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“For nature lovers”
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Overview
Chalet -
1 Bedroom, 2 Bathrooms, Sleeps 5
Hambantota, Tangalle, Southern Province

Reviews from our community

Excellent - based on 9 reviews
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Reviews from our community

Date | Rating
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English first
Per R
Copenhagen, Denmark
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“For nature lovers”
Reviewed January 3, 2016 for a stay in December 2015

If you stay at River Island and want to make a Safari tour to Bundala or Yala, you should definitely go with a guide. Ask Nelun to call Pradeep Kumara (or do it your self at +94 772 261 530). He has great knowledge of the wildlife and knows every corner of the park and will make sure, that you have a great experience.

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Kitchen & utensils Bathroom cleanliness
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Traveling group: Teenagers
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management Response
Jan 28, 2016
thank you per. :)
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pamudi123...
Los Angeles, California
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“A gem of a place”
Reviewed June 21, 2015 for a stay in June 2015

Me and my mom stayed here for 4 nights and I could not have chosen a better place to escape from my busy life. If you love being surrounded by nature, you will love this place. In the morning, you wake up not to the call of the rooster, but to the calls of the peacocks roosting on the tall trees in front of the property. Two kinds of monkeys play on the branches of the trees. A short walk from the property, is a lake full of lotus buds and aquatic birds. Right in front of the property is a stream where you can see herons, kingfishers, turtles and even the crocodile. The whole area, in general, is a birdwatcher's paradise. There is a charming village nearby and most of the neighbors are very friendly. You can walk through the village and then go all around the lake. The place is secluded but safe. The caretaker Samanthika is very friendly, does an excellent job maintaining the house and cooks tasty, wholesome food. Her husband and her little daughter are very friendly too. However, if you are not comfortable about having insects and small creatures around you, this is probably not the place for you. But if you can accept them as part of nature, you will find it hard to leave this place. Excellent all over!

However a word of caution about the safari vehicle service. We saw the reviews here, and we booked the safari service to visit Udawalawe, Yala and Bundala parks. First, we went to Udawalawe and the vehicle was driven by the safari service owner himself, who was an excellent driver. We returned very happy expecting a similar service for the Yala full day tour next day. It was a different driver next day and, all started going wrong from the beginning. The engine gave some trouble and we offered to push start. The driver refused any help and continued to play with it with no success. Finally he asked help to push start. We were 30 mins late when leaving the property and an hour later when we arrived at park entrance, it was already very late to have any chance of seeing the leopard the park is famous for. Then around sunset, the driver got the vehicle stuck in a pit of sand on a less-used road. For 30 mins, he tried to dig sand with his bare hands and tried to put sticks and leaves under the tires to get out of the pit (driving a 4X4 regularly, I was sure it would not work). We hear another vehicle approaching and we ask our driver to go ask help and he refuses saying he can manage it! (all this with a lone elephant roaming nearby and my elderly mother panicking because she can't even try run and escape if something went wrong). However, the other driver volunteered to help, got the vehicle out of the sand and hands back the wheel. Instead of backing up and getting on the safer road before the other vehicle leaves, our driver drives ahead and gets stuck again! We wait another 15 mins till another vehicle with both a driver and a ranger comes around for the rescue. Compared to most vehicles, our vehicle was old, uncomfortable, not in sound mechanical conditions, had a piece of glass instead of a right side-mirror and was badly equipped for emergencies. Next day, we cancelled Bundala trip with them and rented a much better vehicle and an excellent, knowledgeable guide/driver for the same price from Flamingo Safari (077-5663363). We were very impressed and had a great time. Use a reputed service for safari because they have back-up vehicles in emergencies. Get yourself dropped at Udamalala junction (just LKR 100 by tuk-tuk) and ask your safari driver to meet you there at an appointed time. However, the property is simply great and an excellent base to go to all three national parks.

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Liked best: Closeness to nature
Liked least: Nothing
Traveling group: Other
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Friends getaway Families with young children
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management Response
Jun 22, 2015
i am so very very sorry about the disastrous trip to yala. i always use gayan as he is a ranger and very knowledgeable and responsible and so far his vehicles are good. this should never have happened and i have spoken to him. he is very keen on refunding you his fee. please tell me how i could do this. please also apologise to your mother, it must have been a terrible experience for her too.
i am happy that you enjoyed our little chalet and thank you so much for a great review.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
noplanes
Level 5 Contributor
61 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
“Lovely back to basics place for nature lovers”
Reviewed March 5, 2015 for a stay in February 2015

River island is a unique place which will appeal to nature-lovers and those who don't mind going back to basics. We absolutely loved having the river and nature close by, and were super-happy to not be staying in Tissa, Kataragama, or Hambantota.
The housekeeper Samantika & her husband are very friendly and helpful, and Samantika is a great cook. We had all our meals done by her in the 2 days we were there, and they were all very tasty.
Note that it is very secluded, so do purchase all snacks, water, drinks, toiletries, and anything you need before coming in. There are no shops or restaurants nearby - we had to go into Hambantota (~5km away) to buy beer.
Its about an hour drive to Yala National Park entrance, but Nelun can help arrange a driver for your safari. We also went into Bundala Bird Sanctuary (about 20 mins away) which was a great birdwatching experience for us.
Its also worth taking some time for a walk around the little village, to see the HUGE tree by the river just 3 mins walk from the house, and the nearby lake is great for birdwatching, with its own resident crocodiles.
Must be nature lovers to stay here, and you will be richly rewarded!

