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“A private retreat” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Sir John's Bungalow

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Sir John's Bungalow
Riverstone Road, Matale, Sri Lanka   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Morzine, France
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“A private retreat”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 6, 2013

This bungalow is situated way up into the clods of the Knuckle mountain range. You pass through some incredible scenery, drive for kilometers along narrow bendy roads until you get to the old colonial bungalow perched on the side of the mountains with breath taking views. As this was a private home it is run off a generator and solar panels for lighting, hot water and electricity. Hot water is switched on for when you need it and electricity will come and go. The dinner was delicious and served by candle light round the communal dining table. Very hilly roads for running along if you are doing any exercise and lots of leeches. Amazing mountain ranges for trekking.
No wifi or clothes washing facilities, the bedrooms are large but basic. Very very damp as you are in the hills. This is not a hotel by any means but a magical private guest house. Stay here for a minimum of 2 nights.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jaikishen J, Owner at Sir John's Bungalow, responded to this review, July 27, 2013
Thank you for your review on Sir John's Bungalow. We are delighted to know that you enjoyed your stay with us. Our Bungalow does indeed offer a true experience to all visitors of the Knuckles Mountain Range. Your kind sentiments will certainly be passed on with our General Manager and his team who would be thrilled to note that they made your stay extremely memorable. While thanking you for taking time to write to us, we eagerly look forward to your next visit!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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50 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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    4
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (16)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2013

we were there for 02 nights and it was a best vacation we ever had . Entire differnt experiance with the touch of un spoil vergin forest and no city noices at all. I was with my wife and 02 young daughters and we enjoy the stay with very freindly staff and excellent food . Rooms are very clean & comfortable . The bunglow located with a beautiful surroundings and it's breath taking . I would like to suggest to stay more days if you can to eliminate all your work tention due to busy life styles . Also lot to see close by including Reverston ( experiance of fresh fast wind ) , water falls , mini worlds end ...etc . Bunglow will arrange tracking with a experiance guide and the location is excellent for tracking lovers . Please add Sir John's Bunglow as a must visit place during the life time .

  • Stayed August 2012, 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

Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jaikishen J, Owner at Sir John's Bungalow, responded to this review, September 19, 2013
Thank you for your review on Sir John's Bungalow.
We are delighted to know that you enjoyed your stay with us. Our Bungalow does indeed offer a true experience to all visitors of the Knuckles Mountain Range. Your kind sentiments will certainly be passed on with our General Manager and his team who would be thrilled to note that they made your stay memorable.
While thanking you for taking time to write to us, we eagerly look forward to your next visit!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Colombo, Sri Lanka
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 3, 2013

We visited the Sir Johns bungalow in April and spent two nights there.We had a lovely time!The bungalow is being maintained really well and the view is just breathtaking! Mr Thennakoon and the staff were excellent and very helpful. We did the Village trek and enjoyed it tremendously. Sampath who took us on the trek was helpful, informative and very accommodating.
The food was good -perhaps a bit more variety would be good. Also, the garden needs a little bit more maintenance. The rooms and bathrooms were clean, cozy and comfortable with a definite rustic charm to it.
Overall we had an excellent stay and we will definitely be back!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service

Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jaikishen J, Owner at Sir John's Bungalow, responded to this review, September 19, 2013
Thank you for your review on Sir John's Bungalow.
We are delighted to know that you enjoyed your stay with us. Our Bungalow does indeed offer a true experience to all visitors of the Knuckles Mountain Range. I would like to note that we do have a much wider variety on our menu,and our new Manager who is a Naturalist by profession is taking much greater care of our garden!
Your kind sentiments will certainly be passed on with our General Manager and his team who would be thrilled to note that they made your stay memorable.
While thanking you for taking time to write to us, we eagerly look forward to your next visit!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 13, 2013

I visited this peace of Hevan with my 2 kids and the Mother in law. It was a very plasent drive to get to this location. Something like a 39 KM lonley beautiful streach of road. Once we got to the location where the bunglow was, IT WAS A BEAUTIFUL location something much like picture post card. Once I got to the location the staff too was very friendly and nice. Mr Thennacoone went out of his way to take care of all of our needs. He was in charge of gust relations and would take care of your every need.He also acted as a tour gude to help us to get to the near by attractions. The Mini words end is a must. You could go to thelgamuoya and get the fish to give you foot treatment.

I enjoyed gazeing into the mountain range for hours...it's one of the most beautiful cool places I have visited.

My children also enjoyed the place very much. Loved the weather! The bunglow gets covered by mist and it is indeed a beautiful sight to watch. This is also a place where I got an excelent nights rest due to the cool weather.

