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“Amaya Ache” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Amaya Lake

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Amaya Lake
4.0 of 5 Resort   |   PO Box 12 Kandalama Dambulla | Cultural Triangle, Dambulla 21100, Sri Lanka   |  
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Ranked #8 of 12 Hotels in Dambulla
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Amaya Ache”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2006

Amaya Lake used to be called The Culture Club. If it was still called The Culture Club, or we knew that in advance, we wouldn't have stayed there. Why? Because, far from a romantic destination for couples, the name suggests a 3* budget, family friendly resort. And that's what it is. It claims to be a 4* hotel, but it isn't. They even had a magic show for the kids (in the bar) the first night.

We arrived after a 4.5 hour, gruelling drive from the airport and were looking forward to getting some rest before a busy next day - climbing Sigiriya Rock, riding elephants, walking around the ruins of Polonnaruwa. The room was at some distance from the reception and the dining area, up and down rocky paths that are very poorly lit - the staff all carry torches at night (doesn't that tell them something?), but the guests apparently are left to grope in the dark.

The standard room was abysmal. Poor lighting (at least there's a theme I suppose), old fashioned and tatty furnishings, no door on the shower (perhaps that's what they mean by Amaya Lake?), non-functioning TV, and a mini-bar full of drinks that look and feel like they washed up on shore. There was no extra blanket so we had a choice between turning the air conditioning off or on (varying the temperature clearly requires a PhD in Technical and Applied Sciences). It was too stifling for hot, so we chose to freeze instead.

However, our adventure the first night wasn't over. On an approach to the toilet, on account of stomach aches from dinner (more later), a mouse leapt out of the bin, crossed the floor, carefully skirting around the flood, and disappeared into the faux-rock panel on the side of the bath. We were so tired that we decided to try to ignore it, hoping to refrigerate ourselves into a quick coma instead. Unfortunately, the mouse decided to do that scratching thing where you know it's doing an inventory of everything you left behind.

So, we called the front desk and they said they'd send someone to catch it. Shortly thereafter a man arrives, armed with... nothing. It seems he was going to catch it with his bare hands. That might have been worth the price of admission, but of course the wily mouse went into hiding and the man declared the problem had therefore gone away. Well, we decided it was our turn to move on. The Duty Manager was eager to point out that the room was in constant use and no one else had had such an encounter, before pondering the tough question of how it could possibly get in (it's a mouse?), even asking if we'd let it in ourselves! Fortunately, albeit at 11:30pm, we were moved to a Deluxe Room instead, which was about half a mile away on the other side of the resort. This room is practically identical to the standard except more modern and with upmarket fittings (like a shower door). This time we fell asleep to the soothing noises of what sounded like, and probably was, a trowel repeatedly hitting concrete - workmen presumably working through the night.

Supper is a buffet affair with a wide variety of quite repulsive food, so much so that despite being inclusive we had to order in the following night as we couldn't stomach, literally, going back for the second night. We ordered fries on top of our sandwiches, to find they already came with them; would have been useful if they'd told us that. Then we had to send the extra fries back for being cold - note to staff, if they come wrapped in cling film (especially with no condensation evident), then they can't be warm. We would have cancelled them completely, but it was all too complicated chit-wise and the poor guy almost burst into tears when I suggested it. The replacements were even a different colour (i.e. what they look like cooked).

We chose this place because the Kandalama Hotel was fully booked and we were told this place is on the other side of the lake (Kandalama Lake btw, Amaya is the name of the company). In order to see the lake in the way it is so prominently featured on its website, you have to trek down the hill and emerge from the jungle. There you also get a full view of the Kandalama who in turn must be grateful for the Culture Club having been discreetly hidden away from theirs.

Apparently the hotel has been relaunched after a major refurbishment. Wow, the old Culture Club must have been something really special.

