Reviews of Hotels and Guest houses

22 Apr 2009

As soon as you walk through the gates of The Palace, you know you've arrived somewhere magical. The attention to detail is beautiful - the ceiling murals, the gardens and the unique touches such as the gorgeous hand painted wardrobes in the rooms are a world away from the faceless five star hotels in some other parts of Sri Lanka. The setting on the palm tree covered hill overlooking the ocean is perfect. We stayed for five nights - me, my husband, and my parents - in two chalets. The beds are comfy, there's a little fridge, cable tv, a gorgeous ensuite and big balconies with wicker chairs to watch the sunset with a G&T. This is by far the best place we stayed in Sri Lanka. Kamal and his staff are lovely and very welcoming. The rooms are great, the pool is a delicious way to cool off and the food is fantastic. I can't recommend The Palace highly enough. The only problem I could see would be that it is up a fairly steep hill so it may be a problem for wheelchairs.the elderly but there is always a friendly tuk tuk driver ready to help out. We will be back - a perfect stay.

03 May 2009

Stayed on Mirissa beach for 3 weeks in October 2008 and tried 5 different places, this was nicest but most expensive. FYI its on a hill top and quite a trek to beach.

I prefer their sister hotel the Paradise Beach Club (on the beach). We were there early in season and where the only people in hilltop complex which felt a bit odd.

02 Aug 2009

The Beach Bungalow is a charming family run hotel which has all the basics including air-con and is 20 feet away from a beautiful beach. The hotel is quiet and unassuming and ideal for couples or families. In its price range, the facilities are quiet good and the rooms are bright and clean. (Our room has a view of the beach).

Party animals will probably find Unawatuna a little tame for their tastes, certainly at this time of year (off season). There are a selection of hotels and restaurants along the beach front which vary in quality. There are some Germans about which is always a sign of quality in my experience. The town of Galle is 3km away and tuk-tuks are both cheap and ubiquitous.

Prices are very reasonable in general here for Europeans and sometimes very cheap although tourists are usually charged more than locals. Overall, Unawatuna is a very pleasant spot and the Beach Bungalow is well deserving of its reputation.

01 Oct 2009

I stayed at Plalace Mirrissa for a couple of nights having been put in there by my guide Upul from Sri Lanka Tailored tours because the sister hotel Paradise Beach down the hill was full with a 'Tuk Tuk rally'. It was a brilliant place to stay.
Arriving there after the long journey from England 5 hour bus journey, 3 hours wait, 13 hour flight and further 5 hour drive in Sri Lanka I was greeted by my friends and the staff with a wonderful prawn curry and a local beer. The staff were very friendly and nothing was too much trouble. The cabanas are really spacious if a little dark, the paintings on the ceiling a nice touch. The bathrooms large and the partially enclosed shower saved the bathroom getting soaked as is the case in some Sri lanka hotels. Yes there is a fridge in the room and the cold water they provided was a very nice touch. However not somewhere I would have wanted to put any food!
The staff were very accommodating and were only too happy to provide a sri lankan breakfast of fish curry, dahl, eggs and string hopper. Heaven :-) It was all very very nice indeed.
If you need to contact the outside world you can use the internet at the sister hotel 'for free'.

31 Oct 2009

If you want to see more of Sri Lanka than the touristic places, go to Kalpitiya !
Kalpitiya is a very beautiful and calm place at seaside, with a beautiful sandy beach.
Although you are nearly sleeping in the open air, the rooms and the beds are perfect, nice and clean, with a lot of unexpected details and cupbaords. You have your private bath-room also in the open air, but well protected and organised, and very private. In the cold climate of Belgium we can only dream of this.
I loved also the food very much, with a lot of fresh fish, and fresh crabs, most of them prepared in delicious "curries'.
We had a lot to do in Kalpitiya. We loved to swim in the sea and in the very beautiful swimmingpool at day as well at night with all the thinkling liitle stars. Off course we went with the boat on the sea, to watch the dolfins. Some of us went fishing, and they liked it very much.
We did also a little bit of sailing. And after that all we enjoyed a sunbathe, reading a book, are chatting a little bit with the other guests.
And a least, don't forget, the surroundings of Kalpitiya and the trip to Kalpitiya are worth to do!

