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“Wonderful Holiday, you will not be disapointed!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Vivanta by Taj - Bentota

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Vivanta by Taj - Bentota
3.5 of 5 Hotel   |   National Holiday Resort, Bentota 80500, Sri Lanka   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #6 of 26 Hotels in Bentota
Bournemouth
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
“Wonderful Holiday, you will not be disapointed!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2009

Lovely clean hotel, staff very friendly. Only complaint that the beaches around the hotel with litter. Mensioned in our report so by the time you go, may of been sorted. Two complimentry bottles of water each day, plenty of tea,coffee etc. Extra pool towels if needed. I had a birthday while out there and the cleaner did an arrangement on the bed saying "Happy Birthday "with flower patterns, and another day it said "Have a Nice Day" with a fisherman out of palm leaves. We were on the 6th floor, had a very big double bed, very comfortable with good pillows. ( Best sleep on holiday I have ever had)
Spa is a must and we can recommend the Indian head massage. Tried Yoga and that also is to be reommnded, very reasonable and will try and keep it up now at home.

Went on the two day trip to Kandy etc with Thomas Cook, 5.45 am start, good but long journey and very tiring. When you go to the Elephant Orphanage, you are shown first two baby elephants one leg chained and they are both pulling all the time, which upset me, cruel . Elephants iin a field and bathing in the river was lovely. Next stopped to ride elephant or bath one in a river. Then onto Spice garden, interesting , you get a massage at the end of the talk, which will require a donation and then after ticking which oils, creams you like you may purchase them. Beware approx £15.00 per bottle. One lady in our group spent £100.00 and another £200, so my advice would be work out what it costs before paying. Lunch then Botanical Gardens and then onto the Temple of Buddha's tooth. Next Cutural Kandyan Dancers very good. Hotel stop over arrive approx 7pm Chaaya Citadel Kandy, good hotel with buffet included in price of trip. Next day early start again 7.30am, went to Gem Factory at 8am and nobody really wanted that at that time of day. Tea Plantation next and that was interesting, saw lots of waterfalls, to be honest everybody said could of made our way home after tea plantation as it was a bit of waste of time keep driving round. Do expect to pay to use the toilet when traveling.
A charges made if you want to take pictures at Elephant Orphanage and Temple and also more money if wanting to Video. Good value for money.
You will have a wonderful holiday as did not meet anybody that was not friendly an they need tourist!

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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England
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 27, 2009

We stayed at the Taj between 18 - 26 June 09 on a bed and breakfast basis, the hotel is situated in large grounds which lead directly onto the beach. This is monsoon season so it rains for about 1 hour per day and boy does it rain.The majority of rooms have at least a partial sea view. Our room (616) was very clean with large balcony, good a/c, tv and comfortable double bed, the bathroom was however a little dated but was in good working order with both powerful shower and bath. The grounds to the hotel are lawned with palm trees and are well kept leading onto the beach which is public so the hotel are unable to put loungers on it. The beach is clean and was deserted when we were there apart from a few locals playing cricket, it is possible to walk along it for miles and we were not hassled at all. The hotel pool is large with a swim up bar with numerous loungers around it, although these become hard to get after 10am, the pool staff are attentive and polite. The breakfasts were of a high standard with every taste catered for. Meals are very good in the restaraunts especially the shack and chinese but do cost about £50.00 for a 3 course seafood meal for 2 with a bottle of wine and beers. The spa is again quite expensive with the top treatment costing about £100 (6 hours) but is very good. Money exchange is about 3 rps less than the banks but as there are 186 to the £ who cares. There is not a lot outside the hotel but i can reccomend the Golden grill and the Aieda restaurants about 15 mins walk from the hotel costing about a third of a hotel meal but not as good, again we were not hassled en route apart a man claiming to work at the hotel as a chef, he doesnt and will try to con you into using him as a guide.The locals are on the whole are very friendly and glad you are visiting, paying their country a compliment will earn you a big smile. Baggage handlers at the airport will quickly take your luggage and then ask for £1 coin per bag in payment knowing you may not have any rupees, i would suggest changing money at the airport (reasonable rates) as the official handling fee is 50 rps per bag (as stated on handlers bibs).The journey from the airport is a 3 hour white knuckle ride, there are also numerous armed soldiers and police at check points but they usually wave tourist vehicles through, the country on a whole is very happy that the troubles have been ended and are very happy to see tourists. I would rate the Taj as a very good 4* hotel and would not hesitate to visit again or to reccomend it to friends.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Dhanran
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 27, 2009

