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Saman Villas
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Reviews (883)
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All reviewsprivate pooldressing roomour honeymoondeluxe villasri lankaoutdoor bathroomindian oceanromantic dinnerspa treatmentslocation is beautifulsitting areaoverlooking the oceansound of the wavesrain showerperfect endlittle touchesspent nights
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589 - 594 of 883 reviews
Reviewed April 16, 2012

I recently returned from a trip from this lovely hotel and could not praise it highly enough. The staff and the location made a memorable trip really specail - even to getting me a picnic breakfast at 4.00 am in the morning because we were going whale watching.
When requested Marmite for breakfast (yes I am that kind of Englishwomen) the staff went and located some for me the next day- Thank you so much for a wonderful stay.
Spa was fantastic as well - one of the best massages I have every had.

Room Tip: Don't bother with the rooms with the private pools - they are overlooked by rooms above you and the hotel pool is wonderful.
  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Margoblue
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kenneth L, General Manager at Saman Villas, responded to this reviewResponded April 19, 2012

We thank the reviewer for their stay at Saman Villas and sharing their holiday experience.

We are delighted to read the reviewer’s comments about praising the lovely hotel, the staff / location which makes it really special and for commending the fantastic spa.

We look forward to welcoming the reviewer once again to Saman Villas.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 13, 2012

My wife and I stayed here for 4 nights as our last port of call in Sri Lanka and were not disappointed.
We stayed in one of the garden villas with own pool overlooking the beach. The villa was very nicely presented and immaculately cleaned every day.
One downside for me was that the villas were not private enough. Having a second story villa on top of the garden villas meant that whilst sun bathing or lounging in the pool, you get the sense of being watched if others in their non garden villas are on the balcony.
Food is excellent from the restaurant, room service is very efficient, and everyone is very friendly and warming.
The mini bar is very much overpriced (head into Bentota and stock up from the bottle shop)
Restaurant is a little expensive but quality is very good.
The gym equipment is very basic, a sauna and steam room also available.
The pool for all guests is large and great for cooling off and for proper swimming.
The beaches on both sides of Saman villas are very nice and clean. There’s a sign as you walk to the beach to the right side that swimming is not advised (due to strong currents and big waves) but no sign to the left side beach in which we swam. Huge waves were great fun… though be very careful as there can be strong currents and waves from various directions.
We arranged a taxi service from the hotel which cost 125 dollar. Again, a little expensive, but we had a decent car and a good driver. We also stopped for 3 hours at mount Lavinia hotel on the way to the airport and had dinner which didn’t affect the price.
Overall we were very impressed and even tried to change our flights to extend our stay!

Room Tip: We had villa 19 which was a garden villa with pool and had the best view of the beach.
  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank natndaveonhols
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kenneth L, General Manager at Saman Villas, responded to this reviewResponded April 19, 2012

We thank the reviewer for their stay at Saman Villas and sharing their holiday experience.

We are delighted to hear the excellent comments made about the immaculately cleaned nicely presented villas, clean beaches, great swimming pool, efficient room service, excellent food and most of all for commending our very friendly staff.

We look forward to welcoming you once again.

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Reviewed April 11, 2012

My partner and I have just returned from staying at the Saman Villas for 9 nights. We had a superior room (first floor). All rooms have a fantastic view, however I would recommend the superior room for privacy, ceiling height and an even more panoramic view. The room was very spacious and clean, with plenty of storage. Towels are changed daily, and the room cleaned twice a day if you wish. Bottled water supplies were very generous (usually 5-6 bottles supplied free per day contrary to earlier reviews!)

I was worried about the open air bathroom before I arrived due to my dislike of mosquitos (and their love of me!), however needn't have as coils are lit from about 4pm every day and electronic repellents are in the room. The bathroom was fabulous, just stunning! .....and don't bother taking shower gel, shampoo, body lotion as all are fantastic quality and in plentiful supply (topped up every day).

Other advice that may be helpful:- 1) you do not need travel adaptors (if you are british) as the room takes our 3 pin plugs. 2) there are no tea/coffee facilities, however you can ring down for a free serving twice a day. We took our own mini kettle/coffee/long life milk/sugar and used the mini fridge to store the milk, which worked well for us.

Although they indicate on the website there are two restaurants, I would call it one with two areas (one slightly elevated that hardly anyone used). We stayed half board and had a 5 course set menu with 2 starter/2 soup/2 dessert options and 3 main options included. The quality and variety of the food was excellent. It is imaginatively presented, and portions are not too huge. You can also eat a la carte and pay a supplement. Wine is quite expensive (cheapest £21 a bottle) but hey - it is a 5 star hotel!

Views from the hotel are to die for - two beaches that stretch for miles and a stunning infinity pool. Entertainment is very low key, and most people retire early to bed. However this was just what the doctor ordered! Everything was so relaxed and peaceful....... We did not get bothered much on the beaches at all - a polite "no thank you" was all that was needed on the rare occasion we were approached.

