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“What a hole!! Please avoid at all costs!!!!!”
Review of The Surf Hotel

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The Surf Hotel
Ranked #6 of 24 Hotels in Bentota
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“What a hole!! Please avoid at all costs!!!!!”
Reviewed June 2, 2008

Please, please, please do yourself a favour & avoid this hotel like THE PLAGUE!!! My fiance & I booked with Mercury Direct to stay for 18 nights here in January 08 & jetted off thinking we were in for a relaxing time - how wrong we were!
Before you think I'm one of those people who complain about everything, read down to the end - I'm not & I've never given a hotel a bad review in 25 years of travelling, or ever been moved to another hotel in all my years travelling worldwide! If that doesn't convince you, then maybe the fact that five different couples moved to different hotels in the four days we lasted there might!
First of all, you have a three-hour horror ride down the coast, after landing in Columbo - this is after the 14 hour flights!
We arrived into a shabby courtyard & had to wait for our room to be made available. When we got into the room, I was appalled by the state of the bathroom - it was like a throwback to a 1970's horror film! The shower was so old fashioned & the staff really don't understand the term "clean" - the mould that was growing out of the shower had been there for ages!
The bed was hard & uncomfortable, the pillows were like bullets (my fiance ended up using her jacket as a pillow) & the towels provided were so old, tatty & grey that we refused to use them!
If you're not put off yet, then the best is yet to come! Mention has been made in other reviews of the train line - something the idiots at Mercury Direct fail to mention at all in their brochure!
The train line runs alongside the whole hotel & is less then 70 feet from most room doors - it is the coastal main-line & commuter, freight & transport trains run from 4am until midnight!
The noise is ridiculous (unless you can sleep like the dead!) & as there is a level crossing just up the road, they love to sound the warning horns as they pass the hotel.
I could go on & on about this hotel - the food that the flies get first go with, the chipped plates & crockery, having to ask for a cup of coffee three times in the morning before one arrives, the way they make you feel as though you're sponging when you ask for drinks (even though you're on all-inclusive), the broken sun loungers, the non existant shops, disco & other facilities that the liars that are Mercury direct say are available.
Trust me, there are so many better places in Sri Lanka to go to than this hovel. Most of the staff do try & I know that this area was badly hit by the Tsunami, but the hotel is so shabby & run down, that you feel like nothing's been done to put the damage right.
As for the public toilets just behind reception, well I wouldn't let my dog go in there.
If I could've given this a minus rating I would have done! We lasted for three days in the hotel, before my partner couldn't stand it anymore! We had the Mercury direct local rep sort out a move to the nearby Palms Hotel in Beruwala, which is absolutely lovely & we throughly enjoyed the rest of our stay in Sri Lanka.

  • Liked — Beachfront location
  • Disliked — Too many dislikes to mention
  • Stayed January 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
3 Thank dave4088
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed April 30, 2008

had a wonderful time at the Lihiniya surf hotel. If you want relaxation and plenty of sun then this is the hotel for you. Admittedly some upgrading needed but overall the hotel and rooms were clean and the staff are very friendly and helpful. Disorganisation in the dining room, but hey we were on holiday, chilled, relaxed and had all the time in the world. we travelled with First Choice and our rep, Gerrard, was first class nothing was too much trouble for him. This hotel is 2/3* don't expect 5*, you only get what you pay for!!!! Overall we had a fantastic holiday and intend to go back at some point with our teenage sons.

Stayed April 2008
4 Thank Roxybelle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed April 3, 2008

Staying all inclusive at Lihiniya Surf hotel through Mercury Direct is a must, IF your idea of a great holiday is:
1. Having to spend 3 days arguing with the hotel that you're entitled to the two free massages in Mercury Direct's brochure
2. Being made to feel as if you're a freeloader every time you order an all inclusive drink from the bar
3. Paying extra for a deluxe room, which had mould all over the shower tiles and ragged towels,
4. Having to look around each morning for a sunbed that wasn't broken
5. Being accused by reception of taking drinks from the minibar when we didn't even open the fridge door
6. Being approached by hotel security and asked for gifts for his family
7. Having to wait for extra plates at lunch time because hotel restaurant staff had taken the last two for their own meals!

