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“Fantastic accommodation and pool”
Review of Saman Villas

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Saman Villas
Ranked #1 of 26 Hotels in Bentota
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 7, 2013

We spent 5 days at Saman Villas in February 2013, after 4 days at the Oberoi Grand in hectic Kolkata, another 5 star accommodation.

Be ready, this is a rather long review!

Before our trip started, I had 2 unanswered emails: one I sent shortly after booking (in November/December) about the wifi and the other, a few days before our arrival about being picked up from the airport. I ended up using the Contact link on the website to ask about the transport and finally got an answer.

The chauffeur was waiting for us at the airport, as promised, and offered us some cold towels and drinks when we got in the air conditioned car.

I will not dwell on the fantastic pool and accommodation (which we loved by the way) and will concentrate instead on things rarely mentioned by other reviewers. I appreciate that the review will come across as negative but this is actually not intended. It is unfortunate for Saman Villas that we stayed at the Oberoi just before, but I feel that it is important to highlight where there is room for improvement.

The service was very good but was not as "polished" as that of the Oberoi the staff was very pleasant and polite but I feel that they sometimes did not really know what to do or say. When we enquired about the price of a tuck tuck to go to Bentota, the receptionist just told us to go down and ask the tuck tuck drivers. I feel that the receptionists should know the answer to such questions as Bentota is too far to walk to. When guests left the pool, the towels on the sunbeds were not replaced.

To their credit, the staff really do their best to make good what has gone wrong but I feel that they should work on preventing things from going wrong in the first place. Twice at lunch time, we tried to order the avocado salad from the menu just to be told that there was no avocado (there was avocado in the evening though). Similarly, my scrub at the spa meant to include a flower bath but, again, this was not possible on that day (there were apparently no flowers). On both occasions, the items were on the menu, which is disappointing.

There are some very nice touches, such as the champagne and fruit basket on arrival, the 15-min complimentary massage (foot massage but can be changed to something else) and the beautifully made beds. I also found it great to have a kid-free hotel.

I had a body scrub at the spa. The setting is beautiful and relaxing. I would have found it helpful to have the sequence of events explained before the treatment; after the bath, the therapist told me that the treatment was finished and that I needed to get dressed, only to come rushing in the changing room with a bottle of cream that she dabbled on my back, legs and arms and rushed to apply, with me standing up. When I returned to the bedroom and read again about the treatment, I found out that the cream was probably the avocado and aloe vera cream that should have been applied on the whole body, not standing up in the changing room but on a treatment bed! I thought at the time that something was missing but could not ask as the therapist did not really speak English and I did not speak Sinhalese. This was, in retrospect, disappointing.

The wifi is rather patchy and slow and certainly did not work at all in our room (16, even though it is very close to the main building)

The food was on the whole excellent and copious (we ended up sharing most dishes after the first day!). The quantity and quality of the food however varied. After having a delicious muesli two days in a row, on the third day, it had much less yoghurt and fresh fruits. Also, at breakfast, we were sometimes given the set menu, sometimes the a la carte menu and sometimes both menus.

If you need a tuck tuck, ask reception to call Charlie. He knows the whole area, is very friendly and speaks good English.

The staff are supposedly not allowed to linger around waiting for tips and instead the guests can leave a bigger tip on departure that is to be distributed between the staff. I like the idea but I think that the bigger tip should be shared between named staff; this is difficult though as the staff do not wear name tags. Also, despite the rule of not lingering, a couple of them did so.

Contrary to some reviewers, I did not think that the food was overly expensive, considering the quality and quantity. We also did not encounter any creepy crawlies in our bedroom or bathroom (the insect burning coils that are placed in the bathroom and balcony must be working).

All in all, we had a very enjoyable stay at Saman Villas but I think that it is behind the likes of Oberoi when it comes to service, mainly.

Room Tip: We were in 16, which we liked because it was the closest to the pool. The rooms on the south side ar...
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank KarinemUk
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 February 13, 2013

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

We were delighted to read the favorable comments made about the pool and accommodation.

Please accept our apologies for the several lapses and we thank the reviewer for bringing it to our notice. We have taken your comments very positively and our next training secession will be based on the areas highlighted by you.

Our standards for replying to guest queries are 24 hours, but obviously it has not happened in this instance. We will take additional measures to ensure that guest queries are replied to within 24 hours. The hotel is currently providing the Wi-Fi services through Sri Lanka’s largest mobile service provider but unfortunately they have failed to provide a reliable service. We have finalized an agreement with a new company and hope to offer the new system with a far more speedy service from May 2013 onwards.

