-19 protocols, facilities, and entire team have been audited by KPMG (external auditors for Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority / Ministry of Health), and are deemed suitable for holidaymakers during these challenging times. Every effort is made to balance a guests’ enjoyment of a really great holiday, with mandatory protocols of the day.
Q. Do we pay for our stay in advance?
A. We ask you to pay 50% of your accommodation charge plus, the cost of (mandatory) PCR tests and Covid-19 insurance premiums.
- COVID Insurance cost is USD 12 per person.
- Pre-paid PCR tests when making hotel bookings (40 USD per test):
- If vaccinated 1 PCR test on arrival,
- If not vaccinated 2 PCR tests, on arrival and exit PCR.
- Children below 2 years are exempted from PCR testing.
- Children between 2-12 years, Vaccinated route – undergo only on-arrival PCR & Not-vaccinated route – undergo only exit PCR
Q. How do you price your accommodation?
A. Bedrooms and Suites are priced assuming (maximum of) two occupants share a king size double bed. A la carte breakfast for two is also included, as are local taxes and service. Several Bedrooms/Suites can accommodate 1-2 single beds by arrangement and at extra charge (at point of reservation). Whether single or double occupancy, our overnight rate remains the same.
Q. How do we pay for our reservation?
A. By bank transfer. Until our bank receives your transfer we will provisionally hold your reservation.
Q. Do you include meals in accommodation rates
A. The overnight rate includes a la carte breakfast for two, local taxes and service. Meals other than breakfast are charged separately. However, we do offer per-person/per day, half and full board options at US$39 / US$55 respectively. We allow guests to choose their boarding option after testing our cuisine, but for general guidance, most prefer to pay as they go.
Q. How do we pay our restaurant and bar bills?
A. At the hotel as you go or at agreed intervals, by Visa/MasterCard or with Sri Lankan Rupees.
Q. Are we allowed to use the hotel facilities or must we stay in our room?
A. You may use all common areas of the hotel, such as our restaurant, gardens and swimming pools.
Q. Are we allowed to go out of the hotel i.e., to other restaurants or the shops?
A. If you are not vaccinated, during your first 14 days in Sri Lanka it is prohibited to leave your hotel – guests must remain in their bio-bubble.
Q. Do we need to stay in one hotel for our entire holiday?
A. No, but if you are not vaccinated you MUST stay in ‘Safe & Secure Level 1’ accommodation during your first 14 days in Sri Lanka, after which you are permitted to stay at other establishments.
Q. Can our relatives/friends visit us at the hotel?
A. No. We must maintain our own bio-bubble, and cater only for international travelers.
Q. Can we cancel our reservation in the event of unforeseen events and obtain a full refund?
A. Yes. If you cancel 7 days or more prior to your arrival date, we will refund you in full less bank charges, booked PCR tests and insurance premiums.
Q. How do we get to the hotel from the airport?
A. If you are travelling independently we can arrange this on your behalf. Alternatively, if you book your holiday through a travel agent, they will make arrangements automatically.
- BIA to hotel (c2 hours 45 mins) US$100 for up to 5 passengers.
- MRIA to hotel (45 mins) US$50 for up to 5 passengers.
Q. Are we allowed to visit places of interest and key tourist sites during the initial 14 days?
A. Yes. You may travel to locations within a bio-bubble with an authorized driver. The idea is to protect you while you have a great time so please do your part – don’t burst the bubble!
Q. Is it necessary to book excursions before we arrive at the hotel?
A. No, these are easily arranged after arrival. You do need to book your transfer from the airport to the hotel before you arrive, if you are travelling independently of a travel agency.
Q. Are we allowed to use public or self-drive transport?
A. No. You are not allowed to use buses, trains, informal taxis, tuk-tuks (motorized rickshaw / 3 wheeler) or rent motorcycles or self-drive vehicles.
Q. Are we allowed out of the vehicle on the way to the hotel?
A. Yes, but only at authorized places of interest/key tourist sites.
Q. Are we allowed to leave the vehicle to take photographs?
Q. What would happen if we disobeyed a mandatory protocol during the 14 day quarantine period, say going outside the hotel unaccompanied to explore?
A. Your day could become complicated and expensive. Police and other authorities are obliged to follow government directives, while some members of the community may not welcome you in a traditional manner.
Q. How do we apply for our visas?
You must apply online at www.eta.gov.lk and will need:
- Providers confirmation of ‘Safe & Secure Level 1′ accommodation for 15 days (or duration of your stay in Sri Lanka if less than 15 days).
