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.
- 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
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Cantaloupe Aqua Hotel Unawatuna