01 Nov 2009

We went to Alankuda with out son of 9, we arrived in an hidden paradise...we got a cabin with outdoor bathroom, luxurious bed and a living room and garden just for us...there is a very stylish swimming pool, a catamaran to go on the see, you can waterski and you can go and look for dolphins....a cabin at the seeside were you can wonder, hide from the sun and relax. The beach is a beautifull sandy beach, large and very private...this is how we think about paradise.
The staff makes wonderfull seefood, fresh from the see, we had incredible crayfish for example. The service was very good to, rooms were kept very clean everyday, and they provided us with anything we could wish for.
If I would have the time, I would you there every year!!! This was really a place were we found our energy again.

26 Dec 2009

Went there with my boyfriend and fell in love with the place. The fact that we were one of the very few guests at the hotel made our stay even more exclusive. What I loved the most was the attention given to detail. (e.g - the pathways to cabanas/houses were lit up with kerosene oil lamps) Rooms are pretty decent with mosquito nets as well, and they also have an infinity pool which is lit up with LED lights and looks heavenly at night. The food wasn't too bad at all. The service is really good (probably because we were the very few guests staying at the time and luckily we got their full attention)

I also loved that the environment had not been harmed too much due to the hotel thus is quite eco-friendly. The beach is gorgeous and the sunset was breathtaking.

However, what disappointed us was the value for money. We felt it was a bit over-priced.
Also, we paid in full and this included a boat ride to see the dolphins and for our bad luck, the sea was too rough to see them. We never got a refund for this or any other compensation. So, in case the sea is rough and you can't see the dolphins and do any sea sports, you're basically stuck in the room or the pool.

Nevertheless it's a beautiful place to visit especially if you're in the mood to relax or just spend your time with a special someone. :)

15 Jan 2010

We have stayed for about a week and really enjoyed this quiet hotel. I describe some drawbacks that it has, lthough they are something you can expect from a privatelly run place like this.

The hotal is situated on the side of the hill. You need to walk by the road through some houses to make it to the beach. The walk downhill is quite nice although nothing special.

There are aboout 10 bungalows only and there is no accomodation apart from them. From the entrance gate of the hotel you have the central "road" separating the territory in two. Bungalows 1XX are below the road, 2XX - abover. From bungalows 1XX you will have a view towards the ocean obstucted by some jungle. From 2XX - a bit less of trees, some ocean and, of course, the inner yard of the hotel. Still, you would kill for such view back home, so nothing to complaint about.

The first night we have stayed in the 101 bungalow, later transfering to 201. 101 is somewhat shaby, without TV, fridge and much less cabinets then we had in 201.

- quiet and isolated
As there are just 10 bungalows you even rarely see your neighbours. Even breakfasts are really deserted. But if you need a crowd - just have a quick walk to the beach. You can choose what you like.
- not too many moscitoes, as it is situated on the hill away from swampy areas below
- transfer uphill
In case you do not want to walk uphill you just need to come to Paradise Beach Club hotel (which is on the beach, close to the hill) reception and ask fro a free ride. Both places belong to the same owner. They make sure you get a ride every time. A few times when there were no drivers the owner was giving us a ride in his car.
- choice of venue to eat
You can have your meal either at Palace Merissa or Paradise Beach Club, where they serve meals for much more people (about 40 rooms) and the choice and ammount of food is much bigger.
- the owner is always present at Paradise Beach Club reception (10 am to 10 pm) so you can solve any issue, no matter how complicated it is
- local drawings on the celing and cabinets, so very unique style
- chipmunks
They are everywhere. You can come out to the balcony and see five to ten of them. They are very fun to watch

- not a king size bed, but two single beds put together. This is a widespread problem in SriLanka even at pricer hotels as I have observed
- breakfast at Palace Merissa is always only omlet and sausages. We ended up having breakfasts downstairs at Paradise Beach Club
- almost never hot water. In some cases - not even warm water
- no internet. At Paradise Beach Club you can get a really unstable wifi and there are three computers with internet aceess in a small room behind reception that you can use any time for free. But you need to get down from the hill to get that.

05 Mar 2010

There I was, not overly excited abt visiting the resort after having a lil miscomm w Dallas, one of the owner. Our flight arrived really late at night, which make the drive there seems longer than it is.

Firstly, I wanna thank the staff for taking such great care of us. They were attentive and sincere. Excellent service.

We had 4 days there so we were definitely taking things very easy. spent most of the time reading, swimming, chatting w the staff and other guests, watched the sunset by the beach.

On the 2nd day, we went on the dolphin n whale watching trip and luck was on our side. We spotted the whales abt 15min after we set sail and spotted 2 schools of dolphins later. That alone made my trip worthwhile!

