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“Great Stay at the Taj Exotica”

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Vivanta by Taj - Bentota
Ranked #2 of 24 Hotels in Bentota
Certificate of Excellence
Abu Dhabi
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Great Stay at the Taj Exotica”
Reviewed October 5, 2008

It was a lovely 2 and a half hour drive from Colombo that took us to Taj Exotica. The Check in was relatively smooth without any hassles thought it hurt to pay an extra USD 50 for an early check-in (we were in the Hotel at 9:00 AM as we had an early flight into Colombo).

The rooms were spacious and nice if a little musty smelling. The views were quite spectacular and the Hotel apart from the initial discomfort of the musty smelling room was fantastic.

The staff were very courteous and service was excellent all round. The main dining restaurant for breakfast and Dinners was 'The Palms' Restaurant which was excellent though lacking in variety in the Vegetarian department a bit. The breakfast was fantastic and we really enjoyed it. Dont miss the King Coconut water which is served with the breakfast...natural and incredibly sweet tasting and delicious...Dinner was also very lovely in this restaurant...

The Pool was excellent and the ambience at the Pool was very nice with the Pool overlooking the Indian Ocean and making a spectacular sight especially at Sunset.

The Water sports attached to the Hotel are easily accesible and quite close and the staff at the Water sports centre were extremely enthusiastic and helpful. We had a leisurely river cruise, but going by the great service we got, we recommend the whole list of services offered...

A rail track runs very close to the Hotel and be prepared to hear the lovely sounds of the train even late at night...Coming as I do from an Indian upbringing, these are sounds that I am used to and even cherish...so my review maybe a bit biased...

All in all....a thoroughly enjoyable stay..we were a group of 9 people ..all friends with family and we had a fantastic time...I would highly recommend this Hotel...

  • Liked — Location, Location, Location
  • Disliked — Musty Smell
  • Stayed October 2008, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
6 Thank girishnks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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st johns, isle of man
Level 1 Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed October 3, 2008

we stayed here for 2 weeks and it was the best holiday we have had.the hotel was lovely and very clean.the staff are even better and cant thank them enough for what they did for us.
we got married at the hotel in the gardens looking out over the sea and it was such a nice setting.if anyone ever asked us if its a good idea to marry abroad we would say totaly as its relaxing and the wedding co-ordinator (ishara) does so much for you.the best place to eat in bentota is 5 mins walk from the taj and its called the GOLDEN GRILL.this place beats alot of british restruants for food and drink for price and quality.

  • Liked — the pool
  • Disliked — nothing it was awesome.
  • Stayed September 2008, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
5 Thank gypo81
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nottingham, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
Reviewed September 28, 2008

We stayed at the Taj Exotica for 7 nights as part of a 2 week holiday to Sri Lanka and the Maldives (which I will also be reviewing)

We had a private car transfer from the airport to the hotel which took just over 3 hours. The distance isn't really that far but it takes so long due to the poor roads and crazy drivers who think it's perfectly fine to overtake a car and a bus on a single lane road with another car coming the other way doing the same thing! I spent the whole journey with my eyes half shut wondering if we were going to crash!

When we finally arrived at the hotel we were greated by the hotel staff who were friendly and welcoming. After checking in we were shown to the bar where we were given a complimentary drink of what can only be described as liquid ginger!!! One sip was enough for me!

We were then shown to our room by the lady who checked us in. I had booked an Orchid room as I was of the understanding that these were newly refurbished rooms and the best in the hotel. I wasn't impressed!!! The room was a reasonable size with a large bed. The balcony had a side view of the ocean and a view over the garden. It had an old fashioned tv and a dvd player. The decor was not the best! The thing that let it down most was the bathroom. It was tiny with a single sink, toilet and bath/shower. It was all very tired looking and looked like it needed ripping out and starting again! The shower wasn't very good, the water just dripped out. If they are meant to be the refurbished rooms I dread to think what the standard rooms are like!

