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“Still nice could do better” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Royal Palms Beach Hotel

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Royal Palms Beach Hotel
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   De Abrew Drive, Kalutara, Sri Lanka   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #4 of 8 Hotels in Kalutara
18 reviews 18 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
“Still nice could do better”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 26, 2010

This was my second visit to Royal Palms, my first was in Dec 2006. The hotel is still very nice. Superb Reception. Very nice pool and excellent evening entertainment. The Front Offiice Manager (a lady) is exceptional and if you need anything special or have any problems I advise to see her. She organised my husbands birthday, which I wanted to do in the garden. As it was raining at the last minute and with excellent logistics she organised the birthday dinner on the terrace of the Royal suite. The meal was amazing, lobster, prawns, smoked salmon etc.. with a private Butler, the whole event cost me 200 US doolars. 50 dollars per person for the meal ( we were 3 people) and 50 dollars for the terrace and butler service. EXCELLENT !!
The rooms a still very chic, but the standard of cleaning was nowhere near as good as in 2006. Before they polished the wooden floors with bees wax so the rooms smelt lovely. Now a quick wipe over with a wet cloth is all you can hope for. The bathrooms are getting a bit old and could do with an upgrading.
As for the staff expect to tip for everything, they ask for tips and even cigerettes !!! I was astonished as they weren't like this on my last visit.
Overall a nice place, 5 star reception, central bar and wonderful food.
Could be 5 star if they retrain staff (EXCEPT reception staff and Front office Manager who are excellent) and upgrade bathrooms and go back to the excellent room cleaning they operated before.
Would I go back to this hotel...... Yes if they upgrade certain facilities.
Expect a 3/4 star by south east asia standards, a 4 star by North africa, Egypt standards.
Still nice but could do better

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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709 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 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
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14 reviews 14 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2010

Had a lovely holiday in Sri Lanka, we went with Mercury Direct, did a tour for a week, then a week on the beach. When we arrived at the hotel it had been overbooked so we had to move rooms after the first night, then on the last night we were asked to leave and stay in the Hilton in Columbo, which was a mixed blessing given our flight time.

  • Stayed February 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cardiff, United Kingdom
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2010

Just returned having spent two weeks at the Royal Palms Hotel, can't say enough about the hotel itself, the variety and quality of the food was wonderful. The staff were all very attentive and extreamly helpful from reception to the pool boys.
Durning the holiday i was helped by Thush the manger of the gym who devised an exercies routine which energised me, not what i expected to do on holidays but would recomend it!
The island is very beautiful and the people who I belive make a holiday, were so friendly and willing to open their doors to stangers.
At the end of the holiday i welt fully refreshed with a yearning to return asap.
Liza Wilson

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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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London. UK.
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2010

I would agree with most of what COOKI99 wrote, but I fail to understand why alcohol is so imporatnt to British people! Just because you book an 'all inclusive' does it mean that you have to pour as much drink down your throat as you can?!!
All the staff were extremely friendly and helpful at all times.
The main problems we had were:
a) Some of the hot food choices for all three meals were cooked outside on the terrace which was overrun with flies. All the hotel needs is a couple of high speed fans to keep these pests away!
There is a weekly free optional tour of the kitchens so guests can see that they are clean, but even there there were some flies!
b) Yes, it was hard to get ice with the drinks, and the hotel was only about one third full during our stay. However, all the drinks at both the Pool Bar and the Hotel Bar were always cold.
c) The shortgage of sun umbrellas in the gardens was a big problem. Only about a dozen in total and completely inadequate.
d) It is impossible to go onto the beach without being accosted by pests who won't take no for an answer and won't leave you alone.
e) Our room and bathroom was spotless. I had pre-requested a top floor room with a full sea view so as to avoid the normal 'overseas hotel' problem of having people clomping about in the room above at all hours!
f) I have to agree that the Mercury Direct Rep was a total waste of a salary! We never heard from him and never saw him, except a note under our bedroom door on the first day giving our departure time!
g) Not the fault of the hotel ...... but the weather was extremely hot and very humid.
Going from bedroom to restaurant or reception or lounge meant going outside from the cool air con bedroom via open air and back inside. Somewhat uncomfortable.
h) I would heartily recommend the hotel Gift Shop. Two very friendly and helpful ladies and the prices were about half as compared to those which our tour guide took us to during the previous weeks Island Tour.
i) The only way in which the hotel can distinguish those guests who are on 'All Inclusive' is via the blue wrist bands which are like those you get in hospital. Not very pretty but only a very minor inconvenience.
j) Lastly, the hotel is a long way from the airport (about 1.5 hours) and on the far side of Colombo. That city is a nightmare with traffic jams all day long.

