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“An astonishing experience”
Review of The Mudhouse

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The Mudhouse
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 23, 2013

Although we are nearly seventy, we loved living close to nature at the Mudhouse. Hurricane lamps, outdoor showers, storms, lake flooding up to our "doorstep", jungle noises, wonderful birds, butterflies and fruit bats, bike rides down remote lanes (including to a temple under a massive boulder, and all locally sourced food make this place unforgettable. Tough if you like air-conditioning, but you can get that anywhere. The best thing really was the genuinely friendly and totally committed service of Moli, Arun and the manager Kumar - indeed all the staff there. They took us exploring on foot, by bike and in a tuk-tuk, and were knowledgeable about everything Sri Lankan. It was as close a we got to a real Sri Lankan experience in our three weeks. I endorse Mike R's review.

Room Tip: The huts are all well separated with plenty of privacy. We enjoyed sharing dinner with other guests...
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank CliffordGould
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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118 - 124 of 198 reviews

Reviewed January 3, 2013

We visited the MudHouse in November after our very 5 star posh wedding in Dubai we were just looking for a relaxing time away in a cave . The mud house was perfect it was cozy the food was all home grown on the farm the service was excellent the views were amazing. You can avail of the cycles for free and cycle around the place with a free tour guide. Having lived so long in the sand pit the rain and the croaking of the frogs at night were so unique . The mud house is for people who love and appreciate the outdoors the simplicity of nature showers in the wild the grunting of wild animals in the night it is truly unforgettable . And the 2 hosts did everything they could to make us feel right at home love the mudhouse

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank haboba13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 15, 2012

Two of us were the only guests during our stay November 2012, It was one of the worst experience in my long travel history to places off the beaten track. I wanted to leave Sri Lanka right there for the comfort of my home. We arrived in a tropical rain shower which continued relentless for our two day stay and everything was just MUD. Taken a cold shower in relentless rain on a concrete slab, brushing teeth in a dark WC, no hooks for garments, walking on dirt floors inside the mudhut and through deep mud to the 2nd bed outside in poorly lit courtyard, was a challenge for both of us. On top of this we both got sick from bad food running for the dark WC in tandem. Since there was not enough light to read a book, we went to the "beds" early evening wondering what we have gotten into.
I also found the cushions on chairs so dirty, that I removed them in order to sit down. The only highlight was the staff who tried to do everything to make us feel better.
Granted: we are of the well traveled older generation and used to comfort but this eco/nature place needs a lot of help!
It maybe ok for backpackers or families with curious adventourus children but not for ladies used to comfort and clean accommodations.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with friends
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5  Thank ConnecticutTravelfan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheMudHouse, Owner at The Mudhouse, responded to this reviewResponded December 8, 2012

Dear ConnecticutTravel,

We are so sorry you had such a bad time here. We genuinely created this place for good times and are deeply saddened on the rare occasions guests do not enjoy it.

Whilst the rain was very unfortunate and unusually heavy, The Mudhouse was clearly not the place for you. We actually have many 'older ladies' who really enjoy the sense of being close to nature and away from the modern world for a few days, but in your case it was clearly a bit too close. We’d ask any future guests to read our website and look and photos before confirming as it details very clearly what we provide and what kind of facilities we have – what is a wonderful experience for some is not for others. This is especially true during the rainy season (October – December), although many nature enthusiasts come specifically in this period. We only want people to come who will enjoy it here and have no interest in taking bookings from guests that are not going to be happy. We understand that The Mudhouse is clearly not suitable for everyone and have never claimed it to be so. We hope to launch a new website in the coming months which will go into even more detail than the existing site about the accommodation and general guest experience here. I have spoken at length to the consultant at the travel company that booked your trip to request them to be as clear as possible with clients in realistically managing expectations. The vast majority of guests love the outdoor showers and find them one of the most enchanting features but, for you, they were clearly an ordeal and that should have been spotted before confirming your decision to book here. If our information was the cause of this misunderstanding then we apologise for that too.

We firmly reject the idea that our food made you ill and we (and our kitchen team) resent that assumption. We cook in the traditional way – long and slow, and we are scrupulous with hygiene. It is possible you got ill from a previous place where you may have eaten poorly cooked western food - it would not be the first time this has happened.

From a management point of view we failed to realise how unhappy you were until it was too late (you could have informed us and we would have responded immediately). With hindsight we should have assisted you to move to a more suitable hotel after your first night and we apologise unreservedly for not realising or doing that.

On a more positive note, there had been very little rain for almost two years and, as a result of this monsoon, all the lakes in the area are now full again, teeming with birds and suitable for swimming and kayaking.

Thank you for being kind about the staff despite your obvious ill-feelings towards the place. We have all discussed this situation together at length, as a team, and made appropriate changes to try and ensure it doesn't happen again and that particular issues are directly addressed.

