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“It is what it is” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Talalla Retreat

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Talalla Retreat
3.5 of 5 Hotel   |   Talalla South | Gandara, Talalla, Sri Lanka   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Talalla
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“It is what it is”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 7, 2013 via mobile

We have just returned from Talalla, and can only review as we found it. Talalla is a great place to take time out,relax and take in the surroundings,the accommodation is modern minimal,clean and unique we in one of the upper level spaces.Where else can you share the amazing beach with just you and the fishermen, we found the food to be wholesome and delicious particularly the breakfasts. Talalla is the perfect retreat, a place to unwind and rejuvenate.

Stayed October 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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363 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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English first
Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 30, 2013

Talalla Retreat is just fantastic. You have a choice of ground floor of first floor rooms - if you like a bit more privacy, then opt for the ground floor as they have shutter doors, whereas the first floor rooms are completely open, with only roller blinds. Having a shower in the al fresco bathrooms, under the stars with fireflies zooming about is magical! The staff are all super friendly and helpful and go over and above. The food is brilliant, with buffet breakfast and dinner with an al a cart lunch menu - it's well worth opting for the full board option, we started off with half board and swapped, as for the extra 6 dollars a day it was worth it. The massages are wonderful and there are a good selection of treatments to choose from. We tried surfing and the instructors were helpful and encouraging. Swinging in a hammock by the lovely pool is a great way to relax :-) The beach is just a minutes walk away and you can hire a SUP board and go for a paddle. The retreat attracted a complete mix of guests, couples, families, friends and solo travellers - it has something for everyone. The resident dog is called Strider - make friends with him and give him a fuss, he's ace :-)

My ONLY bug bear, was the delivery tuktuks who drive around very early in the morning and throughout the day with the Nokia ringtone and 'Santa Claus is coming to town' as they jingles - they can be VERY loud and can really break the calm, relaxing ambience of the place. The other noises of croaking frogs and wildlife is fantastic to hear.

Getting there - if you can fly to the new airport at Matalla, it's much closer and only a 2 hour transfer, as opposed to the 4 hour transfer from Colombo.

Overall we were very impressed and will definately be going back.

Room Tip: First floor rooms are open, with only roller blinds for privacy. The ground floor rooms have slatted...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 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
    • 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.
Sydney
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 28, 2013

Talalla has it all. Yoga, surfing, swimming, beaches with beautiful open air rooms and bathrooms. The guests were a perfect mix of couples, friends and families along with those taking part in the surf retreat which resulted in a very friendly, mixed crowd. The buffet meals were varied and delicious and there was absolutely no need to leave. We planned on staying for 2 nights and ended up staying for 4 but could have stayed for much longer. It is a fairly long trip from Colombo but take the express bus to Galle and then a rickshaw to Talalla which allows you to see the coast along the way. We will definitely return!

Room Tip: The upstairs rooms are more open and hence slightly noisy with all of the wildlife but I preferred t...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 25, 2013

Nice open air rooms (those on the 1st floor of each "houses"). Very clean and well furnished. Open sky bathroom from which you might see monkeys and light-worms at night (and all around the resort) if you are lucky.

The pool is quite big and has deckchairs and hammock all around. The hotel is located on the beach front so really easy to access.

The food was amazing and inexpensive: breakfast and diner are buffets but really worth it even if we usually try to avoid buffets. They serve local and some occidental dishes. The unlimited tuna steak cooked on the grill is a must try! Wine is really decent.

Staff is friendly and will help you for your sightseeing activities. They will also arrange tuktuk with fixed price for you. There are also many buses passing by the main road near the hotel if you prefer.

Definitively a hotel I would recommend.

Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Doha, Qatar
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 24, 2013

Last week, over Eid Al Adha, I escaped from Doha to this beautiful retreat - Talalla Beach Resort. The facilities were above average, the rooms were clean and fresh, the staff were friendly and helpful - couldnt have asked for more really. The Yoga teacher was brilliant, very friendly, encouraging, helpful as I needed all these qualities from my yoga teacher as it was my first yoga lesson which encouraged me to try again when back in Doha.
The surf instructors were a bit off hand, didnt have PR skills to speak of, felt we were doing them a favour by signing up for their surfing lessons, but having said this, the instructor I had was helpful and friendly and I did manage to stand up, even if it was briefly, on my board.
They did have a wide range of massages to choose from and they were also pretty good as I managed to go for at least one to two a day and felt totally relaxed afterwards.
There were a few familys with small children while I was there and they were annoying, perhaps this resort should look at restricting families with small children during a period of the year where grown ups can TOTALLY relax without having screaming kids ruining the ambiance.
The resort is magical in its beauty - simply stunning really and I would recommend this resort to my friends and family.
L

Room Tip: Try to get a cabin near the swimming pool and if you want a great view try for the top floor room of...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, England, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2013

Talalla Retreat from Colombo is a long journey, but SL is no tiny island! The new Expressway cuts the road-travel time in half. You're looking at 15,000LKR / 120USD / 70GBP each way for a taxi. If you can get flights to the new and closer Matara airport then do it.