The hotel is no way a Five Star by our standards, but a good base for a relaxing holiday.

In general, prices are extremely cheap for us in Sri Lanka (if you avoid shops that Tour Guides take you to!). The people are unfailingly courteous and helpful and it's quite safe to walk anywhere outside the hotel grounds. You just need to bear in mind that the people are generally REALLY POOR and low paid, so it's not surprising that they are very keen to get tips, and to have more tourists.
Sri Lanka is a lovely country with plenty to see and it makes for a really great holiday.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Milton Keynes
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 27, 2010

We stayed at the Royal Palms in Kalutara with friends to celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary. We were originally planning to stay at an alternative hotel, however changed to this choice due to the high ratings received on this site.

Whilst I agree it is a nice hotel, I just feel slightly disappointed as it never lived up to our exepctations. In contrast, our second week was spent elsewhere, and that hotel exceeded our expectations.

I list below a few of the reasons/suggestions for only rating this hotel as average: -

1. Our friends were put in a room which smelled badly, and had to be moved (however the hotel were accomodating about the move)

2. On our first evening, we asked the waiter if wine was included in the All Inclusive package. He said yes, but when he brought the drinks, he advised that wine was chargeable. When we asked what was included, he was unable to supply either a list or advise which drinks were covered. He knew that 5 different cocktails were included, but didn't know what they were called or what alcohol was included.

3. The waiter service could be slow, especially with drinks. It was often difficult to fit a second round of drinks in during a meal, and the waiters would often start fetching some of the drinks before taking all 4 orders. They struggled to cope with anything slightly complicated - such as trying to get ice with the drinks. This was a particular problem as we has water with every meal, and the water and soft drinks were never cold.

4. The restaurant had a rule that men had to wear long trousers for dinner (women could wear anything, apart from swimming costumes). This is fine, however was not communicated prior to our arrival, which meant making my 1 pair of long trousers last all week. The alternatives were to borrow a Sari, or to risk the mosquitoes outside. Strangely both jeans and camouflaged combat trousers were allowed, however smart 3/4 length trousers weren't.

5. Every drink ordered on the AI package had to be signed for. The room number was always asked for - however neither this nor the signature appeared to be checked. The AI was proven by the permanent wearing of a plastic wrist band in a rather unfetching shade of light blue. Some might find this intrusive.

6. There was little shade around the pools. As the sun was very hot, you had to try and find shade under the tall palm trees. This meant continually moving if you wanted to stay out of the sun. Ideally the hotel could do with some large umbrellas or shelters. The pool which wound around and under the hotel was nice - as as the poolside bar.

7. The coffee sachets in our room were 10 months out of date

8. The evening before departure, the hotel lock your fridge to prevent pilfering of the minibar. This would be fine except it was also the only way to keep your water chilled.

9. The staff did not seem as friendly as I would have expected. Our second hotel was a big improvement. This ranged from bar staff who seemed downright grumpy, through to pool attendants who were actually rude when asking for an additional towel to cover the dark coloured sunbed which got extremely hot in the sunshine. Whilst this didn't apply to all staff, it was in total contrast to what I was expecting. There also appeared a bit of an expectation of receiving tips, rather than trying to earn them.

10. Finally, we all experienced an upset stomach at some time during the week as did a few other guests we spoke to. This was not all down to the curries, and might just be the change of diet as the food generally tasted excellent, however I would be interested to know whether others experienced the same.

Overall, however, this is not a bad hotel, and certainly we enjoyed our stay. I have already praised the food and in addiion the Animations team also worked hard - as did a few other staff members, however I cannot help but just feel a little let down by our experiences.

