Reviews of Hotels and Guest houses

07 Jan 2011

We stayed here for 5 days and felt instantly at home. Lorraine and Paul were great hosts and included all of the guests in the Christmas celebrations and even had gifts for everyone. The rooms are spacious and comfortable with a big upstairs space for hanging out. It's only a five minute walk to the beach and the surrounding area is quiet. The breakfasts are massive and excellent.

08 Jan 2011

I arrived at this most magical resort after a wonderful ride from tea trails through little quaint Sri Lankan villages. Arriving in the evening, what awaited us was one of the most remarkable sights I have ever experienced at a resort. (As I wite this I am getting excited shivers remembering that first look at eveything at Alancuda.) The room where we stayed was so gorgeous.....clean to perfection. The bed was so comfy and cozy....I could have slept all day! We loved the outdoor shower and cool! and the attention to the water faucets were all locally made artifacts so when you turned on the water, again with such interesting things like shells....the water came out of amazing little crafted designs As were the light fixtures as well! It was so much fun to go to different rooms on the resort and see all of these innovations! Such attention to detail! After settling in that first night, we then went for a walk down to the beach.
WOW!!!!! We came upon the most magical scene....this amazing pool that seemed to suspend into the ocean...all lit with magical lights...subltle but very sexy! And from this amazing site to the Boathouse, where we here headed for a beer before dinner.....all laterns that formed the breathtaking! I actually felt like I was floating with the magic of the moment! We had a wonderful cocktail hour at The Boathouse, right on the beach, and were lucky enough to meet Viren, one of the owners. Viren was so charming and invited us to join his table. What a warm and heart felt welcome.....and with no airs as we didn;t even realize that he was one of the owners! Such charisma! And the staff.....very efficient, bending over backwards to make sure our stay there was a memorable one. We loved the food arrangement where you could sit in the open air communal hut and share your dinner over other travellers tales, or you could eat in privacy by the pool at a number of cababas. The food was all laid out and was delicious! Mostly Sri Lankan food which I found so lovely as we had encountered so much Western food at beach restaurants. Whats with that?? So Alankuda's Sri Lankan food was a treat. The first night we ate amongst this fairy tale setting, the chef had served fresh crabs! WOW!!! Talk about a delicious treat! and cooked perfectly! Right from the sea onto our plates! For a seafood loved from Toronto....well....can I say Heaven again! I think I ate 10 myself!!!!
In the morning, Viren was kind enough to organize a boat for a few of the guests to go to see the dolphins! Not just a few dolphins, but hundreds of them!!! Unbelievable! I actually laid acroos the front of the boat and actually touched 2 of them as they swam beside us!
The beach was lovely , the sea was so much fun to jump in the waves.
Will I go back? I MUST go back. I had such a lovely and magical time at Alancuda, I really need to go back....this time for longer! I have pictures of lovely images of our expereince there all over my house , and when I take a moment to peer at one of them in my busy life in Toronto, I am overcome by the sense of serenity that just a photo can give me.
You must go! I highly reccommend Aluncuda! I miss you Alancuda!

09 Jan 2011

Celltantao is a nice place,with a beautiful garden,especially loved the little entrance ...

The rooms are clean and have character.....

It is quiet family run guesthouse,away from the loud music of the beach bars and only 50 metres from the beach.Suranga and family were very helpful.

And we enjoyed our 4 days stay in unawatuna...and the best part is that it is closer to the east side of unawatuna beach (which still has a decent little beach)...

09 Jan 2011

we stayed at nippon vlla for 10 days december, 2010, a big group of us for friends wedding. from the first day when one part of group arrived late at night nothing was to much trouble, the staff down from the wonderful BL, down to the ladies who cleaned the rooms were brilliant, annoushaka, saman, and sarat and nana....thanks you made our stay memorable, we were made to feel like one big part of a family. the location was lovely, like our very own piece of beach, the swimming pool was cleaned every morning by sarat....its close to the beach so its effected by the sea conditions but we used it on loads of occassions....the hotel was clean and rooms cleaned daily with fresh linen and towels..nothing was to much trouble, in fact we went out to eat one night, in the rain, and saman ran along to restaurant with umbrellas so we wouldnt get wet on way back...hows that for service. the hotel is exposed to the elements so all due respect to BL for is continual work to keep place maintained.....people should take into consideration weather conditions before they criticise.....flooding, etc etc. in fact we stayed in quite a few hotels whilst in sri lanka during our stay, at higher rates and can honestly say for rates they charge at nippon villa they should be proud of their very high standards of service etc....thanks BL, his lovely wife and children and his wonderful made our stay memorable for all the right reasons........

10 Jan 2011

Lovely guesthouse with spotless, beautifully designed rooms, modern clean bathrooms and fantastic food. Nothing is too much trouble for the owner, Sujith, who provides everything to make this place a real find - bikes, internet, free breakfast, hammocks, laundry etc. Easily the best place I have stayed during 11 holidays in Sri Lanka. No hesitation in recommending it to other travellers when visiting Yala.