The transport price of the Tuk-tuk drivers varies even if the location is the same and therefore we do not comment on the prices. The transport prices of chauffer driven cars and dual purpose vehicles operated by the village transport providers are available with the Reception. These transport providers are registered with the hotel and their vehicles are checked annually for safety and guest comfort.

We wish you would return and look forward to welcoming you to Saman Villas.

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488 - 494 of 861 reviews

Reviewed February 7, 2013

We stayed 4 nights and rarely left. There is an excellent main pool but some villas come with there own. The food is outstanding and the staff are some of the best in Sri Lanka. It was ideal to have a relaxed break in the middle of busy trip. The spa is excellent
Galle is a nice day trip. The train takes about 40 minutes.

Room Tip: I loved having a private pool even though the pool area is overlooked by another villa. No one staye...
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  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank b0ags
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 February 7, 2013

We thank the reviewer for their stay at Saman Villas and sharing their holiday experience.
We were delighted in reading the favorable comments and thank you for expressing them for the benefit of visitors to this website.
We wish you would return and look forward to welcoming you to Saman Villas.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 5, 2013

We stayed 6 nights at this hotel and enjoyed every moment. The location is superb, the suites are exceptionally comfortable and well appointed. Each day the rooms are thoroughly serviced, endless supplies of towels and bottled water and a fruit bowl replenished daily. The staff are wonderfully friendly and responsive; they just can't do enough for you. The restaurant is exceptional, serving high quality international and Sri Lankan dishes. There's a beautiful pool with an attendant who finds you a lounger and fresh towels within seconds. Outstanding staff members: Nirosha on reception, Sudath the room attendant, Malika the restaurant manager.

Room Tip: Depends if you want a pool of your own. The upstairs suites have no pool but you get a better view a...
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Laurence K
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 February 14, 2013

We thank the reviewer for their stay at Saman Villas and sharing their holiday experience.
We were delighted in reading the favorable comments and thank you for expressing them for the benefit of visitors to this website.
We wish you would return and look forward to welcoming you to Saman Villas.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 4, 2013

We stayed here for 4 nights at the end of our fortnight in Sri Lanka leaving on February 2nd. It was a perfect place to chill out. We had booked a ground floor suite (No 25) on the north-facing side with a private pool. Good choice! Lovely room, regularly and carefully serviced and extremely spacious and comfortable. The private pool was great! Scupulously clean, as was the whole suite, and a real godsend when you felt a little warm - a few steps down the immaculately-maintained garden and a quick dip to cool off. And the main pool was something else, and only 50 metres away.

There were so many charming touches - the welcome champagne, the regularly-replenished fruit bowl, the complimentary tea in the mornings, the elegantly-decorated bed (frangipani flowers, etc.), fresh lotus flowers in the main room and the bathroom,. All this provided by a staff who were second to none in their charm, general helpfulness, genuine welcome, knowing one's name and using it, and sincere friendliness. It is they who really make Saman Villas what it is. An exceptional place to stay.

Just one small suggestion for the management. You create a romantic atmosphere in the restaurant by using candlelight. It succeeds, but has one drawback. Your chef has put a lot of effort into producing extremely nicely-presented plates of food, but when they arrive at table the effect is largely lost because the lighting level is so low that one cannot fully appreciate the quality of the presentation. I had to use the light on my iPhone to see just how prettily the food was presented. So, a rethink of the lighting levels might not come amiss! Just a thought?

Apart from that, a wonderful stay! Thank you all for making Saman Villas a special place.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank croquetmike
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 February 13, 2013

We thank the reviewer for their stay at Saman Villas and sharing their holiday experience.
We were delighted in reading the favorable comments and thank you for expressing them for the benefit of visitors to this website.
We wish you would return and look forward to welcoming you to Saman Villas.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 1, 2013 via mobile

My husband and i spent 4 nights in a suite with pool
The stay in this resort is so special and more than nice ..i loved everything here
Beginning from reception and hospitality the staff are very kind friendly polite and very helpful
specially
Nirosha she is very nice and kind i asked her to help me to get me a saree and she did it
And Gayathri was so polite she helped me to wear the saree and made very beautiful photos for me
And also imali is a nice and friendly person i loved them so much
The room is Comfortable
And we enjoyed our private pool
And the wonderful view
The food was good and the waitress are all very kind specially
Dilhani and Iresha
And i enjoyed some treatments at the spa it was so relaxing
I loved the spa cause it is open i mean you can see the sky ,sun and trees breath the fresh air
And the sweet Samudra who made the treatments for me is very kind..
I LOVED everything in SAMAN VILLAS and wish to come again

