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“paradise” 5 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
west yorkshire
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
“paradise”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 5, 2011

Just back from The Surf Bentota after having a fab 2 weeks. The hotel has just been refurbished making the rooms very nice. The view from the rooms is breathtaking , The food was fantastic we were all inclusive and enjoyed it that much we didnt bother eating outside of the hotel. The staff in and around the hotel are brilliant very friendly and our room boy Ernga did a fab job of cleaning our room every day . The only minor moan i would have is the lack of atmosphere in the bar area but the Hotel is still undergoing refurbishment and it wouldnt put me off going back as we still enjoyed it.
Bentota itself has a few restaurants but no bars outside of the hotels , We visited the turtle rescue centre which was really worthwhile going to . We also visited local temples which were amazing.If staying at The Surf Hotel outside the gates are all the tuktuk drivers who will take you anywhere at good prices , We used a man called Wilson who was very good and took us everywhere we wanted to go . All in all we had a brilliant time and will definietly stay at The Surf again.

  • Stayed March 2011, 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.
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336 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    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
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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 February 20, 2011

Great location, set right in the beach, fabulous views from the balcony. Recently renovated, to a high standard. Staff very friendly, great food! We spent 6 nights here after a week touring Sri Lanka. A few minor things still to be finished, ie: internet connection/phone/TV, may now be finished. Only a short walk to the town, or a tut tut ride, where there is a tourist information for more info on the area. Found some great bargains in the shops! Would recommend.

  • Stayed January 2011, 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jakarta, Indonesia
Top Contributor
95 reviews 95 reviews
51 hotel reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
109 helpful votes 109 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 14, 2010

We stayed at the Lihiniya Surf Hotel on a Saturday because all the other places in the area around it were full as the well-heeled of Colombo leave the city over the weekend. It is therefore advisable to book the hotels you want to use in popular places in advance even if your intention is to keep your schedule flexible by not booking your accommodation in advance.
Since we were glad to have finally found a place to stay we did not view the room before checking in. The condition of the “hotel lobby" did however warn us not to expect too much in spite of the relatively hefty USD 110 we were charged. The price included half board but food is so cheap in Sri Lanka that the step up from B/B to H/B does not usually make a big difference in price (USD 10 – 20 per double room). Besides, buffets are generally reasonably priced and hardly ever a disappointment in Sri Lanka.
The receptionist showing us to the room pointed out that the hotel would close down for a 6-month makeover in two weeks (end July 2010), which further lowered our expectations. As some other feedback provider here rightfully pointed out, the corridors leading to our room were reminiscent of a (run down) sanatorium and indeed the room was quite shabby considering the approx. USD 100 price tag. In Thailand, a room of comparable standard and better cleanliness would cost no more than one fifth of what we paid.
The towels in the bathroom had holes in them. There was a Chinese brand TV with such bad sound quality that you would have needed subtitles… but you would probably not have been able to read them because the picture was about as blur as the sound was muffled. Someone must have been so frustrated that they sprayed the TV set with brown paint that was only removed from the screen.
There were – as is usual for any place in the Sri Lankan tropical lowlands and the sea side - lots of mosquitoes. There is nothing extraordinary about that. However, the treatment of the problem was quite unconventional. A hotel employee – equipped with a can of anti-insect spray – appears at the doorstep and offers to spray the room! What kills the critters cannot possibly be of any good to humans and we politely declined the offer and further advised him not to call on the room of our teenage daughters. Later, we found out that he did not follow our request… he did not even bother to knock on their door but just opened it with his passe-partout key!
What however topped it all was the fact that there was no complementary drinking water offered in the room, which is common practice in Sri Lanka – at least that was what we concluded after being offered two complimentary 500ml bottles in all the other places we stayed during our 14-day round-trip. I did notice that there was an empty flask in the room. However, in a country where even the locals routinely check whether the seals of bottled water are unbroken, visitors from western countries should probably not reduce their requirements below local standards by accepting water of unknown origin in a flask. When inquiring, my wife was told that bottled water would be chargeable (Rs 150 per liter) but that they would fill the flask for free. My wife informed them that offering water in a flask was not appropriate whereupon the hotel’s representative told her that the water in the flask would be from a bottle as well. We eventually purchased the water.
The good things about the hotel were that there was some friendly staff (namely one waiter and the bell boy) and that it was situated right on a nice stretch of the beach.
Obviously, the upcoming renovations can make a difference to the quality of accommodation. However, since beachfront property at Bentota was seriously affected by the Tsunami, one should think that at least the ground floor of the place (where our rooms were located) needed to be totally overhauled only 6 years ago. It certainly did not look that way.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Northwood
1 review
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2010

My friend & I stayed at this hotel April 2010, I was really pleased with what we got for our last minute bargain holiday!!