Best of all has to be the service. I can honestly say that the reception, the room attendants, waiters/waitresses, gardeners and everyone else we met were all so friendly, smiley and attentive - nothing was too much trouble. It really was exceptional! Thank you to all :)

We ate out twice during our stay - both times at the "Diya Sisilia". It is a tiny restaurant in Bentota but off the tourist trail by the Bentota river. Nandana, the owner, and his family are wonderful hosts! See my separate review on this restaurant, but I would recommend that you make the effort to go there, especially if you are a seafood fan! Tel 0777-402138. You need to book the day before you go, as there is no menu - you say what you want and the food is freshly bought on the day!

Other general advice if you have not been to Sri Lanka before - travelling times are much greater than you might expect due to speed limits and traffic. e.g. 67km to Columbo will take 2-2.5hrs. You can go on the new expressway for some of your journey from the airport, but until it is extended from Colombo to the airport, you have to go through Colombo to access it. Not for the faint-hearted - if you are a nervous passenger, don't go!! We have been to Sri Lanka before and knew what to expect - it is madness on the roads, but very entertaining too!

So thank you to Kenneth and all his staff at Saman Villas. It was a wonderful experience, and you have the best hotel we have ever stayed in......

Room Tip: ALL rooms have a fabulous view. First floor (Superior) rooms are more private, have higher ceilings and the best views due to their height. Pool villas very nice, but as main pool so superb, not really necessary.
  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Smatthews2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kenneth L, General Manager at Saman Villas, responded to this reviewResponded April 19, 2012

We thank the reviewer for their stay at Saman Villas and sharing their holiday experience.

We are delighted to read the reviewer’s comments about the very spacious / clean room, fantastic view, fabulous and stunning bathroom, stunning infinity pool, excellent quality and variety of food, exceptional service with attentive friendly staff, most of all the wonderful experience and best hotel the reviewer stayed in.

The reviewers comments referring to the restaurants indicated on the website are the terrace and the open fine dining restaurant.

We look forward to welcoming the reviewer once again to Saman Villas.

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Reviewed April 10, 2012

There are some bad reviews of this place if you go back a couple of pages. They are receding into the distance and rightly so. The worst thing you can say for it is that some staff might linger a little for a tip but in all honesty if you get some small denomination notes, a small tip is greatly appreciated and invaribaly well deserved. Certain things here are very good to excellent. The food is lovely. My wife is pregnant and we did not want to go anywhere else due to not wanting any risks but eating here every day for 6 days was no problem whatsoever. There are no doubt cheaper places to eat locally but put this onto the context of London (where I live) and you can have great main course in a five star hotel here at a good price. This is also competitively priced for other high end hotels in Asia and quality is very high. Some experienced staff such as Gamagay are very good. He chatted with us every day and the guy has a relaxed charm that some of his younger less experienced colleagues could learn from. Service generally is very good. The beac views here are lovely and walking along the beach at sunset is great. The sea was pretty rough night and day in early March but the pool is a great place for a dip. The outdoor bathrooms are stylish, beautifully done. Finally I would also recommend the hotel jeweller. We bought a star sapphire white gold ring and the guys in the shop did not give us the aggressive hard sell that we found in some of the larger well established local stores. They also gave us a better price, having done my research in this one give them a try. The supposedly 'top' store in Bentotota had a downright obnoxious individual who I would not let sell me a bag of nails let alone jewellery. Spa was also great.

Room Tip: Pool villas are overlooked, I think the upper floor rooms are more private and without the pool better value.
  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank FrankieSmith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kenneth L, General Manager at Saman Villas, responded to this reviewResponded April 19, 2012

We thank the reviewer for their stay at Saman Villas and sharing their holiday experience.

We are delighted to hear the excellent comments made about the delicious high quality food, great views, great spa, great pool, beautifully done stylish outdoor bathroom, very good service, especially for commending Gamage and recommending the jeweler.

Looking forward to welcoming you once again.

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Reviewed April 8, 2012

First, the positives. The staff at Saman were delightful, friendly and not at all over-attentive. Excellent people. The location is beautiful and the resort is small and exclusive. The menu was excellent, although it meets the description of "Overpriced"!
The hotel charges $125 for a transfer from the airport. This is a very high fare for Sri Lanka. I was happy to pay it if some kind of luxury would be on offer, as I have experienced at other high-end resorts, usually involving a comfortable car with bottles of water and cold towels supplied. Unfortunately the vehicle was an old Hyundai, which was very shabby inside. There was bottled water.....for the driver! After half an hour the engine lights came on and the car ground to a halt. The driver managed to get it going again but we couldn't use the air conditioning. Great in Sri Lanka! A bit later the driver decided that a/c would be available so we limped in to Saman at a snails pace on a wing and a prayer. Not a great start to our break and the manager immediately waived the fee (of course!)
A word about the pool villas. We had booked a deluxe with pool and looked forward to some privacy there. To quote Saman villas policy "(The) concept has always attracted travelers seeking private luxury holidays in an undisturbed atmosphere with maximum privacy." Well all the pool villas' pools are far from private as they are overlooked by at least two of the apartments plonked on top of the "Pool Villas". You are like performing seals for the occupants above! Again, I expected a private pool as in other resorts I have stayed in but was disappointed.
My wife and I have to disagree with a previous contributor about the bed. Or maybe we just had the worst one at the resort? It was as hard as a brick with lumps and springs felt through it. After one night we asked for a duvet and mattress protector to go on top of it. But when we were both awake early and taking pain-killers for our backs the next morning, we decided enough was enough. It was time to book out and find some comfort somewhere else, as all the management could offer was more blankets on top of the lumpy mattress!
We were charged two nights cancellation fee. This was the first time at any hotel I have stayed in around the world, where there was a punitive fee for checking out due to the inadequacies of the hotel! Shocking.
They try (hard) to portray themselves as an exclusive resort but fail on many counts. Very overpriced for what it is!