13 Jan 2011

What a cracking place! Ambalama is one of the best positioned and idyllic houses that we have ever stayed in, and very hard to leave! After escaping the cold and grey of the UK it was an absolute joy to relax in such a stunning location. Set right on the beach with the Indian Ocean giving a picture postcard view. The pool was also exceptional and the children spent countless hours enjoying it. The beach in front of the villa is golden sand, and although the sea can have strong currents and is in places rocky (so not ideal for young children or weak swimmers) it does mean that very few people linger in front of the spectacular view. It is a short 5 minute walk to the local beach club/bar with a sheltered lagoon in directly in front. The interior design and detail were faultless, beds and bedrooms great and on arrival it was almost like walking into a photoshoot for Homes and Gardens. Added to this, Roshan the chef was outstanding and we enjoyed some delightful lunches and dinners. My family loved every minute of our week there. The house is close enough to Galle to travel to for shopping (or cricket!). I had wondered if the road to the rear of the house would be noisy, but not all all, and at night all one could hear was the lapping of the waves on the beach. Very grateful to Chris and Tai, and we will be back!

15 Jan 2011

Die ANfahrt zu den Mangrove Beach Cabanas ist sehr abenteuerlich, zumal es bei unsere Ankunft sehr stark regnete und die Strasse dorthin fast unpassierbar war. Die Beach Cabanas waren wirklich das was wir uns gewünscht hatten. Basic ausgestattet und alles sehr sauber direkt an einem fast menschenleeren Strand gelegen mit rauhem Wasser und vielen Wellen.
Das Essen war lecker, die Portionen allerdings sehr klein. Der Service war nicht besonders gut und man hat über 1 Stunde warten müssen um seine Bestellung zu bekommen.
Wir würden die Cabanas sofort wieder buchen wenn wir noch mal nach Sri Lanka reisen würden.

17 Jan 2011

We had a wonderful time staying here. The quality was much better than expected, we had impeccable service.
The Staff are excellent and warm. Always smiling which makes you feel at home.The whole resort is wonderful, quiet, clean and restful, the food is just super!
The location is perfect for those wanting to surf.
& also nice location for arranging trips in the south of Sri Lanka - we visited Galle, white tea plants, turtle farm, spice garden etc. We enjoyed great calm and relaxing atmosphere in the hotel, hoping return back again.

18 Jan 2011

The best guest house I stayed in on a three week holiday. The rooms are large, clean, and comfortable, with fans, air con etc., and the guest house itself is spacious and attractive, with a pretty garden, balconies and two large terraces to relax on and watch the local wild life in the trees. Breakfasts were delicious with plenty of fresh fruits. No attached restaurant but it was always possible to order tea or coffee or to get beers from the fridge on the terrace. It's in a quiet location down a back lane, but less than five minutes walk down to the beach or a bit further to all the beach restaurants. Paul and Lorraine were excellent hosts - friendly and helpful without being intrusive. They know the area and the local people and are good sources of advice - their network of local tuk-tuk and van drivers took care of all our transport needs.

18 Jan 2011

We were, unfortunately, very disappointed with our stay at Alankuda Beach/Bar Reef resort.

The good points - the cabanas are well laid out and comfortable and the food is delicious - although mostly served cold as there is a buffet system and nothing is done to keep the food warm. The swimming pool is lovely. However, it is well off the beaten track and so a destination in itself (3 1/2 hours from Columbo and, if you go to the Cultural Triangle from here - we went on to Anuradhapura - the roads are terrible. It took nearly 4 hours and is much easier from Sigiriya/Kandy). The beach is completely uninviting - and no efforts are made to keep the beach area around the resort clean; the "Boat House" is staffed by guys who didn't speak enough English to serve us tea ... and ... thats it. Basically, a long way to go for a nice swimming pool and some good food.

But people seem to love it so that is not the main reason I'm posting. Our trip was unfortunately marred by our experience with the front-of-house staff - who were incompetent and, on occasion, downright dishonest. Check-out took over an hour and only concluded when we threatened to leave - a very unpleasant experience when on holiday. The man on check-out - whose name unfortunately I did not take - first of all tried to charge us for soft drinks and beer when we were full board and our reservation clearly stated these were included. He did not push this very hard - and indeed didn't try to charge for drinks at the sister resort - Palagama! - so it really came across as a try-on. He then tried to over-charge us to the tune of a further $150 on the basis that Alankuda did not recognise I-Escapes - through whom we had booked - so that any deposit paid through them we were told we would have to recover directly through I-Escapes. It was only when we threatened to leave and have them pursue us for this, that an e-mail setting out the correct position was magically found and the $150 not pursued. Beware all those booking through I-Escapes!

The above I accept may have been incompetence. Much worse was that we booked our own taxi pick-up from our ongoing hotel (having been quoted a figure of twice the amount by Roshan - general manager at Alankuda - for the same journey). Our ongoing hotel made a point of contacting Roshan on his mobile to confirm the pick-up and the amount. Roshan did not pass on this information but instead asked us whether we still needed him to arrange something. When we tried to check out, we asked the man at reception whether he had heard from our pick-up taxi driver to give him directions. He telephoned Roshan (for what reason we don't know but can only guess) and then told us that he knew nothing about a pick-up - he had not heard from the hotel or the driver - but that Roshan's driver was available and could pick us up in 15 minutes. It was only when I repeatedly refused Roshan's driver and asked to call my ongoing hotel in front of him that the man at reception admitted that that very morning he had received telephone calls from both the ongoing hotel and our booked driver and had given him directions!

