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“Excellent service, Great Room, Perfect for Sunbathing, Gorgeous Beach” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Cantaloupe Aqua

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Cantaloupe Aqua
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Matara Road, Habaraduwa | Talpe, Unawatuna, Galle GL 80630, Sri Lanka   |  
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Ranked #12 of 21 Hotels in Unawatuna
Singapore, Singapore
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Excellent service, Great Room, Perfect for Sunbathing, Gorgeous Beach”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 9, 2011

Absolutely love this hotel. I would've given it 5 stars in my rating but it fell short because of our first room which was the Aqua Zen room. This was the only room in the hotel and it was unique because it had a mezzanine level in the room which contained the bed. I thought it was a good idea until we realised it was a bit troublesome to go up and down, kind of tiring. But more importantly the room was a little worn out and the bed area on top was a bit warm as the air conditioning didn't really get to the bed area.

More importantly the biggest problem we had with the Zen room was the bathroom which I felt would need some fixing. It had a shower curtain that was too short to do its job of preventing "flooding" in the bathroom. The bathroom was actually smaller than the other rooms (non-deluxe ones) hence our bathroom was always wet. It would have also helped if the hotel provided absorbent floor mats to take in the excess water, but all they had were rubber mats.

The room was much bigger than the Ocean Play standard (sea view) rooms and had a slightly closer view of the ocean. It was also unique and had a bigger TV. But the cons outweighed the pros for us and we had to switch rooms on for our third and fourth nights.

A shout out to Malin and Prabath, the front desk managers in charge, these guys are just awesome! Very helpful and friendly and service was just impeccable and personal. They were nice enough to have us switch rooms and the Ocean Play Ocean View rooms were just perfect! Someone said it was small in one of the earlier reviews, I thought they were just right, quite big actually, for a boutique hotel.

I need to have a special mention for the beds they have at this hotel, one of the best. Very comfy, five star standard but the pillows could be just slightly better. The comforter they provided was plush and cozy though a little thick for the weather. The a/c was great! The TV had limited channels but it's fine by me. Most importantly the bathroom was waaay better, with glass doors to prevent water from flooding the bathroom floor and more room to move about in.

The toilet may have had some slight problems at first cos it kinda smelled like sewage but it soon settled on the final day. 2 bottled of water provided daily but no kettle for you to boil hot water or make tea in the room. No slippers, no bathrobes. This is quite a basic boutique hotel, non-fancy but nice enough for the value. 2 bath towels, 2 face towels and 2 hand towels with their own shampoo, conditioner, hand soap and gel.

Breakfast was cooked a-la minute for Western menu and they had 2 other menus - Sri Lankan and Recovery menu (cereals, pancakes, yoghurt, healthy stuff). We had also ordered their beef burger for snack and that was good.

The pool is not meant for swimming, it is only meant for soaking, dipping. Think of it as a jacuzzi without the heat. There are deck chairs for you to lay down and get a nice tan without getting sand on your body. You can also step down to the beach below and walk along the sand. The current/waves were very strong so we didn't swim but it was nice to just walk along and very clean and relatively private. We felt it was more private than Unawatuna beach.

The only problem with this hotel is that it is slightly off Unawatuna (about 3km away) but you get the seclusion of your own beach with this distance. You'll probably need to hire a bike from Unawatuna town or take the bus which only costs Rs10 per person to Unawatuna and is a nice experience. Just remember to remind the conductor to stop you at Unawatuna or you'lll end up walking back 1km just like us! The sunset is amazing from here. I would've posted a shot here but I've run out of space!

Last but not least, I've read an earlier review of how bad the service was, how unclean, blah blah... seriously, this is a boutique hotel which I will rank was 3.5-4 stars. It was good value for its standard and I could not find another similar hotel like this in the Talpa stretch with this kind of value. Also, the staff there deserves special mention. I have not come across a more hospitable and genuine service from these guys here. They were warm, friendly, helpful and personal. We even made friends with a few of them. Even the guards were friendly, always smiling and helped give us directions and get a bus for us on the street. Yes not all of them have good English but the reception managers like Malin and Prabath have pretty good English. The waiters and guards have limited English but it was okay if you break down your words into shorter vocabs, they kinda get it.