We stayed at Taj from 6/18-22. We booked the Orchid room at 6th floor with a great view of garden and beach. The staff was excellent and courteous. However, the room is somewhat old and I will give it only a 4 stars. Some additional information:

1.Transportation: We took recommendation from Hans and contacted Sena (dinesh@sltnet.lk) in advance for the airport pickup. We like Sena so much that later we booked all trips from him. He has a van for the long distance trips and a Tuk Tuk for short distance. The ride from airport to Bentota is about 2 ½ hours (90 km).

2.Tours:
•Brief Garden: An old-style plantation house with great architect design. 20 minutes from hotel by Tuk-Tuk. 650 LKR entrance fee. The garden is well worth the visit. The tour take about 1 ½ hours. Watch out for the mosquitoes. We did not spray the insect repellent in time and got many bites.
•Bentota River Cruise into the mangrove-forests: We just love it. Trip took about 2 ½ hours and we paid 2500 LKR. It was very relaxing and we were able to see many plants, birds and animals during the cruise. The highlight of the trip is to see where the Bentota River and Indian Ocean meets.
•Galle Trip: This is a full day trip. We visited Turtle Conservation (extremely fun), Ariyapala Mask Museum (very interesting), Moonstone Mine (jewelry shopping, my wife’s favorite. But one has to know how to bargain! My wife was able to talk down the price by 40-80%), Galle Dutch fort (World Heritage site, good view, but too much harassment from the venders), Stick fishing (We just went through the place quickly, it cost 600 LKR to get out of the car and we refused to stop) and Hikkaduwa Glass bottom Boat (We decided not to take the boat because the sea is very rough and we have seen many coral reefs in Thailand already). We also had a great seafood lunch in Hikkaduwa.
•Sinharaja Forest: A full day trip. One way took about 2 ½ hours. The forest cost +600 LKR each person to get in. The camera recorder cost another 500 LKR. The guide who can speak little English cost another 600 LKR. We only hike for 1 ½ hour then came back due to the rain. We did not see too much at all during the trip. Although we took advice to wear long pant and sleeve. We both got a few leach bites. The wound bled for hours before stopping.
•Beruwala Fishing Harbor: We visited around 6:30 am to watch the fishing boats being unloaded. We bought some seafood and cooked those for dinner at our guide’s place. It was the best meal we had in Sri Lanka.

3.Meals: We bought our alcohol beverage in Doha airport but later found out Sri Lanka airport’s duty free has a better price. The Breakfast in the hotel is OK. We did enjoy eating out at Golden Grill and Susanta, both within the walking distance from the hotel (although it is better to bring a flash light at night since street light is dim). The best meal we had is the home cooking in our guide’s house. The wonderful fruit in Sri Lanka is a must. Every evening we asked our guide to buy fresh fruit for us to take back to the hotel. He could get a much better price than we got. Mangosteen and mange tastes the best (they are not served in the hotel breakfast).

4.Massage & Spa: Most massage places only open during the day time which caused us to cut our trip time short. We book a 3 day package deal at La Luna Ayurveda Center. We did not really enjoy the massage since it was too oily and we can get the much better treatment in China or Thailand.

Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canfordkid
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
36 hotel reviews
Reviews in 44 cities Reviews in 44 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 26, 2009

Having read lots of reviews on TripAdvisor it seems to me that a holiday is what you make it and you have to take account of what is normal locally and not expect everything to be as it is at home - otherwise why travel in the first place.
Having said that the Taj was great. The public areas were clean and spacious. The bedroom was initially a disappointment after some of the rooms we had been given while touring the week before. The bathroom was small and needed an update and the room smelled musty (cigarettes) which disappeared after a day of a/c use. The same was true of the next door room used by our son and his partner. However we spent little time in our rooms so the bathroom size was only a minor inconvenience. Anyway the room was kept well serviced so no complaints there and we quickly got used to the noise of the occasional passing train - if this would be an issue for you then ask for a room away from the track - for us it was no big deal. Yes there will be damp as it's so humid but it's not a big problem.
There were plenty of loungers at the pool (with a swim up bar) which had glorious views both North and South and the breakfast buffet was excellent with a huge selection and waffles and omlettes cooked to order. As we were on a B&B basis we ate out every evening as we wanted to try the local restaurants. From speaking to guests who ate at the hotel the food was fine and although more expensive than eating locally the prices were not expensive compared to eating out in the UK. Restaurants we tried included the Golden Grill - great chicken curry; Wunderbar - our favourite for the location and staff and the coconut bread and garlic dip - ask for Niro and Jag who were great. We were even able to release baby turtles from their hatchery - what a privilege. Amal - food was OK but this was not our favourite place; Susantha's - cheap and cheerful and you must try Waves at the Surf hotel next door as they did great freshly cooked pizzas which went down well with a beer at lunch time. We took a tuk tuk to the restaurants in the evening. The hotel lobby will call them up from the gate and although you'll pay a little more it saves a lot of hassle. We didn't pay more than 400 rupees for a return trip and that's way less than 3 pounds so it's not going to break the bank but always agree a price before setting off. All the tuk tuk drivers were helpful and informative but Roshan and Suresh are worth a special mention for their service.
The train station is a few minutes walk and it's worth taking a day trip to Galle (1 hour 10 minutes and 200 rupees) - we took an aircon minibus back at 125 rupees (Bus no2. form the bus station next to the train terminus and they leave every 15 minutes).
Overall our impression was of a very friendly place with great people. Take the trouble to talk to the locals and it will pay dividends. Be naturally wary but not over suspicious. We would certainly visit again. After the tsunami and the war the Sri Lankans need the tourist dollars so welcome our support. Don't think twice - we had a great time.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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.
Bristol
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 24, 2009

Stayed 11th - 19th June 2009.

Had a private transfer from the airport which 2.5 hours. This was arranged through TC as part of the package. Car was air conditioned and the driver knowledgeable and courteous. As the airport is in Negombo it takes a while due to the traffic in Columbo itself. Drivers are a little mad to say the least!

Hotel is all gated with security on the front and has a long drive up to the reception area which is quite spectacular.

Hotel staff are very friendly and we were given a cold face cloth on arrival which was very very welcome as very hot and humid.

Stayed in room 227 which had a small sea view but weren’t that bothered as spent very little time in the room. We had a balcony; room had air conditioning and a ceiling fan, TV and a huge bed! Bathroom let the room down as was tired and could have done with a face lift but it was clean and we had no issues. We had slippers and dressing gowns, but this appeared a little sporadic as some did and some didn’t!

WORD OF WARNING TO THOSE WHO USE A HAIRDRYER!!!!! Take your own! They have those ones that attach to the wall that give a mild blow; it took 30 - 40 minutes just to get my hair dry. I didn’t bother taking one as it said that they were provided but if you have a lot of hair or thick hair take your own.

The sockets in the hotel are British 3 pin plugs as well so we didn’t need a travel plug. They also had a mosquito repellent plugged in and the cleaner changed the tablet, I am assuming daily.

The cleaners came every day in the morning, and towels were changed daily also. The cleaner generally turned up between 5pm and 6pm and would provide you with extras if required, if you weren’t there they would close the curtains and turn down the bed and replace any used towels. Hand towels are very small and you can’t wrap your hair in the either, this wasn’t a problem but you may want to take your own or ask for another large towel.

