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Review of De Fonse Place

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De Fonse Place
Ranked #63 of 151 Colombo B&B and Inns
Reviewed May 14, 2013

My experience here was absolutely perfect. The room was beautiful and the staff was very nice and helpful. I couldn't ahve asked for any better. Our room was very clean and quiet. I will definately come back here and I would recommend this hotel to anyone.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Bruce T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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8 - 14 of 56 reviews

Reviewed May 13, 2013

This is a charming old house in upper middle class neighbourhood of Havelock, designed by Geoffrey Bawa, with a nice rustic appeal. This place is ideally located in a central part of Colombo, making it an ideal base for exploring the city.

You can expect free wifi as part of your stay. however, wifi is only useful downstairs, as the signal was weak upstairs. There is a nice enclosed garden with three tortoises wandering around and are quite amusing to watch whilst having breakfast. there are plenty of seats in the lounge areas and in the outdoor area. Guests are also invited to enjoy the bottled water in the kitchen during the stay. They have servants who take care of your breakfast needs, clean your room and greet you when you return from your outings.

Rooms are large. I had a twin room upstairs which had a large ensuite bathroom. It was only a fan cooled room, which didn't help during the hot nights. So if you don't handle heat well, I suggest asking for an air conditioned room. Beds were comfortable enough.

Location is prime. Whilst being in the heart of the city, with shops all around you and eateries on Galle Road, the house is in a quiet street. Expect to pay 100Rs to get to Colombo 02 and around 350 to Fort by tuk tuk. You can walk it to Cinnamon Gardens or Colombo 03 in 15minutes.

Overall, the house was a pleasant experience. It gave a nice feeling of being home, with the friendly, hospitable and informative family there to add that extra touch. Paid 4,500 Rs per night, which was a little steep for a fan cooled room, but I suppose staying in a Bawa designed house is what you pay for.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled solo
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2  Thank TravellingCarlito
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 5, 2013

A beautiful home - built by the popular Sri Lankan architect Geoffery Bawa - the De Fonse guest-house made for the perfect backdrop to my Colombo adventure. The room was clean, airy with a large tub (which i love!), there was a lovely courtyard where I had breakfast - but more than breakfast (toast and eggs) was the company. The Wijewardene family have lived in this house for three generations so they know and love Sri Lanka thoroughly - and this passion was captivating - I found myself immersed in unique and detailed suggestions on where-to-go, what-to-do and most importantly what-to-eat. From a chaat store in Colombo to a beach hideaway in Tangalle, this family had any guidebook I could get my hands on beat!

But my favourite part? The little brown mutt Evie and her boyfriend Lucky. Adorable!

Room Tip: Ask for the room with a tub because after a day of their rigorous itinerary - you could use a good s...
  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled solo
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Thank brownbummed
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 2, 2013

Unfortunately our booking here was not taken up. Two weeks before flying from RSA we were advised that our room was required by a visiting relative from Oz. We should perhaps not have so readily accepted the offer of a placement with a 'cousin' as it then became impossible to check the room arrangement in the proffered accommodation (no net details). While the house owner was friendly, the set up afforded us little privacy, the room was dark and stuffy and all the cupboard space was full of 'stuff'. Based on our experience elsewhere so far, the breakfast offered was stingy. Rate was $45 including wi-fi.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Leopard-trip
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 2, 2013 via mobile

We stayed here as 2 19yr old backpackers for 1 night in March '13. We paid 4500SKR (£22.50)  per night for a double room, non AC. Breakfast  included. Free wifi.

Room - we had room 4 on the first floor. It was of a good size, clean and the beds were comfy. Unfortunately, there was no mosquito net, just odor plugs, and my friend got quite badly bitten. The bathroom sharing situation wasn't great but there was a fab washing machine for people to use. The shower was powerful. 

Food - Breakfast consisted of a Slice of papaya, tea/coffee, eggs and lots of toast. Typical guesthouse breakfast. 

Service - Ianthe is a super host. He found us some mosquito repellant, went out of his way to help us organise taxis to the airport and let us hang around all evening although we weren't staying. 

Location - Colombo 5, a short 100SKR tuktuk will get you anywhere in town. 

A great place to stay even if the prices are a little high for what you get. 

  • Stayed: March 2013
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Thank LMG921
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 18, 2013

Three generations of a singalese family having lived for many years in London runs this little guesthouse. The grand old man built the house himself two generations ago. The house was designed by the now famous architect Geoffrey Bawa. His typical coconut palm tree pillars carry the porch roof, and the lay-out of the house is very nice. But the whole house is a bit worn down and needs a sincere renovation.

