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“A true eco experience...” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Galkadawala

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Galkadawala
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Galkadawala | Palugaswewa, Habarana 10150, Sri Lanka   |  
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Hotel website
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Hotel amenities
Special Offer
All meals free!
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“A true eco experience...”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2013

I had heard so much about Galkadawela Eco Lodge from so many people and they did tell me how amazing it was, however you really cannot imagine how great a place is until you really have been there yourself. We spent a long weekend at this amazing eco lodge and it truly did live up and go beyond all of what i was expecting of it. The drive to the lodge was along a village road and some great birding along the way. The lodge is built in a way that it blends so well with its environs and you don’t know its there until you go inside. The rooms are very comfortable, all the necessary luxurious are there along with attached bathroom, hot water and a nice shower. Lots of space to chill out on the ground floor as well as the deck. The top most floor with the great views of the tank is the best place to be in the evenings and do some relaxing birdwatching. I was able to see many species of birds while in the bungalow it self and also got a good opportunity to take good pictures of them also. The food and service is super great too. Staff are friendly and willing to help at all times and cook makes the best meals and we got to eat so many great local vegetables that we usually don’t get a chance to. It was really cold in the evenings and night and we could not believe we were actually in the dry zone of the country it was more like somewhere in the hills! Lots to see and do while you’re there as well, if you ever want to leave the place that is. A trip to Ritigala is recommended if the road to it is repaired. I would recommend anyone who loves to be truly close to nature and have a different experience this is the place to go. We had an infant with us and she was very safe and happy staying here. This is a place for people who really love the outdoors and want to be close to nature. If your worried about the bugs and bees and freak out at the sight of them, this is not the place for you! But some of us appreciate that they are all part of our eco system and they have the right to be there as much as we do!

Room Tip: The Top floor rooms are ideal for couples. Th ground floor room is safer for families with small chi...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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82 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (12)
Date | Rating
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English first
sydney
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2013

We stayed here and absolutely loved it, a fabulous place to stay. Maulie sadly had been detained by flooding in Colombo but her staff looked after us so well. They made us very comfortable and cooked us delicious meals...it was here we had our first hoppers! We loved sleeping under our mosquito nets with the room open to the sounds of the jungle around us. Although Galkadawala is very rustic, it is extremely comfortable and we had one of the best showers of our holiday. We had some complications during our stay due to local flooding . Maulie and her staff could not have done more to help us.
This would be a great place to stay with children aged about 8 years and up. Our 19 year old daughter loved it!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 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
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Colombo, Sri Lanka
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 13, 2012

We stayed here with a family visiting us from the uk. We had four adults and seven kids ranging in age from 3 to 11 years of age. I would go here again in a heartbeat! With the children and their lives revolving around food, the service was unparalleled. The kids must have spent an hour at the table for breakfast and dinner, with more food coming out all the time, cooked to their demanding requests! The accomodation is very unique but comfortable and you feel very in tune with nature. We had walks along the lake in the morning and were visited by a friendly monk from the nearby temple. There are swings and hammocks for the kids and you are only 10 minutes out of town, so its very handy, yet separate. Maulie and her helpers were fantastic, treating us to ginger tea and she went beyond the call of duty even driving our friends to the train station when their transport fell through! She is gem and we thank her for such a lovely stay!!!

Room Tip: There is a ground level room for small children, but the stairs to the second floor are a little too...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Singapore, Singapore
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 23, 2012

Unique. It's like a hut in the jungle or a treehouse. We were told elephants may roam in our backyard and not to wander around in the dark. We arrived late at night because the drive into the lodge was challenging. Once we reached, it was an eye opening experience for me to stay in such a rustic hut, so close to nature. We settle down quickly and were a delicious dinner by the housekeepers. There were 6 of us, so we took up the three rooms. The bedrooms were very open so we could hear each room's occupants speaking at night.
On the second day, we have a relaxing time lounging on the third floor, on the courtyard (swings and a hammock) and in the lake. I enjoyed the outdoor shower by the swings too. We didn't see the wandering elephants but the puppies from the housekeeper's quarters were friendly and playful. I peeped into the kitchen when the was cooking our dinner and was amazed by how he cooked in semi darkness, using firewood.
I really enjoyed the experience here.
Last note: There are many resident frogs and birds in your room / bathrooms. They like to stare at you as you shower but that didn't bother me.

Room Tip: Choose the rooms upstairs if you can.
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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, Sri Lanka
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2012

Was only there for a day and a night...what an experience....beautiful surrounding area with the lake just behind the lodge. Lots of creatures and nature to photograph...got some great shots at sunset around the lake...lots of birds and other creatures right there in the garden. The room is on the first floor, open the bamboo shade and watch nature at work right there from your bed!
The caretakers Mr. Weerasinghe and Mr. Somasisri will look after you as if you are family!

The food was excellent!

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2012

Maulie has created a wonderful haven in Galkadawala. We had an experience we will never forget and staying here was a memory to cherish. There are many places to visit from the house and the staff are hugely accommodating to your needs.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
Byron bay
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2012

This place was expensive and relentlessly substandard. The floor between our first floor room and the room beneath was a metal grill - forget any privacy. The walls for the room only extended 1.75 way around - the rest was curtain. Rats fought under our bed during the night. Downstairs an awful smell of sewage pervaded the bathroom, so bad that even with the door closed the smell found its way into our room above. The food was expensive and barely edible - glloopy cucumber curry for dinner, with no accompanyments but hoppers and evil tasting juice. Breakfast fortunatley better, but only just. The staff, however, were pleasant and ffriendly, with very little English. I simply can't undertand the reviews who rated this place highly.

Room Tip: If you must stay here, go for the first floor room on the right - at least you won't be looking...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Galkadawala

Address: Galkadawala | Palugaswewa, Habarana 10150, Sri Lanka
Phone Number:
Location: Sri Lanka > North Central Province > Habarana
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 18 Specialty Lodging in Habarana
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
WE OFFER FREE BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DINNER SERVED BY OUR RENOWNED CHEFS IF YOU STAY WITH US IN APRIL OR MAY 2015. GALKADAWALA offers unique experiences of Culture, Heritage, History, Wildlife and Eco-friendly Construction. Once deforested, consumed and denuded land has been transformed back to a vibrant ecological habitat by this project. Surrounding irrigation lake, waterways and forests with high biodiversity provide trekking, bird watching and relaxing. Situated in an ancient agricultural village, Galkadawala, the lodge is in the centre of the Cultural Triangle close to historical sites Dambulla, Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa, Ritigala and Anuradhapura, and wildlife parks Minneriya, Kaudulla, Hurulu and Wilpattu. SPECIAL NOTE : TODAY the area abounds with endemic creatures of all types, including 133 of the 453 avian species and 50 of the 230 species of butterflies of Sri Lanka which are recorded at Galkadawala. From one of the smallest Lizards, the Sri Lanka Dry Zone Kangaroo Lizard, to the largest mammal on earth, the elephant, can be observed at Galkadawala. This is a result of hard work since 2006, of nurturing a habitat back to its former glory. To maintain this complex ecological habitat, at Galkadawala, prominence and care is given to all creatures. Guests too should understand that they have arrived at a habitat that has to be shared by all. One has to be especially sensitive to the creatures of the night, owls, otters, fishing cat (a very elusive animal, but can be heard if you are quiet enough). ... more   less 

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