My girlfriend and I, both in our mid-twenties, stayed at the Taj for five days in the last week of October, 2008. We reached their late at night and were greeted warmly by the staff. We went straight to our room, a normal seaview room, and were rather shocked by the extremely dated decor, which was in stark contrast with the tasteful lobby.
We couldn't really see outside and went to bed disappointed. The next morning we drew the curtains and were amazed by the beautiful view. The breakfast was by the pool again overlooking the sea. We soon realised that the architecture of the hotel and the layout of the hotel grounds were remarkable, definitely the best in the area. The location of the hotel ensures that one has direct access to a wonderful stretch of beach.
It rained a fair bit in October, and that too heavy monsoon showers, but we still got some sunshine. The key is to wake up early and go out to the beach. The sun disappeared by early afternoon.
Unlike the experience of many other people on TripAdvisor, we were not bugged by hawkers and beach boys, nor were there excessive tipping demands; but our being Pakistani and looking somewhat like the locals may have had something to do with it though.
We soon came to accept the fact that the dated room was a small price to pay for the views and the beach. The hotel was perfect for us as we were looking for a peaceful, relaxing and romantic holiday, but had we been looking for a more entertaining one, this place wouldn't be right. In fact, we got the feeling that Bentota, if not all of Sri Lanka, doesn't really have much in the way of nightlife and you will find few bars and clubs. The hotel bar at the Taj was dated and expensive. The beer was reasonably priced though. The Chinese Restaurant was very nice, but empty, as were most other public places in the hotel which worked for us on this trip.
I would definitely recommend the hotel BUT only if you're planning a quiet, relaxing holiday.
We saved money by going to a nearby liquor store and buying beers (Lion Beer, pint bottle for approx US$1.50). The hotel even allowed to have our own beers by the pool.
Do take a dip in the pool and have a beer at the pool bar.
Certainly take a walk by the beach to Wunderbar.
Travel by Tuk Tuk. Taxis are hardly much faster and obstruct you from enjoying the amazing views.
Galle was a let down, but the journey to Galle, in the Tuk Tuk, was great. Make a stopover at Hikkaduwa grab some lunch.
Definitely take a boat ride into the lagoon and hold a baby croc.
- 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