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“Overpriced and underwhelming” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Heritance Kandalama

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Heritance Kandalama
4.5 of 5 Hotel   |   PO Box 11, Dambulla, Sri Lanka   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 10 Hotels in Dambulla
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Top Contributor
96 reviews 96 reviews
33 hotel reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
121 helpful votes 121 helpful votes
“Overpriced and underwhelming”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 11, 2013

I can see what this hotel wishes to achieve however they just don't quite manage it. Being charged a premium price for a fairly average experience is always disappointing. We had a lovely greeting and check in - then the girl that showed us to our room was obviously about to go off duty and was surly. I requested a high room however was told "we were lucky to get the 3rd floor and close to elevator". The bar was terrible - no ambiance and more like a café in the middle of a corridor...Our room was trendy but dated and two beds pushed together (which I realty dislike)..pillows were rock hard....amenities were errrrr...residual?

Dinner was OK in the main restaurant however the service was average and the wine was luke warm. No ambiance. My meal was average however my husband had the curry and it was world class. Breakfast was excellent.

The hotel is architecturally superb. View is magnificent. Pool is wonderful....yet the hotel itself lacks soul and character. We went to take a picture from the mini temple on the front lawn and it was made of plastic...

Sorry - cannot recommend this hotel.....Sri Lanka's govt has put a 24% service charge/tax on everything and they are being very shortsighted in my opinion....its an emerging market in terms of tourism and they are trying to run before they walk. Stay somewhere cheap and cheerful and get a better experience with the locals.

Room Tip: Go higher up if you can...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Heritance K, Executive General Manager at Heritance Kandalama, responded to this review, May 13, 2013
Thank you for staying with us and sincerely regret we did not meet up to your expectations on this ocassion. Your comments are highly appreciated for further improvement while hoping you would give us yet another opportunity to ensure you take away pleasant memories of Heritance Kandalama.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,821 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 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 (458)
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Bengaluru (Bangalore), India
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 10, 2013 via mobile

I was always taken aback by seeing the pictures of this hotel which looked like a lost Sigaria civilisation from 500AD , with vegetation running over the whole building which is best experienced by visiting it.Having determined to make this hotel as a base to explore our visit to srilanka's central areas called cultural triangle especially the imposing Sigria rock which was seductively in the view of this amazing hotel.

Actually this hotel has a soul conceived by the greatest srilankan (and I feel the worlds best ever) architect, geoffrey bawa who amazingly choreographed every aspect of the visitors body and mind one you decide to make a decision to visit this place.Underpromise and massive over delivery of expectation seems to be the tag line of this architecture wonder.From the understated entry at the reception, which seems to be modest cave to being caught in a vortex of passages into a dizzy views which takes about a few days to really settle in.

Unfortunately or fortunately, we were given a room on the 2nd floor which I realised are less in demand and less is price than the panoramic rooms situated in the upper floors. I never could have felt better since on one side of the room there was really a feeling of staying in a cave and on entering the room, there was this over indulgence of fabulous views of the lush greenery and the great kandalama lake and the mountains beyond.The constant change of fauna outside the room in the form of so many birds, monkeys, mountain sqirrel & innumerable humble squirrells never seems to end...

The visit to sigria rock the next day to see the isolated but the independent mind of a genious of 500 AD, in the form of of King Kassiyappa is always mystery, that he was never treated well in history books as a person ahead of his time.

Any way a great way to apreatiate a great builder of the long bygone era seperated by 15 centuries.....

Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Heritance K, Executive General Manager at Heritance Kandalama, responded to this review, May 13, 2013
Thank you for staying with us and glad you enjoyed the experience being one with nature. Your kind sentiments are very much appreciated while looking forward to welcoming you back at Heritance Kandalama.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Surrey
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 10, 2013

This hotel was recommended to us by a friend who stayed here a few years ago. As soon as they told us about it we wanted to go so when we booked our honeymoon to Sri Lanka last year we made sure we included a two night stay here. We weren't disappointed. This hotel is absolutely stunning, camouflaged in to the jungle with a gorgeous lake surrounding it. We were so impressed with it that we didn't end up doing any sight seeing that couple of days as we wanted to lay by the pool & take in the views. The walk to our room was impressive, we could see monkeys swinging in the trees either side of us and all sorts of pretty birds & lizards. The infinity pool out on to the lake was just perfect, we could have sat there all day looking out. This is a very unique hotel and we can't fault it at all. The staff were all very friendly, especially the pool boys. They liked coming over for a chat but didnt hassle us. We will definitely go back there if we go to Sri Lanka again. Heritance are an amazing chain of hotels and we were lucky enough to stay in the tea factory as well which was beautiful and a totally different setting. We recommend trying both.

  • Stayed April 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
Heritance K, Executive General Manager at Heritance Kandalama, responded to this review, May 13, 2013
Thank you for staying with us and glad you enjoyed the experience being one with nature. Your kind sentiments are highly valued while looking forward to welcoming you back at Heritance Kandalama.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Antwerp, Belgium
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 10, 2013

This hotel is located on a hillside, just near the lake with view on lions rock. Food is amazing, staff is very friendly, excellent gym, service is great, 3swimming pools.