My only regret was not being able to tip them well with my lack of cash, for their exceptional service which was unparalleled to what I experienced in Jetwing Sea at Negombo. I hope my review here will make up as my tip. Unawatuna people are just lovely, very different from the commercialised Negombo.

Room Tip: Get the Ocean Play Room Ocean View if you like romance but if you want something fun, different and...
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Cantaloupe_Aqua, Owner at Cantaloupe Aqua, responded to this review, November 7, 2011
Thank you for your feedback at Cantaloupe AQUA. We regret that we fell short on your rating and sincerely apologize for the short comings. We are working on the Aqua Zen room and will be introducing additional rooms of slightly a larger size with similar specs called the Aqua Ultra Zen room, which will be unveiled at the end of the month. These rooms will have bigger bathrooms as well and leave the Aqua Zen room for budget travelers who would like the experience at an affordable amount given the compromise on the size of the bathroom.

We will be adding the additional amenities such as kettle, tea facilities for all rooms and the slippers, and bathrobes to all deluxe rooms/suites. Thank you very much for your very kind comments and we are very happy that you were very well cared for by the staff at Aqua. Your very generous words will certainly make up for the tips and the staff will all be informed of your review on their service.

Please do note that the issues (e.g shower curtain) mentioned need to be addressed and we have, since you've checked out, scheduled in the next two weeks for repairs and maintenance which are on-going now.

Please do accept our apologies again for anything that might have marred your stay and experience at Aqua and please be assured that rectifications being made and we sincerely hope that we will be able to welcome you, your families and friends back to Aqua again
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303 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (95)
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English first
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 22, 2011

I have experienced several villas in the southern coastal riviera of Sri Lanka and I must say Aqua differentiates itself in style. A relaxed and private atmosphere paralleled with modern and chic aesthetics. Rooms are classy with a brilliant view, the steak and Thai shrimp curry delicious and the cocktails ace. The name "Aqua" epitomized my experience, I was able to lounge in hotel pool, slide into the calm ocean protected by a reef and then grab my surfboard and rip it in the reef surf!

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 18, 2011

An excellent hotel for a hideout. Food was tasty. The hotel staff was friendly and caring. rooms were well maintained but bit small.
A very small pool and the beach in front is not good for a swim since there are many rocks. Beach was clean and very relaxing.
However walking distance to the Sea Turtle farm is an advantage of Aqua.
They must change the cushion covers and staff uniforms as they were faded.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Colombo, Sri Lanka
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2011

Funky, lounge, white, chill. A small hotel with a very relaxed atmosphere. The beds are heavenly and the view from the rooms priceless. The food is wonderful and when requested on time the chef is most helpful in plating up whatever you fancy! The price of food is fair and the bar and terras open to the beach and sea. All the staff is very friendly and helpful serving you swiftly with a smile. The location is wonderful, as they are the only hotel at this bay, the beach is as good as private. The infinity plunge pool is great for dip in the water to cool of before you have your cocktail on the deck. Looking for more action? The buzzing feel of Unawatuna Bay is only a 10 min drive away. Plenty of fun bars and restaurants right on the beach. We had a fabulous 3 night stay here!

Room Tip: Auqua Zen is fantastic FUN! Aqua Ocean Deluxe worth the little extra pay
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  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
New York City
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 6, 2011

We stayed here for 2 nights based on the reviews and our travel agent (even a 4 page spread in the local magazine). We would not recommend this hotel to anyone. I'm not sure what our travel agency paid them as it was part of a package but definitely worth the cost of a 2-3 star at most.

Look & Feel - This is a very new hotel yet everything already feels old and worn out. The which cushions on the beach chairs were worn out and dirty. The showers in the rooms look like they were falling apart. You can tell they threw the construction of the hotel together in a matter of weeks. The pool is an enlarged bathtub - you can't swim there. You can't swim in the ocean where the hotel is either.

Service - Other than the managers, the staff barely spoke English. Their white uniforms were dirty and I did not feel comfortable with them handling my food. The good hotels hire graduates from the hotel schools - they hired inexperienced laborers who did not seem to know what they were doing.

