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“Enjoyable Holiday” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Club Bentota

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Club Bentota
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Paradise Island, Aluthgama, Sri Lanka   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 5 hotels in Aluthgama
Northampton
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Enjoyable Holiday”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 14, 2013

Club Bentota is a traditionally built red brick and wood hotel, if you want modern concrete and glass, try the hotels down the beach. We were there at the end of their season, so the decor was looking a little tired, but they appeared to be starting to spruce up the place ready for the new season. Despite being half-term in the UK, there were very few children about.

Our room was comfortable and clean, with tea and coffee making facilities, a fridge, air-con and a ceiling fan. There was one UK style plug socket so we didn’t need any adapters. The room was dark despite large glass doors to the balcony, due to the low overhanging roof over the balcony. As it gets dark early and you don’t spend much time in your room during the day, it wasn’t a problem. The finish to the decor was not of a high standard but this is only a temporary home and was perfectly adequate. The bad grouting did not diminish my enjoyment of a wonderful shower.

The restaurant was often busy but we always managed to find a table, you just have to judge the best time to go to dinner. There was a large choice of food available, the curries were spicy but ranged from mild to hot. If spicy food is not your thing, there was a different selection of “western” food every day e.g. pasta, chips and salads.

The beach was glorious and quite deserted, with just a few beach sellers, who were not pushy and quietly hung around under the lifeguard’s station. There were red flags on most of the days of our 6 day stay due to strong currents but you could still wade out quite far and only be waist deep, so “wave jumping” and generally bobbing about was OK as long as you stayed within the swimming area. We were informed by the locals that the sea would be much calmer in a few weeks time. Sun loungers are not allowed on the beach, but there are plenty available along the beachfront of the hotel or around the pool.

We were approached at the beach by Nadeem and then his uncle Anoura joined us, they were both very pleasant and not at all pushy, we listened to what they had to say and agreed to come back later to see them. We went back the next day, having heard what the Kuoni rep offered, and arranged a few trips with Anoura, a river trip, a visit to a turtle hatchery and the Elephant Orphanage. The river trip was great, we were picked up at the hotel and as we proceeded up river Anoura pointed out local wildlife and told us about the history of the buildings along the riverbank. We visited some mangroves and Anoura’s ability to spot the smallest of birds amongst the dense vegetation was very impressive. We saw kites, eagles, owls, woodpeckers, small crocodiles, water and land monitors, to name but a few. Later that afternoon we met Anoura on the other side of the river and he took us in his Man United Tuk Tuk to a local turtle hatchery, the ride alone was worth the trip. The hatcheries are funded by tourism and although it is not an ideal solution they do help to preserve these endangered species.

It was an early start for the trip to the orphanage, we collected packed breakfasts and lunches from reception as we left (lunch had cake!). It was a very bumpy ride to the new road, but after an all too short amount of time, we rejoined the bumpy road again. Stopped for a cup of tea on the way, for which Anoura paid, and arrived at the orphanage before feeding time. I was surprised to find it right alongside the main road. After spending some time with the elephants we crossed the road and went down to the river to await the arrival of the elephants on their daily pilgrimage to the water. On the way home, Anoura bought us some red bananas to try, we stopped at a cashew nut shop and for some freshly cut pineapple.

Anoura was an excellent guide, very knowledgeable and accommodating, especially when we stopped at an ATM on the way back from the orphanage and the machine swallowed my card. Anoura spoke to the bank staff for me and as I needed my passport to reclaim my card, he waited at the hotel while I fetched it from my room and then took me back to the bank. He even offered the use of his phone to call the bank as it would be cheaper. Anoura waved us off as we left for the airport. I would highly recommend him as a tour guide as he made our visit to Sri Lanka something to remember and more than just a lazy holiday by the pool.

Room Tip: Room 201 was on the first floor and facing the garden - no problems.
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 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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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
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (118)
Date | Rating
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English first
Warrington, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
63 helpful votes 63 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 13, 2013

Everything to hand, lots of different curries at breakfast as well as other mealtimes. Other dishes such as pasta, chicken.
Room was a little dated, but delightful scenery and friendly chipmunks. The area near the beach was lovely. Hotel in general had everything, there were shows in the evening and things like jewellery sales in the evening. You could also buy artwork around the pool in the day. Bar area very pleasant with lots of seating, in the shade or out whichever you choose.
A great part of our holiday was the evening lobster dinner cruise for about £20 we were welcomed on board with a cocktail, there was a three piece band playing music. Delicious soup, the lobster dinner included 3 tails, plus scallops and giant prawns. The dessert was a real surprise and beautifully presented. Wine was also included in this price. We had done most of our sightseeing the previous few days when we stayed in Negombo so this was our chill out time. We did visit Galle and went on Safari in a jeep from here through the kuoni rep. Town is near by.

