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“Wonderful place” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Lunuganga

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Lunuganga
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4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Dedduwa Lake, Bentota, Sri Lanka   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #7 of 26 Hotels in Bentota
London, UK
Top Contributor
87 reviews 87 reviews
76 hotel reviews
Reviews in 81 cities Reviews in 81 cities
71 helpful votes 71 helpful votes
“Wonderful place”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2013

What peace and quiet and what an amazing house. We knew nothing about the Bawa brothers but are now hooked and would love to go back to Sri Lanka to stay in the other hotels by Geoffrey Bawa. It was so hot during our stay there but fortunately you can use the swimming pool at Club Villa (sister hotel)

  • Stayed March 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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39 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 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 (5)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Derby, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
40 hotel reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 28, 2013

Before arriving at Lunuganga for a three night stay we had read something of Bawa’s work but did not appreciate his status outside Sri Lanka. The point is Lunuganga is a lovely relaxed place to stay in its own right, everything else is a bonus and an opportunity. On our first day we had beautiful dawn boat trip on the lake, when we were gently paddled round an island able to watch a wide range of birds in complete peace – a lovely way to start the day. After that we joined a group of four Dutch architects for a full tour of the garden and buildings, with Damien and Asha giving us a special insight into the importance of Lunuganga in Bawa’s work. The following day and a half were spent walking round the grounds and relaxing at one of Bawa’s seats, complete with bell, each walk revealed a new vista or perspective, and gave us the opportunity to watch monkeys, monitor lizards and the many birds.
We were fortunate enough to stay in the Guest room in the main house; this is a large comfortable room full of original features and art.
We enjoyed the local Sri Lankan cuisine, all very well prepared and beautifully presented by friendly attentive staff.
Thanks to Damien, Asha, and Michael for giving their time so freely, and for their many spontaneous acts of thoughtful kindness.

  • Stayed March 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 18, 2013

To be a guest at Lunuganga was an incredibly rewarding experience. It is simply not enough to see it in the photos. One must physically experience moving up and down the different levels, the manipulated vistas, the relationships to the water, the skillful positioning of the various pavilions... Opportunities to stay in a place like this do not come round very often so we made it the cornerstone of our trip to Sri Lanka. (It was the first thing we booked - even before the flight.) Although the price was higher than we normally spend on holiday, we thought it would be worth the splurge for 2 nights and haven't looked back.

We stayed there as one of the "odd group of architects" (6 of us) that sometimes sprinkle the place amongst couples and people in-the-know. Considering the artwork that is openly displayed, it is not a place for young kids to roam free. It is true that guests are given priority over those who can only come for the tour. Entering the gate is also indeed a long-winded experience for everyone. Keep in mind this place was not designed to receive the high volume of visitor requests it sometimes gets. Whether staying as a guest or coming for the tour, book early and confirm in advance. The caretakers put a lot of effort into maintaining the place and it would help them to have committed reservations to manage numbers and events.

The tour of the grounds is very helpful in explaining the evolution of the place and will provide a better understanding of why things were made the way they were. (Count me among those who think the gallery/studio building should be left more open and not be used as a guest room if possible.) The boat ride (more like a floating platform with chairs - quite charming actually) was also very memorable - a quietly intimate connection with the nature of the lake. The caretakers can also arrange for you to access other Bawa-designed hotels in Bentota and use their facilities. Paradise Road - The Villa Bentota had a surprisingly masterful arrangement of internal courtyards to walk through - you would have no idea from the outside.

Benefits considered, a 2 night stay at Lunuganga was excellent value. But I might venture to say that the greatest privilege of being a guest here was simply having the freedom to wake up at dawn and walk the grounds in the early morning mist. You may even encounter a monitor lizard like my wife and I did.

There is a beautiful black and white book of Lunuganga you can flip through in the main house - when we visited, we found copies of it in Colombo bookshops. If you want one, get it before you fly out. I don't know if you will find it outside the country for the local price.

To sum up, this was our entry in the guestbook:

Space and sensibility
Looking west looking east
From one lake to the same
The topography the time the tropics
A privilege to be a guest
at the legendary testing ground
Wonderfully kept alive
by the stories and hospitality
of Damian Asha Michael and the team
Our deepest gratitude
xoxo

Feel free to let me know if you find it one day :)

Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
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England
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2013

We didn't stay here, but it is exquisite, and we were highly envious of the people who had found this idyllic haven of design and landscaped grounds, in a tranquil area with beautiful surroundings.

Well worth a detour to visit - although make sure you plan out the route in advance - and I'm sure even better to stay here...

Stayed January 2013, 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.
Cape Town Central, South Africa
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2013

Visiting this most beautiful, charming and understated 'home' was a dream come true for me. It was such a privilege to be able to explore the magnificent gardens at leisure and to enjoy the lovely interiors of the house. Our dinner and breakfast were wonderful and the staff were so extremely hospitable. Even if you are not familiar with Bawa's work, I would still recommend this tranquil and beautiful spot. One note: Lunuganga is not signposted and locals had not heard of it, so be sure to have clear directions. Moreover, this is not a hotel with modcons and bling; it has been maintained as Bawa wanted it; a little 'cloakroom' at the entrance has a wooden door and bare cement surrounds for example. The staff can also arrange tours of Bevis Bawa's 'Brief' garden.

  • Stayed February 2012, 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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London.England
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
36 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 24, 2012

We visited the Bawa Estate in 2011 for a garden tour and decided we would try staying in one of the rooms on our next holiday. We were not disappointed. As well as the obvious benefits of having the freedom to explore the enormous landscaped gardens alongside a beautiful lagoon, one can stay in a small number of individual rooms created by the architect. Most of these were not designed to be bedrooms but have been adapted. We had the gallery room which is a two - level suite of large size. The bathroom is obviously a recent addition or update and works very well. The kindness and attentiveness of the managers, Damien, Asha and Michael cannot be over-emphasised. Indeed all of the staff were truly considerate and excellent. Meals are tailored to your individual requirements and were all of high quality; we particularly liked the Sri Lankan cooking which was very varied and tasy. We also had a boat ride on the lake which was very attractive and gives new perspectives on the landscape. Birdlife here is also very good and we watched the unusual spectacle of the huge sea eagle hunting and catching flying foxes over the lake every evening from the terrace. In total this is a unique experience in Sri Lanka at the home of Bawa's country retreat. There is a special atmosphere arising from the location, the tranquility and the warm hospitality provided.

Room Tip: The room are all completely different, so you will need to look at te website to judge which is most...
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  • Stayed December 2012, 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.
Copenhagen, Denmark
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 10, 2012

Renowned Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa's home and garden. In his home are six places of accomodation, which we didn't have a chance to try, but we saw them all. I'd rent any one of them in a heartbeat, even if they are w/o some modern amenities. The house and not least the incredible garden are marvels of beauty and tranquility, dominated by long vistas and monocromatic colour.
The place is practically impossible to find as there are absolutely no signs directing you there. However, every villager in the area knows Lunuganga and Mr. Bawa and will direct you there. Even when you get to the locked gate, it looks closed and dilapidated. But don't let any of that fool you - everything about this place is magic, including the food.

Room Tip: Call ahead and have the English-speaking staff explain the different rooms to you, so that you'l...
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
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Additional Information about Lunuganga

Address: Dedduwa Lake, Bentota, Sri Lanka
Location: Sri Lanka > Southern Province > Bentota
Hotel Style:
#2 Luxury Hotel in Bentota
#10 Romantic Hotel in Bentota
Hotel Class:4 star — Lunuganga 4*
Number of rooms: 6
Also Known As:
Lunuganga Hotel Bentota

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