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“Recomended for a local experience” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Saraii Village

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Saraii Village
Randunu Kale Watta | Weerawila, Tissamaharama 82632, Sri Lanka   |  
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Colombo, Sri Lanka
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Recomended for a local experience”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 10, 2013

I work for a largest tour inbound company in Sri Lanka. I had an official inspection visit recently to Saraii which was a requirement for all our agents.

Room conditions are very good. The architecture of the place is so local, very unique excursion products and very reasonable rates. If you wish to visit Sri Lanka for a local authentic experience then it is the right place where you can have.

So please visit Saraii and share your values with them.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SaraiiVillage, Manager at Saraii Village, responded to this review, January 27, 2014
Dear Imran,

Thank you very much for sharing your opinion of Saraii Village on tripadvisor.com. We really appreciate the comments coming from a professional in the industry who recognizes what we are doing.

We are over the moon that you are recommending us to guests who want to experience authentic Sri Lankan hospitality!

Many thanks,
The Saraii Village Management Team
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111 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (39)
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Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Top Contributor
105 reviews 105 reviews
35 hotel reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
135 helpful votes 135 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 19, 2013

Im afraid that we really did not enjoy this experience. To me this is a case of 'build it and they will come' and that the owner is taking 'taking the mickey'. The tree house was more basic than expected with a mattress thrown on the floor with a couple of small sheets, hard pillows and that was it. There was a fan, which unfortunately kept me awake all night (that and the ants crawling over my arms). If you wanted the bathroom in the middle of the night - you had to negotiate down the two ladders and fumble through the bush to get to the shared bathroom facility. There has not been much thought gone into this place and the lack of small detail makes one think that Saraii is just a money making exercise, not a genuine effort in hospitality.

The food was nice and the service was ok - but nothing outstanding. We did try the signature lake prawn dish and it was very tasty.

All in all it makes for a good holiday story, but that's about it.

Room Tip: There are 2 tree houses and 2 mud bungalows. If you are nimble - choose the treehouse.
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SaraiiVillage, Manager at Saraii Village, responded to this review, January 27, 2014
Dear Undara,

Thank you very much for taking the time to review your experience at Saraii Village. We endeavor to improve on comments that we receive through the tripadvisor.com platform.

We are very sorry that you thought of our eco-hotel as a “build it and they will come”, this is exactly the opposite of what we are trying to achieve. This venture has been particularly challenging due to the lack of awareness of sustainability in the hotel industry, and we were proud to partner with the Switch Asia project to help share our knowledge and experience in a forum that will improve sustainable practices throughout the South Asian tourist industry. We have sacrificed a lot to reach the position we are currently in and we feel disheartened when we do not meet customer expectations.

Since your stay at Saraii Village we have replaced the mattresses and put more thought into the design of our rooms and the guest experience. This includes a mosquito net tent, that the mattress is inserted in, it keeps out more of our little night visitors than before. However as an eco-hotel simplicity is key in our offering. This way guests experience the feeling of being at one with nature, we cannot ethically control the amount of insects that are found at Saraii and they do not distinguish between guests and staff!

We are disappointed that you did not think the service was outstanding, as this is the expectation we set ourselves. Thank you for your kind comments about our lake prawns, they are good!

We hope that you will visit us again on your next trip to Sri Lanka, we are an open and honest operation and we would love to have you back to make up for any shortcomings you felt on your previous trip.

Thanks again for taking the time to write this review.
The Saraii Village Management Team
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Sydney, Australia
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 6, 2013

Saraii Village was the most perfect eco hotel we have ever visited. Charming and rustic in feel and gives you a sense of harmony with nature. I stayed at Saraii for 2 nights and extended further to a 3rd night. My kids 4 and 6 were ecstatic. They have always wanted a tree house and so they were in their element. The tree houses are at least 25 feet high up but its very well constructed and safe. Its so peaceful with only the sounds of the birds, especially the peacock, which actually sounded like loud cats. The tree houses are neatly arranged with very colourful comfortable pillows.

As there's a large garden my kids were able to run around and play, which i haven't see in a while as they too have got used to only playing computer games. I did not let on that there was wi-fi at Saraii to them (which was free too...) as i wanted them to enjoy the nature. We had an excellent tour in both Yala and Bundla which were not too far from Saraii.

The food i must say was excellent. The lake prawn was the most exquisite dish i've ever had. I would recommend anyone to ask for this. They also prepare a great range of local vegetables and you can let the know how spicy you want your food. All food is fro local farmers and organic, which is a great plus.