The food was excelent. It was true value for money. If you like to have a spout bath that too is an option

Room Tip: There are 5 different rooms to choose from all are good.
See more room tips
  • Stayed June 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jaikishen J, Owner at Sir John's Bungalow, responded to this review, September 19, 2013
Thank you for your review on Sir John's Bungalow.
We are delighted to know that you enjoyed your stay with us. Our Bungalow does indeed offer a true experience to all visitors of the Knuckles Mountain Range. Yes, it is true that each room has its own unique taste and atmosphere. Weare glad you enjoyed it!
Your kind sentiments will certainly be passed on with our General Manager and his team who would be thrilled to note that they made your stay memorable.
While thanking you for taking time to write to us, we eagerly look forward to your next visit!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Colombo, Sri Lanka
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 6, 2013

Spent two nights at Sir John's with my parents and in-laws and had a wonderful time. Its a bit of a drive to get there (5 to 6 hours from colombo) so I would advise to spend more than one night. The staff is wonderful and very accommodating. Rooms were very comfortable and the bathrooms were done in the 'eco' style, very clean and had all the necessary amenities including hot water. The whole bungalow has been renovated very tastefully. They have a fantastic cook so the meals never failed to disappoint. I recommend trying his banana cake and chocolate biscuit pudding. Yum!
Weather was really nice...not too cold but nice and cool. We were very comfortable in shorts and t'shirts. But i would recommend calling tennakoon (the manager) in advance and inquiring about the weather as i was told that it does get quite chilly at times.
The bungalow is situated in the knuckle's forest conservation zone, and there is no main line electricity....they run on solar power and a generator. So power is a bit of an issue. You can charge your mobile phones but not your laptop. So best thing is to bring a good book or help yourself to the board games available in the premises to entertain yourself in the evenings. They even have a carrom board :)
And finally...the view....no words! Its like we were the only bit of civilization in the wilderness. We managed a trek to mini world's end which is 3km from the bungalow (90% can be done by car) and were entertained by breathtaking views. This is really a trekkers paradise if you can plan in advance and come...which is what we plan to do next time....hopefully soon :)
Highly recommended.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jaikishen J, Owner at Sir John's Bungalow, responded to this review, September 19, 2013
Thank you for your review on Sir John's Bungalow.
We are delighted to know that you enjoyed your stay with us. Our Bungalow does indeed offer a true experience to all visitors of the Knuckles Mountain Range, and yes electricity is an issue we are addressing however, that limitation does enhance the ambience and atmosphere of the Bungalow.
Your kind sentiments will certainly be passed on with our General Manager and his team who would be thrilled to note that they made your stay memorable. While thanking you for taking time to write to us, we eagerly look forward to your next visit!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Madison, Connecticut
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2013

Our stay at the Bungalow was unprecedented. Being world travelers we enjoy the unique and amazing away from typical tourist destinations. The scenery alone is worth the trip but the fabulous food is the crowning jewel with candlelit dinners. The staff is friendly and the accomodations are first class as well as eco-friendly. This is a place you should not miss if you want to experience the unspoiled beauty of Sri Lanka.

  • Stayed February 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jaikishen J, Owner at Sir John's Bungalow, responded to this review, September 19, 2013
Thank you for your review on Sir John's Bungalow. We are delighted to know that you enjoyed your stay with us. Our Bungalow does indeed offer a true experience to all visitors of the Knuckles Mountain Range. Your kind sentiments will certainly be passed on with our General Manager and his team who would be thrilled to note that they made your stay memorable.
While thanking you for taking time to write to us, we eagerly look forward to your next visit!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kandy, Sri Lanka
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 8, 2013

A colonial B'Low situated in a picturesque setting, with mouth watering food, exemplary service by Tennakoon and his team. The beer at the verandah in the evening with the mist engulfing us , the Breakfast with rays of sunlight bashing at us and the candle light dinner was out of this world.

I would advise any trekker, any ardent lover of photography , any nature lover, that this place is a must visit.

Room Tip: Try to get the room with the underground bathroom
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sir John's Bungalow

Address: Riverstone Road, Matale, Sri Lanka
Location: Sri Lanka > Central Province > Matale
Amenities:
Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly )
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 6 Specialty Lodging in Matale
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Offering sweeping vistas of the North Eastern Knuckles mountain range, an area that is celebrated for its striking peaks, pristine waterways, bewitching cloud forests, and diverse flora and fauna, Sir John’s Bungalow is situated at the threshold of a land before time.Built by the British during the colonial era as a residence for the Superintendent of the 1,300 acre Laggala tea estate, the Bungalow was once the holiday home of Sir John Kotalawala, the third Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. As the area is within the Knuckles conservation zone tea cultivation was abandoned thirty years ago allowing the jungle to reclaim its bounty.The planter's misfortune has thus become a dream come true for trekkers, wildlife enthusiasts, and all seekers of the sublime. During the dry months of June to September, elephants from the plains of the nearby Wasgamuwa National Park roam the estate in search of water and food. Wild buffaloes are in abundance, with leopards and fishing cats making occasional nocturnal visits, and the sounds of the timid barking deer echoing in the surrounding forest.Committed to an ethos of environmentally sustainable hospitality, Sir John’s Bungalow is carbon-neutral, harnessing solar energy for electricity and recycling all waste matter. ---------------------------------AccommodationTastefully appointed with modern conveniences, Sir John’s Bungalow also retains its old-world charms and comforts, including roaring fireplaces in the living and dining rooms. All bedrooms feature king-sized beds, elegant teak floors, and attached bathrooms with hot water showers. Both the Riverstone suite and Sir John's suite have four-legged cast iron bathtubs that can be filled for a long, relaxing soak. ... more   less 
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