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Le Lindois, France
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 25, 2010

Travelled with Mercury and started with the 3-night/4 day tour which we would highly recommend but which is tiring. It gives you a really good insight into the highs and lows the country is experiencing. Do climb the 1261 steps upto the top of Lion Rock in Sigyria but do it early! Monica the local elephant is worth riding too!
First impressions of the Royal Palms are magnificent but look closely and this isn't a 5 star hotel by other world standards but maybe for Sri Lanka. Little things like leaving used crockery lying around attracting flies for 36 hours is poor and everyhting just needs some extra TLC. We couldn't fault the staff - everyone was helpful and friendly, you just have to make the effort to talk to them and get to know them.
Our first room was by the building works so they moved us next day when we asked without any fuss. Clean sheets and towels daily, our room was kept clean.
We did have lots of amazing thunder storms - one lasted for 7 hours overnight and we were amazed at how some managed to sleep through it!
And then the volcano erupted 2 days before we were due home!!
By this time the hotel was emptying after being full for new year and contiued to empty as no-one could get in. They were happy for us to stay at £95 a day AI for 2 which I suppose isn't bad until you have been there for 6,7,8, days+ etc. Mercury did offer everyone stranded cheaper accommodation BUT where they failed was with their useless Rep Tissa!
After it became apparent that everyone stranded was on standby we were in his hands to get us all home. Airlines differed but we were with Qatar. After 7 extra enforced days stay, on the 22nd April we were told we could fly on 3rd May!! Another 11 days! This was totally unacceptable to us as it would have resulted in costing us another £990 to stay + lost earnings at home + cattery + car park = £2000!
We contacted Qatar ourselves and after many heated conversations we agreed to fly to anywhere in Europe so flew the next day via Doha to Zurich. We then had to pay to get ourselves home from there - £500. WHY DID WE HAVE TO DO ALL THIS? THIS WAS THE JOB OF THE TOUR REP! He was only interested in collecting your extra hotel costs and was very surprised when we told him we were going home, which we duly did 24 hours and £1200 later.
We also feel Qatar let us down as Sri Lankan airlines and Emirates laid on extra flights.
I appreciate the disruptions were no ones fault but would have appreciated some consideration from Mercury for the extra stress is was causing all of us by being more helpful and pro active.
Apart from all this, we enjoyed our holiday and would recomend this hotel as long as you don't think it is 5 star.

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Portsmouth, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2010

We had a three week stay, all inclusive, in this hotel in February.
The hotel operates a policy of overbooking. I'm not sure how it benefits anyone but presumably the hotel can show a high room uptake? On arrival, many guests are told there is no room for them and they are 'offered' a trip or an alternative hotel a distance away for a few days.
The Tamil War is blamed for this overbooking but other guests told us that the overbooking policy has been a fact of life there for at least 4 years..
Beware the ground floor rooms (1**), they are dank, smelly, noisy etc about 50 metres away from a large building project attached to the hotel and the express railway.
The floor was so dirty that the soles of my bedroom mules were literally black after 24 hours.
Four guests were offered a 1 bed suite with extra beds put into the dining room, which had no storage and through which the other guests had to walk to reach the corridor to go in/out of the rooms.
The managerial staff are very skilled but, in our experience, rarely do you get what you've booked. If you do agree to an option you'll be given a bottle of wine if you're lucky, and asked to sign a disclaimer.
To make any sort of progress, you'll end up spending most of your holiday in the reception area, with many other angry guests, waiting to make an appointment or waiting for someone to turn up and still getting nowhere.
This is a 5* hotel?

  • Stayed February 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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 Royal Palms Beach Hotel

Address: De Abrew Drive, Kalutara, Sri Lanka
Location: Sri Lanka > Western Province > Kalutara
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#3 Luxury Hotel in Kalutara
#3 Romantic Hotel in Kalutara
#3 Spa Hotel in Kalutara
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Royal Palms Beach Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 123
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Also Known As:
Royal Palms Beach Kalutara
Hotel Royal Palms Beach
Royal Palms Beach Hotel Sri Lanka/Kalutara

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