There are sun beds around the pool and pool areas as well as in the grounds close to the beach. They will bring you a pad and towels are provided. There is a pool bar that you can swim up to and a Jacuzzi area. Waiters will come round and bring you drinks and there is a small menu as well during the day. Everything is generally charged to your room and you can pay when you leave.

We did not eat out of the Hotel at all with one exception which was when we went to Galle on the Southern part of the island; others did and generally took a tuk tuk as these are cheap and mean you don’t face the hassle of trying to get somewhere. The Palms Restaurant was where the breakfast was served, selection of cereals, croissant and cakes, fruit, fruit juices (some strange) bacon, sausages, local dishes and an egg chef so lots to chose from. Didn’t eat there for lunch but would imagine same set up, in the evening same style with different choices, Cost was 2,500 this was about £13.50 each person and excluded drinks. The Chinese restaurant was really nice and wasn’t a lot more. The Shack was mainly sea food with a choice of Crab, Lobster, Cuttle Fish, mullet and Prawns, you pay by the weight. The also had 2 steak options (I didn’t eat the T Bone but had the loin option, wasn’t great!) and a rack of lamb. Prawns were fantastic as were other fish dishes. Sea View was slightly more expensive than the Chinese and again very nice food, lots of options on the menu. Others had mixed opinions about the restaurants outside the hotel.

Cocktails were cheaper 650 (£3.50) than a glass of wine at 900 (£5.00) Bottle of wine started at around £20.00.

Bar in the evening generally had a band with evening entertainment.

The service was great all round, people were courteous and very friendly.

Day 1 left the hotel to walk to the supermarket, never made it, was offered about 50 tuk tuks and said no to all. Then got chatting to someone who claimed he was a chef at the Taj on day off, he offered to show us a short cut, MISTAKE! We ended up at the Herb Garden, which was interesting then again said was short cut, but we were crossing the main road and although we insisted this couldn’t be right he said no its a short cut! tried to take us to a carving shop, said we didn’t want to go and ended up at the Bentota Lagoon where he took us on a boat (was a raft) and 2 men rowed this raft around the Lagoon and through the mangroves where we saw Water Monitors, was lovely, but then told us once off the boat it was 2,900 (£16) which was a bit of a rip off to say the least, but we didn’t realise this at the time!! This put us off leaving the hotel again as you don’t seem to be able to shake these people!

It’s worth talking to others in the hotel and seeing who they have arranged trips with. TC wanted £65 to go to the elephant sanctuary and Kandy for one day, where as someone else took a local for 2 days and did a lot more and included a hotel for £80 each. Although had mixed reports on elephant sanctuary at Pinawalha, didn’t go as was a 15 hour day and only there for a week. Others that went with locals got to go to another one where you got to wash and ride on the elephants too. Turtle sanctuary a must, £2.80 Tuk Tuk return and £1.10 entry. Went to Galle and saw the fort, appears not a lot else there but had a huge lovely meal with drinks which was £24 for 4 of us. Did Mask Factory, Gem Mine (didn’t go in), Silk factory and took a boat on the river 3000 for four of us for over an hour!

There is a lot to see and do in Sri Lanka but it’s all a little far away from this area.

Hotel had tennis courts, gym and a spa, the spa treatments were a little pricey but looked fabulous.

All in all was a good break, very relaxed and would recommend the Taj to everyone!