We won't be going back....and I strongly suggest you don't go there either.

Stayed March 2008
1 Thank stevemills
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 1 Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed March 11, 2008

We stayed at the Lihiniya Surf at the end of February and I'd agree with everything Debra says. The hotel was good value for money and the food was good and varied most of the time. Lovely fresh fruit for breakfast and different choices for the evening meal. Our room was also kept spotlessly clean by the wonderful Lal. We had an upgraded room upstairs which was quite roomy with chairs and a table, t.v. fridge and safe and plenty of hanging space. The hotel could do with a spruce up but the position is lovely with a beautiful sunset every evening. chipmunks played on the balcony every morning. the staff are friendly and helpful but a bit disorganised due to poor management. I would recommend getting a mosquito net and ask for mosquito tablets. Dont expect a lot of night life, it is quiet in the evenings. Gerard our First Choice rep was very nice and helpful and spoke to us whenever we were at the hotel.
Sri Lanka is a wonderful place with gorgeous beaches, stunning scenery and lovely people and I would recommend doing a tour. We were so lucky to find JANITH and he really helped to make our holiday special and gave us a real insight into Sri Lankan life. He really was an outstanding guide and went out of his way to do everything for us giving us a wonderful tour with every stop a delight. Please go and see him and have a chat - he will accommodate any trip at a very very reasonable price and he's a very careful, safe driver. We will definitely go back to Sri Lanka, we absolutely loved it.

Stayed February 2008
3 Thank ellyEngland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gloucester, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed March 6, 2008

Having just returned from a two wk stay at the Lihiniya surf hotel in Bentota Sri Lanka.
I would highly recommend this hotel for the location and fantastic views it offers.
This is the only hotel along the beach that is not fenced off, what a difference this makes.
Ok the hotel does need some updating and a face lift, but on the whole it is a very clean hotel and it is lovely to return to the hotel after a busy and tiring day out to a clean room with beautiful flowers left by the lovely Lal .
He is a great asset to the hotel always smiling, taking pride in his housekeeping duties.
The food was very good, we only had one night where the food was not up to their usual standards. this was reported and dealt with.
The people of Sri Lanka are very friendly and always smiling.
It is a very laid back country and your patience will be challenged.
Doing excursions are always a good way of seeing the country.
our advice is not to use your holiday rep but to find a tour operator.
There are many touts waiting outside the hotel to pounce on new arrivals. We would like to share our good fortune with you. the tour operator We would like to recommend is a real gentleman.
His name is Janith.
His shop ' Udara Gems & Jewellery ' is situated across the railway lines.
Janith is a true gent he will tailor tours to suit your needs.
He is very professional and at a fraction or the rep tour costs, well worth a look.
Janith will go out of his way to ensure your tour is one to be remembered. As a tour guild his knowledge of the must see sights are outstanding.

Stayed January 2008
4 Thank debsann
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed March 2, 2008

we stayed at the lihinya for 2 weeks from mid febuary, weather was superb apart from last day, the location on the beach is superb, rooms are a little basic and lack imagination. couldn`t fault the cleanliness,. room boys were top class. dissapointed in the food, not enough choice. saw little entertainment in the evening. got talking to the locals on the beach and outside the gate, this was our best move, gayan, (pronounced guyan) couldn`t have treated us any better. we took endless trips in his well loved and reliable taxi, to, galle, stilt fishermen, boat safari, (don`t miss it) river rafting, which was not reccomended by first choice rep incidentally, but one of our best trips. to name but a few, guyan was invaluable, his local knowledge made our holiday, he even invited us to his home where his mother gave us tea and cakes, you just couldn`t buy a experience like it. we used the restaurant/bar just outside the hotel which is run by dudley, another experience in itself, try the rotti (bread) and garlic sauce,
mmmmm, again, basic, but friendliness and smiles like knowhere else, gayan took me the fish harbour at 6am where i got a whopping tuna and a red mullet, (£8-50 for the 2), and dudley prepaired our own personal barbecue tha evening, which we shared with him and his friends, priceless. we had great fun in the evenings playing bongos and having a sing song, it really is funny listening to sri lankans singing by the rivers of babylon. we have left our bongo their so if you pop in please ask to sign it or leave a message, and i`m sure you`ll meet the local lovable simbad, always smiling and singing, maybe something to do with the local arrack ha ha, they all made a great holiday fantastic. also if you feel adventerous try a train jourey. it cost us £2-00 each for a return trip to negombo (3 hrs each way). but choose your trains carefully as they really do pack them in, hanging out of the doors at one stage. the station is outside the hotel, so beach location was excellent. hotel was good, just a little dissapointed with the food, and mixing with the locals is a must. have fun.