We stayed on a bed and breakfast basis. The food was average at best. It was a breakfast buffet with a selection of continental items as well as hot items such as scrambled eggs and bacon. It was edible but nothing to rave about! We tended to order room service for lunch which again was okay. We ate in the Chinese reasturant some evenings which was nice and worth a visit! The Hakka Noodles were especially nice. We ate in the buffet restaurant one night and weren't impressed at all. There was very limited choice and everything seemed to taste the same. It was like they had to make everything spicy to give it some taste. We then realised they had theme nights in the main restaurant so decided to give the Italian night a go. The only thing on the buffet that was Italian was vegetable lasagne and again the same old currys and random spicy dishes. After realising the main restaurant was no good we ate in the chinese for the remainder of our trip!

Towards the middle of the week I got a really bad upset stomach and sickness! I have travelled to various places around the world and have never got this ill! I was really carefull and even brushed my teeth with bottled water. I can only assume it was the food! It took me a week to recover properly and spoiled meal times for the first few days in The Maldives where the food was excellent!

We found the hotel to be very claustrophobic! Although it is fairly big there didn't ever seem much to do and we ended up spending more time in our room than I would have liked. There was a bar with awful music on at night! Local singers who really couldn't sing in tune! It was never very busy in there and we only went one night. I can only assume other guests stayed in their rooms too! It would have been nice to have an area possibly outside where you could sit and have a quiet drink after dinner. there was nothing like this.

We went on 2 trips booked through Kuoni. A boat trip and visit to the turtle santuary which I thought was very good and a day trip to the elephant orphanage (where we rode an elephant) and Kandy to see the temple of the tooth! A very long 6 hour drive each way. If you are thinking of doing this hire a private car and driver which is what we did! It would be a nightmare on a coach!

Overall, it wasn't the worst hotel in the world but there was something seriously missing. It lacked charm and character. If you're used to staying in 3 star hotels then it would probably be of a similar standard but for me it just didn't live up to my expectations! I definately wouldn't recommend it as a wedding or honeymoon hotel! I would cry if I ended up there on my honeymoon!

Would I return to Sri Lanka? Probably not. Would I return to this hotel? Definately not!

Hope you find this review helpful and if you've got any further questions I'd be happy for you to contact me!

  • Liked — The pool area
  • Disliked — The room and the food.
  • Stayed September 2008
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Alison1980
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
blackpool
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed September 27, 2008

We stayed at the Taj Exotica in August 2008 for our honeymoon, our first impression of the hotel as we drove up was 'wow!'. The staff are extremely helpful and polite without being overbearing. Our room was quite dissapointing at first, we had a shabby, outdated double room where on our first night we found cockroaches in the bathroom. HOWEVER,please don't be put off by this as we told the reception staff who arranged for us to be relocated to another room which was lovely-freshly decorated and very clean-no cockroaches at all!
We were half board basis and the the food is offered buffet style, the breakfasts were nice with a wide range of choice and the evening meal buffet was fantastic- a different theme each night-Mexican/Spanish/Chinese as well as a choice of curries each night.
The pool and pool bar is fantastic-again, really clean and the pool boys can't do enough for you-setting out your mattresses and towels for you.
There is nothing to do in the evening in Sri Lanka due to the increased crime rate (apparently after dark street muggings are on the up) so you are really forced to hang around the hotel which was a little dissapointing for us as we like to go off to new places. The hotel do provide evening entertainmnt which is at best , ok but a bit tiring every night!!
Alcohol is very expensive in the hotel, although the Lion beer is quite reasonable and tastes ok too.
The hotel Spa is well worth a visit-we had a few treatments there and felt fantastic afterwards! They are a little expensive but worth it...
The turtle sanctuary, which is a short taxi ride away is worth a visit-it will kill about an hour of your time, you will get to see the different typs of turtle that come to the beach to lay their eggs in the sand.
The elephant orphanage is lovely but it takes 4 very long hours hours to get there, you get to have your photo taken with the elephants and see them being fed and bathing in the local river-A word of warning though- the people who look after the elephants will try and harass you for tips for 'allowing' you to have your pic taken with the elephants as you first walk in to the orphanage-don't give them any!! Further down the path there is a sign saying not to tip them-they were earning a fortune of tourists giving them donations!!! My advice would be not to book a trip through a tour company to the orphanage as we did as we paid nearly £80 for the two of us to go there (inc transport) and when we got there it was only 1000 rupees (£5) each to get in!! The best way would be to agree a price with a reputable taxi driver beforehand and then pay yourself when you get there.
All in all, a lovely hotel but due to the lack of activities to do close by I don't think we would return.