Food were served in buffet style, local food. I'm sure the staff will be more than happy to accomodate if you have any special request. Afternoon snacks were served to you wherever you are.

The day before we were due to leave, a big group (15-20) checked in. I must admit that I was worried that the peacefulness and tranqulity will be ruined. (We considered checking out early n head to colombo and spent the rest of the day there but we didn't cuz we just didnt know where to go!)

Thou I know one of the lady from the group reads this website but i'm gonna say it anyway, the children (abt 8 of them) were screaming and running by the pool for most of the day. And the kids just took our used towels that was hung on the chair next to us without asking. That says a lot... We wished we left that day and probably the other danish family, too. you can see annoyance on their faces.

Some might feel I'm exaggerating but if you are paying at USD 300 per nite and were there looking for some quiet time but there were screaming children and really loud ppl... why should I spend that kinda $ for that when I could walk into any shopping mall on wkends for that? Or even there are more afforable resorts with wide selection of F&B n entertainment + screaming kids guranteed!

Many other guests that I met there were spending 2-3 days there. Imagine I guess this is what the resort has to take into consideration abt its marketing strategy: a family place or adult's getaway.

Other than that, I really think Alankuda is a great place to be alone, or with your other half, for some quality time. I must thank the staff there for looking after us so well

I wouldn't recommend the massage thou. It felt like having rubbed all over rather than massage.

07 Mar 2010

This is a very special place. Kalpitya is about three hours drive north of Colombo, lying on a wide spit of land between a huge lagoon and the sea, it feels rural and remote as there's very little tourism development there.
You sleep in open sided thatched cabanas which are well appointed - kind of rustic luxury, with outdoor shower and loo. Well designed for privacy. It's very dark at night and the lighting isn't great so take a head torch if you want to read in bed!. No a/c but mossie nets. It's run like a private house party, no formal dining room, food is laid out at breakfast, lunch and dinner and you just help yourself and mingle with the other guests (max 35 or so on the site). Food excellent. Beautiful huge infinity pool and wonderful beach for walking and swimming. Boat trips are free - you can go dolphin and whale watching. it's in an interesting area for birdwatching also.

08 Mar 2010

I totally agree with the previous review. We also made a reservation by e-mail several months ago for a deluxe cabana, but, on arrival were told that we were a day late. I produced the e-mail confirmation but Sassi just blamed his staff, offered no apology, and had us shown to the same cupboard on the top floor as the previous reviewer. We initially took this room, but after walking down to the seafront - quite a long hot walk, we had a look at another hotel - Neptune Beach - and were offered a much better room overlooking the sea for a very similar price. We went back, collected our luggage and left, watched by Sassi smiling broadly as though he was thoroughly enjoying us leaving, still no sign of any apology.
The only thing we took with us were several mosquito bites.
Our (perhaps somewhat biased) impression of Flower garden was that it was very cramped, the cabanas are very close together, and the rooms on the top floor were a joke, the shower didn't work, the door wouldn't shut and we had to move the bed to open the wardrobe.
The rooms, facilities, position and pool were much better at Neptune beach, as were several of the other hotels on the beach front, there were plenty of sunbeds and shade if needed and easy access to all the local bars and restaurants.

09 Mar 2010

My husband and i stayed here for the first part of our honeymoon and found it to be absolutely wonderful. We had requested a sea view & air con and booked in advance, and because of this I think we were given the very best! My husband is a keen surfer, I am not, and between us we wanted completely different things - both of which Drifters provided.

For him it was the many surf breaks (the first immediatley infront of the hotel and others a short beach walk away), cold beer and a great view, for me it was about being able to watch my husband on said surf breaks (had a perfect view from our balcony), being able to relax and swim alone un-hassled on the beach infront, a comfy bed (slept like a baby), working air con and the best views in Hikkaduwa. Amazing. Ticks on everything!

But it wasn't just that, Drifters fulfilled wants we didnt know we had! Their food is fantastic and took us completely by surprise by how good it was, the free wifi meant we could check in with friends back home, the great hospitality of the whole family provided us with confidence to book transfers and explore where we might not have, and better than all of that it was the great care they took to see we were happy.

Oh and one last thing - I was worried about driving in Sri Lanka being frightening, but the man they use as a driver is excellent. I think in total we spent 10hrs being driven by him and i felt relaxed in his care and able to admire the scenery - unbelievable when you realise how chaotic the roads are! He is a superb and safe driver unlike many on the roads!

I would recommend this hotel to everyone! I hope to be able to visit again one day!

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