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“Stunning location, shame about the place” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Apa Villa Thalpe

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Apa Villa Thalpe
78 Mile Post Matara Road Mihiripenna | 80615 Thalpe, Unawatuna, Galle, Sri Lanka   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #16 of 44 Hotels in Galle
Certificate of Excellence 2014
London
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
“Stunning location, shame about the place”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 21, 2013

We stayed at Apa Villas with out two children for Christmas 2012 for just over a week. We'd been looking forward to our trip for over eight months and had read numerous reviews about several properties in the area but settled on Apa due to the location, setting and offer we received from the manager, Chathuri (who had been really helpful and efficient with our email correspondence). Christmas hikes the rates up considerably but we negotiated down from $350 dollars a night due to booking so far in advance.
Since returning from our trip I've wondered whether we just had bad luck but I've read several mixed reviews on Apa and for the money we paid it just wasn't that great.
The good points: The location is stunning, serene and sat right on the beach. The pool is gorgeous, set underneath palm trees within the lawn grounds. Each room facing the sea has it's own table outside so breakfast is taken on the terrace with the sound of waves in the distance - amazing.
Not so good points: The room was quite tired looking and in need of updating. The A/C rattled and leaked water (the leak was fixed the next day when we mentioned it) The bathroom was outside (we knew this before) but it was more of an up-market shed with loo and shower added - not the epitome of high-class luxury as the hotel would have you believe. For three nights we had no hot water despite raising the problem each time. We were given a bucket of luke-warm water as an alternative on the second night. On the third night Chathuri suggested we use the staff shower - we were thankful but didn't understand why this wasn't offered on the first night.
The food was average and varied wildly. Some days it was good, others awful and given the price not good value at all, especially when compared with the standard and variety on offer elsewhere.
The staff were friendly but service was haphazard, sometimes waiting 30minutes to find a menu/drink when the hotel was empty - each guest has a bell outside their door which you ring to alert staff, allegedly. It rang but we're not sure who was listening!
There is a tuk-tuk service which we thought was complementary but was charged to our bill on departure.
Had the cost of the hotel been significantly less I wouldn't be writing this review but the hotel just didn't offer value or match up to the price tag. It's a real shame as with a few changes here and there I'm sure it could be wonderful.

Room Tip: Don't bother staying in Cinnamon 3 or any of the smaller rooms, they just aren't that nice...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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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204 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    128
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (47)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
uk
Top Contributor
75 reviews 75 reviews
45 hotel reviews
Reviews in 46 cities Reviews in 46 cities
51 helpful votes 51 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2013

Lovely enclave on beach. Everything perfectly kept. Super service.
Pros
Lovely staff and location. Most facilities avaialable in room. Quality in-house tuk-tuk.
Cons
Toilet visible to others in room. Evening meals variable and pricey.

Room Tip: A little more privacy in Cardoman rooms.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
Chorleywood, United Kingdom
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 12, 2013

I suspect that like many others we were initially attracted by iconic photos of the infinity pool, the villa's overall setting and the overwhelmingly good reviews it had received from previous TripAdvisor reviewers. I'm pleased to report it did not disappoint and certainly lived up to our high all-round expectations.

Our air-conditioned 'family' room in the Cinnamon bungalow/lodge was roomy, as was its attached, semi-external en suite bathroom. The king-size bed (with connected single bed) was comfortable and surrounded by mosquito netting - reinforcing our decision to take the (necessary?) precaution of using insect repellent throughout our time in Sri Lanka.

Rooms do not have their own TVs or fridges, but some do have their own internal seating/lounge areas and all rooms have their own external verandah covered seating area where meals are served.

The beach beyond the pool was very clean and stretches in both sideways directions and there was minimal intrusion from local 'beach' traders.

The Villa's staff were friendly and helpful, service was excellent. We made good use of the Villa's Tuk-tuks to go into Galle (circa 25 mins away), go whale watching in Mirissa (40 mins) and to visit other local beaches and restaurants - although the use of the vehicles has to be paid for separately.

At both breakfast and dinner, 'western' and Sri Lankan options were available.The presentation, quality, quantity and value of the food was excellent. The wine list was limited and as we subsequently found to be the case in other places we stayed or dined at, was pretty much biased towards Chilean offerings.

The Wi-fi service and coverage was adequate although each of the 3 main bungalows seemed to have its own separate network which might prove irritating in certain circumstances.

All-in-all we found it a great place to unwind and would not hesitate to stay there again. In short - a real treat...

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paris, France
Top Contributor
59 reviews 59 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 9, 2013 via mobile

Apart from the swimming pool, there is nothing great about this hotel and It is definitely not worth 250$ per night!
The pool is gorgeous, in front of the sea, and the staff is very nice and helpful. But the rest...
Food is really not good, and you expect more from a luxury hotel.
The decoration of the room is not exceptional. Again you expect more for the price of the room.
The AC of our room (Cinnamon 2) was not working well (too cold when it was on, too hot when it was off, no way in between) so we woke up every 2 hours (hot / cold / hot / cold...) also the main road is close to this room so you hear the cars noise at night.
We told the manager about those problems In the morning: she was very kind so she offered us another room but the 2nd room, further from the road and with a working AC, was also very narrow so we decided to stay in the first one, as it has rained the whole afternoon and the temperature had went down.
To summerize: if you are looking for a great pool, that is the place. If you are looking for more in a 250$ bedroom hotel, go somewhere else.
And definitely go have diner outside the restaurant (Mama's Galle in Galle or Jina's Vegetarian and Vegan in Unawatuna).