The boats from the gates to the hotel reception was always an adventure as it had a tendency to rock if people didn't get in carefully. There is a bigger boat isn't certain times of the day.

Room Tip: Negotiate trip prices with Kuoni, don't just accept the first price we got ours as cheap as the...
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
Scotland, United Kingdom
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 13, 2013 via mobile

First room was very small and damp, second room after being moved the bed was so uncomfortable we couldn't sleep, on speaking to our holiday rep the next day we were moved into a bigger room which was much more comfortable. Location was beautiful, food excellent, we were all exclusive,however, be careful they don't mention at bar what drink is not part of the deal, make it up then ask for the money, staff are very friendly though.Was not keen on the men that hang around and look over the fence between the hotel and entrance to the beech looking to sell you a trip or take pictures with the dressed up baby monkey or snakes.

Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Huddersfield, United Kingdom
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 9, 2013

Had a very pleasant stay at this hotel in October. I found a hotel to be Good value for money with clean rooms and good service. The staff are helpful friendly and polite Throughout the hotel. The food is buffet service only unless you pay extra for the a la carte. Each evening is allegedly a theme night although I could never work out what it was supposed to be. However the food was tasty and there was plenty of it. If you are interested in wildlife I would recommend a boat trip up the river. If you find Anura (he is based next to the entrance onto the public beach) he will do you a three hour trip for around £15 per person. He is an expert on the local bird life. He will also do trips further afield for a lot less than the tour companies do.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
UK
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 8, 2013

We stayed at the Club Bentota for 12 days from the 12th October this year. The transfer took around 3.5 hours, there were only us and one other couple on the mini bus with no other stops. There is a loo at the dock before the river transfer….. Thank goodness.. Whilst we waited for the boat we were approached at the dock by a guide called Santa who we arranged to meet us at the hotel the following evening. The trip in the boat to the hotel only took a few minutes and we were welcomed with drinks and cold flannels. Our passports were copied and we were issued our rooms. We stayed in a standard bungalow 353 which was one of the furthest rooms but still only a few minutes walk from the main buildings. Our luggage was brought by two porters who expected to be tipped. I was so glad I remembered to ask for low denomination notes when I exchanged money at Colombo airport.

Our room had a large comfy double bed plenty of wardrobe space and somewhere to stow your luggage. We had tea/coffee making facilities and a small fridge. There was also a free room safe, coffee table, a desk and two chairs. The room had a rustic feel with bare brick walls, a white washed vaulted ceiling with ceiling fan and A/C. The shower room had a large powerful shower and the toilet. There was a separate wash area with sink and a large mirror. Towels were changed daily and bedding twice per week. Just a couple of niggles, the lighting in the room was poor and would have benefited from something a little brighter particularly for us ladies when dressing in the evening. Also there was no where on site to buy drinks from to stock the mini fridge. The hotel is probably missing a trick here as we would happily have paid a little extra for a few beers and a couple of cokes to drink on the lovely bungalow terrace and watch the fire flies in the early evening. Other than this we were very happy with our room and its quiet location.

The bar served soft drinks, beer and local alcohol as well as cocktails of the day. All were very palatable although we often had to order an extra coke as the drinks were more vodka than coke. Disapointing that diet coke was not available.There was plenty of seating even when the weather was torrential rain we all managed to get under cover and continue with the evening.

The entertainment was poor once you’ve seen one dancing show you’ve seen them all, the hotel could definitely improve here.

We were happy with the food which was good for 3.5 *. There were always plenty of choices on offer as well as the expected curries which were available at every meal. My husband never touched a curry dish the whole trip but always had something to eat. The desserts were varied with a selection of mousses and cakes and a hot pudding every evening. Often there was an additional chef station who cooked fresh fried dough balls, pineapple fritters banana fritters etc.. not very healthy but hey you’re on holiday! The only let down was the lack of ice-cream. It was mainly self service but if we received a good service from a waiter we would leave a tip.

During the day there were a few activities supplied by the entertainment team such as water aerobics, beach volley ball and boules. Sun beds were comfortable and a pool attendant would bring a mattress which added to the comfort. We tipped the mattress guy and the towel guy 100 rupees (50p) each every day and this was well received. We always ended up with two towels each which was handy as they were quite small and you needed two to cover the sun bed. The pool was clean and a good size.
A highlight each day was cake o’clock which was around 3.30-4ish. A simple sponge cake is served and is just perfect for feeding the many cheeky chipmunks who will happily feed from your hand.