If you're not fussed about speed the train from Colombo Fort station is an amazing way to see Sri Lanka's West and South coasts. Great for the budget: only 480LKR / 4USD / 2.50GBP each way per person.

Now about Talalla Retreat itself: To be frank the other reviewers complaining about no AC et cetera are victims of their own expectations. Talalla Retreat is exactly that - A RETREAT. There is a reason why they didn't choose the word 'resort'. It is not a Marriott or a Hilton. There is no wifi in your room. There is no 40" LED TV in your room. There is no Jet Ski rental. There is no Technogym with Powerplates. It is located on the natural border between the pristine Indian Ocean and the dense Sri Lankan jungle - and as such it is an unobtrusive collection of small buildings that compliment the natural environment perfectly.

The whole Southwest coastline is barely developed and is still recovering from the 2004 Tsunami. Talalla Retreat is staffed and managed by local inhabitants of Talalla village. It has been designed as a place where you can get away from your First World Smartphone Life. And it hits the spot. If you DO need to remain connected for whatever reason then they have reliable speedy wifi in the restaurant/dining area 24 hours a day. During our visit both of us just connected whenever we were having our meals and the rest of the time we were unplugged.

As for meals - all three meals are buffet style. The breakfast is amazing and remains the same every day. Plenty of choice between tropical fruits, local morning cuisine, flour or rice pancakes, bread/toast, and eggs/omelettes cooked to order. The locally made Papaya Jam probably changed my life.

Lunch and dinner change slightly each day but the theme remains the same: Tuna steaks and chicken breasts grilled to order. A choice of local curries/dishes. Two or more types of rice to accompany. One pasta option each evening. And a different cooked/baked desert each night with fruit alongside for desert. If you need more choice then something is wrong with you.

Everything is made fresh and using local sources. The quality of the food was one of the most impressive things about Talalla Retreat. My advice is to book the half board and eat in for dinner every night because at night the roads are very dangerous. This leaves you to explore the local area and find your own lunch each day (don't miss the basic but amazing Sea Garden Restaurant in nearby Dikwella). This also suited us perfectly because every day were out seeing and discovering different things around Sri Lanka's south coast anyway.

The room: if you want privacy choose Ground Floor. If you want a semi open-air environment then choose First Floor. Both have open-air showers (which are quite private with full height walls, they just lack a roof). The bed was comfortable and the ceiling fan did a good job on the more humid nights. DO NOT leave food/snacks out anywhere unless you want to be best friends with squirrels and monkeys.

The Staff: ARE AMAZING. Simple as that. They all speak good English. One or two also speak other foreign languages. They are willing to help you out in any way they can at all times. The restaurant staff are brilliant and funny people.

We have to give a special mention to Ganaka on reception. He sorted out everything for us including all the trips and sightseeing we wanted to do, and even set aside time to teach my girlfriend and I how to play a traditional Sri Lankan board game called Panchi. He went so far as to bring his own game pieces that he made himself at home and then offer them to us as a gift.

In the reception area you can use free sun cream and insect repellent, and you can refill water bottles for your room or for day trips out from the water coolers in the restaurant.

The beach is the best I have ever seen, bar none. And I have travelled most of the Caribbean and Middle East. It is over a kilometre of clean sand backed up by dense treeline, and the water remains shallow until quite far out. There are no manmade structures on the beach itself, with only a few hotels and dwellings (such as Talalla Retreat) set back within the treeline. The small fishing boats on the beach are part of the landscape and seem to never move - but if you wake up before dawn you'll witness something extraordinary as the sun rises from the sea and you see the fishermen making their way back with their pre-dawn catch.

Local attractions: See the Buddhist temple in Dikwella. Wake up at 3.30am and make the 2-hour trip to Udawalawe National Park to see Crocodiles, Elephants, Herds of wild cattle and much more drinking from the lake at dawn. Make the short trip to Dondra to watch the sunset from the top of the lighthouse. Go see the turtle nursery and recovery centre at Habaraduwa. And if you like drinking tea then don't miss the Handunugoda Tea Factory (145 years old).

Room Tip: If you value privacy and four solid walls then go for a ground floor room. If you would prefer to be...
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  • Stayed October 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 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal, Canada
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 20, 2013

The rooms are really pretty and the ambiance is great.
We enjoyed our time there even if as the rooms have to walls, you can hear everything that is going on around. We woke up one night when a familly came back from turtle watching in the middle of the night. The kids where arguing and woke everybody up.
Other than that, the pool was great and the food is pretty good even if there is not very many choices.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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 Talalla Retreat

Address: Talalla South | Gandara, Talalla, Sri Lanka
Location: Sri Lanka > Southern Province > Talalla
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Talalla
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Talalla Retreat 3.5*
Number of rooms: 32
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A rare island treasure hidden on the island’s untouched southern tip, Sri Lanka’s chic new boutique hotel, Talalla Retreat, has been designed as a private world of barefoot luxury, and the ultimate environment to totally chill out. Nestled metres from exquisite Talalla Beach, villa style rooms are elegantly appointed with open-sky marble bathrooms, private patios and lush views. Enjoy the open-air restaurant, custom-built yoga pavilion, sparkling freshwater pool and signature spa treatments. ... more   less 
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