Food - We got seriously ripped off. They went out of their way to prepare a seafood platter dinner for us that was off the menu - which we thought was really nice of them. Except they charged us $100 USD for each platter. 2 Giant Prawns, some calamari, 2 crabs, and some ill-cooked fish steaks that were so terrible we didn't even touch them. Everything was cold - even the fried fishes and calamari. Having been in Sri Lanka for a few days already, we had an idea what a seafood platter of that type was going to cost - and $100USD was not reasonable by any standard.

Room Tip: All rooms face the ocean - so a plus
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 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.
Cantaloupe_Aqua, Owner at Cantaloupe Aqua, responded to this review, September 16, 2011
Thank you for your feedback at Cantaloupe AQUA. We regret you did not enjoy your experience at the hotel and sincerely apologize for the short comings.

I will address each of your complaints individually and I hope this clarifies all your points. .

Where the room rates are concerend while we are not sure how much you paid Aqua, has and is recognized as a hotel with extremely good value for money where the rooms are concerned.
We accept the cushions on the outdoor sofas were worn and were used due to the new sets being in cleaning. However we do accept this is not acceptable.

Where the showers in the rooms are concerend this is the first such complaint we have received and we will look into it. However all fittings at the hotel are of the highest quality by any standard and as you can see from 90% of the reviews we have received the hotel has received rave reviews for its design and layout. As advertised the pool is referred to as a Jacuzzi / Plunge Pool. As for the ocean the time during which you were visiting the hotel was off season, however even during the off season a few meters to the right there is a bay protected by coral which is great for swimming.

All staff employed are hotel school graduates and while they might not be to the standard of 5 star city hotels we have constantly been complimented for our service and quality of staff. The reviews on tripadvisor and other review/booking engine sites reflect this. Whilst the standard of english might not be perfect we have never had this complaint before. Currently since the country has just come out of a long civil war the hospitality industry is striving to achieve great standards in service by providing young individuals the oppurtunity to learn through the exisiting hotel schools in the area, which is being constantly developed to meet the expectations of high end travelers. However apart from all the issues at the hotel this aspect of the review sadens us and the staff alot because most of them are very hardworking, who have been deprived of this oppurtunity for a while and do serve best to their ability. As a new hotel we were excited in helping these individuals as they were mostly from around the area of the hotel and were anxious to be apart of this hotel and hence the oppurtunity given. We do have faith in them in coming to the standards we require for service but meanwhile they have managed to keep all guests happy with their warmth in welcoming and making all our guests feel at home, which has been the most reviewed aspect of the hotel, given they still may have more to learn in comparison to international standards. That said based on your feedback we will be addressing this point.

As for the cleanliness of the staff again this complaint is a first. We are looking into this as all staff uniforms are replaced regularly, apart from showing some degree of wear hygene has always been a top priority.

We also looked into the Seafood platter, which you say is not up to standard. The seaf food platter can easily serve two if not three people and the combination of Lobster, Crab, Cuttlefish, Prawns and Fish make this dish costly at times depending on the market price. However this seems to be the price range in most places on the beach if not more.

Please do accept our apologies again for anything that might have marred your stay and experience at Cantaloupe Aqua and please be assured that rectifications and repairs are being made and we sincerely hope that we will be able to welcome you, your families and friends back to Cantaloupe Aqua again.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 29, 2011 via mobile

This boutique hotel is a wonderful surprise to anyone that comes here. Friendly staff clean rooms and a view that will melt you instantly. We checked in with our kids on a Sunday to find everything that was promised on the web. The food however could use some improving especially the quantities and the flavor. Another problem is the pool, small and near the dining area which disturbs anyone during meal time. Overall this is a good hotel to try out with friends.

