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“Please dont pay attention to any positive reviews of this hotel. It is dive!”
Review of The Surf Hotel

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The Surf Hotel
Ranked #6 of 25 Hotels in Bentota
Reviewed June 11, 2008

I travelled 23 hours to get to Sri Lanka and when I finally arrived at the hotel I was gutted!

The air con doesn't work properly, ants are everywhere (don't put anything down), dirty bedding, sockets hanging off the wall, air vents are filthy, show cubicle very old and quite dirty, shower doesn't drain, the ceiling fan could have flown off and killed us at any time - this was the deluxe room!!!!

On the positive - this hotel has an excellent location and is located on once of the nicest stretches of the Bentota beach.

We just couldn't stay there in the end, we upgraded to the Hotel Eden. A very modern and clean hotel but it had no character and was pretty lifeless.

Sril Lanka is lovely but be sure to choose you Hotel wisely!

  • Stayed: May 2008, traveled as a couple
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Thank Calmity72
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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625 - 631 of 865 reviews

Reviewed June 4, 2008

I have just returned from my second stay at this great hotel. The Lihinya Surf Hotel could not have a better location. Right on the beach with the Indian Ocean just yards away with the delightful village/town of Bentota surrounding it.

The service, as always, was imaculate. Nothing was too much bother for the staff in particular the restaurant and bar staff and the Room Boys. A special thankyou to Roshan one of the room boys who always had a broad smile on his face no matter how busy he was.

Anyone who stays at the Lihiniya Surf cannot fail to be impressed by the friendly service and it really felt 'like going home' returning for a second visit. Everyone seemed to remember me even many of the 'locals' in Bentota.

I again used Gayan Dharshan as my taxi driver/guide for a 3 day tour including the Elephant Orphanage (an absolute must see place), Sigirya Rock (with it's 1200 steps to the top a most tiring but worthwhile experience), Dambulla Cave Temple, Kandy and the tea plantations and waterfalls. Gayan (0094-776090689) is a great guy speaking almost perfect English and one of the most careful drivers in Sri Lanka. He only lives about 100 yards from the hotel so is more than happy to pop across to discuss with you the best places to visit and will give you a price inclusive of all entrance fess, overnight hotel accommodation etc., without any obligation or hard pressure sales whatsoever.

If you've never visited Sri Lanka now is the time to go. Prices have been kept low by the ongoing terrorism in the North of the Island so there are real bargains to be had. You do not need to worry about the Terrorism - it has been going on for 25 years now and has never touched any of the tourist areas but is confined to the North of the island where no tourists go.

The two main English Operators who feature the Lihiniya Surf are First Choice and Mercury Direct. The interesting thing is that if you go by First Choice you will be on half board and have to pay for your own drinks etc., but if you go with Mercury Direct the cost is roughly the same but you get full board and all your drinks included which makes a considerable saving overall.

Bentota is a beautiful part of Sri Lanka and the people are very very friendly. Just across a short road bridge over the Bentota River is the town of Aluthgama which has loads of every conceivable type of shop together with a weekly market (Mondays). You can take boat trips on the Bentota River (catamaran - the local's way - costs about £1- £2 or you can do the 'tourist' trip by motor boat and pay the Earth (well £20 or so).

Prices in Sri Lanka are very low whatever you buy or do so the Island is a real bargain and when taking into account the cost of the holiday package and your spending money you will find 3 weeks in Sri Lanka compares most favourably with a couple of weeks in Spain yet will provide you with a far more exciting and interesting experience.

Once again thanks to all the staff at the Lihiniya Surf for a most enjoyable stay.

  • Stayed: May 2008, traveled solo
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5  Thank chrisedwards99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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.

  • Stayed: January 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
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    • 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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Additional Information about 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 Luxury Hotel in Bentota
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Bentota
#6 Spa Hotel in Bentota
#6 Family Hotel in Bentota
#9 Romantic Hotel in Bentota
Price Range: $75 - $360 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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