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“Haven in Colombo”

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The Havelock Place Bungalow
Ranked #13 of 151 Colombo B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 1, 2013

Havelock is the perfect rest place before heading to the airport. The original boutique hotel in Colombo, the two bungalows in one are quiet with a lovely open sitting room, dining room and outside eating. The swimming pool, though small, is good for quick laps and cooling off. The owner/ manager booked us a six hour taxi ride one afternoon so we were able to go to Barefoot for lunch, Paradise Road, Odels and then stroll on the Maidan before a G and T sunset at the Galle Face before returning for dinner at the bungalow. It may be a bit far out of the centre but really, that mattered little. The food is fine, nothing special, but that was okay with us. The two bedrooms were clean and cool and the bathrooms likewise.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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Thank 69Penny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 1, 2013

Staying here was utter bliss. We stayed for our first two nights in Sri Lanka and it was a great base for exploring Colombo. The lush, tropical gardens are beautiful and the perfect backdrop for the mouthwatering breakfasts and dinners we were served. Jaggery ice cream was a real favourite, and the children loved the waffles and wild honey breakfasts! The rooms are lovely, the pool refreshing after a day walking through the city, and the staff couldn't be kinder. We were so glad to have booked rooms here for our last two nights too. We would love to stay there again one day.....

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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Thank MrsRMSimon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 27, 2013

We loved our stay at Havelock Bungalow. We would definitely recommend staying there for a personal experience - the only real issue is the distance to the places you might want to see in Colombo (only a 15-minute tuk tuk ride to Galle Face Green, though). All the staff were extremely helpful and friendly, especially the manager/matriarch whose eagle eye ensured everyone was very well looked after by the less experienced staff and by any tuk tuk or taxi drivers we requested. They looked after our luggage twice - once for three days, which made our trip south much easier. It's quite close to a very busy road, but sitting in the garden or gorgeous outdoor dining area you can barely hear anything but the chirping of the squirrels in the trees. The garden is lovely and the pool, though small, is very pretty. We stayed two separate nights. The first night we were in room 3, located off the quiet lounge area. It's large and has a sense of the period of the house, with dark wood features and high ceilings. We had a bit of an issue with flushing the toilet and with the powerpoints (the TV didn't seem to work and we couldn't charge anything), but this wasn't unusual in Sri Lanka and we didn't bother asking for help, which I'm sure would have been forthcoming. What was unusual was the water pressure in the shower, which was fabulous! The second time we stayed in room 5 off the garden. It was newer but still had character and the great feature of a large semi-outdoor bathroom (with screens, though, so no creepy-crawlies!). Food at the restaurant was okay, although there weren't any real local choices (eating pasta or risotto in Sri Lanka just seems wrong), and don't ask for poached eggs at breakfast - they were truly awful. The fruit platter and home-made jams were great, though, and don't miss their delicious range of home-made ice-creams.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank kmcphie3182
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 20, 2013

We stayed at this family run hotel for 2 nights before returning to the UK after an enjoyable visit to Sri Lanka. Upon arriving we had a very warm welcome and shown to our room. We were staying in room 5 which seemed to be an annex to the main house. The room was ample size but the whole bed area was raised so had to step up each time. The bathroom was outside and although incredibly clean it was very dark and not too inviting. We asked if we could move rooms but unfortunately for us they were fully booked. Breakfast was taken in the garden area and was very good. The staff were attentive and friendly. The dinner menu also looked very tasty but we didn’t have time to sample it, although I did try one of their homemade ice creams which was delicious. If we are passing through Colombo again I would stay here but ask for a room in the main house which was more to our liking.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Kaype
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 20, 2013

Summary: Cute house, but owners focused on money rather than hospitality.
For honeymooners not travelers.

pos: beautiful hose, nicely decorated, wooden floors
pos: small, very nice pool
pos: the place is a quiet retreat in noisy Colombo
pos: wifi ok

neutral: restaurant food good for meat and fish but portions small, with few vegetables. When I asked for vegetables, the reply was "sorry, we don't have any vegetables", so meal was fish (v nicely cooked) and rice.

neg: management focused mainly on money. When I arrived they greeted me not with "welcome' but with"you have an outstanding balance of $39" (I had upgraded one of my rooms 2 days before so no time to TT the extra).
Another eg, in calculating , on checkout they used the 'sell' rate to convert the US$ owing to rupees, then the 'buy' rate to determine how much I would pay in $/euro to settle that rupee amount. They should have used the same rate both ways, and they know this. While it only added 3% to the amount, it was behavior and ethics I wasn't comfortable with.

neg: for 6 months of the year they require full payment in advance to confirm the reservation and keep it all if there is a cancellation at less than 1 month). This is ok for honeymooners and people who plan a single annual vacation a year in advance, but travelers typically require a little more flexibility as plans sometimes change.
(the other 2 places I stayed in Sri Lanka required no deposit).

