My heart was initially thrilled by the location of the guesthouse – it was not just on the beach, it was right by the sea, as some had noted previously. Other than the view & location, there was nothing much to rave about.
We had fully paid for 2 A/C rooms with sea view via Agoda, but they don’t have any records. This, we realized only after some delay as the staff were having their own internal discussion. Eventually, without explaining which end had gone wrong & asking only when we had made the booking (which was months prior), they told us there was only 1 A/C room available. (They only had 3 sea view rooms, all A/C, and 4 other rooms).
Leaving to my parents to make the decision, we finally checked into 2 A/C rooms with sea view. The second one (Room 7) was like in an attic above Room 1 (our other room), up a near vertical ladder-like stairs. The A/C in Room 7 was not working (& hence technically not available), but they hired someone to fix it that night. However, by 2am, woken up by the warmth, I realized the A/C had broken down. Good thing the fan was actually as cooling as the A/C, so we should have asked them for a refund in the first place.
That was not all. The water from the shower tap barely had any pressure, and expectedly, the shower head has no water coming out. We don’t recall any staff highlighting that issue to us. Thankfully, we had another room below, even though the water pressure was weak, at least we could shower.
While Room 1 has a proper bed frame (albeit with a mosquito net with numerous big holes), Room 7’s bed was on a bare concrete block. One wall was also unpainted, exposing the bricks. Perhaps this is part of its intended design. The door also need a little slamming to shut, but the small knob on the outside was so loose that too much force may well rip it out. The door lock on the outside was also a big gap that one has to insert the key and feel for the hole.
The breakfast was the worst ever (or is it a difference between inland and coastal accommodation?). Just bread, jam & butter with tea or coffee. No eggs or fruits. Not surprising then that one has to pay the full price for any of the special breakfast sets.
Still, Upul has an excellent view of the bay from the balcony. It was pure pleasure to read a book by the balcony at night and to simply get up in the morning and walk a few steps to a serene morning view. Dinner was also reasonably priced and tasty; the fish in the fish curry was fresh, though they missed out our third order for a pizza. We also had a grilled squid and devilled potato which were both pretty good.
Overall, for the service and facilities, Upul is overpriced (unless being right by the sea is of paramount consideration) and in need of some upgrading. I must disclaim too that this was our only coastal accommodation, so there may be differences between inland and coastal places that I am unaware of.
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