  • Liked — Wonderful customer service.
  • Disliked — The location and the mosquito's!
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank keira_baby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed September 22, 2008

This place is a heaven. Extremely good place to relax. We loved the Pool and especially the pool bar. The choice of food was great and we really enjoyed the different types of Sri Lankan food. Staff was extremely helpful the service was excellent. Staff does not over say Sir and Madam like in UK and certainly do not try to rip you off at the end under the banner of good customer service. This place is certainly worth for the money; back in London we will not even be able to have a decent B&B for this price (Except too many Sir and Madam comments).

The beach was brilliant but bare in mind it is dangerous to go to the sea during May to October time as the sea as very rough to swim. There are enough places to do water sports in the lagoon just around the corner of the hotel.

  • Liked — View - Pool - Food - Staff
  • Disliked — Bit of hassle from tuk tuk drivers out side the hotel.
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank sajee76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
uk
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed September 8, 2008

My family have been going here for several years,both as a family and individually.We just love Sri Lanka.
If it weren't for the staff (who are wonderful) we wouldn't have gone back and we will not go again.
The rooms are increasingly shabby and have that musty smell.
The food in all the restaurants is average.
The cost to use the internet is exhorbitant.
The manager has a desire to fill the hotel with Russians.

  • Liked — balcony
  • Disliked — shabby and smelly
  • Stayed March 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank terriblegolfer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed September 1, 2008

It's a nice hotel, it’s a shame a minority of the staff let it down.
Two main issues stood out during our stay…

Initialy the prices were reasonable for a hotel of this class, and then over night the prices really shot up by around 20-30%.
The restaurant/in-room menu's, bars and the currency exchange rates all changed for the worse.
The next morning a large party of British tourists arrived, a coincidence?

Watch out for staff hustling for tips in an underhand manor…
Regularly experienced things like having NO towels left in your room.
Towels are then delivered late afternoon (when you back in you room), followed by an awkward moment where chap is expects a tip.

I would not expect this form a Taj Chain hotel, disappointing.

  • Liked — Large room
  • Disliked — Dated, 5* rating maybe 20 years ago...
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
7 Thank J_T_James
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Vivanta by Taj - Bentota

Property: Vivanta by Taj - Bentota
Address: National Holiday Resort, Bentota 80500, Sri Lanka
Phone Number:
Location: Sri Lanka > Southern Province > Galle District > Bentota
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Family Hotel in Bentota
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Bentota
#2 Spa Hotel in Bentota
#2 Luxury Hotel in Bentota
#3 Romantic Hotel in Bentota
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Vivanta by Taj - Bentota 5*
Number of rooms: 160
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sri Lanka is referred to as a ‘small miracle,’ for despite the island’s relatively small size, its natural wonders and beauty are in abundance. Vivanta by Taj – Bentota is located on the south west coast of Sri Lanka. The hotel lies over a lush hill that overlooks the Indian Ocean. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Vivanta By Taj - Bentota Hotel Bentota
Taj Exotica Hotel Bentota
Bentota Taj Exotica Hotel
Taj Exotica Sri Lanka
Taj Exotica Srilanka
Taj Exotica Bentota

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