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank Bausherboy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kenneth L, General Manager at Saman Villas, responded to this reviewResponded April 18, 2012

We thank the reviewer for their stay at Saman Villas. We are delighted to read the reviewer’s very favorable comments regarding the friendly / delightful staff, excellent people, beautiful location, small and exclusive resort and the excellent menu. However, the overall rating of two out of five given by the reviewer is influenced by some of the negative comments in the review. Our explanations on the negative comments are discussed below:-

1. Transfer from Airport to Hotel.
The reviewer has raised two issues.

a. Breakdown of vehicle
b. That US$ 125 is a very high fare for Sri Lanka.

We profusely apologize to the reviewer for the breakdown of the vehicle. Immediately it was brought to my notice I waived the entire charge of the transfer.

We cannot agree at all with the reviewer’s comment that for Sri Lanka US$ 125 is a very high fare. We did a comparison of a transfer from the Heathrow Airport to London by taxi with the rate we charged.At Heathrow if you wait in the queue for a taxi it will cost you US$ 89 to transfer to London, a distance of 28 km which takes about 30 minutes. In comparison the transfer time from the Airport to the hotel is approximately 3 hours or 6 times that in London.The distance that has to be covered is 92 km which is 3.3 times the distance in London. If you extrapolate (disregarding the time taken which is 6 times) a charge of US$ 294 for transfer to Saman Villas is reasonable, of course assuming that vehicle prices and cost of fuel etc are similar. A sub-compact car like Toyota Corolla manufactured about 2007 will cost about US$ 28,000 a fortune in Sri Lanka. This is no surprise because Sri Lanka charges one of the highest duty rates in the world for motor cars. A similar used car can be purchased at about US$ 14,900 in London. Gas station price in the U.K is US$ 2.16 per litre whereas in Sri Lanka it is US$ 1.15. You can do your own arithmetic and you will come to the conclusion that a charge of at least US$ 250 is not unreasonable. Our charges are as follows:-

Sub-compact vehicle US$ 125
Semi luxury car US$ 200
Luxury (Mercedes Benz or Chrysler 300 C) US$ 460

The above prices are inclusive of 10% service charge and 15.2% government tax.

Is it fair for any one to complain that our transfer rates are high? It is very unfortunate that a very few tourists think Sri Lanka which is a developing country should sell everything cheap. We sometimes receive similar complaints about wine prices. If anyone compares one of the most widely sold wines (Moet & Chandon) in a 4 or 5 star hotel in London or anywhere else in the world they will find our price is very reasonable. Wines are considered a luxury in Sri Lanka and therefore attract very high duty. Quantities imported into Sri Lanka are insignificant and as a result import prices are very much higher than in UK or Europe.

2. Pool Villas are far from Private
There is often confusion between the English words “private” and “privacy”. We use the meanings given in the Oxford Dictionary and therefore it is best to refer the meanings given there. We have given all the necessary information correctly in our website. We have 4 categories of rooms on the ground floor.

Deluxe Suite without pool selling at US$ 342

Deluxe Suite with pool selling at US$ 394.For the addition of a pool which is described in the website as “7 meter infinity edge lap pool overlooking the Indian Ocean for your private use” we charge only additional US$ 52 on Deluxe Suite price.


For an additional US$ 172 we offer the Grand Deluxe with a pool which is described in our website as “7 meter secluded lap pool overlooking the Indian Ocean with sun deck and dining area for your private use”.

For an additional US$ 272 we offer the Villa (duplex with floor area 1,261 sq.ft) where the pool is described as “ 7 meter secluded lap pool with sun deck and sun loungers for your private use in privacy”

The above rates quoted are from our website as at 19th April 2012. 10% service charge and 15.2% government taxes should be added.

Our website clearly explains the difference and what it cost to get absolute privacy. In the circumstance we cannot understand why the reviewer has complained.

3. We were charged 2 nights cancellation

Reviewer’s argument is that although they complained about the mattress the cancellation charge which they agreed to at the time of reservation was not waived. We cannot accept that there is a problem with the mattress as claimed by the reviewer. During this year there are 40 reviews in Trip Advisor and no guest has complained about an inadequacy in the mattress. We do waive cancellation charges for very good reasons only. Otherwise the guest must honour the contract. This is the practice followed in any hotel in the world.

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