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“Fantastic Unforgettable Rafting Experience” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Rafters Retreat

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Rafters Retreat
Hilland Group, Kitulgala, Sri Lanka   |  
Hotel amenities
colombo
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
51 helpful votes 51 helpful votes
“Fantastic Unforgettable Rafting Experience”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 1, 2011

We stopped in for rafting and lunch and also got some day rooms. very rustic environment - a character of its own.

cost was very reasonable. for the rafting deal was 18usd including lunch. rooms were very reasonable for the day as well.

rafting was out of this world and can highly recommend the experience to anyone looking to do this. i would go again in a heartbeat!

lunch was traditional sri lankan food (buffet) and it was quite a delicious selection of vegetarian and 1 non veg.

plan ahead as it takes some time to do - rafting is aprx 2hrs

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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46 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (4)
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English first
Kent
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 13, 2010 via mobile

I really really wanted to love this place. I had read the other reviews and thought that people didn't 'get' it. However when we got there I was not so sure. The location is perfect , we went to sleep to the sound of the river and frogs in an open room under mosquito nets with the holes in them mended overlooking the river. The dining 'room ' is also over looking the river . They put our children in one of the drivers' rooms when one of them went into townie melt down over the very large snake in their room and so were kindness themselves. However we were surprised to find a small bin used for pooey loo roll and it's contents chucked outside our room and didn't feel there was much atmosphere. It was difficult to find out when meals were and to find out how to get a drink. On the plus side everyone was very kind even when another child's foot went through the floor of our cabin the rafting was 5 star and we wish we could have gone on the jungle walk but had no time. We got the idea that we could raft as soon as we arrived and had to wait a while , if we had had a better idea of timings etc we would have organised our time better. It is great to have an antidote to expensive hotels but the service and information still needs to be there.

  • Stayed December 2010
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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London
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2010

This place got a glowing review in a certain popular backpackers guidebook, but we were not impressed. While the location was great and jungle cabanas are a good idea, the service was poor and some activities badly run. Overall it wasn't a relaxing place to stay and we cut short our visit from three to two nights.

We stayed in a cabin overlooking the powerful rapids on the river. The room was made of bare wood, and the bathroom of stone with a "waterfall" style shower. Both the sleeping area and bathroom opened onto the river and jungle, and you could partially close it with blinds. So while the cabin was fun in the day, at night it was quite creepy and exposed - and we didn't sleep well due to creepy-crawlies.

Service was okay but the supervisor was quite slapdash, not willing to help us when we asked. Despite the claim to do all types of food you could only get Sri Lankan, though this food was okay. The owner did show us around the grounds though, which was quite interesting.

We took a rafting trip which was great fun. We had reassuring helmets and life-vests, but could also mess around and leap into the water. The rapids are not huge but are exciting anyway.

Our bird-watching walk was rubbish. Despite arranging it in advance there was no guide available - but rather than tell us they sent us out anyway. Pointless.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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Hertfordshire
Top Contributor
79 reviews 79 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 44 cities Reviews in 44 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2010

The guy who runs this is amazing, all staff were very welcoming, the rafting was great with an experienced leader with a great sense of humour! The absolutely best bit though was the lunch we had, vegetarian curries and as much as we could eat. They arranged transport for us back to our hotel and we felt well looked after and in good hands.
Didn't stay at the hotel, but saw the bungalows hidden in the trees.

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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London
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 27, 2008

We only stayed here for one night (thank goodness) as we were keen to do some white water rafting.
As you drive in, there is a really beautful old colonial house in the middle of a massive garden and we thought this was where we would be staying. Turned out this was the owners house and our accomodation was in a badly built treehouse down the way. I dont want to be mean, as the staff were very friendly, but the accomodation itself was super basic. The 'treehouse' was really badly constructed, the bed was on a slope and the 'walls' did not really offer any protection from the mosquito's since the windows had no glass and were open to the outside. The treehouse was set right by the river, wich offered a great view, but at night when we were trying to sleep - it was almost impossible due to the crashing noise of the river.

The staff did put up a mosquito net for us on request, but it was full of holes. The sheets also looked like they werent entirely clean.

The bathroom was very basic too. The first treehouse we were offered had the bathroom in a horrible 'basement' which you had to access through a trap door in the floor. Luckily they were able to offer us a different treehouse where the bathroom was at least on the same level as the bedroom. There was no hot water but at least the facilities looked relatively clean.

On a positive side, the rafting was great and though the guide didnt speak much english, it was enough to communicate the essentials. The river rafting was really fun. Also the food served was suprisingly good. I guess you get what you pay for here as the accomodation was cheap. Be careful not to book up front for the rafting (or to book it through your travel agent) as you will be charged approx $38 dollars per person. If you book it locally you should be able to get it for $15 - 20.

  • Liked — good rice and curry
  • Disliked — the treehouse
  • Stayed September 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
Disley
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2006

This was exactly what we needed!
We stayed here in July 2006 which is meant to be the rainy season.. it rained once! But we were the only guest staying there, which was amazing... we had a wicked room, the bathroom was thourgh a trap door on the floor, and our balcony overlooked Kitulaga river. Food was fantastic, so beautifyl... we had curries all the time and loved it! We also went on a jungle trek... and white water rafting... would advise people to do both...
It was an amazing experience and would do it again.

  • Liked — The bathroom!!! and the view from our balcony
  • Disliked — creepy crawlies all over
  • Stayed July 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Rafters Retreat

Address: Hilland Group, Kitulgala, Sri Lanka
Location: Sri Lanka > Sabaragamuwa Province > Kitulgala
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 5 Specialty lodging in Kitulgala
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
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Also Known As:
Rafters Retreat Hotel Kitulgala

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