  • Stayed August 2011
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Colombo
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 28, 2011

Cantaloupe Aqua is a small boutique hotel with an extremely nice view of the sea and the beach. Although the hotel is facing the beach it does not have its own because the sea has carved in, but from the corner of the hotel one can access the public beach which is just 30 seconds walk. The area is beautiful and seemed to be untouched by the usual riff raff. The breakfast they give is pretty ok, and the service was very good. The hotel manager etc were very friendly and accommodating. The rooms were really nice even though a little tiny for my liking. The only hitch I experienced was that a lot of noise was coming from the bathroom because of the highway and the door in the bathroom would not close so we were not able to keep that noise away. I think maybe they can improve parking, there seemed to be only few parking spots

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 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.
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Additional Information about Cantaloupe Aqua

Address: Matara Road, Habaraduwa | Talpe, Unawatuna, Galle GL 80630, Sri Lanka
Phone Number:
Location: Sri Lanka > Southern Province > Galle > Unawatuna
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#3 Spa Hotel in Unawatuna
#7 On the Beach Hotel in Unawatuna
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Cantaloupe Aqua 4*
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome to Cantaloupe AQUA, our private hotel and beach club. AQUA again has been awarded the Trip Advisor 'Certificate of Excellence'for 2014. Cantaloupe Aqua is a 15 room affordable seafront boutique hotel style in Unawatuna (Galle) Sri Lanka. The concept of the hotel is inspired by famous beach clubs around the world; it's the only one of its kind in Sri Lanka. AQUA combines contemporary spaces, amazing music, and food to create the ultimate beach getaway. A further attraction of AQUA is that it features a private beach in one of Sri Lanka's most upmarket beach strips, Talpe. Through the year Aqua changes it's character from Up-beat to relaxation based on events and promotions taking place at the hotel. During the peak season (Dec-Jan, Mar-Apr, July-Aug) Cantaloupe AQUA hosts numerous sun set cocktails and Brunch Parties with an upbeat atmosphere. In keeping with our relaxing weekdays and Upbeat week ends. The parties however do not go on much later than mid night. All guests are given free access pass to the eventDuring quieter months of the year Cantaloupe is the prefect retreat for families with kids and Guests looking for ultimate relaxation. Please confirm with front desk on dates of events coinciding with your arrival to make sure if alternative accommodation needs to be arranged on the day/night of the event. AQUA cuisine just like aqua is inspired! Our inspiration created a menu, which is a combination of Thai Fusion, Japanese, Western and Sri Lankan. From fresh seafood platters with tamarind sauce to Prime Imported Steaks COCONUT will provide you with an exquisite culinary experience. The restaurant area is a veranda, which opens out to the Jacuzzi area. The theme is euro chic with white taking prominence with feature art adding color and character."Dine where the action is infinity poolside, beach side, indoors, outdoors, under the stars, on a deck or on the beach!" AQUA offers you numerous options and spaces to wine, dine, lounge, party or just chill! Nandana, Cantaloupe AQUA's Executive Chef, who has recently returned after completing a culinary course at the world famous, Blue Elephant Cooking School, is always busily preparing some delectable dish for the Coconut Restaurant guests. Nandana's food philosophy and culinary style is extremely simple but never fails to impress, any one of his dishes will have sentiments from at least two nations of the world. Fusion is his greatest skill. When describing his technique, the characteristically shy Chef, becomes vividly animated by his passion. His guests are constantly in an exciting state of anticipation, awaiting the next surprise Nandana will turnout. He prides himself in stocking the kitchen with the finest and freshest local produce and ingredients. His latest culinary conquest is Coconut's new Tapas Menu, which he has painstakingly crafted to weave in elements of Sri Lanka's tantilising flavors. He also just finalized the Thai-Fusion menu and it has already racked up rave reviews. The dining experience Cantaloupe AQUA plate up is easily one of the best in the south! 'Due to unforeseeable circumstances, Cantaloupe Aqua being primarily a beach front property has encountered difficulties providing guests with direct beach access in front of the property depending on the time of year and the seasonal weather changes. Due to man made structures built into the sea on the coastal line and global warming, which has caused inconsistent patterns of sand deposits. Sea erosion has caused Aqua to lose it's beach during some months of the year. In the event the beach is inaccessible our front desk staff will be more than happy to offer you complimentary transport to the closest beach on the right hand side of the property, which is also accessible by a 10 minute walk' - Management ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Cantaloupe Aqua Hotel Unawatuna

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