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“Fantastic place to stay. Don't miss it.” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Royal River Resort

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Royal River Resort
Eduru Ella, Kitulgala, Sri Lanka   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 2 hotels in Kitulgala
Edinburgh
Top Contributor
72 reviews 72 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 43 cities Reviews in 43 cities
99 helpful votes 99 helpful votes
“Fantastic place to stay. Don't miss it.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 13, 2012

Sitting on the balcony with a drink and gazing at the river was a blissful way to relax. Walking along the tracks through the tea plantation was very interesting: even if we couldn't communicate much with the locals they were very friendly and smiled and waved.
The room was beautiful even though the air con & tv didn't work. The staff were great and went to a lot of trouble to cook genuine Sri Lanka curry for us. We were sorry to leave.

Room Tip: ask for a room overlooking the river.
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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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30 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (9)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
94 reviews 94 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 57 cities Reviews in 57 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 11, 2012

Driving through working rubber and tea plantations up what was a better than average secondary road for Sri Lanka we didn't know what to expect. We couldn't have guessed that it would be such an amazing place. It might not be the most modern luxurious palace but the location was fantastic with the river under the balcony and the integral rock'n tile swimming pool. Just watching it being filled from the river in the morning after cleaning was quite a sight. The hotel even has it's own hydro electric generator driven from the river.
We thought the food was excellent but if you don't like it hot, that could be a problem. When we asked the manager about the numbered sports shirt he was wearing, he explained that they have "team building" cricket matches with other hotels in the group. I don't know if they could raise 11 members of staff from there but they were certainly a cheerful and enthusiastic team already.
Who cares if the tele was a bit dodgy, we didn't want to watch it anyway. Go there if you can - it's worth the effort.

Room Tip: With only four to choose from, try and get one next to the river
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  • Stayed January 2012, 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
    • 4 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.
Surrey, England
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 22, 2012

'wow' is all we can say about this place. A spectacular place to stay and we weren't once disturbed by the waterfall outside our window. The menu is limited but we didn't go there for the food. We stayed one night and loved it, even when some fireflies came into the room for an impromptu light display.

Well worth staying there to get another dimension to Sri Lanka in your memory banks.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2012

We stayed here after the rafting trip, basically imagine somewhere Earnest Hemingway would have stayed and you are in the ball park. Beautiful waterfall running through the hotel (if you can call somewhere with 4 rooms a hotel?) Rooms are what I would call rustic, but more than good enough. The food is ok, not amazing, but the treat is the location. Having a pot of tea on the balcony was just divine, added that we could dive into the pool from our room (the pool is filled from the river and has a part bedrock part tile floor just makes it more special. One night is enough unless you are into walking, but we went from here to a 5 star resort with about 200 rooms... I know where I would prefer to be!

If you have the chance, I would highly suggest you stay here.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Daintree
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
39 hotel reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2012

A great location, perched on the edge of a waterfall and stream, and well worth the extra effort to get there.
Sanath and his boys were very helpful and charming. Rooms are very spacious and good views over the river. Great Sri Lankan food.
The natural swimming pool is drained and cleaned every second day and refilled from the stream - beautiful!
As birdwatchers, the location was terrific with good local walks through the tea plantations and forest, plus at the resort itself.
One of our best stays in Sri Lanka.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Bangalore, India
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 1, 2011

This has to be one of the best resorts I have stayed in... Its located on a waterfall with outstanding views of the forest and falls... The food was mediocre but the service (forgot the managers name) was great...
It was tough to book the place and even tougher to locate the place.. but at the end it was worth.... Unfortunately we could stay only one day before heading to Hikaduwwa..

A must for anyone planning a romantic trip to Sri Lanka and has transport to travel till Kitulgala

Room Tip: Ask for a room on the ground floor facing the river
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  • Stayed October 2011, 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
    • 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.
Swansea
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 28, 2011

We’d decided to break the long journey from Galle to Nuwara Eliya, and Kitulgala, with its opportunity for white water rafting (for which I’d highly recommend Rafter’s Retreat) and scenic walks, seemed to be a good spot. I looked at quite a few places on the internet and The Royal River Resort (RRR) appeared to be an interesting and unusual option.

Booking was a bit of a problem. There was no email address online and my phone call from the UK didn’t go all that well. Fortunately, the manager of our first hotel (Mr de Silva at the Unawatuna Beach Resort) stepped in and made the arrangements on our behalf. I’ve since found out that the RRR is owned by the same people as the Plantation Hotel (in fact, that’s where we settled our bill) and, if arranging one’s own holiday, that’s the best place to contact. I can’t recall the exact price, but it wasn’t excessive.

The RRR won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Although it’s called a resort, staying there feels far more like being a guest at someone’s private home. First impressions were mixed. Our driver, Dilhan, hated the 6.5km of pot-holed estate road and the journey from the main road is a slow one. My wife cursed me for bringing her to the back of beyond and the children weren’t happy that everything was damp and there was a musty smell. To be fair, it had rained heavily for 24 hours, the water level at the falls was right up to (and even into) the restaurant and humidity in the area must be almost 100% for most of the year. (Although there was a damp atmosphere, I never felt the place was unclean at all.)

However, by the end of the second day everyone admitted that the place had grown on them and staying there was an experience not to be missed (other guests we spoke to had similar feelings). When the sun broke through, it certainly was magical there – dappled sunlight, thousands of butterflies and birds and great to swim in the cool, fresh water pool, which was perfectly clean during our stay. Walking in the surrounding area was also lovely, especially early morning and at dusk. I asked to be dropped off on the drive up on the 2nd day about 3km from the hotel and the road is flanked with flowers, ferns and waterfalls. Above the hotel, it was easy and safe to stroll through tea plantations (although I did manage to pick up a leech – easily disposed of by one of the waiters).

There are just 4 double rooms (the 2 we occupied were spacious and reasonably furnished), a pool area and a combined bar/lounge/dining area. Two of the rooms have a long balcony that looks out over the river, with French windows from one opening onto the pool. The others (which we only saw from the outside) are above the communal rooms of the main building. I’d recommend asking for the riverside rooms if possible for the view of spectacular birds, butterflies and, a few times, the biggest water monitor (2.5m+) I’ve ever seen.

The restaurant was a most pleasant surprise. (Thankfully so, as I don’t think we’d have persuaded Dilhan to drive us up and down the estate road in the dark.). Sanath, the chef, prepared excellent dinners on both nights, including preparing food off-menu for the children. Breakfasts were also top quality and all the staff were attentive, friendly and helpful.

In summary, the Royal River Resort is not going to be to everyone’s taste, but we wouldn’t have missed magical and adventurous experience and we’d certainly go back.

Room Tip: Would recommend pool/river side rooms. Bit noisy if river in flood, but great location.
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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 Royal River Resort

Address: Eduru Ella, Kitulgala, Sri Lanka
Location: Sri Lanka > Sabaragamuwa Province > Kitulgala
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 hotels in Kitulgala
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
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