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“Come before all this disappears under a sea of development”

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Pigeon Island Beach Resort
Ranked #4 of 5 Hotels in Nilaveli
Melbourne, Australia
Level 5 Contributor
75 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
“Come before all this disappears under a sea of development”
Reviewed January 30, 2013

What a little gem this place is. Located 20km out of Trincomalee this small hotel is on the shores of the Indian Ocean without anything much around it. The hotel has been restored and added on following the Tsunami and we had the good fortune of being allocated a room on the ground floor directly facing the ocean with swaying coconut palms framing the view of Pigeon Island. The pool is very large and clean although some umbrellas for shade there would be a useful addition. The beach is fine sand and stretches into the distance without another soul in sight. It was disappointing to see all the rubbish, plastic bottles etc that were strewn along the beach - however the beach in front of the hotel was immaculate. There seems to be only one other hotel a little way down on the right. I have read other comments about this hotel which comment that most of the rooms do not face the beach and yes this is true. The 3 storey extension has 6 rooms which face the beach and all others in the 2 storey block face onto the pool or grassy courtyard in front of the open air restaurant. The food is beautifully presented and is quite varied given that the hotel is small. The meals however are a little expensive and there are no close alternatives for a more economical meal. The room is large and clean with bar fridge, cable TV and kettle. Again, no hair dryer or even an appropriate power point in the bathroom for one. Staff are obliging and service is efficient in the two dining areas. I would suggest that some cups and maybe some tea bags would be an appropriate accompaniment for the kettle. We chose not to take the boat ride to Pigeon Island. At $25 each it seemed a little expensive and unless you had reef shoes, it could prove to be a painful excursion.
I must add that there is very little to see in Trincomalee other than the Fort and Hindu temple. Absolutely do not waste your time going to the hot wells. They were disgusting, run down full of slime and locals were the only ones there using it as their bathroom. It was sad to see the ruins of houses along the waterfront and also to see the little boxes of government built Tsunami houses to rehouse those locals who once lived by the ocean. I guess it wont be too long before the developers arrive to build resorts on what was formerly their homes and livelihoods. Ah progress!!!!!

Room Tip: Anything facing the sea is great
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Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank chefAussie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Colombo, Sri Lanka
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed January 27, 2013

This is a small size hotel, which is ideal for a family vacation. The rooms have all the basic amenities provided and the beach is a short walk away and swimming is safe during the season only.. The staff are friendly and courteous and anxious to please. The buffet meals are not extensive, but the fare provided is more than adequate and tastily prepared. There is a fair size pool and play area for the kids.

Room Tip: Choose an upstair room in the middle block away from the restaurant noise
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
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1 Thank Waffy03
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Darfur, Sudan via Charlotte, NC, USA
Level 6 Contributor
164 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 108 helpful votes
Reviewed January 10, 2013

Pigeon Island Resort is a nice hotel. The set-up is curious. None of the rooms will have ocean view as they all face out into a quad and the window looks out into wooded area. However, the pool is nice. The beach is nicer, although not swimmable - at least it wasn't in December.

The food was about the best I'd had in a hotel in Sri Lanka, although was a bit pricey. This was especially bad considering that the hotel was a bit far from anything else. The alcohol selection was limited, but the staff was friendly and helpful.

The rooms were spacious, AC'd and ceiling fan.

The resort itself is quite nice, and the dining room is spacious and airy.

But again, NOTHING is on the beach of has a beach view. Actually, the beach is quite a walk away, but it's beautiful and private.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled solo
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Thank Amnesty1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed December 4, 2012

Five months ago I had the absolute privilege of having my wedding at Pigeon Island Resort in Nilaveli. And I have spent the past months gathering some photos together to share with trip advisor the truly amazing experience my friends, family and myself had- and what an incredible job everyone at Pigeon Island did to make my wedding the wedding of a lifetime.

From the moment we arrived two days before the wedding we were dazzled by the resort's professionalism and support during this very stressful time. They did everything they could to put us at ease- and our guests who were mostly from overseas- and had never been to sri lanka before were impressed by the warmth- and the traditional welcome drink- and traditional musicians.

That night was a fullmoon - and the resort kindly arranged for us to eat on the lawn- setting up an enormous table for our group of 40- so we could all sit together outside and enjoy each other's company under the full moon. Then they lit bonfires on the beach so we could sit around and catch up with old friends and family- adding to our excitement.

The resort organised everything for the holiday and the wedding- flowers, lighting, decorations, transport, DJ, bands, alcohol, photographer, video, bonfires on the beach, beachside cocktail party, two receptions- one traditional sri lankan and a Catholic one- and an absolute incredible party. We even had fireworks, which our friends couldn't believe!

Everything was flawless- the flowers were absolutely exquisite, the photographer was so talented and captured so many lovely images- that friends back in Australia have marvelled and commented that they have never seen a photo album so beautiful. The Kandyan dancers the resort organised were so professional and smiling and helping us celebrate like it was their own wedding day.
The food was truly five star- and every single member of staff gave us 100% effort and joy in making this a truly exceptional wedding.

