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“Life Time Experience”
Review of Bandarawela Hotel

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Bandarawela Hotel
Ranked #2 of 5 Hotels in Bandarawela
Reviewed January 7, 2014

The hotel was recommended to us by one of our friends. This is truly an amazing place. A 120 year old colonial hotel. The staff was very friendly, courteous and helpful. The cinnamon flavored welcome tea was so special and had never tasted before. The rooms were very basic, not like in other modern day star class hotels, but were very clean and beds were very comfortable.The red colour cement floor was shining like a mirror. The hotel was full with foreign and local visitors on the day we visited. Food was very tasty.The buffet was very nice and had a nice spread of Western & Sri Lankan foods. Cannot expect more for the price you pay.
Have a look at their information board.There are many places to visit in Bandarawela.If you have time go on a train ride to Ella and enjoy the scenic beauty.
Do not miss out this place and we will definitely go there for sure.
Our salute for the management and the staff.

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Vindya E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bandarawela H, General Manager at Bandarawela Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded January 13, 2014

Dear Vindya,

We acknowledge with many thanks your valuable time taken to post your appreciative comments about Bandarawela Hotel and are glad that you have enjoyed our food and hospitality.

We also gather your concern to promote the places of interest around Bandarawela which is of great significance of the Uva region where one could radiate to while staying at our hotel.

We will convey your sentiments to every staff member of our hotel and we look forward to welcoming you soon again. It was an absolute pleasure having you stay with us.

Best wishes,

Senani Perera

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169 - 175 of 420 reviews

Reviewed January 4, 2014

Staff utterly charming and the service was super. Even when I complained about the state of our bathroom they were apologetic and empathetic.

Food was fine although strange that in a country of fresh fruit the fruit juice at breakfast is clearly not fresh.

Rooms are dark, dingy and very very tired. The bathrooms are a horror – clearly no investment for years so the stained plastic loo seats and mouldy walls are an eyesore. There were no bathplugs in either of our three rooms – we requested plugs and reception managed to rustle up one for us to share between the three rooms.

Worst of all is that the hotel seems to use its ‘green’ credentials as an excuse for not washing fabrics. The waiters’ white uniforms at breakfast were utterly filthy, sticky tablecloths were re-used. Clean tablecloths have clearly been washed in cold rather than hot water and sheets are grey. The bed covers look as if they have seen many guests between washes.
This is an example of where the ‘eco’ cause has been used as an excuse to cost cut – minimal, cheap loo roll provided, dull low energy bulbs – minimal washing and minimal investment in the structure of the hotel. Moth balls and bathroom air freshener were used to overcome the smell in the rooms and boy did they pong!

Room Tip: Choose the first floor and the upper numbers to minimise the noise from the corridors and any events...
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  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank CatharineTE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 28, 2013 via mobile

We visited Bandarawela hotel on 15/12/2013 it is a 4 hour drive if you leave Colombo in the wee hours of the morning to skip the heavy traffic, it's a winding drive though so patience is needed. Take care to drive safely when you hit the mountains and expect heavy fog.We arrived at the hotel and were greeted by some very well trained and pleasant staff, the room was very clean, the bathrooms very clean too, the hotel is 115 years old and it has a very colonial touch to it, everything is very old and classy, you feel like your in a time warp when the British were in Sri Lanka. I had mentioned to the front office on the phone when I was reserving the dates that we were celebrating our second wedding anniversary and wanted the room to be just perfect, to our amazement the hotel presented us with a chocolate cake in the morning when we arrived and we thought that was so thoughtful. The food was very nice, we had buffet for all our meals and the spread was great, what more can a traveler ask for? We will definitely go back given the opportunity.

Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
Thank Suresh R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bandarawela H, General Manager at Bandarawela Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded January 2, 2014

Dear Suresh,

We thank you for selecting Bandarawela Hotel to celebrate your second wedding anniversary and are pleased to know that you have enjoyed our food and hospitality.

It is also interesting to know your experience on the journey to the hill country from Colombo. We are certain that you were relieved off from the traffic congestion as you exited the outskirts of Colombo where one starts enjoying a hassle free drive along the highway journeys passing through the magnificent scenes right up to Bandarawela. You may stumble across heavy fog as you have, but very rare.

Whilst we appreciate your valuable time taken to post your comments via Trip Adviser , we look forward to welcoming you soon again.

Best wishes for a prosperous New Year.

