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“Lunuganga is remote, unique and truly special!”
Review of Lunuganga

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Lunuganga
Ranked #17 of 24 Hotels in Bentota
Greenbrae, California
Level 5 Contributor
85 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
“Lunuganga is remote, unique and truly special!”
Reviewed March 23, 2011

Lunuganga is not for everyone, certainly, but we loved our stay in this stunningly beautiful and peaceful home and gardens of Geoffrey Bawa, the renowned Sri Lankan architect. The buildings he designed and decorated are just as they were at his death in 2003. Full of lovely objets d'art he collected but lacking what some might consider to be required mod cons (bathrooms dated, air conditioning just being installed for next season, etc). We were kindly upgraded by the gracious Asha to Bawa's Gorgeous bedroom in the main bungalow (has a/c already) from our rather distant and simpler Cinnamon Hill accommodation. Meals on the terrace overlooking the lake (and especially dinner on the lawn lit by candles and torchlight) were simple but delicious. Be sure to ask for a tour of the gardens. We were able to see most of the other lovely and unique guestrooms, along with the magical hidden gazebos and places for tea. Located about 3 km from the coast at Bentota, it was easy to visit another Bawa-designed hotel, the Club Villa, for lunch and some pool/beach time (neither at Lunuganga).

  • Stayed March 2011
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank Julie R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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71 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
  • Location
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
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Date | Rating
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English first
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed December 16, 2010

The gardens are amazing!! Every turn, every corner has something to see and when you think you have seen it all……you turn the corner…… and there is more!
The garden looks so fresh and crisp in the morning sun against the beautiful blue sky and the fresh green grass. You don’t feel the heat of the midday sun as you stroll under the large shady trees in the estate exploring the gardens. It looks even more amazing in the evening sun. The reflection of the orange sky on the lake and pond full of water lillys looks so spectacular.
Breakfast was simple, delicious and complete starting with a tropical fruit platter and ending with a cup of Ceylon tea. The 10 o’clock fresh lime juice is a must, after a stroll in the gardens. The setting is perfect for a typical Sri Lankan Lunch of red rice and curry set along the verandah over looking the lake. Oh yes, the poached pineapple with ice cream was just perfect finale for my lunch before I could relax with a book on the garden bench by the ‘Na’ tree. The 5 very friendly dogs take turns to come and great you during the day, while a couple of them insist on showing off their playful skills to you.
Freshly made scones at tea time were divine. I wasn’t too sure if they were scones or soft shortbread…. either way they were divine with fresh cream and strawberry jam! I couldn’t resist…. I had two!!
After my G&T , I joined Asha, Micheal and Dameon at the head table for my meal of traditional Idi appam with curries. Again the meal was scrumptious with a crème caramel for desert. All this with a hint of Beethoven in the background. Again the setting was perfect with a few lamps to light up the garden and the cloudless starry sky.
The rooms are clean and fresh, with a bout 4 pedestal fans in each room. I didn’t need to use any of them. I am being told the rooms will have AC in the future….. but really I don’t think it is necessary! The wonderful thing in each room is that there are no mosquitos which is most welcome in the tropics. I didnt need to use the net around my bed.... but I thought it looked good anyway!
The staff are very polite and courteous. The rooms are clean and spacious. The service is very friendly and warm, second to none!

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank tash17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
melbourne
Level 3 Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed December 3, 2010

If you have a love and appreciation of architecture and wish to be surrounded by beauty, serenity and lush tropical gardens, a stay at Lunuganga should be something you do at least once in your life! I felt so privileged to be able to experience this magical place and it will be a stay I will always remember. I had so much fun with the fellows who run the estate - from great dinner table discussions, to Damien being so kind as to allow me to join him on his morning work (along with the dogs!) Krishna also gave me an illuminating and insightful tour of all the Bawa designed buildings, and the lovely dogs escorted me on all my strolls (the review saying they were aggressive seems very odd to me, as they were very placid and friendly wee dogs the whole time I was there, I loved having them around) The grounds and view of the lake really need to be seen rather than described - suffice to say they were enchanting and I often found myself lost in a reverie staring out at the scene before me! The room I was meant to be in was being occupied by an artist in residence when I was there so I was upgraded for free... obviously the cottages are all amazing being designed by Bawa - the use of light and the attention to detail made staying in them a delight. I can't praise the staff enough for their friendliness and humour, I was made to feel welcome and at home straight away, and found them some of the interesting conversationalist on the island of Sri Lanka. This is not your typical tourist spot, but for those who appreciate refined company and surrounds... you will be in heaven here!

