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“Great Stay” 4 of 5 stars
Review of The Surf Hotel

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The Surf Hotel
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Beach Road, Bentota, Bentota, Sri Lanka (Formerly Lihiniya Surf Hotel)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #11 of 26 Hotels in Bentota
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Bengaluru (Bangalore), India
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Great Stay”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2014

We stayed here in early Jan 2014. This is a great place - clean, large and private beach, every room faces the ocean and the food was good. The only complaint is that I purchased this via Bookings.Com. When I arrived to the hotel, there was an additional government tax which increased the rate by 15% or so (I think this # is correct). This was a surprise, and likely not the hotel's fault.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 2 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
    • 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.
Lee W, Manager at The Surf Hotel, responded to this review, April 1, 2014
Dear Michael,

Thank you very much for recommending us on TripAdvisor. We are happy to see that you were able to enjoy the facilities provided by us at the Surf. As you mentioned, booking.com and other online sites does not publish the nett rate including the taxes and other service fees but mentions that on the confirmation once the reservation is finalized. It is only calculated at the time of payment and we do apologize if there was confusion from our end. Again, thank you very much for choosing our property, and looking forward to see back here during your next visit to Bentota.
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334 reviews from our community

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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 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (79)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Polish first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
wales
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 17, 2014

Stayed here in January as part of a six day extension following a tour of Northern Sri Lanka with Archers Direct.The quality of accommodation,cleanliness and food was excellent.The hotel has a wonderful location on the beach looking on to the Indian ocean and with a train station nearby and taxies and tuk tuks outside the hotel gates,it is very easy to explore under your own steam if you wish.
We were the only two British guests staying at the hotel at this time.The majority of the guests were either Russian,Ukranian or German,so the hotel staff soon got to recognise us.
At each entrance to the dining room,there were polite notices asking guests not to remove food from the dining area and smart casual attire should be worn in the evening at the restaurant.Food was removed quite openly.
When you have made an effort to "smarten up" for dinner it is disappointing to see guests arrive in their beach clothes and flip flops.It is a four star hotel,but doesnt seem to have the backbone to maintain this standard.
Housekeeping need a reminder to do up the rooms in the evening,in fact my room was only attended to three times in the evening out of six nights.
On the last but one day of the holiday,the housekeeping "boy" made a point of calling me to inspect the room,even though I was sunbathing on the patio.On the final day he again called me to inform me he was the room boy!I always tip ,leaving money in the room when vacated,but this practice is a turn off.The hotel porter also,when tipped for carrying a case just a few yards,stated that it was not enough!Management should be made aware of this practice to prevent intimidation by staff.
However a mostly very pleasant stay and I would be happy to return again in the future.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lee W, Manager at The Surf Hotel, responded to this review, March 1, 2014
Dear Guest,

It is great to see the comments you have made about our property. While it's great to see that many of the hotel facilities were up to your liking, we appreciate you bringing up about the areas we should look into. We will make sure to attend to staff related matters to avoid such problems for future guests. As far as the restaurant goes, even though we request our guests of dress code for meals it is not a requirement as we are a beach hotel. We are glad to hear overall your stay with us was a great one and we would love to see you back at the Surf.
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DoBuy
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2014

