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“"PENNY PINCHING HOTEL"”
Review of The Palms Hotel

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The Palms Hotel
Ranked #4 of 11 Hotels in Beruwala
Jersey, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“"PENNY PINCHING HOTEL"”
Reviewed February 4, 2011

"PENNY PINCHING" HOTEL
Totally agree with the previous review.
On arrival, we thought we had made a good choice.
How wrong, and disappointed we were.
This Hotel definitely have an issue with guests who pay 'up front' for the All Inclusive package. The offhand manner is disgusting. Pool and bar service is only given to the other "paying guests" Even tipping will not give you service at your pool bed or table. And the token "eye bath" glass of weak wine is a joke.
Never has this been an issue with our A/I holidays in the Caribbean-totally the opposite.
Another problem, (along with other guests) was the non-existent lighting. When leaving your room in the early hours for the trips, there is NO lighting in the corridors or stairs.
We addressed both issues with Mercury Direct but it fell on 'deaf ears' with Hotel Management.
Management finally showed their pettiness when we left. (And it didn't help not being forewarned by Mercury Direct.)
Because we had arrived early morning we were told we would have to leave our room by 10am and pay US$80 for breakfast and lunch and no drinks would be included.
Hospitality room - we were told by the receptionist that there was a shower in the outside ladies toilets. But finally, were offered a room using our own toiletries.
Sri Lanka is a lovely country along with the people.
We had a lovely time and meeting Cliff, Karen, Dave, Mandy and Alison made it more enjoyable.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
1 Thank simjersey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Doncaster, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed February 2, 2011

Public areas appear ok and clean.
Meals – reasonable, mainly curry, rice and a small selection of salad for both lunch and dinner
Small pool area
Evening entertainment - poor
Rooms – shabby and in need of updating - beds very old, damaged and stained. No safe provided despite telling our rep and asking reception for one to be provided.
Limited all inclusive – no fruit juice or cocktails. Only one very small glass of wine allowed with your evening meal.
Snack time – one plate of tiny sandwiches provided (enough for around 4 people) so if you are not there as soon as they are put out they are gone and not replenished.

As noted in a previous review all inclusive guests are definitely second class compared with “paying” half board guests who receive table /poolside service. If you are all inclusive expect to go get it yourself from the bar unless you are prepared for constant tipping. It was clear which guests did tip as the waiters/pool attendants would swarm them every day pretending to be there best friend and reserving there preferred sun bed before anyone else had chance! The only time a waiter came to our table / sun bed was to try and sell us fresh fruit juice or sea food (not all inc) VERY FRUSTRATING!! On going to the bar my husband was even told to go and fetch his empties before they reluctantly served him.

Sri Lanka in general …..
Lovely country with many amazing sites and attractions spoilt by the constant demand for tipping. It is my belief that a tip is given when you receive an excellent service and any amount given should be gratefully accepted. Not the case here… in Sri Lanka most of the people we came across expected a tip basically just for even talking to you! This became very frustrating especially when we did tip what we thought was a reasonable amount for a service we were told to our horror … “this is not enough!”

In the first week of touring around Sri Lanka with what was meant to be an all inclusive organised tour with Cosmos, we went through almost £100 in tips. After spending almost £3500 of our hard earned cash on the 16night tour and stay we were reluctant to spend any more.

At The Palms at the end of our holiday I had around £25 worth of rupees that I wanted to change back to sterling. The hotel cashier refused and instead gestured to me to place it in their tip box! So angry after the poor service we had all week I declined and changed it at the airport!

All in all ….nice country shame about the shabby hotels and money grabbers. Ok holiday but if its luxury and good service you’re after go to the Caribbean your money will go a lot further! Or if you want to do a tour and beach stay tour Sri Lanka for the first week then go to the Maldives for the second. After staying in the Maldives two years ago I wished we had gone back.

After travelling to many places around the world my husband and I are not normally complainers however this hotel and the others we stayed in Sri Lanka certainly didn’t live up to our expectations and were not worth the money.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank adnama84
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Zurich, Switzerland
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 22, 2011

Hi, Dear Management , Micheal From Swiss ,( TUI - Suiss ) I was in Room no 316 with my parents , its a very nice hotel i come back with a lots of friends.You gave us a good service. i want to do my wedding in your lovely hotel, My Stay was ( 09th Jan - 23rd Jan )

Food is wonderful & good variety , We had a nice sun bath , Sea & pool we all like,
I'll come back, yes i'll come back,
Dear Management Please keep my Room 316 for my Honey Moon,
Please give my regards to all your loving & incredible staff,
Bye ................
Regards
From Swiss - Michael Schnegg

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled on business
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank schnegg_316M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Horsham
Level 5 Contributor
41 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
Reviewed January 18, 2011

It fills me with angst to write a less than complimentary report about a hotel in a country that I truly love visiting. Sri Lanka is one of those places you have to visit again and again for two principal reasons – its people and its diversity, something for everyone ; Culture , scenery , history, flora & fauna, crafts, jewels, food, beaches the list is endless.