More about my stay at Lunuganga on my blog... if you are still not convinced!
http://andnothingmatterswhenweredancing.blogspot.com/2010/10/lunuganga.html

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank pikkujen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
kuala lumpur
Level 5 Contributor
10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed September 16, 2010

The management of the estate is very poor, slow in replying email and if you ask 3 things they may answer only one.

During night walk, be warned of the dangerous dogs, they will come out in crowd and surroud you aggresively.

Finally if you do not want to be overcharged, please prepare all the printout of all room quotation as proof of room price. We have to waste more than one hour to avoid being overcharged egregiously more than USD100. They even refused to give the itemised charges of the total billing.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank offstone
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore
Level 5 Contributor
40 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
Reviewed June 10, 2010

After negotiating the seemingly never ending pathways leading towards the estate, at the entrance, a wrought iron gate is opened to let us pass. As I watch the car drive away, I couldn't help thinking that I had left one world behind and was about to enter another. We were escorted to the main house where we were greeted by the guardians of the estate, Asha, Michael & Damian, as well as by the estate dogs. There are seven of them, all lovely! Our room, the guest suite, which faces the room which Geoffrey Bawa himself used to live in is just as lovely. Lunuganga is one of those places in the world which has to be experienced. Mere words do not do it justice. All the rooms are gems but my personal favorite is the Gallery suite. Eclectic does not begin to describe it! There is also of course the 15 acres garden, tended to daily & lovingly by an army of gardeners. The estate is heaven at any time of the day and is a complete balm for any one looking for a complete retreat and respite from the city. What it does not offer in 'technology' (no television and no complimentary wi-fi in sight) it offers instead in copious amounts, peace. Arm yourself with a good thick book or two (or better still, write one yourself while you're there) and you could not ask for anything more. Breakfast is a simple affair, while lunches, being a sumptous 8 course curry lunch, are likely to set you in the right direction towards that mid afternoon nap. A shaded outdoor seating area provides a panaromic view of the river if you're more inclined to paint your way through the day. Dinners are only slightly less prolific. I considered briefly my expanding girth but rationalized that since most dishes were vegetarian & organic, it was all in all a healthy exercise. On one occasion, all three guardians joined us for dinner and we had a delightful evening listening to stories about the estate's genesis and the painstaking ways which the legendary architect took to achieve his vision. It felt as if we were at a friend's house, discussing another friend, which I believe is the philosophy behind Lunuganga. Imperfect perfection. In that regard, this estate is peerless.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank chocfudge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
India
Level 3 Contributor
8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed April 13, 2010

While reading the reviews of another hotel in Bentota I read a reviewer's comment about how in Bentota the highlight of their trip was visiting the Geoffrey Bawa estate and how when they visit Sri Lanka next they would make it a point to stay there, which had me, intrigued. I have always preferred a boutique style hotel over more conventional and commercial hotels and Lunuganga did not disappoint. It is much more than just a boutique or a specialty hotel. Lunuganga was the labour of love and the personal retreat of Geoffrey Bawa, a world renowned architect, who started developing the estate in 1948 and continued to do so till 2003. Everything that is present in the estate has Geoffrey Bawa’s mark on it and has a story behind it. I stayed here with my boyfriend for one night in December 09 and really regret not staying any longer. This garden estate spreads out on more than 25 acres of land and is surrounded by a lake on three sides. The hotel has six bedrooms and we stayed in the main guest room - the only room with air conditioning though we did not have the air con on much and we didn't miss it either. This room was huge with its own private courtyard. After lunch, which was the most delicious spread of Sri Lankan food, we were given a personal tour of the entire estate and had the opportunity to see the whole house including all other guest bedrooms. Every room is unique and extremely different from the rest of the house and every room and the house is full of gorgeous art and antiques. The gardens and the house create a surreal experience that cannot possibly be described. The Lunuganga estate is an architectural wonder and an experience that no one travelling in the area should miss. The rooms range from 200 USD to 350 USD a night with breakfast included. Lunuganga also provides tours of the estate for visitors along with lunch if prior bookings are made. I would definitely be going back all the way to Sri Lanka, a wonderful country in itself, just so to visit Lunuganga and would go as far as to say that in terms of experience, this was the most interesting hotel I have ever stayed in.

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
6 Thank IIraa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Lunuganga

Property: Lunuganga
Address: Dedduwa Lake, Bentota, Sri Lanka
Location: Sri Lanka > Southern Province > Galle District > Bentota
Hotel Style:
#8 Luxury Hotel in Bentota
#8 Romantic Hotel in Bentota
Hotel Class:4 star — Lunuganga 4*
Number of rooms: 6
Also Known As:
Lunuganga Hotel Bentota

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