Stayed there Oct 13 for 7 days. They try hard, and the G.M personally does rounds to check on your satisfaction. I found the quality of acommodation and cleanliness to be good, and on par with any comparible hotel in the West in this regard. I took my wife and children, and we are quite discerning when it comes to service and cleanliness. We had no complaints in those areas. I know that the G.M. reads these reviews, so I would like to propose the following actions for him to consider implementing: The entertainment seems limited to karaoke and lying on the beach or at the pool orp wandering around the village 2 km away (not great at night). The hotel really needs some more self contained entertainment. I know that the sea is too rough for pedal boats and kayaks, and a seven day stay felt too long versus the activities available. Second, the buffet was good, but tended to repeat itself every third day. Third, although the rooms are very nice, I cannot figure why the rooms on the 300 numbers side (left wing if your back is to the sea) did not have shower curtains or more of an enclosed area. I know it is meant to fit in with the whole stylish minimalistic decor but the reality is that the entire bathroom floor becomes soaked when a person showers. I do like the lovely foliage and decor of your hotel; great price (something like USD 90 or 100 per night if I recall correctly). Tips for people considering staying here: 4 to 5 days max, as activities are limited and even after you have visited the informal turtle sanctuaries and taken a boat on the river to pet the baby crocs, then thats it, unless you visit the souvenir and leather stalls in the village. Sea is too rough for kids and most adults to swim in. Please note that the ride to Bentota from Colombo is pretty "interesting" - a single lane road most of the way and trucks and busses overtake each other on blind rises- you should have a few drinks beforehand if you tend to be a nervous passenger. The 60 km trip takes around 3 hours. Overall a nice hotel. P.S. do not buy seafood from the little restaurants around the villages, as their prices are higher than any European fine dining restaurant, and you get ripped off mega deluxe. I observed one of the restaurants displaying the Trip Advisor sticker, whilst having rusted pieces of scrap iron and scrawny dogs and chickens in the restaurant yard in plain sight of the diners.. They know how to play old Trip Advisor signs with tourists. Also please note that certain guest houses or hotels with wonderfully European sounding names e.g. in German or other languages are not always owned and managed by Europeans: I met a local from the village with no hospitality training who owns such an establishment, and whose only connection to the European name, was less than 6 months he worked in Europe doing manual stuff. I digress, but the point is to not take everything at face value.

Room Tip: Ask for a room not near the service yard and not near the pool. Rooms on right side of hotel ( if yo...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Lee W, Manager at The Surf Hotel, responded to this review, February 21, 2014
Dear Guest,

It's great to hear from you even after such a long time. We are happy to see that many aspects of the hotel was to your liking and will take in to consideration the suggestions you made.
We have added few items to our daily programs and offer activities such as beach volleyball, darts, mini golf, movie night and few other options since you have last visited us. Also, we are now providing variety of live entertainment in our main restaurant during dinner.
But, as you suggested we will do our best to increase the options when it comes to entertainment to keep our guests occupied and happy. Thanks again for taking the time to share your thoughts on TripAdvisor and feel free to contact us with any other suggestions or issues you may have.
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London, United Kingdom
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 8, 2014

We had a reservation for three nights but the hotel made a mistake and double-booked so we couldn't stay the first night. They admitted their error and put us in another hotel for that night. As compensation they agreed to include dinner for the remaining 2 days. They had on computers for customers to use so I asked reception if they would check of in online, which was when I realised that the staff could barely use a computer. Needless to say they were unable to manage my online check-in. The staff appeared poorly trained and the housekeeping staff had a very poor command of English. Food unremarkable. A bog standard tourist hotel

  • Stayed February 2014
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lee W, Manager at The Surf Hotel, responded to this review, February 21, 2014
Dear Sir,

Thank you very much for sharing your experience about our property. Even though initially there was an issue with your room, I'm happy to see that we were able to take care of the transfer and the compensation to minimize the inconvenience.
Unfortunately, as a resort type of hotel we do not offer the business center facilities. But we do offer complimentary Wi-Fi service through out the hotel for guest to use their own devices. As in your case, I know that option was not helpful and we will try to implement a better solution for the future. Once again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with us and giving us an opportunity to improve ourselves.
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Hong Kong
Top Contributor
64 reviews 64 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
70 helpful votes 70 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 3, 2014

I arrived very early morning of the 27th of Jan at the hotel and was welcomed and quickly ushered to the room. 
The porter/proudly told me that i get a seaview room which isn't so surprising as all rooms offered are so.
The first and second impression  was that the room was worn and that the last renovation happend years back. (learned later that the hotel is only 1 year old!?!)

The aircon was on a very noisy full blast mode - it felt like in the Arctic - the porter turned it down which meant he turned it off - apparently it has only those to stages!?

After the porter left i realized that the bed was full with mostly dead but also alive animals!!

The bedsheet was dirty and the pillow case torn. The cover of the aircon ventilation shaft covered in dust/dirt.

In the night the temprature dropped to about 21 degrees as the double bed was fitted with only a thin sheet I woke up feeling cold. Checking the room for an extra sheet/blanket but to no success. I used towels to keep warm.

Diectly behind the hotel is a gasoline filling station (or something similar) for trucks which produces at times huge noice and rudely awakend me. That noice was followed by the rumble of the enormous diesel locomotive running down- the track just about 50 meters away from the hotel.
On the positive side - the wifi in the room works fine and the bathroom was roomy.

