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“DON'T GO OUT OF SEASON!”

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Vivanta by Taj - Bentota
Ranked #2 of 26 Hotels in Bentota
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed June 19, 2009

We travelled to Bentota on the 2nd of June 2009 for 10 days. The hotel was very grand when we arrived and we were very expectant. The lobby and longing areas and in fact all the outside areas of the hotel are immaculate and very impressive.
We were shown to our room (308) which had a sea view and balcony with air conditioning. It was a very poor quality room. It had mould on the net behind the curtains (a kind of lining) and all over the walls. It was dirty in the bathroom too with rust and dirt marks visible on the bath and taps.
We have stayed in a 2* hotel in Goa last year and that was much cleaner and nicer!
I was very disappointed and immediately requested to move, which was granted. The room wasn't much better but we grinned and bore it due to the fact that our flight out there was cancelled and we'd already lost over 24 hours of our holiday.
The facilities in the hotel are excellent, there is a sauna, steam room and jacuzzi which is all free of charge for hotel guests on quoting your room number. They also have a table tennis and games area which we used throughout our stay. (The quality of the table wasn't great but hey we had fun!)
The pool and poolside area is also immaculately kept and very clean and we swam in it an relaxed around the pool almost every day.
The beach is very close, literally about 30 second stroll out of the grounds, and is lovely to sit and watch the sun either come up or go down, however, it is quite dirty with all the litter that was strewn on the grasssy areas at the other side of the sea. I was slightly disappointed with the lack of blue sea too as it was very murky and grey looking.
I would definitely avoid this area of Sri Lanka if activities and nightlife are a part of your holiday as this area offered neither of those things to us.( A 28 yr old male and 25 yr old female) Instead we found 1 nice restaurant and made that our "local" at which we ate 4 nights out of the 9. It was superb there, lovely setting and really nice food, especially the fresh seafood, and we enjoyed the hospitality of the friendly waiters. This was called the Golden Grill and is a short tuk-tuk ride away from the hotel.
The only other notable place we ate was Amal which was also a really good night.
Tuk-tuk's are great but no short journey (15 minutes total) should cost much more than 200 rupees. Food is quite cheap but we would still manage to spend £15-20 a night on a meal and drinks so not much cheaper than here!
Tea and coffee are good presents and a little note for ladies - take sanitary precautions with you just in case as you cannot buy applicator/non-applicators in many places in Sri Lanka, or at least we couldn't find any anywhere anyway!!
We did take a trip to the turtle sanctuary which we did not arrange through the tour operators. We just asked our tuk-tuk driver to take us and he charged us 200rps to take us there and bring us back. It was another 200rps each for entry and for that we walked around the sanctuary and were shown lots of turtles at several different ages. We held the baby ones and saw where they bury their eggs to hatch them too. We could have gone back to watch them being released that night but we were flying home so be sure to go a few days before you leave and ask to watch them being released into the sea!
The main disappointment of this stay was that the weather wasn't great. We had only 3 full days of sunny, hot weather with the rest being overcast, cloudy and grey. We had several downpours, and I know before you say it that it's monsoon season!, but most places that suffer from the monsoons we have already visited are still hot enough and dry enough in parts to enjoy a holiday but not here. We came back to glorious weather here and then wished that we'd have just had 2 weeks in Devon instead!!

  • Stayed: June 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank sheerinuk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 18, 2009

Although there are good number of hotels on Bentota Beach which is only 60 Kilometers away from the main town Colombo. But me and my family would rate Taj Bentota as one of the finest property in south east Asia. We have been there three times and my son again wants to be there in his next holiday sometime.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled with family
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Thank bobygupta11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 18, 2009

