I stayed at the Riviera Resort in Batticaloa for four nights while my wife was on a work trip. We had a very basic, but clean room with fan. They have air conditioned rooms, but were sold out. This place seems popular especially with backpackers. The hotel is really good value considering the lagoon side location, nice garden setting and excellent prices on food and the room rate. I think the rate was about RS 6000, which is not exceptionally low, but I think it was high season.
Our room was in a very nice garden setting which was awash with mango trees, coconut palms and many other beautiful plants. It is a short walk out to the east shore of the lagoon which makes for a fantastic place for watching the sunset. They have a few tables and benches out by the lagoon so that it is possible to have a "sundowner" while you enjoy the end of the day.
There are other air conditioned bungalows on the large property that are stand alone with verandas that look out upon the lagoon. This is where I will be staying next time! Teh stand alone bungalows and other air conditioned rooms looked nice and well appointed. Our room had a mosquito net and a decent bathroom with hot water.
The food was probably my very favourite thing about the Riviera. They serve authentic, Tamil style Sri Lankan food. It was prawn season and I had several fantastic prawn curries with Pol Roti and Senni Sambal with Maldives dried fish. The food is homestyle and thus fairly basic, but exceptionally delicious compared to the over salted foods you might find in a typical Colombo hotel. (little restaurant). Fortunately for my wife, it was also mango season and we were spoiled with them every morning at breakfast.
My suggestion for trips fromthe hotel is to rent push bikes from the hotel and pedal your way around. The roads along the lagoon and ocean heading out east from the hotel are flat and easy to ride. My favourite cycling trip involved heading out west from the hotel across the old lagood bridges and then back south along the lagoon. Eventually, after about a 30 minute ride or so, you hit an area which has an old lighthouse and and eco-park which is really only accessible via short boat trip across a bit of the lagoon. This looks like it was a revitalization project by USAID after the Tsunami hit in 2004. There are a load of locals waiting in this area to provide a boat ride to the eco park. I did not make it to the eco park because the boat ride is about RS 3000 for an hour. If you would like to spend the money, I am sure the park is nice. They also do a sunset cruise of the lagoon which I am sure is quite spectacular.
All in all, this was a great stay. Batticaloa is a bit laid back, but it is a great stopover with plenty of nice beaches and parks within striking distance. As for the Riviera Hotel, I would highly recommend it for an upmarket backpacker experience or for someone, like me, that likes the laid back, good value local place.
Choose the lagoon view stand alone bungalows with AC for a more upmarket experience.
See more room tips
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.