I'm surprised to see other reviews saying this place is not maintained, as we were there in March and it was looking excellent. If you come here thinking its a five star luxury hotel you will be disappointed, if you come with a sense of adventure and love for the environment you will love it. Like we did. And this is definitely not a place for anyone who wants an eco holiday without being ready to pay for it. Eco doesn't come cheap!!!

The staff were helpful and efficient. Looked into all our needs, even prepared a herbal medicine for my daughters runny nose, which really helped.

I am thrilled by my choice to stay at Saraii and i will not hesitate to recommend Saraii to anyone.

Room Tip: Tree houses are fun. Go with the hotels choice for a game ride. Cheaper and safer.
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SaraiiVillage, Owner at Saraii Village, responded to this review, May 8, 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you so much for your lovely review. We are really glad that you and your kids enjoyed your stay. Its always great for us to have guests that understand the elements of an eco holiday and appreciate it.

You and your family will always be welcome at Saraii anytime... :)

Warm Regards,

Charitha Abeyratne Hettiarachchi
Founder - Saraii Village
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Paris, France
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 6, 2013

We are really glad to discover this place! We arrived very late and the host was waiting for us and they cooked an amazing dinner especially for us! The food was fantastic and it was served in a very romantic setting in the garden with all amazing wild life noises around! We enjoyed sleeping on a tree - very pleasant and refreshing! But the best part were outside washrooms in a mug "building" :) We had lot of fun and the experience was amazing! It's relaxing and the standard of service was equal to hotel ones (refreshing juice when we arrived etc.) We would totally recommend this place to anyone and we will for sure be back once in Sri Lanka!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SaraiiVillage, Owner at Saraii Village, responded to this review, May 8, 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you so much for your lovely review. We are really happy that you enjoyed your stay. You will always be welcome at Saraii anytime... :)

Warm Regards,

Charitha Abeyratne Hettiarachchi
Founder - Saraii Village
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Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 2, 2013

My family (2 adults & 2 kids) stayed at Saraii Village for 2 nights in end of March '13.
Conclusion: I would not recommend this place to anyone unless they are keen to pay premium $$$ and for a 'rough it out' experience! It was a stressful 2 nights for us when we stayed there.
Why?
1) The place is poorly maintained e.g. leaky roof wetting all of our bedding/pillow/blankets, no housekeeping service, disturbing noises ( sounds like there is a cottage factory nearby) in the night affecting sleep, etc.
2) Access (wooden ladder made from tree trunks) to the tree house is precarious and
hazardous, esp. for kids. A misstep or fall during a climb could be fatal.
3) No proper signage to the place, access road is poor, when we were there, we had to walk the last 300-400m to the place as our driver did not want his car to be stuck in the muddy and potholed road.
4) Poorly equipped and maintained common toilet, pest in the toilet e.g. cockroaches
5) Mozzies in the the night.

Consolation:
1) Food was pretty ok, depending on your palate.
2) Birds (peacocks & egrets) roaming freely round the village compound.

Note: Level 1 of the treehouse is only good for storage, it is not possible to sleep in as promoted.

The management should exercise more responsibility and make the place cleaner, safer and more comfortable for its guests, at the very least. Until then, I would suggest potential guest to consider other surrounding accommodation or be prepared to rough t it out.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SaraiiVillage, Owner at Saraii Village, responded to this review, May 6, 2013
Dear Guest,

We are truly sad to hear that you did not have a good experience at Saraii... Our aim is to always provide you with a memorable stay with great service.

The construction of Saraii is definitely different to a normal hotel and this best enjoyed by the more adventurous travelers. We have had many families with small kids who have loved the jungle / Tarzan and Jane feel... but it is not for everyone...

Sounds in the night? I'm confused as this is a rural area and a large property and there are no factories located close-by... I wonder if you were disturbed by the peacock calls, which can be very loud at times...

We do have housekeeping support - but we apologize for the leaky roof situation due to the very heavy rains. The roof has now been fixed...

We respect that each traveler has their own level of comfort and expectations but as stated in our website, what you see is what you get.

The Crib Tree house doesn't have a 1st floor that is meant for people to sleep, it is as you correctly identified used for keeping your backpacks, etc... We do have another tree house that you could have reserved if you wanted two floors but as you may already know it is more expensive.

Regarding signage, we have 2 large sign boards at the main crossroads at Wirawila and Pannegamuwa and a sign board at the turn of our 200 yard road. I'm surprised that you did not see this, we even have one on our gate. The road I must admit, was not in good condition due to the heavy rains but thankfully that has been rectified now by the responsible government institution.