  • Liked — beach location
  • Disliked — food choice
  • Stayed February 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
3 Thank malky141
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 2 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed January 9, 2008

The staff at The Lihiniya Surf were very, very friendly and did everything they could to make our stay comfortable. Anything we needed was usually supplied within the hour if it was not available on the spot.
The restaurant staff especially Thalatha were very helpful and ensured that we got anything we wanted although when at it's busiest it did appear as though the restaurant was understaffed. The food was good and there were a few different things to choose from although I understand from my vegetarian friends I made there, that the veggie selection was quite poor. Our First Choice rep Gerard had a meeting with the management about this and things did improve for several days although I was told that things did revert back to a poor selection of vegetarian food. There were theme nights and on one occasion we actually had a barbecue outside which was wonderful as it was a very warm night and there was good food and entertainment as well as a clear sky and lots of stars, the sort of setting that dreams are made of.
We had a ground floor room with patio doors that opened onto the beach which was really great, as you could pop in and out of the room all day. The rooms were basic but comfortable, very clean and the room attendants came in every day to make the beds and change the towels etc. The bathroom was small and basic but did the job, although I felt it could do with retiling. But having said that the hotel was hit by the tsunami so there has been a lot of work going on to bring the hotel up to this standard in such a short time. We took a four day tour whilst in Sri Lanka staying at 4 and 5 star hotels whilst away, but I found it really quite comforting to get back to the Lihiniya as this had a more homely feel.
The sports manager Sudath was a really great guy and tried to involve people in the events he arranged, but was not pushy if you weren't interested. Sudath is a very happy young man and he made a point of teaching me to play Karam (Sri Lankan game) and had a game with me whenever I wanted to play it which made my holiday even more enjoyable. Thank you Sudath.
Sri Lanka is such a beautiful country and there is so much to see, the people are the friendliest people I have ever met despite being very poor. They seem to have different values to us westerners and it really shows in their faces. They must have the widest smiles I have ever seen. I did get a bit fed up with constantly tipping everyone but this is how the Sri Lankan's survive. There are several shops outside the front of the hotel just accross the railway track, there they will make any clothes you want really cheaply and the quality of workmanship is excellent and at a fraction of the cost back here in the UK.
I actually left some of my clothes for the staff in the hotel and they were absolutely made up with this, I am not sure if they kept them for themselves or sold them on to make some money but either way it seemed to help them.
Our rep Gerard was also a top man, he visited the hotel every day except Sunday (well everyone's allowed a day off) and any queries you had were swiftly dealt with by him. Gerard was very knowledgable and friendly and he helped with all the little things that the brochures or web sites don't mention. Thank you Gerard.
We made lots of friends of the other holiday makers staying at the hotel. Gloria, Del, Patti, Kamla, to name a few and they will stay in our thoughts for many years to come. We ususally prefer to keep ourselves to ourselves when away, but this was really not possible here as everyone was so friendly.
Overall the holiday was a great success and we have already booked to go again in December 2008.

  • Liked — Locality to the beach
  • Disliked — Didn't stay long enough only 14 days
  • Stayed November 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
9 Thank sjak00
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Surf Hotel

Property: The Surf Hotel
Address: Beach Road, Bentota 80500, Sri Lanka (Formerly Lihiniya Surf Hotel)
Location: Sri Lanka > Southern Province > Galle District > Bentota
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#5 Spa Hotel in Bentota
#5 Luxury Hotel in Bentota
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Bentota
#6 Family Hotel in Bentota
#9 Romantic Hotel in Bentota
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — The Surf Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 95
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Also Known As:
The Surf Bentota Hotel Bentota
Lihiniya Surf Bentota
Hotel Lihiniya Surf
Lihiniya Surf Hotel

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