I would like to put my recent visit down to lack of research, but on the face of it The Palms seemed to have some flaws but on balance it looked a pretty decent hotel. I can only put the whole episode down to poor management – 99% of the staff were what one would expect from Sri Lankans – warm, friendly and very helpful. Personnel blemishes, in my opinion, were down to poor management practices such as rotas, treatment and lack of thinking/skills (and that includes, I guess, pay).

We arrived at 5am from the airport – no hardship, we have done it before and know what to expect. First impressions were great. The meandering walkway down through the garden with the grand entrance structure and all the water features had us thinking that we had, yet again, hit the jackpot. Reception was efficient and the room boy had our bags delivered in minutes.

The rooms were fine for a hotel of this price range. Only a couple issues. The kettle did not work and despite repeated requests for 14 days it was never fixed. More worrying was the divan beds. They looked as if they had been damaged in those horrible events 6 years ago and never been replaced.

The public areas of the hotel were fine and kept very clean. The only thing that needs upgrading is the outside paintwork. Not as it looks in the brochure, both the stonework and the woodwork needed freshening up.

We did not attend the welcome meeting for various reasons such as knowing the ropes on how to book trips and the welcome letter from Mercury Direct had the usual frighteners about booking trips with anyone other than themselves. Dear Mercury – please put your own house in order and find out why the airport transfer Combi’s in both directions had their seatbelts removed – an issue we did not have with the Combi’s we booked with the beach boys.

Our first encounter of strange practices was that we are asked to settle in cash for bottles of water we obtained from the bar. We were subsequently asked to settle drinks bills in the same way. A quick visit to reception determined that we could, like any normal hotel, charge drinks to our rooms. We were on all inclusive but knew that premium drinks were chargeable. The AI drinks and cocktails were very acceptable and we subsequently found that we could get as may glasses of bottled water as we wanted from the bar. I think you can guess what the bar staff wanted cash.....

The hotel wasn’t exclusively AI and the bar staff were trying to up-sell all the time. For New Years Eve there was a lot of pressure to but outrageously expensive bottles of champagne. We settled for 3 mid range bottles of wine. One of which failed to materialise at the event and we are offered a more expensive alternative. I accepted this but when someone at the table next to use ordered (at the event) and were served the wine we had asked for, we called the manager over and pointed this out. We also wrote on the bill that we were only paying the price of the original bottle. Come final settlement on departure we were offered 10% off ( the bottle, not the entire bill!). We spoke to 4 managers before they understood that the amount of money involved (1,500rps) was not the point but the principle and they had to take responsibility for their actions and that of their staff.

Another few issues with AI. You will be treated as a second class citizen. It was very clear that only “paying” customers got poolside service. It was the same in the evening in the public areas. If you want quick service, go to the bar. The glass (or thimble would be a better description) of wine with meals was not worth waiting for. Warm ribenia..... and you had to be quick when the snacks were put out as suddenly anyone who was passing became an AI client. They gave up after a few days and took the “AI guests only” signage down.

The pool attendants were great, we fed them tips most days and managed to get our favoured positions when we wanted them. The only sour note was on the last day when a new guy started and he asked for a “gift” as we were leaving.

The main restaurant was fine, the food was varied and there was lots of choice. On one or two days when the hotel was quiet, we had a table d’hote meal in the coffee shop, again fine. The waiters were all great, but there seemed to a strict hierarchy which meant that your nice chatty waiter would ask someone lower down the chain to get you water rather than just pick up the jug himself.

We tried the Fishermans Wharf, a la carte, restaurant once. Again we suffered from poor management. We selected 2 lobsters (1kg) and some large prawns ( 350g). I overheard a manager telling the waiter to round it up to 1.1 kg and 400g. By the time the bill came it was 1.2 and 500g. Again an attempt to max profits ( and management bonus) . The worst thing about the restaurant was the service. When the food was ready, the only waiter had been dispatched up to the bar for a bottle of wine. Because of the hierarchy, the maitre d’ did not serve it but left it under a heat lamp 3 feet from our table. Only when I went up to help myself did someone have the common sense to bring it over. Overpriced chewy lobster – luverley.

The humiliating sacking. I don’t know what the poor guy did wrong, but the reception area is not the place to deal with HR issues. The poor room boy was lying prostrate pleading in front of the manager. Only witnessed by myself and a couple of bar staff, but enough to make us shake our heads in wonderment.

Don’t expect the pool table to be in action. On day two some out of control kids ripped the baize and then denied it, embroiling their angry parents in the debate. There was no hurry to effect a repair.

The gym had cheap, second rate and worn out equipment. The treatment rooms at the spa look so basic and ill equipped; we forewent our free full body and head massages.
There was free Wi-fi in the reception area, but look out for bandwith bandits from a certain country who used the service for hours on end to skype home. Its difficult not to sound xenophobic, but this nationality is known for spoiling holidays across Europe and Sharm el Sheik. They are brash, loud, rude, don’t know how to queue, many so drunk they can’t stand, try to negotiate every bill down event drinks from the bar, they fill tier plates to overflowing with food, don’t eat it and then go up for more. . The staff don’t like them as they don’t tip. The beach boys don’t like them because they don’t go on trips and The Palms is full of them!