Regards,

Senani Perera

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Reviewed December 25, 2013

After touring the magnificent tea etates and mountainous countryside nearby, we booked a night at the Bandarwela Hotel on the recommendation of a friend. The hotel is nestled at the top of a drive near the centre of town. The hotel is single storey at the front and two storey accommodation at the rear. As we arrived guests were having tea on the front lawn. The hotel was a former hunting lodge from the turn of the century. The rooms are not large but very comfortable with furnishings of the period right down to a grand old wardrobe. The bathroom features a four legged cast iron bath with shower rose.

That night we had an enjoyable drink in the bar with a railwayman's timber token on the top shelf the subject of some discussion about its use and origins. Given the very strong link between the railway and the growth of tourism in the early days, this relic of the past makes a great deal of sense.

Dinner was a very pleasant smorgasbord with a wonderful array of food. The staff were exceedingly helpful. We were even serenaded by a local band. Similarly breakfast was plentiful with eastern and western cuisine available.

If you seek accommodation that is interesting and charming, the Bandarawela Hotel will delight you.

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled with family
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Thank brian w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bandarawela H, General Manager at Bandarawela Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded December 29, 2013

Dear Mr. Brian,
We are pleased to read your appreciative review about Bandarawela Hotel and your comments are inspiring.

In addition to our food and service that have been commended, we do notice your keen interest that has been taken to admire the historical artefacts that have been preserved and which contribute to complement the colonial aura that has been lasting since the early years of 1900.

Whilst we thank you for recommending our hotel to those who seek charming accommodation, we also wish to convey our heatfelt thanks to Kal who made two consecutive visits during the past 30 days, for recommending our hotel to you as your home in the Hill Country of Sri Lanka.

We look forward seeing all of you again.

Regards and Best wishes for a prosperous New Year.

Senani Perera

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Reviewed December 22, 2013

I am the husband of Indu51 who wrote "Disappointed with Everything". I sent the following email to the management after our return to Sydney from our holiday in Bandarawela.
"I spent a weekend at your hotel from Saturday 30/11/2013 to Monday 2/12/2013 with my wife and daughter, having booked on line from Sydney where we have been living since 1992 after migrating from Colombo.
I am sad to let you know that our experience in your hotel was very ordinary, and these are the reasons:
The room we were given (105) on the ground floor was in a wing where none of the foreign tourists were accommodated, and we had a feeling that this room would normally be given only to locals although we were charged the rates that you offer to foreign tourists. (Yes, it is very disappointing even in this day and age that there are hotels in Sri Lanka having this distinction between the locals and the foreigners). We were continuously disturbed by the occupants in the room above us due to the heavy foot steps on the timber flooring, the noise at times was more like a stampede of wild buffaloes. The cupboard had a bad odour like some old musty smell and we had to keep it shut and avoid putting our clothes in it. The bathroom floor obviously had seen better days, because we couldn't help notice the patches where the floor paint had come off.
Your reception staff displayed utter disregard to our request for a change of room, even after I had very patiently explained how badly we were disturbed by the noise. There was no apology either. They could certainly do with some training on customer service!
This was certainly not what we expected to encounter on our short holiday, so unfortunately we shall be compelled to give your hotel a miss next time".
a few days after this email was sent, I had a response from the management similar to what was sent to my wife. There was an apology, but that was overshadowed by the praise given to their own staff. There was no mention of finding out who the person at the reception on that day was and advising that person on how customer dissatisfaction should be handled.
Then there was the stock answer by the management in the email response I received "You may also be interested to know that our clientele comprises of mixed nationalities, majority of Sri Lankans being repeated guests and we are certain that this is due to our hospitable service and flexibility to cater to varying needs". I also noticed a review by Ashy D in August 2013 pointing out the double standards of the dining room staff, trying to please the foreign tourists but treating locals in a watered down manner. I call this a stock answer because this was in the reply to Ashy D as well.
Also the management had commented that the rooms upstairs were double rooms unlike the room we were given which was a triple room, I would like to ask then how come there was a group of people (well over 2 people) accommodated in the room above us? We could hear beds and furniture been dragged across the floor late in the evening to accommodate this group.
I would like to advise the Bandarawela hotel management that the colonial atmosphere and the authentic look with the bar and lounge etc are very good and we can all appreciate that, but we do not appreciate the colonial attitude of the staff. Having lived in Sydney for over 2 decades, we can easily pass off as foreign tourists, as I myself am very fair complexioned and have been mistook for a foreigner in Colombo, but we do not pretend to be what we are not, we speak in our local Sri Lankan mother tongue within our family, and I think this was the give away to your staff who decided that we were not worthy of the treatment they reserve for the foreigners.
To wrap up, dear Bandarawela Hotel management, I would like to add to Ashy D's comments about the local tourists who keep your business going in times of poor foreign tourist arrivals, that expatriate Sri Lankans like us always love the country they were born in and would love to promote the country and hotels overseas. So please train your staff to treat everyone who stays in your hotel alike regardless of the fact they speak the local lingo or not, because they all deserve the same special treatment you reserve for the foreigners. My Aussie colleagues and friends who have visited Sri Lanka are bewildered by the double standards in Sri Lanka and they are not comfortable with this sort of thing happening in hotels. Think how good it will be for your business if you give that special treatment to your locals and expatriate Sri Lankans who will then promote your business to their network locally and overseas?