neg: inconvenient location. nothing much nearby except traffic and businesses.
neg: there is little in the room - no fridge, no jug for boiling water, no plate or knife or cup. This is ok for honeymooners but not helpful for travelers.
neg: the electricals are very old - the cover fell off one while I was using it, exposing the live contacts inside.
neg: (in the suites) no fan in the bedroom (only in the entrance area) so need to use the aircon at night,
but the aircon was noisy and very cold - couldn't get it to a sensible temp

stay again: no. no matter how cute a place is, one wants to feel like a guest not like a moneytap.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled solo
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Thank m c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
havelockplacebungalo, Owner at The Havelock Place Bungalow, responded to this reviewResponded January 24, 2013

This reservation was finalised after 16 emails from the guest.On arrival the guest queried as to whether there was anything due on account of bank charges etc at which point I told him the only outstanding was the USd 39 on the upgrade which could be settled at the point of check out.
As for the electricals , the house has been wired recently the old style fittings are deliberate and were found with difficulty as we wanted everything to be in keeping with the style of the house.

All our dishes are served with vegetables.

As for a kettle& fridge in the room we do not have these as standard as we wanted the atmosphere more of a home than a hotel.Hot water for tea etc was provided gladly on request and a mini fridge is also provided on request .

Our policy of payment upfront on reservations has been in place for many years as we have only seven rooms which are in great demand and last minute cancellations have cost us dearly in the past.

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Reviewed January 16, 2013

Well, what can I say that hasn't already been said about this gorgeous boutique hotel? It's a real gem in a quiet location in Colombo. It's a wonderful place to start or finish a trip to Sri Lanka. It exudes a friendly, homely, colonial charm. It's a small family-run hotel set in a beautiful verdant garden with a small pool. Food is of a very high quality with an excellent menu. All the rooms are different and furnished with old style colonial furniture, as are the dining room and sitting room. There's an enchanting, lush garden where you can relax or eat. Good free wifi in all parts of the hotel, even in our room. We stayed in room 7 which opened onto the pool, which was charming. The staff are efficient, friendly and courteous, you couldn't ask for better service. We have stayed at Havelock Place Hotel several times. As far as we are concerned it's the only place to stay in Colombo! By the way their homemade marmalade and honey and fig ice cream are to die for! Do try them.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank heavenlyblu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 11, 2013

If you like your hotels small and full of character without compromising on the quality of service and food, this is the place for you. Colombo compared to other South Asian cities is quite laid back and still has a colonial vibe to it, a quality that is going to rapidly disappear with "progress". Havelock Place Bungalow reflects the city's vibe in that sense. The rooms are quaint and spacious. The food is excellent with an innovative menu. The staff are always smiling and prompt in their service. Aunty Shamo, the owner, is a great source of information and will point you in the right direction to avoid the tourist traps. Although it isn't located in the heart of the tourist areas, nothing in Colombo is that far off (if you don't get stuck in traffic). Take a walk along Amarasinghe Mawatha to Galle Road to get a sense of the neighbourhood and to watch trains passing by on the picturesque Galle Railway.

Room Tip: Ask for the room with the outdoor shower, if you like that sort of thing.
  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank skewedeye
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Havelock Place Bungalow

Address: 6, Havelock Place | Colombo 5, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Location: Sri Lanka > Western Province > Colombo
Amenities:
Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #13 of 151 B&Bs / Inns in Colombo
Price Range: $66 - $154 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — The Havelock Place Bungalow 3.5*
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Governor, Hand-written Deed and Peppercorn The year was 1892 and what was known as "Ceylon" was under British rule. Governor Havelock transferred the title to the land (on which the bungalows are built), by a hand-written deed to the Havelock Building Company on the payment of Rs. 1307/- and a Peppercorn. The present owners purchased the properties in the mid 1980's and lived there. The Havelock Place Bungalow was first opened to guests in December 1999. In the city, yet miles away... If you've ever visited the Bungalow, you would have noticed how discreet we have been about our presence. To the casual passer-by, the Bungalow appears to be nothing more than an old colonial home. Only a plaque with the name 'Havelock Place Bungalow' engraved on it, indicates that we are open to guests. No wonder the Bungalow continues to be Colombo's best kept secret! We are conveniently located so if you are in the mood for a visit to the Museum, Independence Square, or Temples, or would like to go on a shopping spree, you can get to your destination in a matter of minutes. It's a jungle. But definitely not the concrete type... When you enter our gates and walk along the paved pathways, you realize you are in an oasis, away from the bustle of the city. Trees are an intrinsic part of the Havelock Place Bungalow experience. You can enjoy your breakfast while watching our garden come alive with a variety of birds and butterflies, or relax on a bench and gaze at the stars as night approaches. The surrounding foliage lends a quiet charm to every part of the Bungalow. Welcome to the Bungalow! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Havelock Place Bungalow Hotel Colombo

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