2 things you have to know if you still want to book this hotel:
- you can not swin in the sea here (coral and too wavy)
- It is about 20-30 min from Galle by tuk tuk (700 roupies one way), a little bit closer to Unawatuna

  • Stayed February 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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.
Galle
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 7, 2013

We arrived at the villa after a long drive from Yala, for our four day beach rest, before heading home.The manager met us at the door and took us to our suite, she showed us around and made us feel very welcome, it was stunning, we had our own seating area and huge bedroom with a queen sized bed but it looked bigger as the mattress was sat on a stone base, you may think that would be uncomfortable but I had the best nights sleep and woke up refreshed each morning. The bathroom again was big with a sunken bath and seating area to get dressed.You sit out on your own veranda and look out to sea, the gardens are full of very tall palm trees and you have your own loungers on the lawn, although you can also sit by the beach. The infinity pool is wonderful a bit cold but with the heat in Sri Lanka it is lovely to go in and cool down. Be careful with the sun as even in the shade you can get burnt. There is no restaurant at the villa so you eat on your veranda, you have your own man who looks after you and brings you anything you want, our man was Megum and he was very friendly and helpful, also spoke very good English, so no language barriers at all. The food was very tasty and plentiful, you can have Western or Sri Lankan and it is not overly priced, as you would first think on entering this beautiful oasis. The manager herself is very attentive and comes and speaks to you on a regular basis to see if everything is ok with the service. There is free wi-fi which is great. If you fancy going into Galle the hotel have their own tuk tuk, which is a little bit more than the ones outside but not much and it gets added to your final bill.Overall I would say that the ApaVilla is wonderful and so relaxing, the manager and her staff cannot do enough for you but then we have found that out at every place we have been to. We would highly recommend Apa villa to everyone as a must stay place.

  • Stayed February 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 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane, Australia
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 4, 2013

This was our second stay at Apa Villa. As a family of four, we again stayed in the Cinnamon suite which meant that our children had their own space which adjoined our room. The rooms are a good size. All of the staff were accommodating and responded promptly to all of our requests. The manager, Chathuri, was extremely helpful and assisted us to arrange a cycling tour with a nearby tour operator. If you do stay, you should try the Sri Lankan dining options for breakfast and dinner as the food is excellent. As with our earlier visit, we really appreciated being able to order an early dinner for our children and then being able to dine by candlelight just outside their room. There are other dining options at Unawatuna and Galle but I recommend that you dine in at least once. The hotel tuk tuk drivers were also helpful as we could make plans with them ahead of time and the costs were charged directly to our room. We are hoping to visit again as we appreciate the stunning location and the staff who do everything that they can to make everyone feel comfortable.

Room Tip: The Cinnamon rooms 1 and 2 are perfect for a family.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mumbai
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2013

We stayed here for a night, before going to their sister property (Apa Villa Illuketia). The attentiveness, friendly nature and prompt service of the staff is very impressive.
The room we stayed in had a view of the beach & the infinity pool. It was not only huge, but very elaborate and thoughtfully done. With a wide option of books to read (I didnt get a chance to read one!), and the location, it is a treat for any reader.

The manager was very helpful and attended to all our requests. From the moment we reached her to getting us to the other Apa Villa, she made sure that we were comfortable and enjoyed our stay.

Reaching the hotel is very easy. A few hundred metres from the Thalpe rail station or a tuk tuk ride from Galle station. Unawatuna is quite close to this hotel, and a good option to spend an evening/ to have dinner.

Room Tip: All rooms looked quite good. For the best views and huge rooms, cardamon villas are the ones you sho...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Apa Villa Thalpe

Address: 78 Mile Post Matara Road Mihiripenna | 80615 Thalpe, Unawatuna, Galle, Sri Lanka
Phone Number:
Location: Sri Lanka > Southern Province > Galle
Amenities:
Beach Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#8 On the Beach Hotel in Galle
#15 Family Hotel in Galle
#16 Romantic Hotel in Galle
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We have three distinct stylish bungalows facing the beach front and swimming pool. All rooms except for Cinnamon Suite 2, face the ocean and lovely coconut fringed ground. Cinnamon 1 is linked to Cinnamon 2 garden- facing suite through an adjoining door, ideal for a family with several children or a group of friends. Cinnamon 1, 2 and 3 have exceptional one double bed and one single bed sleeping arrangement under a giant mosquito net. Suitable for a couple with child. Cardamom 4 and 5 are located in the centre a few steps to the lovely pool. Each suite has a separate sitting lounge indoors and outdoors. Saffron 6 and 7 are the most luxurious suites with its own sitting lounge and private verandah. Both suites are separated by a walkway across a fish pond. All bedrooms are air-conditioned and with ceiling fans in all areas. The beach in front is not swimmable but good enough for dips and long strolls along the shoreline. We are about 15 minutes from Galle town and same distance to our sister villa Illuketia inland plantation mansion. Recently refurbished with new cushion covers and in-room coffee or tea service. Our revamped day and dinner menus are prepared by our experienced chefs. Meals are served in the privacy of your own verandah space. Our English-speaking staff will look after guests and their children with warm, friendly service. No one can resist sitting or lounging on the wooden deck and sandy ramps facing the eternal ocean, sunset or rising moon. Just what is needed for a relaxing holiday. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Apa Villa Thalpe Hotel Galle

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