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“If you can handle a few bugs it's AMAZING!” 5 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
London, United Kingdom
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“If you can handle a few bugs it's AMAZING!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 5, 2013

Having just read the previous reviews I can see some peoples point but take this for what it is. This place is 6km off the main road but you wouldn't get this location without some effort. Plus its an interesting drive through the rubber plantation.
The rooms arent tired as some people state, they are full of colonial style furniture that is old but that is part of the charm. I would love this furniture in my house. Some windows are hard to close but in this climate, wood shrinks and expands. Take your insect repellent and you'll survive.
The restaurant had good food. We were on half board so didn't get a large choice but what we had was great. The restaurant is amazing with water rushing past just 2m away. The pool is built into the natural rock with tiles filling in the gaps. The water comes down from the mountain to fill the pool and overflows the other side to enter the river. Its brilliant.
The staff were great, very friendly as were the resort dogs. Not like the ones you see on the side of the road.
I would recommend this place to anyone visiting who isn't precious about bugs. Id love to go back.

  • Stayed May 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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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
London
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2013

Stayed here a few days ago in April. I have seen the previous reviews on here and while they are right about the rooms being tired and sharing them with the local creatures, it is in an amazing location.

Obviously this is a country with an abundance of wildlife, which we went to see, however a bit of handyman work would have reduced the need for them to share a bedroom with us! But it's sort of too be expected in a country like this.

Yes the journey is 6km from the main road but isn't it a beautiful drive! It's actually in the middle of nowhere, however, which is just what we wanted.

Had a lovely walk in the evening with a local guide around the rubber plantation seeing how people lived and worked, it was a great experience.

The food was limited on our half board basis, but again it's in the middle of nowhere - you shouldn't really expect more. It was well cooked and we were the only people there.

Only tip for the owner, we appreciate its built into the rocks, but if you clean the pool with a brush and it will look a lot better and will be far more enticing for your guests.

We would recommend people visit there, just don't expect a 5 star hotel, this place is about an experience rather than a star rating. (Nature, birds etc)

  • Stayed April 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Staffordshire
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 17, 2013

Road to this hotel very bumpy and about 6km off main road, felt sorry for the driver having to put his car through the journey, couldnt have done the suspension much good at all. Staff all very nice and they do try their best, but dont seem to have much idea about cleaning, Was disappointed when we saw the room although it was large and had a four poster bed, everything was old, tired and very dusty and grubby, shame as with some TLC and a bit of handyman work they could be a lot better. Doors didnt fit the frames properly so accommodation was shared by numerous bugs of all descriptions. Bedding seemed clean once we removed a very large brown beetle type bug and although I wasnt looking forward to getting into bed, we did actually sleep quite well and the beds were comfy. Couldnt fault the food in restaurant, breakfast and dinner were both excellent, but glad we had only booked for one night.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
91 reviews 91 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
66 helpful votes 66 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 10, 2013

The hotel is 6km down a very windy and narrow line off the main road and this 6km will take approximately 25 min to traverse. In theory, the hotel should be onto a winner as it is located next to a waterfall and actually incorporates the river and waterfall through its swimming pool, this explains the green colour of the pool and has rock forming part of the base of the pool. When we first arrived it looked like a green, unpleasant swimming pool but the following day due to rainfall or some other intervention, the river water was cascading through the pool and out the other side to join the main cascade.

Unfortunately there is not much else positive to say about the hotel, the whole place appears not to have any maintenance or TLC over the last x years, the electrical sockets were pretty dangerous - sparks flew, the TV and fridge are at least 10 years old and the whole room needs redecoration. To cap it all the room was not at all clean and some bedraggled, moulding plants were rotting in a vase. The bathroom had an ant infestation and the shower and toilet area looked grubby. The shower head needed replacing with it leaking water out at 90 degrees. Fortunately, after inspection, the bedlinen looked freshly laundered and clean, otherwise we would have quit the hotel immediately. When you look around, it seems to have the mantra of “that will do”. For example when lights are blown, they are not replaced, when a light shade is missing it is not replaced etc.

There is no internet at the hotel.

On a personal level, the staff do try, but they are out of their depth and there has clearly been no investment in the hotel for years. The whole hotel would benefit from an army of cleaners tackling it from top to bottom including in the reception / restaurant area where there was a display stand of crockery that was full of dead insects and built up grime.

We had our evening meal there, after our comments about the cleanliness this may have seem reckless but the drive out and back would be painful and the kitchen is in plain sight and looked to have some level of hygenie. We had a Sri Lankan curry, which was pleasant, but we did not touch the meat dish.

Unless this hotel receives a top to bottom clean and full make up, we would not recommend to anyone. This is a shame as the location and some of the concepts hold some promise to make it a boutique hotel.

The one positive thing I can say however is that we actually slept really well and awoke refreshed which has to count for something!

Room Tip: Don't take the first room nearest the pool. The cleanliness was terrible.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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London
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 2, 2013

This was one of our favourite stops in Sri Lanka. Yes, it took 40 minutes on a very bumpy track to reach, and yes, in heavy rains the track can become impassable but for a couple of nights, it was a lovely stop. We booked a local jungle walk through our travel agents and enjoyed a good 4 hour trek through the jungle finding hidden temples and waterfalls (although be warned if trekking slightly off the beaten track, there are many leeches ready to get you!); the dip in their outdoor jungle pool was very welcome afterwards. The photos of the pool make it look a little grey and murky, but please note that this is just the natural jungle rock as they've incorporate this in to the bottom of the pool, tiling the gaps between rocks which appear white in the photos.

The food in the restaurant was EXCELLENT; some of the best food we had in Sri Lanka... ask for the local curry selection. And it was nice to find a place that had a small bar too. At night, it's such a serene place to be; sitting by the crashing waterfall in the middle of nowhere. Our room was very impressive... four poster bed, TV, DVD player and air con. Of course, because of it's location, we weren't the only residents in the room, so probably not the place to stay if you're afraid of the odd spider or ant.

The staff were extermely attentive and friendly and we got the feeling that this is a place more visited by wealthier Sri Lankans than foreigners, which really added to the adventure. Apart from the odd walk or two, there's not alot else to do unless you travel back down to the main road.... not a journey you'd want to do often, so I think 1/2 nights is probably best unless your after a total break away from everything for a longer period.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
Oxford
Top Contributor
75 reviews 75 reviews
32 hotel reviews
Reviews in 45 cities Reviews in 45 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2013

After 30mins of a very rough road (although not as bad as Yala NP!) we arrived they had double booked so we had a free lunch, chicken and chips- nice. It looked very relaxing with a freshwater pool, just a shame we couldn't stay.
toilets were shocking!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rhyl, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2013

This hotel is not easy to find. Our driver had to make a few phone calls before locating the correct turn off. The road that leads up to the hotel is poor, that is true but it adds to the adventure. The ride through potholes and bends goes up and up and takes approximately 30 minutes through rubber and tea plantations. The room we were allocated was spacious with a balcony overlooking the water for our 2 night stay in this unusual hotel. However, I felt the place was in need of a very good clean. I was quite disheartened when I arrived at the hotel and it was not my favourite of stops, but we made the most of it. Walking in the area near to the hotel was great for bird watching. (The hotel dog joined us) There was a good selection of food on the menu for breakfast & dinner, and a very good service from the staff for the bar/restaurant. We didnt get to use the pool here, however when the pump was in operation it changed the outlook of the pool area and made it more inviting.
It is only a small hotel and very different, but I felt it lacked something.

Room Tip: We requested a room overlooking the river & waterfall.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.

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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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