The common restroom is used by the two tree houses and it has all equipment necessary, pictures of the common restroom and its facilities are shown clearly on our website... If you had voiced your displeasure to our manager, he would have assigned a private bathroom for you.

To minimize the effects of mosquitos we have netting all around the tree house, but we definitely cannot eliminate them. As we are an eco resort, we will not be using harmful pest control methods to control mosquitos...

We are very happy to hear that you were happy with the food and the wildlife...

We take the feedback of all our guests seriously, and i assure you that your observations will be given serious attention and we will look at how we can improve our offering. We are now in the process of constructing 4 more treehouses and we will take your observations into account as well...

Thank you for your feedback...

Warm Regards,

Charitha (Founder - Saraii Village)
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Wellington
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 22, 2013

I visited Saraii Village with my partner during the first week of April. This was one of the best boutique hotels i've ever been to in Sri Lanka. Its a simple place but it has a unique taste of its own. The rustic wild feel is very different to what you find anywhere else in Sri Lanka. The accommodation was very comfortable and we were taken care of very well. The food was the best part of staying at Saraii as the local dishes they wip up is to die for, especially the lake prawn and fried lake fish. If you ask them they will make you sandwiches and give you an English breakfast too, but we recommend the local food as its different to what we normal eat. You can always ask them to go easy on the spice. The safari organized by the team was excellent, the price was reasonable and best is that they take the responsibility for the ride. The wildlife at Yala was excellent, we saw the most sought after leopard and elephants. We were also surprised with a candle lit dinner on the last night of our stay which was very thoughtful of them. I'd recommend Saraii any day and would definitely come back.

Room Tip: Tree houses are fun and mud houses are comfortable and very large
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SaraiiVillage, Manager at Saraii Village, responded to this review, January 27, 2014
Dear Indigo,

Thank you very much for reviewing your stay at Saraii Village, not only do reviews on tripadvisor.com allow us to improve and develop ourselves to a strong position of guest-centric service they also allow for future guests to see what they can expect when visiting Saraii Village!

We really appreciate your kind comments and we will endeavor to provide such an experience to all of our guests. We do hope that you return to Sri Lanka and we would love to have you stay with us again!

Many thanks,
The Saraii Village Management Team
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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Top Contributor
79 reviews 79 reviews
38 hotel reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
97 helpful votes 97 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 19, 2013

We stayed in Saraii for 2 nights and took the Nest tree house.

On photos/website, they look really good, and my children were extremely excited to be staying on a tree house.

Nadia who handled our reservation was really prompt and friendly, ensuring us a memorable stay. Memorable it was, in deed, unfortunately, the wrong way.

The signage posted was fading, our driver/guide had problem locating the place. Then the red earth road leading towards the property was filled with potholes, a non 4-wheel drive would not be able to drive in. We had to stop 400m away and then walked through muddy red earth to reach the property.

The property has 2 mud houses and 2 tree houses.

The tree house, a novelty, although solid, was badly maintained. We were told we have 2 levels which we could stay in, probably with the children on 1 level, and the adult on another. The 1st level was dirty and moldy and with tree trunks poking though it; only good to place our suitcases. The 2nd level, slightly better was covered with mosquito nets which had torn patches, and leaky roof, the floor and mattress and bedding were damp (caused by an earlier rain fall).

The toilet, shared, was dark, with floor littered with sand, and only a small shelf top to place your toiletries on. It was not cleaned (floor not washed/swept), and the dustbin was not cleared for the 2 nights we were there. I was getting wary of where I rest my things on, and where I stepped, wondering how long the toilet has not been cleaned.

The 2 nights we were there, there were mossies buzzing in the tree house and we had to spray insect repellent on ourselves (my husband who didn’t on the 1st night got bitten badly all over).
We were told during reservations that the tree house will be sprayed with natural insect repellent every day, but the 2 nights we were there, that didn’t take place.

The management was stingy with breakfast (that was the comment made by another American family who was there), only ONE egg per person + some toast + tea; that’s it, no juice, and you have to pay for water. For dinner, the restaurant was so badly lit, we could hardly see what we were eating. The grill local fresh water prawn on the 2nd night was delicious though. Drinking water was not provided for, and chargeable.

There were 2 kitchen helpers + the manager, Hassan on duty. Only Hassan speaks English. We had to wait till he started his duty / around before we could order drinks or breakfast.

There was no housekeeping. We went on our ½ day Safari in the afternoon, and came back to a ‘room’ which was not made. That was still ok. But it rained in the afternoon, and our mattresses and pillows were wet (caused by the leaky roof). Hassan, the manager, gave us new mattresses, and bed-sheets, and expected us to make our beds ourselves (according to him, the housekeeping staff is on vacation, but really, that’s not my problem). My children didn't’ sleep well that night, worrying that it might rain again.