We do hope the rest of your trip went well and that your unfortunate experience here can help others make an informed decision about if the unique concept of The Mudhouse is really suitable for them.

Yours sincerely,

Tom & Kumar
Managers/Owners
The Mudhouse

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Reviewed November 13, 2012

Just back (early November 2012) from a family holiday in Sri Lanka, with an excellent itinerary courtesy of Experience Travel.

I was unsure about taking my family...ie. me - a fairly unadventurous and comfort-centred 52yr old aracnaphobic, my wife (younger, more adventurous) and two boys (3yrs and 6yrs)...into a jungle. But i couldn't have been more wrong.

The Mud House isn't so much an hotel as an experience. it's not just the Mud House that was so unusual and interesting, but the context of the wider topography, nearby town and insight into the local community (helped by the welcoming staff, who were locals). I must mention here that Moli and his friend Pani were fantastic with the kids. Not only did they look after us with impeccable service at the Mud House itself, but did things like show us around their old school, take us to the playground in town, local temples and other sites of interest...all very everyday to them, but very exotic to us. We were also guests at Pani's house where our children met his children. Lovely people. Some of the best fun the kids had were local tuk-tuk rides. Also the Mud House (contrary to my expectation) was the easiest place for the kids to amuse themselves and allow us to relax. They loved the freedom of the place and the spectacular wildlife.

This might sound like a decadent westerner speaking, but - speaking as a decadent westerner - the best thing about the Mud House is the absence of electricity and other habitual distractions. Whilst the atmosphere is basic and rustic - and that's the whole point - you still feel pampered and privileged to be there. It's all very unfussy and minimal (ie. in an aboriginal way!) but very comfortable, cosy and spic and span, and the the 'mod cons' are artfully installed so as not to detract from the natural surroundings...which the Mud House structures also blend into. They are actually very beautifully constructed. This really does open up your eyes and ears (bring earplugs if you fear you might get tired of the richness of the nocturnal sounds) to the exotic natural world which surround you. It's wonderfully atmospheric.

It was especially lovely to see the kids being...well, what they should be. In fact I think one should have to hand in any phones, ipads etc on the way in. Although we did bring a solar powered lamp, which came in handy, there were lots of candles, storm lamps etc. and battery torches for visits to the toilet. Now that - to me - was the height of luxury...to be able to 'commune with nature' in a very posh, comfortable shed/toilet with semi-open sides. Same with the jungle showers - one can pretend to be Tarzan.

Equally luxurious was the amazing food...I don't think we were served the same dish twice over our stay, and each meal was full of variety in itself. Absolutely sensational food.

By the way, I didn't see one spider...I guess the lizards take care of them. Although on our Sri Lankan trip we did see plenty of wild peacocks, several-foot-long monitor lizards, huge bats, snakes, elephants, fireflies (3yr old's favourite), monkeys etc...but never so that they'd spook anyone.

Absolutely magical and I'm sure Joseph, our 6yr old, will remember the experience for the rest of his life. My wife and I certainly will. (apparently Fred's 3yr old memory gets wiped soon...but then he'll still have the photos).

Highly recommended all round.

Room Tip: 1. I think we were in the biggest Mud House, which was fantastic for a family of 4. Could sleep 6 or...
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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Thank Mike R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheMudHouse, Owner at The Mudhouse, responded to this reviewResponded December 8, 2012

Dear Mike R,
Many thanks for taking the time to share your experience in such detail. It was our pleasure to have your family stay here and we hope to welcome you all again in the future.
Regards,
Tom
The Mudhouse

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Reviewed November 3, 2012

A group of six of us spend three nights here in September .the staff were very good polite friendly and helpful . Four if us stayed in the camping zone would describe it as basic and rustic and in need of upgrading (cushions were tatty and dirty)considering the costs.yes we did know that there wasn't any electricity but it was too dark ,more efficient or just more candles would have been helpful !,in fact one of our party fell going to the bathroom during the night!!! And after a days safari the shower didn't have the lamp lit!!yes the shower was outdoors but really does need to be completely enclosed as you could hear local villagers taking there cattle home .i! Also a few hooks (even if they were sticks ) to hang clothes on would be usefull!,,it was extremely hot even at night!!! Hardly slept at all!,so imagine our shock when we had a wonderful cookery lesson inthe kitchens to see electricity and to be to,d be our driver he had light in his quarters!!!Apparently the owner was on site throughout our stay but he did not bother to come and speak to us which we found very rude!,

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank Mary38677
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheMudHouse, Owner at The Mudhouse, responded to this reviewResponded November 12, 2012

Dear Mary 38677,

Thank you for taking the time to leave your valuable feedback. We are sorry we fell short of your expectations. It is very unusual for us not to get overwhelmingly positive feedback and we will respond accordingly to some of the points you raised.