When you wake up, monkeys are hanging in front of the balcony, just lovely

  • Stayed May 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
    • 3 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.
Heritance K, Executive General Manager at Heritance Kandalama, responded to this review, May 13, 2013
Thank you for staying with us and glad you enjoyed the experience being one with nature. Your kind sentiments are highli appreciated while looking forward to welcoming you back at Heritance Kandalama.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 9, 2013

We absolutely loved our stay here! Beautiful hotel with incredible views and amazing architecture. We loved the giant bathtub and the buffet is incredible! We were upgraded to a suite and loved the room!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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.
Heritance K, Executive General Manager at Heritance Kandalama, responded to this review, May 10, 2013
Thank you for staying with us and glad you enjoyed the experience being one with nature.Your kind sentiments are highly valued while looking forward to welcoming you back at Heritance Kandalama.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 9, 2013

Stayed for 3 nights as part of a Sri Lankan tour--and whilst it was decent enough, it was the worst of the five hotels we stayed in during our trip. The location is superb, with amazing views over the lake. The infinity pool is fantastically-located in the complex and is the perfect place for a dip. Both the other pools were fine too, and were much quieter than the infinity pool. In fact, we had the upper pool to ourselves, and the views were amazing from here. As other reviews point out, it is a unique design and the eco-policy is admirable. The room was tastefully decorated and had a great shower room with a glass front with views out to the lake. Curious monkeys frequented the balcony so don't leave anything you value out there and keep your balcony door closed. A snake slithered down from a balcony whilst we were having lunch by the infinity pool, but reassuringly we had spotted a mongoose on the path earlier. So why the 3-star review then? Well, there is something horribly soulless about the whole complex- buffet-style restaurant which was just ok--the first night we dined later than normal due to a late arrival and were not impressed at all- crowded, queueing, and food & service were decidedly average--the fresh pasta dishes were rotten, frankly. We dined a la carte the next night ( at considerable extra expense!) and the food was really nice, but at a cost of course. And the restaurant was deserted as most people invariably choose the buffet for dining. And when we left the restaurant , we went back to our room in darkness drink-free as the hotel bars etc had all closed as had everything else apart from reception. As was the case every night!
I know some people would have had early rises for tours etc but every night the post-dining atmosphere in the hotel was morgue-like which was a shame- I'm sure they could try harder with the bars and the 'entertainment'. As we had booked HB, we ate in the buffet on the last night and went for the 'fresh' option which was Mongolian BBQ and was decent enough- but the price they would charge for the buffet outwith of booking HB I would consider poor value given the quality of the food and dining experience. Incidentally, they do give you a 20% discount from a la carte if you have booked HB, but prepare for exorbitant wine prices.
The service at reception is perfectly adequate but no more than that- it all smacks of impersonal corporate box-ticking--indeed, the 'ambience' ( if there was one) of the reception area is blighted by pictures of the 'employee of the month '. The UK comedian, Jimmy Carr, has a joke: ' Employee of the Month- how to be a winner and a loser at the same time!'- i think that sums up the Heritance Kandalama perfectly!!

Room Tip: Panoramic room had great lake views
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Heritance K, Executive General Manager at Heritance Kandalama, responded to this review, May 10, 2013
Thank you very much for staying with us and sincerely regret that we could not live up to your expectations on this occasion. Your comments are highly appreciated while hoping you would give us yet another opportunity to make your stay a truly memorable one.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kalutara, Sri Lanka
2 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 8, 2013

From the moment we entered the grounds to when we left the staff could not do enough to make our stay relaxing and enjoyable.it is in the middle of the jungle with view to a big lake. in the bathroom we had a huge whirpool with a big glasfront.The hotel is surrounded by greenery and amidst serene nature. Service was wonderful in the front office. Thank you for your help Kasun Samarakoon @ staff - front office

  • Stayed April 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Heritance K, Executive General Manager at Heritance Kandalama, responded to this review, May 10, 2013
Thank you for staying with us and glad you enjoyed the experience. Your kind sentiments are much valued while looking forward to welcoming you back at Heritance Kandalama.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Heritance Kandalama

Address: PO Box 11, Dambulla, Sri Lanka
Phone Number:
Location: Sri Lanka > Central Province > Dambulla
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Family Hotel in Dambulla
#1 Spa Hotel in Dambulla
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Heritance Kandalama 4.5*
Number of rooms: 152
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Heritance Kandalama is shaped like the outspread wings of a bird, following the line of the cliff from which it seems to emerge. The hotel is a staggering 1km from end to end, and rises up seven floors, yet appears to be a perfectly natural extension of the mountainside. The flat roof and timber pillars support a screen of vegetation that attracts local wildlife. The abundance of real-life animals around the hotel is complemented by wonderful large-scale sculptures within it. A metal owl is suspended outside the main restaurant; wooden elephants inhabit the lounge; a stone cobra uncoils along the terrace overlooking the infinity pool. However, while focusing on highlighting its enchanting natural surroundings, our luxury resort in Sri Lanka gives priority to providing its guests with the finest comforts and service. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kandalama Hotel Sri Lanka
Hotel Heritance Kandalama
Heritance Kandalama Dambulla
Kandalama Hotel Dambulla

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