Room Tip: Our room was probably the biggest and the best. But the aircon is (over)due for a replacement.
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank CMSilfverberg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 16, 2013

I had booked myself at this place for Jan 8-11, 2013 and was on my own. My husband booked the room due to its good ratings on tripadvisor. Ianthe offered me with proper directions to reach her place. I was offered the room overlooking the roadside which would awaken you in the morning hours due to the traffic noise. And if you get up early there is nobody to attend to you until Ianthe wakes up which is around 8ish. The room lacks basic things like drinking water, coffer or tea maker, shower cap, mirror in the bathroom, blanket on the bed and there was no air conditioner. There was no provision to lock the room on the first day of my stay as well. There was no hot water in the room, but Ianthe had informed us well in advance and had offered the room for $38 to compensate for the lack of hot water. However, on the last day she took me to her cousin sister's home, only to realize later that i was supposed to be put up at the new place for the last night since she needs to do some plumbing work in her room. When I returned on the last day to Ianthe's place to collect my luggage to shift to her cousin's place i found that my baggage was lying in the hall and my specs and footwear were all packed in the same bag. Initially i found my specs missing and I was following Ianthe to my room, to which she stopped me in a inhospitable way and claimed the rooms were dirty. I found it very strange but obliged. I was dropped at her cousins (Dharini's) place which was a very beautiful house and she does not actually offer rooms on rent. The room was charged at normal price but was too good. I wished Ianthe would have put me up there for all the three days. Later I learned that Ianthe had given my room to some other guest. However, I condemn her behavior of taking guests for a ride and shifting them to other places without prior intimation. It also causes trouble since in a new country when you get used to one location you end up shifting to some other location. Tracing things becomes difficult specially when you are travelling on your own. However, Ianthe, Rohan, her dad and children were friendly and chatty, but the place lacked basic services. For those who wish to visit Sri Lanka, explore other options for the room and negotiate on the price. Sri Lankan people (from cab drivers to local people) are very chatty and friendly.

Room Tip: Please ask for the room overlooking the garden and not the room overlooking the roadside.
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled solo
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2  Thank Sowmya K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ianthe W, Owner at De Fonse Place, responded to this reviewResponded January 24, 2013

Dear SomaPai,

I'm so sorry to hear that you didn't enjoy your stay in our home, particularly as we so enjoyed meeting you and hearing about your work and travel plans.

Ours is a small family run guest house, and as such we do not offer certain amenities that you would find in a hotel; such as shower caps and coffee or tea makers in the room. We are however happy to make tea for guests if they ask, and invite guests to use our kettle to make themselves tea or coffee if the family is not around. And while we do not provide bottled water in the rooms, guests can help themselves from the bottled water dispenser in our kitchen.
Not being a hotel, we unfortunately do not have round the clock staff, - but our maid is on hand from 7.30am, and if guests request an early breakfast we are happy to accommodate that.

I'm very sorry you were disappointed with the room, especially with it's not being air-conditioned. The rate I quoted you was for a fan cooled room, as you had not specified that you wanted an air-conditioned room in your email. I'm sorry for the misunderstanding, and wish you had mentioned it to me, as I would have tried to change your room. Also, we usually provide a covering sheet rather than a blanket in our fan cooled rooms, but we are happy to provide blankets on request (as we did for you).

The room you occupied was only recently renovated, and we were experiencing a few hiccups, as I explained. While we tried our best to make your stay comfortable; ensuring you had hot water showers every day, providing a full length mirror in the room, as the one in the attached bathroom had to be replaced, we realised that the service was not up to the standards we regularly give our guests and so arranged for you to move to my cousin's house, in order that the plumber could attend to the hot water situation, and install a new mirror (I think you must have misunderstood about the room being double booked). In terms of moving your bags, I must apologise, I only did this as I did not want your bags to be covered in construction dust.
I know it was an unusual situation, but I thought that you would be more comfortable at my cousin's house (and I'm so glad to hear you were).

Our house is in central Colombo, and while it's situated on a side road, there is occasionally traffic. The room you were in is in fact our only guest room not facing the main road, but I'm sorry to hear you were inconvenienced.

I hope that you enjoyed the rest of your travels, and that your first trip out of India will be the first of many.

Mrs Ianthe Wijewardene.

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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 De Fonse Place

Address: 29 de Fonseka Place | Havelock Town, Colombo 5, Sri Lanka (Formerly De Fonseka Place Guest House)
Location: Sri Lanka > Western Province > Colombo
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking
Hotel Style:
Ranked #63 of 151 B&Bs / Inns in Colombo
Price Range: $38 - $57 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 2
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated in the heart of Colombo, the de Fonseka Place, Guest House offers you comfortable accommodation in beautiful surroundings. With open spaces, and teak finished interiors designed by Sri Lanka’s premier architect, Geoffrey Bawa, the house is airy and tastefully furnished. The open clay tiled patio at the back leads into a well maintained lawn, a lovely area to sit out in. Birds and squirrels frequent the garden and we also have three resident star tortoises. The bed rooms are airy and comfortable. For those who need to keep up with the news of the rest of the world there is free use of wi fi throughout the house and cable TV in the living room. ... more   less 

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