There were highlights. The New Year gala dinner was fantastic. Food, ice carvings, entertainment and fireworks – all great.

Oh yes and the beachboys. We had several great trips. About 40% cheaper than what Mercury Direct were offering. Exclusive use of a large combi for our family of 4, so we could start and stop when we wanted. Sunil and Siscili were superb, both spoke English well and would talk on anything from Cricket through Sigiriya to natural remedies for ailments. No detours to spice gardens etc as we were in control.

Please don’t get me wrong, we had a nice holiday, just could have been better. Its a pity the Confifi, a few hundred years away beach hotel has been demolished, they knew how o run a good hotel.

  • Stayed January 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Braveheart_Tours
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, UK
Level 5 Contributor
74 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
Reviewed December 30, 2010

Rooms were pretty tired looking and had a very odd smell as if they had sprayed excessive air freshener to mask other smells.
The restaurant was firaly standard but very expensive for what was there.
The "spa" was a very odd clinic area that looked like a GP surgery, nobody on my trip used it!
The pool was pretty dull, no garden area around just concrete and a beach at the back of the hotel which was FULL of hawkers which made going to the sea really unpleeasant.
Town (some local shops) was about 15 mins walk away and it was a great place to get local crafts especially wooden items.

  • Stayed November 2010
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank JoLondonUK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Antwerp, Belgium
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed December 5, 2010

It is absolutely a fantastic accomadtie where I've spent my short stay with. Very specious, very clean confortable nice room with specious balcony overlooking the beautiful beach and sea. Its beautful property with huge open space, excellent garden layout where you feel relax in peaceful environment.
Food is Excellent wth buffet with good combination of western en Asian cuisine.
Very friendly and helpful staff where you recieve very effective service at any time given, made my stay unforgetable.
I have stayed in many hotels in Sri Lanka and I regard this hotel as one of the best holiday accommodations on the coast.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Deepga2006
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
1 review
Reviewed November 29, 2010

My husband and I spent a mostly pleasant fortnight at The Palms where we found the staff to be very friendly and attentive. The rooms were clean and the food was good with a nice selection of both Sri Lankan and Western food. It did rain a lot with generally clear mornings but very wet afternoons and evenings.

We did 3 trips. We did an overnight trip with Walkers Tours to Kandy to see the Temple of the Sacred Tooth and the tea plantation area of Nuwara Eliya. It was a great trip and we stayed at an amazing five star hotel. The tour guide was very good but the 8 hour drive back in a minivan on very windy and holey roads was quite an ordeal. I don't usually suffer from travel sickness but I didn't feel right for a couple of days afterwards.

We also went to Galle to see Sri Lanka v West Indies cricket and the old fort and a boat trip amongst the mangroves where we saw wildlife including kingfishers and crocodiles. We did these trips with Dinesh and colleagues who wear white and green shirts on the beach and they are quite a bit cheaper than the official companies so would recommend them.

The hotel was half full most of the stay as the full season starts in December but on our final day a group of about forty lively 20-30 year olds arrived. It was fine until the night time but that's when our problems started. We had to get up at 5.30am to get our flight. Unfortunately, at 1.30am we were woken by a beating drum. My husband can usually sleep through anything but this was so loud it woke him up too. We went onto our balcony and could see that a few ground floor rooms were having a party involving the new arrivals. There was drinking, laughing, singing and the incessant beating of the drum. It was really selfish behaviour towards other guests which we thought the hotel would deal with straight away. We rang up reception and they said a manager was being sent to quieten them down so we tried to go back to sleep and we waited for the drums to stop.... and we waited and we waited and we waited. We realised nothing was happening about our complaint so rang reception again to be told that a supervisor had asked them to stop making noise. In the end we rang up reception another 4/5 times and my husband also went down to plead with them to stop it. Nothing worked. At about 3/4pm the rowdy guests moved out to the beach and the drums got even louder as dawn approached. We realised by now that this wasn't going to stop until sunrise. The drumming got more and more feverish and the staff on duty at the hotel did absolutely nothing to prevent it. How we laughed when our 5.30am wake-up call came through. We felt absolutely lousy for the long day ahead of us and really could have done with a proper night's sleep. It set us up terribly for the journey home. The pathetic nature of the staff's response to the drumming and our complaint meant that it really soured our view of the hotel. We now definitely would not go back and would not recommend it.

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank melrog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Palms Hotel

Property: The Palms Hotel
Address: Moragalla, Beruwala 0034, Sri Lanka
Location: Sri Lanka > Western Province > Beruwala
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#3 Luxury Hotel in Beruwala
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Beruwala
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — The Palms Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 106
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Also Known As:
Palms Hotel Beruwela
The Palms Hotel Sri Lanka/Beruwala

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