Climbing up and down the ladder was another challenge. So just get your expectation right when you book this place. It’s not for elderly people nor people with a weak heart. Young children too may be difficult to climb up and down, especially if they need to use the toilet middle of the night.

We paid for half board but was told the records showed B&B, and was charged for dinner. Luckily I have my email reservation details with me, so the dinner charges were reversed.

Saraii isn’t cheap, for the price, I would have a certain expectation. The place needs to be spruced up. We stayed in a couple of hotels on our trip to Sri Lanka, and this place was the worst, my children said I shouldn’t have booked it in the first place.

The saving grace was the Safari booked via Saraii. The guide, Dinesh, which we got, was superb. If you are staying in Saraai, and booking their Safari, make sure you ask for Dinesh.

Room Tip: the mud houses may be a better choice.. but why stay in the mud house when you can stay in other nic...
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SaraiiVillage, Manager at Saraii Village, responded to this review, January 27, 2014
Dear ZarasMama,

Firstly, thank you very much for taking the time to review your stay at Saraii Village eco-hotel, we really appreciate all the feedback that we receive from our guests.

We are truly disappointed that this was the experience that you had during your stay at Saraii Village. This is not up to the very high standards we set ourselves. Since your stay at Saraii in April 2013 there has been several changes that we are sure would have made a difference to your stay:

1) We have recruited new staff and provided training to staff that were on-site at the time of your visit, the standard of English amongst the staff is much improved. Please also remember though, that this is not England, or America and Saraii tries to employ staff from the local area in order to boost the local economy, the first language of most of our staff is likely to be Sinhalese.

2) Saraii’s exposure to nature can be challenging sometimes, it can be challenging as a guest and it can also be challenging as a member of staff. We now provide mosquito net tents that are large enough for beds to be inserted into, and offer them to all guests upon arrival. We also have carried out further work on our tree houses and mud chalets to ensure that they are waterproof and will withstand whatever weather is thrown at them.

3) We have added additional steps to make the tree houses more accessible. We are also building new tree houses that will feature more typical stair cases that are made of recycled railway sleepers. We have people of all ages visit Saraii Village, we are always happy to assist anybody with specific requirements, but we also refuse to discriminate between customers based on age.

4) We now provide a more extensive breakfast and we are currently working on a new breakfast menu. We are sorry that you felt that one egg and toast and tea was not sufficient. We also now provide a range of seasonal juices.

In regards to the state of the bathroom and the expectation of you dressing your own bedroom, this is completely unacceptable and we are very sorry that something like this took place. Your experience is not replicable of the high standards that we set ourselves and we sincerely apologise for this.

Thank you again for taking the time to review and inform us of your opinions, we are sorry that you did not receive an experience that truly reflects Saraii Village.

The Saraii Village Management Team
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Additional Information about Saraii Village

Address: Randunu Kale Watta | Weerawila, Tissamaharama 82632, Sri Lanka
Phone Number:
Location: Sri Lanka > Southern Province > Tissamaharama
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 23 Specialty Lodging in Tissamaharama
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Saraii Village is a truely unique location that provides guests an eco - agro tourism experience. Located in an agro-forestry land in Wirawila, Hambantota District, in the Sourthern Province of Sri Lanka, Saraii offers you natural Mud Chalets and Tree Houses. You can make a reservation at Saraii and secure a mud chalet along with an amazing natural tree house and your own bathroom... You can also book individual units as well. Guests can enjoy different types of food and even pick your own fruits and vegetables from the Organically Certified agro land. WI-FI enabled. Restaurant and hang out area for you and your friends. The mud chalets are great for two people and can also be transformed to accommodate 5 people (as we can add single mattress to create extra beds). The tree houses also can be transformed to accommodate either a couple or a group. The larger tree house which we call Nest can accommodate 6 people, and the small tree house Crib can accommodate 4.This is a great place for a romantic getaway too as the mud huts have a large double bed and a private bathroom and the tree house can be prepared to give a special, romantic feel.Saraii Village is close to many interesting sites, such as the Yala Nature Reserve, Bundala Bird Santuray & Nature Reserve, Lunugamwehera Nature Reserve, Wirawila Tank, Kirinda Beach, great for surfing, diving, dolphine & whale watching. Famous religious site, Kataragama is located 30 - 45 mins away, with many more attractions available for you.We can arrange for responsible tours within the nature reserves and visits to places of interest around this location. ... more   less 
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