  • Stayed: January 2013
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Thank Fadwai
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 February 3, 2013

We thank the reviewer for their stay at Saman Villas and sharing their holiday experience.
We were delighted in reading the favorable comments and thank you for expressing them for the benefit of visitors to this website.
We are pleased that you will be returning and look forward to welcoming you to Saman Villas.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 30, 2013

What a wonderful five days my girlfriend and I had here! The service is excellent and the staff amazing. What can one say about the view over the infinity pool--something truly, truly unforgettable. Nirosha at the Front is more than just an "employee" of Saman; she cares in extremis, and one feels comforted and pampered. We asked to move rooms because ours was closest to the main pavilion, and our wish for more seclusion was granted in an instant. Imani in the restaurant is beyond kind and sweet. Food was excellent--one breakfast good for two people, truly--and the grounds gorgeously kept. The spa was just ok, but we only had 45-min foot massages, so can't really comment dispositively. What a well-run place; there isn't much else to do than lie about and loll by the pool--but after a very chaotic time in Sigiriya, with non-stop rain, Saman Villas were the perfect antidote...recommended unreservedly for a quiet, elegant and rejuvenating visit.

Room Tip: they are all great--we chose not to take a private pool, and were perfectly content with our gorgeou...
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank JudefromNYC
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 January 31, 2013

We thank the reviewer for their stay at Saman Villas and sharing their holiday experience.
We were delighted in reading the favorable comments and thank you for expressing them for the benefit of visitors to this website.
We wish you would return and look forward to welcoming you to Saman Villas.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 29, 2013

Saman Villas is a 27 room hotel at the southern end of Bentota. It is not a collection of villas but well funished rooms in two storey buildings. The gound floor rooms have a private pool whilst first floor rooms have a large balcony with table, chairs, planter's chair and a day bed. The semi-outdoor bathroom is large and modern and the beds and indoor seating area large and comfortable. On arrival we received a chilled half bottle of champagne and fruit bowl,the fruit bowl was refilled each day (sadly, not the champagne bucket). The restaurant serves delicious food, the wine list is limited and very expensive. The beach on either side was virtually empty and to the north there are a few local restaurants lining the beach. The beach door to Saman villas is closed at 7pm for security and there is no way back from the beach after this, the road is unlit and quite dangerous, so a tuk-tuk ride to other restaurants and hotels is necessary after dark. There is no real tourist centre to Bentota, a few restaurants line the river about 45 minutes walk along the beach or 10 minutes in a tuk-tuk, but the town centre is very local orientated. Lunuganga, Geoffrey Bawa's house and garden, are 20 minutes drive away and well worth a morning's tour (tour only, no unsupervised wandering). There are river cruises available but I'm not sure they offer much access to wildlife. Ideal if you lie by the pool all day and wander no further than the hotel restaurant, but if you are looking for culture and wildlife, Bentota is not an exciting place to be.

Room Tip: Rooms on the North side overlook rocks and the sea, on others overlook a garden which leads to the r...
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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1  Thank AdoptedLondoner
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 January 30, 2013

We thank the reviewer for their stay at Saman Villas and sharing their holiday experience.
We were delighted in reading the favorable comments and thank you for expressing them for the benefit of visitors to this website.
We wish you would return and look forward to welcoming you to Saman Villas.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Saman Villas

Address: Galle Road, Bentota 80500, Sri Lanka
Phone Number:
Location: Sri Lanka > Southern Province > Galle District > Bentota
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Bentota
#1 Romantic Hotel in Bentota
#1 Spa Hotel in Bentota
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Bentota
#1 Luxury Hotel in Bentota
Price Range: $377 - $821 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Saman Villas 4.5*
Number of rooms: 27
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Saman Villas is laid out on a magnificent rocky headland dividing two long, surf-swept golden beaches. Close by is a sleepy fishing village but you would not know it, the only sounds are sea gulls' cries and the surf below. The resort is inspired by ancient Sri Lankan architecture. The restaurants, bars and villa suites are all angled to take full advantage of the sea shore vista either side of the headland. A terraced garden draws the eye to a dramatic infinity-edge pool. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Saman Villas Hotel Bentota
Saman Hotel Aturuwella
Saman Resort Aturuwella

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