We spoke to a few guides, Luba gets quite a lot of space on here but he is more expensive than others plus he is often too busy to take you on the trips himself. We chose Santa who we met at the dock and is an official guide of the hotel so you can sit in comfort at the hotel in the evening and chat through your requirements. We went on the trips with another couple Sue and Maurice who we met on holiday and discovered that we wanted to see the same sort of sights. We initially went out on the river safari turtle hatchery and temple visit. We were happy with our trip and subsequently booked the overnight to Yala. We all had a fabulous experience and were able to visit all the usual places such as the elephant transit station, Galle fort, safari in Yala National Park and more. We also visited a few of the less travelled sites at our request such as our visit to the blow hole of which there are only six in the world, according to Maurice’s guide book... We stayed in a great hotel with a pool chosen by Santa. We were thrilled with the service we received from Santa and importantly felt totally safe throughout. Don’t be scared in to booking with the kuoni rep, choose a guide locally and save a lot of money and receive a more personal service.. Based on our experience we would recommend Santa. None of the guides we spoke to ask for money up front if they do choose a different guide.

I know this is a Kuoni hotel but it is not one of their luxury range which is reflected in the price and you will be disappointed if you are expecting 5*.

In summary we had a great holiday and met some lovely people. The hotel is a solid 3.5*, offering an exceptional location, good food, friendly staff and great value for money.

  • Stayed October 2013, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ringwood, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
70 reviews 70 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 7, 2013

Yes this hotel is a little run down, but this is more than made up for by the friendly staff, variety of food, beautiful beach, and ample rooms. It is a three star hotel, and very comfortable. The pool was very clean and the attendants were only to willing to move the sunbeds and supply cushions. The island site is very pretty with the sea on one side and the river on the other. I must not forget Luba, the travel specialist who is found on the beach. Not only are the trips tailored to your requirements but are substantially cheaper than Kuoni. Luba does not even ask for payment until you return from the trip and then he is happy to take UK money. We did two overnight trips with our excellent guide Baba and the accommodation in Kandy and by the Safari Park was first rate. If you wish to contact Luba before you arrive his e-mail address is lubatours@gmail.com. We really enjoyed our holiday and would recommend it.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 6, 2013 via mobile

The hotel is in the perfect location in between the Bentota river and the ocean, the area is surrounded by Palm trees and plenty of wild life.
The room was a good size with a balcony with an ocean view, the room was freshened up every day with new towels, bottled water, flowers and the air con was always left on by the room boys which was lovely considering how hot it was outside.The bed was extremely comfortable and the shower was nice and powerful. We did upgrade to deluxe so from the other reviews I would say it's a wise choice. The only downside was the room was really close to the bar so it was quite loud.
The staff were all very friendly and welcoming. The food was great with a wide selection for each meal, I also ate at the sea food restaurant which was great and very reasonably priced.
I recommend visiting the spa, great way to relax after the long haul flight and again really great prices.
We went on 3 trips with Monti who can be found further along the beach in his hut with a flag outside & Aruna who again can be found on the beach. Both guides were lovely and very knowledgable, I would recommend either of them.

Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
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 Club Bentota

Address: Paradise Island, Aluthgama, Sri Lanka
Phone Number:
Location: Sri Lanka > Western Province > Aluthgama
Amenities:
Beach Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 5 hotels in Aluthgama
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Club Bentota 3*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Discover the wonders of the beaches of Sri Lanka during your stay at Club Bentota. A hassle free vacation for you and a fun-packed adventure for the kids: we provide exciting water sports, an extensive Ayurvedic spa and so much more on a secluded, breathtaking beach front. Built on a peninsula referred to as Paradise Island, Club Bentota is located on the South West coast of Sri Lanka and is flanked by the Indian Ocean and the Bentota River. Have fun under the sun with jet skiing, wind surfing, beach volleyball, croquet, river boat cruises and much more. Unwind by taking a dip in the pool or Ocean, play a game of cards with friendly guests from around the world, or read a book in our hotel book shop. Choose from our all-inclusive or full-board packages and book a vacation to Club Bentota, where the sun and sand await you. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Club Bentota Hotel Aluthgama
Bentota Hotel Aluthgama
Club Bentota Sri Lanka/Aluthgama

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