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831 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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16 reviews 16 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
48 helpful votes 48 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 8, 2006

Loved the accommodation at the Amaya Lake - split level detached chalets situated around a vast lake. Driving up to the hotel you are greeted by an impressive reception area and greeted with a refreshing towel and cold drink. The pool is lovely with quality wooden loungers and towels provided and the lake view beyond peaceful. On entering the chalet, there is a living area with satellite flat screen tv and sofa then a couple of steps up to the sleeping area. The room boy had spelt out WELCOME in leaves on the step which was a lovely touch. Off the bedroom is the very spacious bathroom complete with corner bath, separate shower, toilet and even a set of digital bathroom scales.
Very quiet and peaceful surroundings here. We only stayed here one night, and the only complaint was that as the restaurant was open air near the lake, there were several flies about. I was a little put off by this but may have been a one off.
Very friendly staff here.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 17, 2006

The surroundings of the hotel are world-class, with mystic lake and beautiful, very well-kept ground. The room and its amenities, however, leave something to be desired. Ours had water stains both on the ceiling and on the floor. The air conditioner was dripping water. The walls and the doors needed repainting. The closet was rarely used for good reasons: unclean, and badly in need of repainting. The bathroom with the shower was unpleasant to use: take a shower, and the water is all over the bathroom.

The room had no TV, and no table for writing (bad if you need to do a bit of work). The hotel didn't supply the usual set of shampoo, conditioner, and lotion; only basic bars of soap were provided.

The facility had pool table, table tennis, ayurvedic massage, tennis court, swimming pool, but no gym.

The food selections were great, but none of them was any good. The service in the restaurant was just acceptable.

Overall, this hotel has a 5-star surrounding and well-kept common grounds, but barely a 3-star room and housekeeping service. Go for the surrounding, but don't expect too much of the room.

  • Stayed April 2006
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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London UK
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 12, 2006

We had a great couple of days at the Culture Club. It has a great open 'safari' lodge kind of feel. The invidual cabanas are great and the walk down to the lake was beautiful. And the food was good too! Would definitely go back.

  • Stayed April 2004
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Top Contributor
134 reviews 134 reviews
63 hotel reviews
Reviews in 47 cities Reviews in 47 cities
339 helpful votes 339 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2006

I stayed here for two nights and had a great time. The hotel has a pet elephant which can be spotted drinking from the swimming pool and sharing the breakfast rolls from the outdoor dining room.

Really nice place with pleasant staff and good rooms.

  • Stayed November 2004
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Dubai, UAE
19 reviews 19 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
82 helpful votes 82 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 22, 2005

Well this venue is spectacular in its surroundings; breathtaking views, wonderful fauna and flora. As for the accomodation, the room itself is spacious with the bathroom area making half of the area with a choice of shower or tub. Service is good but the rooms need refurbishment, specially the plumbing: we had a major issue with flooding and that was really disapointing. Nevertheless, the magical suroundings make you forget. The food is quite varied but doesn't suit every taste. Overall, vey nice concept that needs to beef up against the recently refurbished Kandalama.

  • Stayed August 2005
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
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Winter Park Florida
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 25, 2005

Its now called Amaya Lakes Resort, was bought by large company in Colombo,Rooms are set in a park like setting and were beautiful,service in rooms is wonderful, but service in cafe was bad! and its sad because this is a beautiful resort . I wish I could say something nice re; service in cafe but cannot. I paid 118.00$ per nite I cannot say it was worth it, but their is only one other nice hotel in the area, so if it is full you are stuck! Call ahead and check area before you drive to Dambula, unless you are with a tour group (and I was not). Next stop Unawatuna!

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Amaya Lake

Address: PO Box 12 Kandalama Dambulla | Cultural Triangle, Dambulla 21100, Sri Lanka
Phone Number:
Location: Sri Lanka > Central Province > Dambulla
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Dambulla
#4 Family Hotel in Dambulla
#5 Spa Hotel in Dambulla
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Amaya Lake 4*
Number of rooms: 125
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
On the shores of enchanting Kandalama Lake, discover a lifestyle defined by tradition and natural splendour. Nestled amid 40 acres of lush forest, Amaya Lake preserves the aura of local historical treasures, creating a feeling of old-world Sri Lankan charm matched with modern luxury. Located in the heart of Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle, the resort is the ideal base for exploring nearby wonders such as the ancient city of Anuradhapura and the Dambulla cave temples. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Amaya Lake Dambulla
Amaya Lake Hotel Dambulla

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