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“Pampered with colonial charm” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Mandira Bungalows

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Mandira Bungalows
Hatton-Watawala, Hatton, Sri Lanka   |  
Hotel amenities
Dusseldorf
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Pampered with colonial charm”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2013

We are very grateful to have had the opportunity, albeit too short!, to spend one night at this very special hotel. After an extreamly long and tedious drive (most of the roads are under heavy road work) we were welcomed with a delicious cup of tea and were told that "this is not a hotel, this is your home" Very true. Thanks to Jayaram and Sebastian we were spoiled with warm hospitality and confort in its best form. They have both been excellent hosts and tried very hard to please each member of our families needs. Dinner as well as breakfast were cooked and presented with very special care and were delicious home cooking.
Mandira resorts can certainly be proud of both!
The resort is kept to respect the full flair of "Colonial British" expieriece.. the only down fall being that the bathrooms, perhaps still the original, although very charming certainly need a "face lift"
Kind regards to this very special staff.Very much looking forward to our next stay with them!

Room Tip: This is not a "Hotel" in the tradial concept, but rather a "home away from home"...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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68 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (18)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 1, 2013

I made a reservation for Mandira Craig Appin on the 24th of December 2012 for my family to travel to Nuwara Eliya on the 3rd, 4th and 5th January 2013. The person who took our reservation said that the booking is now confirmed and will send the bank details to make an advance payment. I was travelling out of the country at that time and therefore i gave my husband's phone number to SMS the bank details. In fact when i returned to Sri Lanka, I found out that he had not SMS any bank details and when i called they said there are no rooms available in any of the Mandira bungalows. By this time we had only 2 days for our trip and hence, I asked what i shall I do now. They took no interest in my matter and said that there is no available rooms. Further, the lady who took my call said she will call back which she never did. I tried to reach the person through whom i booked the bungalow but he never answered the phone.

AFTER WHAT HAPPEND TO ME I WARN THAT BE CAREFUL WHEN BOOKING THESE BUNGALOWS AS YOU MAY WILL END UP WITH NOTHING.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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Birmingham, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 14, 2012

I had booked what I was told was a superior room at Strathdon Bungalow. The staff did all they could for as long possible to prevent me from seeing the room. When I finally insisted on seeing the room they showed me a windows small room, poorly furnished with stained bed linen and the room safe was broken. The staff and manager were not even slightly interested in my complaints and it took considerable persuasion for them to agree to give me a better room which eventually they did at another bungalow at Dickoya. The room at Dickoya was an improvement and the property does have real character. The food was good but the service however was appalling. I stayed two nights and my room was not cleaned and made up once.

Room Tip: Be careful as you may not get the room you booked
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled solo
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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Manchester, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 26, 2012

Ok. First up, Mandira have four bungalows in and around hill country. As far as I can see we can't review them independently - sorry if I've got that wrong.

We stayed two nights at the Mandira Strathdon (on the Hatton-Colombo road) as the final stop on our Sri Lankan road trip. We'd driven some pretty hectic roads over the past few days but the final leg (only around 40km), from Nuwara Eliya to the Strathdon bungalow was something else. By the time we pulled up, six hours after leaving and long after dark, I was completely exhausted ... and I wasn't even driving.

We were cheerfully greeted by Jayaram and Sebastian, two wonderful hosts, who immediately offered us a pot of tea, and then after a moment's consideration, a beer as well. This level of hospitality and insight was maintained throughout our stay. It's difficult to emphasise how hard these guys tried to make our stay homely & comfortable (and how well they succeeded).

The bungalow itself was lovely, beautifully furnished and with loads of space both in the rooms and around the communal areas. Chilling out in the lounge really felt like sitting around at home, and the view from the lawn terrace was spectacular - having arrived after dark with no idea of our surroundings this was a lovely surprise to be enjoyed with a pot of tea the following morning.

I have to admit that I'd been severely underwhelmed by Sri Lankan cuisine since my arrival in Colombo a couple of weeks earlier, and even when we'd stopped in at some really highly rated hotels the food had been above average at best. So it was with a little trepidation that we accepted Jayaram's offer of a home cooked Sri Lankan meal - but we were soon to forget this as dinner was fantastic, clearly prepared with care, passion and no small amount of skill. We'd planned to venture out the following evening but a change of plan was swiftly agreed. This was by far and away the best food we'd found on our trip.

As a place to relax and to be looked after, the Strathdon bungalow is excellent. However if I have to be critical, it would be about location - aside from lazily walking in and around the local tea plantations you'll have to travel some distance for any of the more renowned sights of hill country. This wasn't a problem to us as we knew in advance, but it definitely pays to do your research before you visit.

If I ever find myself back in Sri Lanka with a couple of days to kill then I'd love to come back here. It's definitely one to remember - particularly the hospitality.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
Lisbon, Portugal
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 20, 2012

We went in search of some Colonial charm overlooking beautiful tea plantations. We were looking for comfort and cozyness amidst the Ceylon tea world. We got only half of what we expected. The property is set in a beautiful hill overlooking gorgeous green tea plantations. There is a nice garden with a few tables where one can laze and watch the colourful workers pluck the tea in the green hills. Off the hotel, one can go hike, visit the nearby tea factory, chit chat with the friendly locals, and basically spend a day or two immersing oneself in the culture of the hills. Another additional plus point is that this is nearby to the small train station, and I strongly recommend the train journey from bustling Colombo to the peace of Hatton.