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
Lichfield, UK
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 19, 2009

We travelled to Bentota on the 2nd of June 2009 for 10 days. The hotel was very grand when we arrived and we were very expectant. The lobby and longing areas and in fact all the outside areas of the hotel are immaculate and very impressive.
We were shown to our room (308) which had a sea view and balcony with air conditioning. It was a very poor quality room. It had mould on the net behind the curtains (a kind of lining) and all over the walls. It was dirty in the bathroom too with rust and dirt marks visible on the bath and taps.
We have stayed in a 2* hotel in Goa last year and that was much cleaner and nicer!
I was very disappointed and immediately requested to move, which was granted. The room wasn't much better but we grinned and bore it due to the fact that our flight out there was cancelled and we'd already lost over 24 hours of our holiday.
The facilities in the hotel are excellent, there is a sauna, steam room and jacuzzi which is all free of charge for hotel guests on quoting your room number. They also have a table tennis and games area which we used throughout our stay. (The quality of the table wasn't great but hey we had fun!)
The pool and poolside area is also immaculately kept and very clean and we swam in it an relaxed around the pool almost every day.
The beach is very close, literally about 30 second stroll out of the grounds, and is lovely to sit and watch the sun either come up or go down, however, it is quite dirty with all the litter that was strewn on the grasssy areas at the other side of the sea. I was slightly disappointed with the lack of blue sea too as it was very murky and grey looking.
I would definitely avoid this area of Sri Lanka if activities and nightlife are a part of your holiday as this area offered neither of those things to us.( A 28 yr old male and 25 yr old female) Instead we found 1 nice restaurant and made that our "local" at which we ate 4 nights out of the 9. It was superb there, lovely setting and really nice food, especially the fresh seafood, and we enjoyed the hospitality of the friendly waiters. This was called the Golden Grill and is a short tuk-tuk ride away from the hotel.
The only other notable place we ate was Amal which was also a really good night.
Tuk-tuk's are great but no short journey (15 minutes total) should cost much more than 200 rupees. Food is quite cheap but we would still manage to spend £15-20 a night on a meal and drinks so not much cheaper than here!
Tea and coffee are good presents and a little note for ladies - take sanitary precautions with you just in case as you cannot buy applicator/non-applicators in many places in Sri Lanka, or at least we couldn't find any anywhere anyway!!
We did take a trip to the turtle sanctuary which we did not arrange through the tour operators. We just asked our tuk-tuk driver to take us and he charged us 200rps to take us there and bring us back. It was another 200rps each for entry and for that we walked around the sanctuary and were shown lots of turtles at several different ages. We held the baby ones and saw where they bury their eggs to hatch them too. We could have gone back to watch them being released that night but we were flying home so be sure to go a few days before you leave and ask to watch them being released into the sea!
The main disappointment of this stay was that the weather wasn't great. We had only 3 full days of sunny, hot weather with the rest being overcast, cloudy and grey. We had several downpours, and I know before you say it that it's monsoon season!, but most places that suffer from the monsoons we have already visited are still hot enough and dry enough in parts to enjoy a holiday but not here. We came back to glorious weather here and then wished that we'd have just had 2 weeks in Devon instead!!

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Mumbai
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2009

Although there are good number of hotels on Bentota Beach which is only 60 Kilometers away from the main town Colombo. But me and my family would rate Taj Bentota as one of the finest property in south east Asia. We have been there three times and my son again wants to be there in his next holiday sometime.

  • Liked — Ambience
  • Disliked — NA
  • Stayed March 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes
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Additional Information about Vivanta by Taj - Bentota

Address: National Holiday Resort, Bentota 80500, Sri Lanka
Location: Sri Lanka > Southern Province > Bentota
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Family Hotel in Bentota
#3 Spa Hotel in Bentota
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Bentota
#4 Romantic Hotel in Bentota
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Vivanta by Taj - Bentota 3.5*
Number of rooms: 160
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sri Lanka is referred to as a ‘small miracle,’ for despite the island’s relatively small size, its natural wonders and beauty are in abundance. Vivanta by Taj – Bentota is located on the south west coast of Sri Lanka. The hotel lies over a lush hill that overlooks the Indian Ocean. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Vivanta By Taj - Bentota Hotel Bentota
Taj Exotica Hotel Bentota
Bentota Taj Exotica Hotel
Taj Exotica Sri Lanka
Taj Exotica Srilanka
Taj Exotica Bentota

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