We do accept that things have not been as perfect as we would have liked during your stay. Occasionally lanterns do go out (they are cleared every morning, cleaned, refilled, and returned, alight, in the early evening) but we should have spotted it for you before you returned from your safari. Similarly with the cushions. We’ll make sure this doesn’t happen again and really appreciate your bringing it to our attention.

The kitchen and the hut where your driver stayed do not actually have electricity as you thought – they have a solar panel on the roof which charges a 12v battery that powers energy-saving light-bulbs that emit a very cold, harsh light - not something we see being compatible with the ambience of the guest huts and the overall concept of the place. The other reason we use this system in the kitchen is it is not good to have fuel near food and the solar system is much better in this respect. The good news is that the technology has now improved and we are in the process of adding warmer solar powered lights in the guest huts too. Most guests actually state how much they enjoy the romantic atmosphere at night but I appreciate this was insufficient for you and will endeavour to see that future guests are offered more choice. We do have extra hurricane lamps which we can (and do) add to the huts so perhaps the staff were unaware you were finding the lighting an issue - again, this is our responsibility to gauge so I apologise if you were not asked specifically or if your dissatisfaction was not spotted. We also provide very powerful torches for guests who do not have their own, so I am not sure if or why you did not have these for using the toilet at night.

We agree that it was a shame you did not meet one of the owners in person as we are very sociable people. It is highly unusual for either myself or Kumar not to meet all guests, although with the size of the property and the level of work and development we oversee it is sometimes unavoidable. I happened to be away during your stay and Kumar’s wife had recently given birth to their first child so he was somewhat preoccupied. We are (and were at the time you stayed) also overseeing a large project on the other side of our land, for the benefit of our future guests which requires a lot of time and man-management as everything here is done by hand and not machines. Please do not take this personally - it was just unfortunate timing. However, we apologise if this offended you.

Again, I can only express our disappointment that these few shortcomings seem to have spoiled your overall stay and experience here. Little details do count and it is our general attention to them that guest normally appreciate - it is this that we continually strive to achieve.

Thank you for your kind comments about the staff, the cooking lesson and the food – we shall let the team know your positive feedback too.

Regards,

Tom
The Mudhouse

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Reviewed October 29, 2012

It's rare to find a place that surpasses your expectations in each and every way, and having spoken with friends and read the reviews I have to say we arrived here with some rather high expectations indeed. From the flawless, courteous pickup service at the airport to the ever sunny and welcoming smiles of the staff and constant willingness to provide help and assistance our stay here began on a high note and just continued that way.

The accommodation itself is simple but this is very much the beauty of the place and simple in this case certainly doesn't mean roughing it. Comfortable beds, and rustic yet highly tasteful furnishings make for accommodation that you simple relax into. The food was simply fantastic and there seemed to be a never-ending variety of it.

If that isn't enough, there was the endless variety of wildlife that paraded past us as we relaxed in hammocks or wandered through the meadows -- mouse deer, mongoose, jungle fowl, peacocks, huge squirrels, tiny lizards and the list goes on.

A family destination? My ever-restless eight year old son, who I was worried would become bored, was fretting after the second day about having to leave and asking how soon we could come back again. By the time we did have to leave he was diligently pointing out every jungle fowl, mongoose and peacock that strayed into view.

After living and travelling withing Asia for most of the past 15 years the Mud House stands out as the single best resort experience I have had, and by a considerable margin at that. I can't thank the staff enough for all they did for us, nor can I thank enough the friends who sent us in that direction. Highly recommended, indeed!

Room Tip: Visit the nearby ancient temple. Take a wander in the meadows. Watch the wild peacocks from the br...
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank DonInPhuket
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 2, 2012

We stayed here for 2 nights and just loved it. The idea of being on your own in the forest with your "room" open to the world is both exciting and scary! I can't say we got a lot of sleep on our first night here, but we left with a ton of memories. Mouse deer in the shower, frog in the toilet, land monitors and jungle fowl in the undergrowth, really annoying chipmunks living in your roof, late night cycle rides back from dinner, early morning bird watching and a wonderful hour in the kitchen with the cooks.
I think you have to be "up for it" to get the most out of it - but not place to be missed.
Great food, welcoming hosts. Just special.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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Thank Kingmaker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about The Mudhouse

Address: Pahaladuwelweva, Anamaduwa, Sri Lanka
Location: Sri Lanka > North Western Province > Anamaduwa
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Specialty Lodging in Anamaduwa
Price Range: $75 - $150 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 8
Also Known As:
The Mudhouse Hotel Anamaduwa
The Mudhouse Sri Lanka/Anamaduwa

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