When you arrive from a long journey & you are greeted by smiling faces & a glass of chilled bubbly…what’s not to love. The staff are the major asset of this hotel. Always a hello and a big smile wherever you encounter them, it makes a huge difference to the feel good factor of staying here.
We had a suite (in reality it was a large room) with sea view & balcony. It was perfect to take your cocktail & sit on your balcony chairs & watch some magnificent sunsets. The room (5089 on 5th floor) has a comfortable King sized bed, plenty of hanging space & drawers, 2 chairs, table, TV, mini bar (restocked every other day) safe & tea/coffee making facilities. The Aircon & fan were quiet & efficient & the free WiFi (limited to 2 devices) was reasonably fast. The bathroom was also large with 2 sinks, shower & toilet, with shower gel dispenser in the shower, plus other toiletries (Shampoo, soap & lotion). The room had multi use sockets that took UK 3 pin plugs, there was a hair dryer & shaver socket in the bathroom. Almost perfect except for the poor soundproofing around the doors. We never heard our neighbours but from about 4:45am traffic noise from the road could be clearly heard, the Sri Lankans love to use their horns lots. Also the music from the shows could clearly be heard but normally finished by 11pm. So if you’re a light sleeper, bring heavy duty earplugs. The rooms nearer the sea located in the wings fo the hotel may be quieter. Although the rooms are no smoking, its a shame that smoking is allowed on the balconies. A few times we were driven in from our balcony to avoid inhaling the 2nd hand smoke for the adjacent balconies. The balcony could also do with a light outside so that you can use it to read/play games after dark. Ashan kept our room spotlessly clean & left towel creations most days…loved the monkey. His supervisor (Nadun) was regularly on hand to check everything was in order.
Food & Drink
We were on an all inclusive package. The main restaurant is buffet style with seating inside & out. There is a huge selection at each sitting of breakfast, lunch & dinner. Everything we tried was well cooked & very tasty. Curry lovers will love the offerings each day but there’s plenty of other options from roast beef to pizza for other tastes. There are a large number of Vegetarian options but we never saw any options for Vegans. There are 3 speciality restaurants, Asian, Italian & a grill – all great. Only the latter requires pre-booking & get in as soon as you arrive because places go fast. There are other snack style options, so food is available 24/7. Overall we thought the food was great.
3 decent sized pools all kept spotlessly clean. There are plenty of loungers but not all of them have umbrellas for shade & it got pretty hot whilst we were there. The sun is very intense, so we kept suntan lotion on even under the umbrellas. There are large areas with pull over canopies for extra shade. Whilst most guests are considerate & move away from the poolside/other loungers to smoke, some do not. There should be very clear signs & monitoring to stop some guests spoiling other guests enjoyment of the facilities by smoking from their loungers. The Flamingo bar is a great place to watch the sun go down with a sundowner cocktail, so its a bit of a shame that the pool bar closes at 6pm, just before the sun goes down.
The beach outside the hotel is a public beach & quite beautiful. There’s a strip close to the hotel wall & benefiting from the shade of a few trees where the hotel have put out some Sun loungers. This is still public though, so the beach vendors can come over to you but are normally discouraged with a firm but polite no thank you. The beach does have a number of stray dogs on it but they seem to leave you alone if you leave them alone. They love to shade under the beach loungers (occupied or not). The sea is quite fierce here with a reportedly wicked riptide, so the red flag advising no swimming is often flying.
There are plenty of organised activities from Aqua gym to cricket, plus a show of some sort in the theatre each night. Wasn’t really our taste but better than we have seen at other resorts.
Noticed quite a few wheelchair users moving around the site quite comfortably, so most areas have step free access & one of the pools has a ramp to wheel a chair direct into the pool. Overall accessibility looked pretty well thought out but you would need to contact the hotel to make sure your own particular needs could be met.
It generally seemed that the TUI offerings were over priced & many sought alternatives. There are plenty of options from the guys on the beach directly outside the hotel, to providers like Tony’s Sri Lanka Tours (see separate review “HERE”:https://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/review/escorted-tour/195611-review-tony-s-sri-lankan-tours ). As an example we picked the best parts (for us) from a couple of TUI group tours & got a quality private tour with guide, driver & air con car for less.
The hotel seems to do a fair bit to lessen its impact on the environment. Water for the plants (lovely gardens) is recycled, there are recycling bins, drinks around the pool are offered in reusable plastic cups. There is so much more they could do, e.g. eliminating single use plastics like straws, water bottles etc.
This is a lovely hotel & we were largely very happy with our stay.