If you were coming to lie by the pool enjoying a view of the ocean and munching in the poolside restaurant, then this place would suit you down to the ground. For me it was quite constrictive, because it is not possible to walk outside the hotel compound without being continually hassled. The most effective line was my husband saying he'd left his wallet in the hotel because we were just going for a walk, but repeating this every 10 steps removes any possibility of a relaxing beach walk for us. We were not thick skinned enough for Sri Lanka. The food was quite expensive in this hotel. A small glass of wine starts at rupees 900 (~€6). The main restaurant is the Palms, which is a buffet for rupees 2500 (~€16) each lunch or dinner and was were you'd be if you'd paid all inclusive. I wasn’t keen on the staff at the Palms, greeting us at breakfast each day with a gruff “Room number.”, no “Good morning, may I have your room number please?”. There was a nice Chinese and a Sea View 'fine dining' restaurant, which we ate in for 3 of the nights. I think you knock a 1000 off the bill if your AI. It had a piano player (there was also a band regularly in the bar area) and was fairly romantic with a friendly waiter, although like the Palms had cane furniture - neither comfortable nor in keeping with the building, which was nicely done. Starters were around rupees 1200 (~€8), soups were 600 (~€4), mains from 1200 to 4000(~€8-25). The food was generally nicely presented, but rather mediocre, bar the passion fruit creme brulee which absolutely delicious! Try it if you stay here. The restaurants are only open at set times, so having been off to the Turtle hatchery conservation place (highly recommended) we got chips with room service, definitely a hit and miss affair - some of the chips weren't properly cooked, and as the appeared to be doing a few deliveries in one go, they weren't hot either! Quite a few of the staff had poor English, and it was impossible to get a weather report. It poured with rain one evening and all the next morning, so we were trying to ascertain whether it would continue raining the next day, in which case we would have arranged a trip to Colombo or something. Reception were no help, but the barmen helpfully told us that they be a few days of sun in the next few weeks!! I think he may have meant a few days of rain in the next few weeks :) Its not possible to get international newspapers here. The bedrooms are a nice size though and it looked like all the balconies had a sea view.
If you want to do some day trips from the Taj, organise them with a driver recommended on trip advisor *before* you go. We heard some ridiculous quotes being given by the tour agents allowed into the hotel. If your going to the Turtle conservation or Bawa's gardens you could go by tuk tuk (there are plenty outside the hotel entrance ready to bargain a price), but bear in mind that Kandy, the elephant orphanage, Galle, etc, are a long drive, and you would need a proper car. The elephant orphanage and the turtles were the highlights for us. You can go on an elephant ride near the orphanage.

  • Stayed: June 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank Diablette
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 15, 2009

We travelled for our friends wedding and although a little disappointed with some elements of the quality of the resort, generally it was fantastic.

Its star rating is probably a star rating higher than it actually is. This is only because some elements of the resort are not as you would imagine they would be for the star rating advertised. This was mainly the rooms (all were of an adequate standard, but not as imagined for the money/rating) and the buffet restaurant.

A little maintenance, which may well be planned and it will be perfect.

The staff are lovely, welcoming and very attentive, although you will get badgered by some staff about tours whilst relaxing round the pool areas. They promise to get you the best deal at the cheapest price as they have a friend that does the best tours on the island!!!!!

The resort itself is lovely and the only negative comment would be the extortionate prices for drinks.

Go and have a great time, you wont be disappointed.

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Charphi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 9, 2009

Our stay at Taj Bentota was a superb experience of a relaxed holiday with my husband and daughter who loves the sea side and water activities

The weather was good and the hotel has a superb location -3 hours from the international airport -we had taken a sea view room facing the indian ocean the rooms have private terraces and balconies -the hotel has all the 5 star amenities and alos offers water sports like banana boat ride,water ski etc

The rooms are nice service very good the hotel was totally booked they have a lot of reaturants offering different cuisines -the palms coffee shop was our favourite as they had a sumptious buffet spread
Over all our experience was very good and we had a very relaxed and enjoyable holiday

  • Stayed: October 2008, traveled with family
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Thank raheelak
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 5, 2009

We stayed at the Taj from 22nd to 30th May and it was a wonderful break. Would recommend booking a private transfer for a little extra from your tour operator to/from the airport as the journey can take upto 2.5hours. The resort is fantastic, well equipped rooms, we stayed on the 6th floor and the other reviews are right. The bathrooms are a bit dated but you don't spend to much time in the room anyway. The service overall is superb, pool boys, restaurant staff etc are great. The beach is pristine and although the red flag was flying (monsoon + currents in water in May) we could wade into the sea at waist length and the life guard was there most days. You get the odd beach hawker but a polite no thanks and they will not bother you. We stayed b&b which was great value and gave us a chance to explore different places to eat each night. As the breakfast spread is extremely large, you don't really need a lunch as such. If you feeling pecking the Waves pizza next door in the surf hotel does great wood fire oven pizzas for 500 rupees, enough for 2 people. This is much better than paying double that for a sandwich in the Taj. Waves is a 5min walk from the Taj, walk down as if your going to the beach, take a right turn towards the volley ball court and walk along the path in the grounds until the exit by the beach the next hotel is right next door and means you don't have to leave the main gate and go past the tuk tuks outside. We also tried Amal which was great and wundurbar for drinks. As it was low season it wasn’t that busy. The weather held up, one or two rain showers in the evening but very humid and broken sunshine all day. The best place to eat is Diya Sisilya, a 10min tuk tuk ride away. A chap called Nandana and is wife run this place, exotic location, good sri lankan food just off the lagoon and can cook anything you want. Be warned to call in advance and say your coming as they only have four tables and take your own drinks from duty free as they don't have a bar. We also tried golden grill where everyone seems to go, nothing special. Room service at the Taj is steep compared to outside eateries but £30 for two is reasonable given the establishment. If you want to do tours, contact reception who can arrange everything. A group of taxi drivers are given a token to be "on call" that service all the hotels in the resort. We found going upto them when they were waiting outside and pay them cash which worked out a lot cheaper. We made a day drip the elephant sanctuary and another one south towards Galle. Our driver was Bandana who lives locally and a good man. Happy to share any more tips people need or contact numbers. Just mail me.