I have seen pictures of the traditional sri lankan weddings before- and was blown away by how the resort managed to organise it- so much attention to detail, and so much beauty- from the traditional poruwa to the ceremony table. And the Catholic Ceremony under the banyon tree was exquisite- the decorating was sublime- flowers everywhere!

Patrick, the manager worked non-stop- organising and creating our dream wedding and words cannot express how grateful we are to him,- his creative vision for our wedding was an absolute blessing- and we couldn't have had such an incredibly beautiful wedding without his hard work and efforts.

A Big thank you to Christo, Rodney, the lovely lady at the front desk, Hasha and everyone else who contributed to our special day. Even the lovely girls who helped me wrap presents for my 65 wedding guests! Housekeeping and the waiting staff- we had 70 people working on our wedding and felt like royalty.

The owner Nigel also bent over backwards to make sure my husband and our 65 guests enjoyed themselves-thank you Nigel!

My husband and I always wanted a unique beach wedding with bonfires and tables in the sand- and a cocktail beach reception, and from the moment we saw Pigeon Island a year before we got married we knew it would be perfect for a wedding of our size- intimate yet enough to have a fun party afterwards- miles of beaches undisturbed by tourists all to ourselves. Great food, great views and fantastic service.

Patrick and Pigeon Island exceeded our wildest dreams with the ideas and sheer effort they put into this event.

We bought over 40 friends from Australia, and the resort organised a flight for everyone from Colombo- met us at the airport with transport and gave us two wonderful days at the resort before the wedding with snorkling- lantern-lit dinners, great food and beautiful scenery. Every request was met with assistance and I felt like I was in a movie!

We booked out the entire resort- which I recommend if you can as it means the staff have more flexibility in being able to grant any requests.

We had a seafood buffet dinner- with enough food to feed three armies- the desserts were amazing and the wedding cake was awe-inspiring. Salads, traditional sri lankan, various other dishes and even Crepe suzette! Our chef was always on hand- a five star delight who worked incredibly hard to cater to our every desire.

We had three musical acts- traditional Sinhalese musicians, a lovely two piece that played easy listening acoustic favourites like Clapton etc and a DJ to help us dance the night away on the beach.

Everything we had was a fraction of the price that it would cost in our country- but the quality was even better than any wedding I have ever been to.

As there was no other resorts nearby we felt free to dance on the beach, and celebrate in style!

All of our guests were very happy with their rooms, the food, the staff and the entire experience. Throughout the whole 4 days we stayed everyone commented on how they had never felt so welcomed to a resort before - and that our wedding was like stepping inside a fairy story. - especially with all the beautiful lighting Patrick organised!

Everyone from the smiling housekeepers to the friendly waiters make our holiday and wedding the trip that we will always remember.

We had guests from Denmark, Australia, Sri Lanka, Armenia and England- and they all loved it. Even my husband's Sri Lankan relatives from Colombo said it was an incredible traditional experience!
I don't think there are words to continue to express what an amazing experience it was- so I will just post pictures and you can see for yourself.
Thank you again Pigeon Island- I can recommend this as a holiday destination and a destination wedding for anyone who is looking for a unique and spectacularly beautiful wedding experience.
Please feel free to email me at salona75@yahoo.com.au if you have any questions about having your wedding here- I would be more than willing to help.
Salona

Room Tip: the rooms facing the beach have the best views- the best ones are the ones on the middle floor - of...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank Salona75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Level 6 Contributor
180 reviews
67 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 323 helpful votes
Reviewed October 9, 2012

