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.
- 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