  • Stayed: May 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank modha
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 2, 2009

Booked a great deal with Thomas Cook as the hotel was giving buy 5 nights get 5 nights free in May!

Private transfer from the airport is about 2.5 hours so a bit of a drag and the journey is eventful to say the least! The driving over there is very scary! Our driver was v.competent though and very imformative. The time flew by.

Arriving at the Taj we checked into our room which was a superior seaview on the 3rd floor and noticed a horrible damp smell. The bathroom was very old and not very nice and there were moths flying around in it. We told reception and the upgraded us to a much larger and newer room on the 4th floor. This room was great! Definitely worth paying the extra for it if you can.

The setting of the hotel is fantastic. Right on the long sandy beach. You can walk along the beach to eat, you just have to put up with the beach boys approaching you all the time asking if you want to buy stuff, trips etc. Gets a bit annoying but they're freindly and the trick is to be chat for a while then say thanks but no thanks and now you would to walk on your own. We ventured into the village on the second day and got stuck with a guy walking with us. He ended up taking us to a temple and then on a boat which we had to pay for (we gave him less than he asked though as it was way overpriced). It's a shame a few spoil it when everyone is generally really friendly. The Sri Lankans are so happy all the time and when we walked into the village the next time to get souvenirs we got lots of cheery hellos from the locals.

We made a note of other peoples reviews of where to eat and everywhere was really good.
We recommend the Amal restaurant which is left along the beach or a 5 min tuktuk ride away if going at night. Great fresh seafood. The guy that runs it is very friendly and likes a long chat!
Wonderbar is next door to Amal and is handy for lunch. Didn't rate it that much though.
Golden Grill was another one of our favourites. You can walk from the hotel. It's just across the railway bridge (10 min walk). They do a great Veg curry for about £3!
We went to the Bentota Beach Hotel for lunch a few days (turn right along the beach).
Bentota Village Hotel is a lovely boutique hotel and we went there for a curry which was really good. You need to get a tuktuk there as it's in the middle of the village. I think i'd stay there if i went back to Bentota as the rooms were beautiful. Much nicer than the Taj.
We also went to the Waterside to eat which was also nice. You need a tuk tuk as it's a way away at the other edge of the village and it's a bit more expensive but in a lovely setting on the lagoon. We were the only ones there though as it's the off season! That happened quite a lot!

TukTuks are great to get around in the evenings and dont cost much. They are all lined up outside the hotel.

We booked our trip to Kandy through the hotel. They were cheaper than Thomas Cook. We had our own driver called Janaka (they rotate so you may not get him) and he was brilliant! I have his number if you want to book with him direct. He took us where we wanted to go, tought us loads of stuff and pointed out everything of interest including all the native fruits which we sampled along the way. We went to Pinnerwala elephant orphanage which was good but then went to one down the road called the Milennium Elephant Foundadtion which is smaller and a lot more hands on. We got to wash one in the river!
Then we went to kandy- stayed in a really nice guesthouse called Macloeds ,overlooking the lake. We wanted a small cheap place and it only had a few rooms. They serve a good dinner and the rooms are clean. No air con but there's a fan. The owners are v.friendly too. The drivers stay in drivers accommodation downstairs.

Rest of the holiday we just chilled by the pool. The sun was out most days. It rained in the late morning most days and then again in the evening but there was just 2 out of the 10 days that it was cloudy most of day. Rest of the time we had lovely sun and a nice breeze so you don't get too hot.

Had a wonderful time. The Taj was great, just be careful what room you book. Would love to go back to Sri Lanka. Just might book flight only and travel around a bit more next time.

  • Stayed: May 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Jode123
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

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 Luxury Hotel in Bentota
#2 Spa Hotel in Bentota
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Bentota
#3 Romantic Hotel in Bentota
Price Range: $169 - $700 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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