The hotel is in need of decoration, but for a 3 star, it wasnt bad. The staff are always friendly & very helpful, if you were unhappy with anything, they tried there best to fix it asap. The hotel was quite empty, as it was approaching monsoon season, consiquently they didnt put on a buffet every night, but the food was OK. The beach is stunning, and again, pretty empty, look out for the elephant that has a daily stroll & the man with the snakes/monkeys......for a 200-500rps you can take photos, ride the elephant etc. The Spa on site was great, 3 days of top to toe treament is around £90. Again, its not a plush place, but the staff were great & the treaments I received were worth the money!

The nearest town is a 5 minute tuk tuk ride away (around 200rps). There is a great little shop oppersite the hotel (other side of the railway tracks) called 'Modern textiles', the lady there will copy any of your clothes (or you can choose a new pattern) in any material for around £7.50-£10, the dresses she made for me were fantastic & of a better quality than those I bought in Kandy.

If you want to venture out of Bentota (which I would highly recommend), try and find a man called Bandulla. He's usually parked outside the hotel and is wonderful! His car is more comfortable than others & he's a safe driver (the roads can be a bit of a white knuckle ride at times!!). He was much cheaper than our rep & my friend and I had the car to ourselves. We vistied the Elephant Orphange (a must see!!!!!), Kandy (where Bandulla got us a lovely 3 star hotel), Sigariya (also fantastic, but a long and at times hard walk), Dambulla, herb gardens, and many other little attractions along the way. This 2 day tour cost around £100 each (with the hotel, dinner & breakfast. Bandulla also pays for your entry to the attractions, except for the elephant orphange), the rep asked £80 for a one day tour to the orphange & Kandy, and this would have been in a car with other people!

The down side was having to tip EVERYONE all of the time! 200rps seemed to be about right for tipping. Save the hotel staff tips until you leave, most people seemed to follow this rule.
Dont expect nightlife, its a pretty quiet hotel & not one for the youngsters!
The guards on the beach will pester you for cigarettes if you are a smoker!
You can sometimes hear the trains going past through out the night!

Overall I would recommend this hotel for a holiday on a budget, and I would strongly recommend Sri Lanka, it is a beautiful place with wonderful people!

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Swansea, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2010

On arrival to this hotel you think you are staying in luxury but you are not.... The place is in lovely setting but the rooms are pretty poor and should be priced at around 2000 rupees (£12-14) instead of the £30 we paid through agoda. Lovely location right on beach, and nice bar / restaurant accross the train track.

Overall we had a nice stay for several days, but beach is empty as area is full of package resorts so no one leaves the hotel. I would reccomend only if you managed to get a good price. Staff were freindly and accomadating event though we arrived well before check in time.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
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west-sussex
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2010

my first time staying in the lihiniya surf hotel i wars very impresed the services the staff the food the rooms spot on also the location prime . beaches are very clean a hotel i will return to again. peter schubert west/sussex i stayed 21 nights and no regrets love sri lanka and bentota.......................................peter

  • Stayed February 2010, traveled solo
    • 5 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2010

TIP 1: Ask for a mosquito net on arrival.
TIP 2: Ensure ample time to travel to the Airport

My wife and I stayed at the Lihinya Surf Hotel for 5 nights including New Years Eve 09. The trip from the Airport was an experience in itself and along the road poverty and filth was staring us in the face. The Lankens however are warm and friendly people and no trouble and we built up quite a relationship with many of the Hotel staff.

Considering the war has just ended and the devastation caused by the Tsunami 5 years ago we had a wonderful time. The Hotel was clean although the whole building apart from the reception area is in need of some maintenance including the staff uniforms and bed linen but the staff really couldn't do enough for us. Some of the plumbing is a bit Micky Mouse as is some of the electrics!

The previous week we stayed in the Burj Al Arab the 7* in Dubai so staying in the Lihinya was quite a contrast! On New Years Eve the Lihinya Management and staff threw a party for the guests which was a great evening. The outside area and the pool were fine. I would recommend having a full 90 min duo body massage in the centre adjacent to the pool, it is extremely good value and quite an experience!

We would have no hesitation to visit Lihinya again in the future and stay longer so we can see more of this Island. If you are after a luxury holiday then the Lihinya is not for you…

Roger and Lesley (Hampshire UK) roger-ashdown@hotmail.co.uk

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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 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 Luxury Hotel in Bentota
#5 Family Hotel in Bentota
#5 Spa 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
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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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