At the time we booked, this was our only option as the other beach front places (not many as of now) had been sold out. I was VERY hesitant to stay here. I had my suspicions based upon some other reviews on here and they were confirmed upon arrival. Considering that you are vacationing in a part of the world where a Civil War raged for 30 years , and tourism just very recently picked up... considering you all the military presence and check points on your way, passing refugee camps where families still live..... considering all of the above I was not expecting a Ritz Carlton on the beach and it would be incredibly selfish to do so . This is Sri Lanka, after all. The ONLY problem I have is the prices the hotel charges (the money we spent per night on an Ocean front suite is equivalent to a month's pay of a Sri Lanka nurse). We stayed in other WAY better hotels in Sri Lanka, for LESS with beautiful CLEAN rooms and better maintained grounds and premises. The reason for our visit: reef & wreck diving off shore, and of course : Pigeon Island. The tour operator that we booked was recommended by the hotel. We were tempted to tour for half the money with a 'Captn ' who approached us on the beach, just felt 'safer' by going with the recommendation of the hotel. This wasn't the best decision how it turned out...from organisational view point, we ended up on the wrong island , 'tour operator' was late, the safety measures (we were out there in high winds and strong currents and there were PADI open water beginners aboard, who really should not have been diving that day, and countless other issues) non-existent, to our surprise the vessel actually made it through crushing waves despite the motor going out numerous times.... pewh, lol!... Ok, back to the hotel. Management was VERY apologetic. A bottle of wine and a fruit basket was waiting in the room after this and other complaints on our behalf about lack of cleanliness of our suite, they actually thoroughly cleaned the room while we were gone and did their best to accommodate. The premises in general.... they need a lot of TLC. For the most part we had no access to beach chairs, all taken.... it's ok, that we could live with, that 's small stuff.... The beach is pristine. This property could be so much more!!!! Walking along Nilaveli Beach feels like stepping back in time. You have washed out shells of houses not far from the hotel, still back from the days when the Tsunami hit this area. There is an old fisher village in walking distance, you pass a Ponytail Palmtree Forrest on the way, they grow along the beach, the usual shy but friendly Sri Lanka beach doggies you meet on your walks....It really is magnificent. Then, the AMAZING sunrise views over Pigeon Island...it made up for the room & tour debacle. We ended up having a fantastic time regardless the other issues. Pigeon Island is a must visit. Please be very careful where you step, there is a lot of damage to the amazing reef already. Also be prepared to see Black Tip Reef Sharks when the tide comes in. If you book tours through the hotel, do your own research and make it very clear WHICH island you are going to. We missed out on a wreck dive because the Captain simply changed the itinerary w/o informing us.Not Good. I would not have objections against staying here, if the rooms were properly cleaned and the prices adjusted to the level of accommodations. I give this hotel 4 stars ONLY because of the way management handled our complaint and due to it's fantastic location. To our big surprise: This hotel served better food than the 5 star properties we had stayed in before and after!! Homemade, authentic, and rich in flavor! We did NOT expect that whatsoever! Btw, the only American we met on our travels in Sri Lanka was the hotel entertainer/singer "Larry" from Miami Beach whom we tried to help when his entire sound equipment that he had set up right on the beach - blew up ((- welcome to Sri Lanka, lol!! )). We had some good chats, how he ended up here and I'm sure he's back in Florida by now.. On more note: With the end of the Civil War, this remote part of Sri Lanka is undergoing future development along this coast line. There are plans for 40 more beach front hotels underway. This paradise beach, where time seems to have come to a halt, will be gone soon. So hurry!

Room Tip: Forgot our room nbr, but we were oceanfront, 2nd floor on left side facing ocean. There is a huge tr...
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank Sistatravelista
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
patrickrohan, Manager at Pigeon Island Beach Resort, responded to this review, December 3, 2012
Dear Guest,

Thank you very much for your honest review about pigeon island, we will be taking prompt action regarding the points that you made, we appreciated.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
Level 6 Contributor
220 reviews
74 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
Reviewed September 23, 2012

This is an excellent hotel, about 20 k's outside Trincomalee. I really enjoyed the food, our room and the pool. My son tried snorkelling at Pigeon Island, which was good but they stayed out there a bit long (2 hours will be plenty)

Staff very attentive and helpful. The breakfast (Egg Hoppers) was just excellent.
We got a tuk-tuk into Trinco, and saw the Hindu temple in the Dutch Fort - not much else to see from what I saw.

Room Tip: Depending on your tastes, the ones over looking the beach look pretty good!
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank mal_chaney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed September 4, 2012

I'm going to keep this review brief as it is coming up to a year since my girlfriend and I had the pleasure of staying at the Pigeon Island Resort and I have been very lax in writing this review!

We opted to stay here at the last minute and were only able to secure a suite to cover the full three nights of our time in Trinco. As this was the end of our tour of Sri Lanka and after negotiating a reasonable rate we thought we would push the boat out so to speak.

The suites had beautiful beach/sea views with a sitting/lounge room facing the sea and the large bedroom on the side of the hotel. Rooms were of a reasonable standard but could have done with a little more TLC and attention to detail.

Staff were universally friendly and helpful. With the food great and restaurant area really very pleasant.

Days were spent either chilling out on the beach or exploring nearby Pigeon Island itself. Tipping the beach attentend well on the first day would appear to have worked wonders for secuing our chosen sun loungers for the rest of our stay.

We visited the Crab restaurant at the Chaaya Blu which is a lot closer to Trinco but, while that looked a good hotel, we were glad to have opted for the Pigeon Island Resort which in our view had considerably more charm.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank 1980_Stu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Pigeon Island Beach Resort

Property: Pigeon Island Beach Resort
Address: 11th Milepost, Nilaveli 31010, Sri Lanka
Location: Sri Lanka > Eastern Province > Nilaveli
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 5 Hotels in Nilaveli
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Pigeon Island Beach Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 43
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Pigeon Island is located north of Trincomalee, off Nilaveli, one of the finest beaches in Sri Lanka. It offers 43 rooms (A/C), including suite rooms all of which have mini bar, internet, satellite TV facilities as further entertainment. Some of its amenities include spa and fitness center for adults, and play area for children, reading corner, and a secure outdoor playground for children. Scuba Diving ,Snorkeling,Fishing, Trolling,Whale Watching, Dolphin Watching,Catamaran Yacht for daily rent out, Romantic Dinners organized by the resort on a yacht or at the Beach (through reservations) ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Pigeon Island Hotel Nilaveli
Pigeon Island Beach Resort Sri Lanka/Eastern Province

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