- Proof of payment for mandatory *PCR tests @US$40 per test per person, and Covid-19 travel insurance cover. US$12 per person provides up to US$50,000 cover for a period of one month. You pay these amounts to us or your travel agency in advance when booking your accommodation, we/they forward payment to SLTDA on your behalf. This process will be simplified when SLTDA introduces a ‘Visit Sri Lanka’ app – please check with us at time of making your reservation.
Q. We have been vaccinated, do we still need to undergo PCR tests etc.?
A. Sorry, no exceptions are being made at this point – all safety protocols must be strictly adhered to.
Q. Can all foreign nationals travel to Sri Lanka?
A. Yes (subject to change at short notice).
Q. Do we need to undergo PCR tests prior to travelling to Sri Lanka?
A. Yes. Prior to boarding your flight you will be required to produce a negative PCR result from an accredited laboratory, of a test taken 72 hours before flight departure.
Q. Must we undergo a PCR test the moment we land in Sri Lanka?
A. No. Your first test will be conducted at the hotel upon your arrival or very close to that time.
- Children below 2 years are exempted from PCR testing.
- Children between 2-12 years,
- Vaccinated route – undergo only on-arrival PCR
- Not-vaccinated route – undergo only exit PCR
Q. Must we undergo a PCR test prior to departure from Sri Lanka?
A. This will depend on boarding requirements of your airline, your transit country (if applicable) and final destination. You may need to produce a PCR test report before embarkation hence, you are advised to check with relevant authorities well before arriving for your departure flight.
Q. What happens if we test positive for Covid-19 while on holiday?
A. Your ‘Safe & Secure Level 1’ Certified hotel in consultation with the hotel doctor/local health authorities, will admit you to a Private Hospital approved by the Ministry of Health; Your COVID-19 Insurance cover will reimburse hospital charges including the ambulance transfer fees up to USD 50,000 for a month. Non-symptomatic COVID-19 positive guests will be quarantined in an isolated area in the same hotel, under strict supervision of the hotel doctor and local health authorities. In case there is a need to transfer them to a private hospital at any stage, the COVID-19 Insurance cover will reimburse hospital charges including the ambulance transfer fees up to $ 50,000 for a month. Close contacts and other exposed guests will be kept under quarantine in an isolated area in the same hotel, under the strict supervision and administration of the hotel doctor and local health authorities. However, based on the decision of the hotel doctor/local health authorities, if they are sent to a quarantine hotel/center or a pre-arranged Private Hospital, the COVID-19 Insurance will reimburse relevant charges including the ambulance transfer of up to USD 50,000 for a month.
Q. Do we need to wear masks everywhere at the hotel?
A. Not unless you wish to, or are in close proximity to guests not in your party.
Q. What precautions are the hotel taking to protect us?
A. There are too many to list here, but protocols immediately noticeable are typical of those we have all encountered throughout the pandemic. The entire onsite team wear face masks and items of personal protective equipment relevant to their role, and follow procedures to keep you, themselves and our village community safe.
Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority/Ministry of Health operational guidelines have been adapted to suit operations of this hotel. The hotels’ in-house Safer Space guidelines are our go to for keeping everyone as safe as possible, with minimal fuss. Preparation and training began before we reopened, assessment and change is ongoing.
When you come here, please…
- Wear a facemask when near other guests and us
- Observe 2m meters physical-distancing
- Use the feet sanitizing matts
- Sanitize/wash hands frequently in shared areas
- Undergo contact-less temperature check/s when asked
- Tell us about your current health and recent travel
- Understand we are obliged to keep records of guest visits
- Be patient. New-normal is new to us too!
Safety is paramount but we try to sensitively reflect the challenge… Every guest and member of our team must be safe, feel safe, use commonsense and observe mandatory protocols. But, we must also be happy and fulfilled, and live as normally as possible! When we welcome you, we will explain measures we’ve introduced for your safety and peace of mind.
Safer Space… Buckingham Place is a small hotel with just 16 bedrooms and suites. To more easily manage protocols we limit occupancy of the hotel and its restaurant, and rest rooms before our guests arrive.
Open-air Dining… You can reserve your table at Oceanfront – our spacious, open-air ocean-facing restaurant. Unless it rains heavily which is rare, doors and blinds are kept fully open, allowing a sea breeze to circulate. You may dine next to swimming pools under the stars, or on your veranda or balcony. Before mealtimes, restaurant chairs are spaced 2m or more apart, in some cases they are spaced much further.
Meals are prepared to order as always, buffets have never been our style!