Grand Uda Walawe Safari Resort

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January, 2022

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The Grand Uda Walawe Safari Resort wouldn’t normally be the type of hotel I’d choose due to its size, but, for our one-night stay, it was said to be the best place for visiting Sri Lanka’s Udawalawe National Park Safari

Our check in, over a welcome drink, was quick, and unlike other hotels we stayed at during our trip, there were no Covid precautions in place.

Our upgrade, from deluxe to superdeluxe, gave us a very large room, but comparatively tiny bathroom. The dark wooden furniture and floor, with only two small central lights meant the room felt gloomy. Tea and coffee facilities were available along with a mini bar (empty but could be stocked) and complimentary water. We also had a TV, room safe and very noisy air conditioning. Free Wi-Fi was available but irritating as there were several passwords for different areas which required constant logging in. The king size bed, with reading lights and English style plug points, was comfortable but additional pillows would have been welcome.

A balcony, with two wooden chairs and a table, overlooked trees, but we never had time to sit out.

The tiny bathroom, in need of modernisation, had a single handbasin, toilet, and a bath with overhead shower, but as it was particularly slippery, we had to be very careful getting in and out.

There was a large free form swimming pool which was very quiet during our visit despite it being a weekend, and a gem shop, open in the evening.

A short footbridge across a stream, led to the restaurant and bar. The enclosed bar was in a separate air-conditioned room, and like our room, had lots of dark wood. Over G&Ts we considered dinner options: a buffet for $18 or an a la carte menu. As we didn’t want too much, we opted for the latter. The staff were a little too eager to please, and having ordered whilst in the bar, there was some confusion about when the food was ready. The bolognaise fusilli, served with grated parmesan was good but huge. I ordered Sri Lankan rice and chicken curry but was told ‘Sri Lankan spicy’ would be too hot, and consequently, found it a little mild. The dish comprised of rice and a poppadom, three pieces of chicken on the bone in a rich sauce, dahl, brinjal, green beans, a veg curry in a yellow coconut milk sauce, and potatoes. Whilst I did justice to the curries, the rice mountain defeated me.

Breakfast was buffet style, and there was a huge selection of juice, fruits, cereals, bread, cakes, cold meats and salad. There was also hot dishes with both an English section and Sri Lankan curries.

Whilst our stay was fine, I was pleased it was only for the one night.

Helen Jackson

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