Now: the hotel is of poor quality. Of course, when judging hotel, it's always a matter of one's expectactions and past experience, but factually what we found is the following:

The property is a beautiful old english house previously occupied by the manager of a tea plantation in the old days. It is pretty and english and has a nice garden and fulfils the wish of people seeking that type of charm.

But our room was damp and window-less, the bathroom had stains and was mouldy, the interior of the house (ie the shared space) was spare and humid and all in all just damp. At the dining area, the table-linen was stained, and, despite our ordering in the afternoon of what we wanted for dinner, we were served some random curries that had nothing to do with our order. All along, there were only three non-english speaking staff around (who, granted, were as kind as they could, yet clumsy), as well as the Manager who would pop out here and then.

One evening, it was raining cats and dogs outside and the windows of the house were left open, so a massive congregation of moths gathered inside by the hundreds. Inside the house. Mind you: this is supposed to be a hotel, but I couldn't even sit in the hall and read because there were a thousand moths around.

The place is not terrible, and as said is pretty, but there's SO much more than could be done with a few more touches of charm and some more care. All they really need is to touch up the interior, hire a couple of staff who at least make the guests feel welcome and taken care of, and perhaps organize a few local activities (hiking, visiting the nearby tea plantations, tea tastes, whatever.)

The overall feel is that of entering a house where you are shown a room and then are told to basically sort yourself out during your stay. All in all: a VERY pretty property in a great location (if you want to see the real Sri Lankan tea plantations) with a run-down feel, poor rooms (at least the one I stayed at) and clumsy (yet, I repeat, friendly and well-intentioned) service.

It is a property with the potential for luxury but the feel of a backpacking hostel. (Having been to both types of places countless times, I do know what I'm talking about)

Room Tip: My "Superior" room was not very good. Maybe worth paying more for the Deluxe rooms. In any...
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 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.
UK
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
47 hotel reviews
Reviews in 47 cities Reviews in 47 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2012 via mobile

We stayed in the strathdon bungalow. It has a lot of English colonial charm and the building is very quirky. Some of the rooms don't have windows but that is part of the charm. Bathrooms could do with an update however. One thing that we found a little annoying is that there is only a communal tv and none in the rooms. there is very little to do in this area so we were watching a lot of tv to pass the time but have to watch something to suit all! The actual setting of the bungalow is lovely (in middle of tea plantation) but nothing to do in the area. We were the wrong season for Adams peak and there was nowhere else to go for a walk during the day to pass the time. Ending up walking down the Sri lankan roads (a bit dangerous!) just to get out. So my advice would be stay one night only unless you are doing Adams peak. The highlight of the stay here was most definitely the food. FANTASTIC! True Sri lankan cuisine cooked exactly to you specification. We were eating veggie so had several curries made just for us at each mealtime and to our desired spice level. We were fed up of buffet lunches during our tour of Sri lanka so this was a pleasant change. We even had a Sri lankan breakfast which was lovely. The only downside to the food was the quantity! We felt guilty that we couldn't finish it all!

  • Stayed September 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 31, 2012

We stayed two nights at Mandira Craig Appin Bungalow in August 2012. Lovely place, excellent food, excellent service!! The rooms are very clean and comfortable. Tip - Not all rooms are decorated identically, though they are equally clean anc comfortable. The bungalow has two double rooms, one suite (which is two interconnected double rooms with one bathroom) and one triple room. The suite and the triple room are beautiful with four poster beds, fake fire places. The double rooms lack in character and we thought it would have been nice they were also decrated the same way the suit and the triple room were. The place is run by a staff of three. Excellent service. Excellent food. Exceptionally clean. The location is ideal if you want to get away from everything and want to just relax in peace. Not in a central location so this is not the ideal place if you want to visit many attractions other than the Castlereigh resovoir.

Room Tip: select the suite or the triple room. They are decorated very nicely. The two double rooms lack in ch...
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Mandira Bungalows

Address: Hatton-Watawala, Hatton, Sri Lanka
Location: Sri Lanka > Central Province > Hatton
Amenities:
Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 6 Specialty lodging in Hatton
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
As our name suggests our Bungalows are of either architectural or historical interest, all offering much of the atmosphere of Sri Lanka’s glorious past. Experience a style of gracious living and soothing relaxation sometimes so scarce in the modern, time pressured ‘civilised’ world. Each bungalow is a haven of peace and tranquility in some wonderfully quiet corners of Sri Lanka. Each is a place where service is founded on instinctive hospitality, where the food is pure delight - and where quality and attention to detail keeps us awake with the desire to serve. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Mandira Bungalows Hotel Hatton
Mandira Bungalows Sri Lanka/Hatton

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