So far the hotel does by all means not satisfy me nor is it up to the promised 4star standard.

Defenitly too expensive for what it is and i dont recommend this hotel.

I m soon heading down to see the management and give them a chance to explain before I post this review.
-----
After requesting a response from the GM to my email for 3 times -

Management sent instead of the addressed GM the Vice relationship manager expressing that they did repair the aircon in the morning - funny as I was in the room until 13:00 and nobody came.
The animals were explained as normal!!
Extra sheets to be added even so the manager thought they are usually not needed.
A change of room was denied as there were no other room available.


No other viable explanation were given and no other solution than sending the repair team (again) to the room and to leave the hotel when not satisftied.

2days later after the aircon was still not fixed we were "allowed" to change the room.

In case you swim in the smaller pool be VERYcareful about the broken underwater lamp with visible bare wire (!) and sharp edge!!!

Final conclusion - it's a serious management problem and a lack of willingness to serve up to the promised standard and costs charged - therefore my recommendation avoid at all costs you can get it better and cheaper at other places.
I hope the shareholders of the hotel are reading this and act on it.

Stayed February 2014, traveled with friends
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lee W, Manager at The Surf Hotel, responded to this review, February 21, 2014
Dear Sir,

Thank you very much for sharing the issues you faced during your recent visit to The Surf. First of all, I apologize for any inconvenience you had to go through as a result.
Once the problems were brought up to our attention, our staff have attended to them at your earliest convenience. Our front office found that those rectifications did not resolve the issues you were experiencing, and offered a room change away from the area you were in to avoid the noise problems.
However, I'm disappointed that we could not give the experience you were expecting and to let you down. Even though, you may not consider us during your next visit to the area, we will take do our best to avoid such issues in the future. Thank you.
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Bucharest
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2014

We (a family with a 9 years old child) spent a week at the end of December 2013 here and it was a great holiday. The Surf Bentota was an excellent choice: a wonderful view, a perfect beach, swimming pool, the hotel is very clean, very good services, good food, with lots of choices. The hotel is close to other points of interests: restaurants, city, small shops, bazaars or watersports. The stuff was very good, our room was big, clean, at the ground floor and we had a great view - but all the rooms are facing the ocean. Honestly, nothing to complain, we spent a lovely holiday there and hope to get back sometime. Strongly recommend The Surf Bentota!

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
Lee W, Manager at The Surf Hotel, responded to this review, January 26, 2014
Dear Christina,

Thank you very much for recommending us on TripAdvisor. It is a great pleasure to hear that you were able to enjoy all aspects of our hotel during your visit to Surf. We would love to have your family coming back to stay with us and if there is anything we could do to make your next visit even better please let us know.
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Muscat Governorate, Oman
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2014

We were there on the Top Peak time January 3-4 So rate was high. But we had the privacy in the upper floor room.we enjoyed the pool,beach ,Karoke bar and the relaxed nice environment. Actually we enjoyed the food also specially the breakfast -buffet. on that day week-end we were the only Local family there we got the highest hospitality.
Only thing was Liquor and rates were high.

Room Tip: if you go with the family and need privacy more , Top floor is the best. But if you go with friends...
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lee W, Manager at The Surf Hotel, responded to this review, January 25, 2014
Dear Guest,

Thank you very much for your feedback about the recent stay at The Surf. It appears that you did utilized many of the activities we offer and great to see you were also provided with nice service by the staff. We try to maintain the prices of our liquor and other products at a reasonable rate. However, we will take your feedback into account and implement special offers that will help to manage this matter. I noticed you have provided us with a rating of 3 (overall and individual aspects) and want to find out if there was anything we could have done better to achieve a higher rating. Thank you very much
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Additional Information about The Surf Hotel

Address: Beach Road, Bentota, Bentota, Sri Lanka (Formerly Lihiniya Surf Hotel)
Location: Sri Lanka > Southern Province > Bentota
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#5 Family Hotel in Bentota
#5 Spa Hotel in Bentota
#5 Luxury Hotel in Bentota
#8 Romantic Hotel in Bentota
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — The Surf Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 95
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
The Surf Bentota Hotel Bentota
Lihiniya Surf Bentota
Hotel Lihiniya Surf
Lihiniya Surf Hotel

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