This is absolutely disgraceful for a hotel pitching itself in this bracket - or indeed at all. It was the worst such experience we had in Sri Lanka. The rest of the staff - for example those serving in the restaurant and cleaning the rooms - are working incredibly hard and the owners have done well to make this a nice - albeit very limited - resort. They are being badly let down by front of house.

We could not possibly recommend this place, after such an experience. Travel that distance with care!

19 Jan 2011

Disregard the ratings in this report ... I haven't stayed there since my first experience but I had to enter some sort of star rating in order to get to this comment box. I have however kept a close watch on the MBI over the intervening period and am pleased to report positive progress. The establishment is still actually owned by the folks upon whom I reported earlier, but the owners have now accepted that they aren't really cut-out to be tourism hosts and have rented the establishment to some of those necessary keen new types I mentioned before. The grotty fence has been ripped down and the dining faciity extended onto the beach where it is seen to be competing successfully against the many others ... which suggests that the food is OK. I'd suggest that it might now be worth considering again... it's a great location. It would be good if someone who has stayed there this year could put some flesh on the bones of my 'outside looking in' impressions.

19 Jan 2011

I cannot believe people's positive raves about this place. In fact I sometimes was laughing in the middle of the nite when I couldn't sleep because of the very uncomfortable beds and thinking how ridiculous this place is and how astray I was led by so many people.

First of all, this is ABSOLUTELY NOT a resort in any respect. At all. And there is nothing that natural about the place either. There are no natural grounds at the hotel. Really not even trees or anything to speak of. Secondly, almost every single person at the was complaining about their stay. No joke. It was hilarious. Just one complaint after another. Which made me continue to chuckle at all these fantastic reviews.

The people that work at the hotel smile and giggle, often in an overbearing and insincere way. And if you ask for something, they smile and then do NOT follow through! hahahah. It actually became quite funny just watching this as people would ask for things and would be completely DENIED! hahaha!

1) There is NO T.V. at all. I thought there was/would be. In fact at this website, it says they have TV's. And I think I paid through here, the deposit portion of the room. So that is false advertisement.
2) It also says they have internet access. Well to me, if there is internet access, it is 24/7. It doesn't shut off . We are not children who need to goto bed when the owner decides. Well, at 10 PM it was shut off. I asked the 2nd nite if it could be left on, and I had to basically twist the owners arm. He begrudgingly did it and told me he didn't want to because he does not have a 24 hr a day plan. Well he needs to get one!! And the internet server went down several times a day. So on the 2nd nite, as usual they disregarded a guest's wish and turned it off! I had to run downstairs to get it turned back on!
3) This is UNBELIEVABLE...they have no ability to charge the room by credit card! That is the most unbelievably ridiculous thing I have ever heard in my life! And this was never ever told to me until 9 PM at night before I was checking out and I was leaving very early in the AM,so I needed to settle up. I asked the owner what he does when people don't have cash and he said he takes them to a cash machine. That is just ridiculous. AND it is very misleading b/c you are able to pay by credit card for the deposit portion at the website above.
4) The staff stare at you and make you feel quite uncomfortable. And seem very interested in trying to get you to spend endless amounts of money on things in town for which they must get kickbacks. They are quite intrusive. After awhile I learned to laugh it off and many of them are quite nice, but it is overbearing to the point where it really is no longer friendly. Many awkward moments being literally just stared at. I've spent time in multiple hotels in Sri Lanka, and this is the only place that made me feel that way.
5) Very uncomfortable yet clean beds.
6) I paid for a deluxe room and I am not sure what the 10$ USD extra was for except for the air conditioner, b/c I had no balcony. Actually my room literally abutted a wall. It was almost like being in NYC. So you HAVE to ask for certain rooms.
7) One of the people complaining was getting kicked out of their room b/c they someone else booked it and these folks didn't know they were going to have to move out. This place is super disorganized. The book that he uses to keep up with reservations looks like a completely disorganized nightmare!!

The place is very clean though. I have to give them that.

In conclusion, there are many places in Kandy to stay. Do not waste your time at this place. It is really not near anything to walk easily to. Everyone says you can walk to stuff in 10-15 minutes, but not really. There is nothing of consequence in a short distance. Yes, you can take a tuk-tuk very cheaply to things quickly, but I really like to walk to things and I felt trapped at this place. Don't do it, there are tons of places in Kandy and you may be much happier. I am not sure how so many good reviews happened, especially with almost everyone complaining while I was there. Some people even left early.

Anyways, enjoy Kandy and goto local areas in town. You can buy stuff very cheaply if you don't goto touristy areas. I got a huge amount of spices and tea for very little with a colleague who took me to a market with all local folks. So look for it!

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