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How easy was key pickup/access to the property? Overall condition of the property
Bedding & mattresses Kitchen & utensils
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Service
Liked best: great food, access to nature
Liked least: Would be much better if we had hot water (but we knew this right from the beginning when we booked)
Traveling group: Spouse/Partner
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Friends getaway Older travelers
Families with young children
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management Response
Mar 7, 2015
thank you sooooooooooo much for your super review. it was a pleasure to have you stay
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jonas T
Gothenburg, Sweden
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Fantastic experience!”
Reviewed February 5, 2015 for a stay in January 2014

We stayed 2 adults and 3 children (4-6 years old) at River Island for four days, and it was the highlight of our five weeks in Sri Lanka. Living with animals literally all over the place. There are nets around the beds, so you will sleep well, but outside the nets there are birds, bugs, lizards, snakes, bats, monkeys, crocodiles, and more that you see from the porch. I went with my oldest daughter on a crocodile excursion along the river with one of the very friendly neighbours. We saw a really large one, that thankfully does not get all the way up to the part of the river by the house. Make sure to get up early one morning and enjoy the bird life form the little tower above the shower. The uniqueness of this place is the wild life experiences it will give you, at every hour of your stay.

Caretakers and cook Samantikka and Suranga with their daughter Isha is a very nice family that we appreciated having around. Samantikka cooks great food and Nelun the owner is very helpful with arrangements and questions.

How easy was it to book the property? How helpful were the directions to the property?
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Bedding & mattresses Kitchen & utensils
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Service
Liked best: Living so close to nature, with animals everywhere around you, around the clock....
Traveling group: Family with Young Children
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Friends getaway Older travelers
Families with young children
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management Response
Mar 7, 2015
iam so glad you had a happy stay. please do come back again
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Suren D
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Level 5 Contributor
77 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Wonderful place to stay for the nature traveller”
Reviewed November 11, 2014 for a stay in November 2014
1
person found this review helpful

Great place. Fantastic Sri Lankan food prepared by caretaker "Samanthika". Open plan sleeping for 5. Two small waterways run on either side of the cottage. Great place for nature lovers. Our stay was like watching an episode of "Jungle Book" . 2 types of monkeys in big troupes kept us entertain with their antics. Lots of peacock dancing and preening in the evenings. An eagles nest in a tree next to the cottage. Cranes, snapping turtles, water monitors, king fishes, cows and buffalo..... the list never ending

How easy was it to book the property? How helpful were the directions to the property?
How easy was key pickup/access to the property? Overall condition of the property
Bedding & mattresses Kitchen & utensils
Bathroom cleanliness Other facilities & amenities
Service
Liked best: Nature at your door step
Liked least: nothing really
Traveling group: Spouse/Partner
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Friends getaway Older travelers
Families with young children
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management Response
Nov 13, 2014
Thank you for your lovely review. You must come again
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Zurich, Switzerland
Reviewed August 3, 2014 for a stay in December 2013

How easy was it to book the property? How helpful were the directions to the property?
How easy was key pickup/access to the property? Overall condition of the property
Bedding & mattresses Bathroom cleanliness
Other facilities & amenities Service
Traveling group: Spouse/Partner
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Friends getaway Families with young children
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveler and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
Management Response
Mar 7, 2015
you were such good guests. thank you for a lovely review
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
CarlsonFa...
Muscat, Oman
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Sleep in the Jungle!”
Reviewed April 24, 2014 for a stay in March 2014

My family stayed here for 4 nights and we really enjoyed the remote jungle aspect with the quiet, the many monkeys, peacocks and snow herons. It is true there were many bugs near the lights at night, but nothing ever bit us and nothing got through the mosquito nets. Nelun was so incredibly helpful with our many questions. It was the end of our trip and we were too tired to take a safari trip, but there is a very nice hotel in town where we paid a VERY small amount to use their lovely pool. It was a great way to enjoy the area but still stay in a place that was very much in nature. The food was incredible and our two hosts took wonderful care of us. There was always someone to give us a ride into town. I would recommend this if you want to experience the nature of Sri Lanka but have lovely food and great advice and ideas for how to spend your time.

How easy was it to book the property? How helpful were the directions to the property?
How easy was key pickup/access to the property? Overall condition of the property
Bedding & mattresses Bathroom cleanliness
Other facilities & amenities Service
Liked best: Enjoying the jungle, the quiet, and the animals.
Liked least: Bugs at night but they actually only stay near the lights and are not in bed with you!
Traveling group: Young Children
Your age range 35-49
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Friends getaway Families with young children
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management Response
Jul 31, 2014
thank you so much iam so happy you enjoyed river island
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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