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“Perfect Place To Get Away From It All”

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Vivanta by Taj - Bentota
Ranked #2 of 24 Hotels in Bentota
Certificate of Excellence
Karachi
Level 1 Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Perfect Place To Get Away From It All”
Reviewed December 14, 2008

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.

Tips:

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.

  • Liked — Views, Pool
  • Disliked — Rooms
  • Stayed October 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank SQA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Hull
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed December 9, 2008

Just what we needed after the long flight to sri lanka, a relaxed and friendly with the little extras that make a place special.
From the moment we had a refreshing cold towel given to us to the moment we left. The staff at the Taj couldn't do enough for you.
I had expressed some concerns over some of the reports on tripadvisor to the Taj and they had assured me that i had no need to be concerned and they were right we had a great view of the Indian ocean and gardens and our room was spotless and was kept that way for the 2 weeks we were there.
Our only complaint was that information about what was on in the hotel was limited and given out only a few hours before the event so you couldn't plan nights in advance.
We had a excellent time at the Taj, thank you to all the staff that made our stay so relaxing.

  • Liked — All the little things. Cold towels and slippers etc
  • Disliked — The price of the Spa
  • Stayed November 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank luckyboz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed November 21, 2008

Stayed here for 8 nightsafter Maldives & tour up country in Oct/Nov ,very warm welcome ,very impressive reception after welcome drink shown to our Orchid room which was kept spotless during our stay & the most fantasic view of the indian ocean ,very comfortable lovely pre dinner snacks served in room every evening ,various Restaurants served good quality food we were not disappointed ,Pool area spacious & relaxing with attentive service,we were not bothered by the locals on the beach,after all they are just trying to make a living !!l Spa excellent, our second visit to Sri Lanka & we would certainly visit again ,highly recommend this hotel ,if we were to criticise it would be that we found that the swim up bar area by the pool little difficult to just get a drink at times.

  • Liked — setting
  • Disliked — bar area
  • Stayed October 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank DEBOHUN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
huddersfield
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed November 8, 2008

Ok, completely honest review here:
Srin lanka as a whole, beautiful but not laid back with regards to tipping. expect to be harrased the second you step out of the hotel & they do not like it one bit if you tip in rupee instead of stirling or dollars. we had the best time in kandy on a two day trip we took to see the temple / elephant orphanage but everystop we made (gem museum, silk emporium etc..) involved us being shown a half baked demo & then really really badgered to buy something. the gem museum in particular was a joke (the tea factory was quite cool though). Kandy was beautiful although very hot on security. we were there during a festival & were searched & scanned 3 times on the walk to the temple.
Now, specifically the taj exotica:
1) They were re-furbing the ground floor & it absolutely stank of some kind of varnish. almost halucenogenic
2) the room was ok but old fashioned, didn't feel that clean & needed renovating.
3) The place felt empty, apparently english / australians aren't comming in great numbers any more & our waiter one night told us that the hotel was 90% full but 70% of the guests were arabic & they tended to stay in their rooms so the bar was empty & the restaraunts were too so there was absolutely no atmosphere.
4) The buffet restaraunt was slightly better but the food wasn't great.
5) the barman was odd, the policy of the hotel was to not carry cash & sign for everything but he kept insisting we paid cash & was reluctant to show us the bill. very strange so we never went back, too much like being harrased.
Richard the rep was lovely though, really nice guy, i got an ear infection from the pool we think & had to call the doctor out at about 4 am & it was dealt with really well.

Basically, we did it wrong. we should have done a 7 day tour of sri lanka & moved around more. the best time we had was in Kandy so at the very least, do an overnight stay there but staying at the taj was a bit claustrophobic. you can't really swim in the sea at that time of year & a romantic stroll along the beach will (& i mean WILL) be interupted by some dude who will latch onto you & won't go away until he has convinced you to follow him to whatever gem store is paying his comission. harsh but fair i think.

Go to sri lanka, it's beautiful & the people are fantastic & need the tourism right now but go inland & see it properly. Oh, and if you go to sigirya, do it during the week, not at the weekend when its so busy it's terrifying.

  • Liked — the pool & the view
  • Disliked — the atmosphere, completely non existant
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank mrmcmanus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Delhi
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed November 6, 2008

I was there for an official trip with few of my colleagues. The hotel is just at the shore of ocean and presents a fantastic view of the beach. The surroundings are all green and is very scenic. The hotel has got good accomodation, nice pool and the staff is nice and helpful. You can see lot many foreign tourists in this hotel.

  • Liked — View of the beach
  • Disliked — Spicy food
  • Stayed September 2007, traveled on business
    • Value
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank singhm2r
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St.annes
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed October 24, 2008

My husband and I recently stayed at the Taj for 6 nights after completeing a tour of the island with Titan Tours, all the other hotels we stayed at were lovely with beautiful clean rooms. What a disappointment when we arrived at the Taj, the reception is very impressive but when we were shown to our room the smell hit you as soon as you walked in. On further inspection we found the room to be filthy,the bathroom was a disgrace mould was growing all round the bath and the marble around the sink was filthy. In the bedroom all the pl;ugs and sockets the dirty and dusty and the curtains were smeared with something. I went down to reception to ask to be moved and was told that the hotel was full and we would have to wait until a room became available. Fortunately our rep was able to persuade them to find us another room, but there was still that awfull smell. The room was cleaner but there is no way that this hotel deserves a 5 Star listing.

  • Liked — the view from our room
  • Disliked — the cleanliness
  • Stayed October 2008
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
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Helpful?
4 Thank suemalc45
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wrexham
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed October 11, 2008

We stayed at the Taj Exotica for our honeymoon sept/ Oct 2008. We booked into an orchid room which was lovely, great sea view the only thing that let it down was the bathroom looked a bit tired however it was always spotlessly clean.

We stayed half board, the food and service at the Palms restaurant was excellent always a lot of choice with international cuisine/ sri lankan and indian curries every night. Breakfast was the same with plenty to choose from - cooked breakfasts/fruit/pastries and cereals aswell as curries -if you fancy it!!

We had one meal at the shack restaurant which looks out over the sea. It was £20 each for a three course meal which was great value for money as the setting was amazing and the food was really good.

Another good meal we had which was very cheap was at the Golden Grill about a 5 minute walk from the hotel.

The swimming pool was always lovely and warm with plenty of sun loungers available.

We were concerned about the weather as it was supposed to be the monsoon season during our stay however we didn't see any rain and the temperature was always well into the 30's.

We did 2 trips - an overnight stay in a 4* hotel to Kandy where we visited the elephant orphange, temple of the tooth, botanical gardens, tea plantations. We thought this was great value for money at £85 each and did book this through our tour operator.

Another trip we did was to Galle in the south which also visited a turtle sanctuary and a mask museum. We returned to the turtle hatchery at about 6pm one evening to release turtles which was a good experience. This cost £5 for the two of us and £2.50 for the trip in the tuk tuk.

The flight and then the taxi ride were not as bad as I thought they were going to be. It took us about 2.5 hours to get to the hotel - the driving was slightly erratic but I felt quite safe and it was interesting to see Columbo and the towns on our journey to the hotel.

With regards to the high threat of terrorism we never felt unsafe throughout our trip.

  • Liked — Swimming Pool
  • Disliked — Tired Bathroom
  • Stayed September 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Hatters_1988
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 Spa Hotel in Bentota
#2 Luxury Hotel in Bentota
#2 On the Beach 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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