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank pererak
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 18, 2013

We stayed here 1 night.We arrived there in the evening.They welcomed us with cinnamon tea.It was very taste for that time.They are service is very good.Room was comfortable.Location is very good.I recommend this hotel for everyone.

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Hoshi I
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bandarawela H, General Manager at Bandarawela Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded December 23, 2013

Dear Hoshi,
We thank you for your visit to Bandarawela Hotel and your feed back via Trip Advisor.

Your comments on our service are inspiring and it has been an absolute pleasure having you stay with us.

Thankyou once again for recommending our hotel to everyone.

Best wishes for a joyous festive season and a prosperous New Year.

Good Luck and Regards

Senani Perera

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Reviewed December 17, 2013

With an untouched old fashioned appeal the story of this place goes back’s to the 1890's.
This colonial hotel remains with the charm and traditions of its glory days. Location is excellent, close to the town centre but, even so, still quiet enough. The city of Bandarawela is the right place to set off for a visit to the Horton Plains and World End National Park (great walking paths and sceneries).
When we entered the hotel was like stepping back into 1900s … everything is in the exact place where it was years ago. It seems that only the dust is clean, that gives the place a very old British ambience … nice, very nice indeed.
Comfortable rooms, huge dining room, interior porches, small gardens with turtles, and a typical colonial bar makes this hotel a spot that we don’t want to miss.
Rooms are big enough, very clean with all the commodities. The bathrooms are just ok with plenty of hot water, but of course also a bit old fashioned. Breakfast in general was very good and all the staff were extremely nice, friendly, always ready to help at any of our needs.
If you want to “go back in time” don't hesitate and stay in this hotel; quite unique at a very reasonable price.
This is a must stay hotel ... I recommend it to all my friends and Tripadvisor readers

Room Tip: To live the really "1900 spirit", chose the oldest room you can get ...
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  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Coutito
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bandarawela H, General Manager at Bandarawela Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded December 23, 2013

Dear Mr. Coutito,
We thank you for selecting Bandarawela Hotel as your home during your visit to the Hill Country of Sri Lanka and your valuable time spared to post your comments on Trip Advisor.

We also acknowledge with many thanks for appreciating our services and the colonial aura that we maintain that has been preserved since the early years of 1900 and of course for recommending our hotel as a 'must visit place' to all your friends and Trip Advisor Readers.

We will convey your happiness to every staff member in the hotel who lived up to your expectations.

Whilst we look forward to welcoming you back in the near future, we wish you a joyous festive season and a prosperous New Year.

Good Luck and Best Regards

Senani Perera

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Bandarawela Hotel

Address: No. 14 Welimada Road, Bandarawela, Sri Lanka
Location: Sri Lanka > Uva Province > Bandarawela
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 5 Hotels in Bandarawela
Price Range: $38 - $181 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Bandarawela Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 35
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Journey to the top of the world across a limitless mountain vista adorned by a green carpet of tea plants. Enter a long lost era through a portal of clouds and feel the kiss of mountain mist on your skin. Breathe the pristine mountain air and let your soul be rejuvenated. Gaze upon the dream scape of Bandarawela. Reside at the Bandarawela Hotel, and live for a while in a land of strawberries, pears and tea.The hotel has 33 colonial rooms with great views of tea plantations. All the bathrooms come with bathtubs and hot water. Each bathroom is supplied with all requirements. The rooms provide TVs with local channels and telephone with international direct dialing. Our rooms are wheel chair accessible. ... more   less 
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