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All reviews on the rocks cinnamon room indian ocean geoffrey bawa sri lanka main restaurant waves crashing set menu spiral staircase buffet style overlooking the ocean beautiful hotel half board new wing tuk tuk a la carte menu deluxe room
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Reviewed March 26, 2009

lovely location, particularly the restaurant

great using the pool at dusk with egrets stalking around it and parrots squabbling over their roosts in the cocunut palms overhead

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank sdsLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 17, 2009

We went in a group of 7 from Chennai, India to this beautiful Hotel in Galle, Srilanka.
We stayed for 3 nights and it was a great experience but for the 5 Hrs long drive from Colombo. The hotel has some great seaview rooms with excellent facilities. The food was good and the saturday barbeque and grill counters wes mouth watering. Breakfast had some good options. There wasnt much to do in the resort in the eveing after the sun sets. The bar wasnt great and didnt have any music. Room service charges like long distance calling was expensive. Wifi connection wasnt strong and only gets connected when you are in lobby- doesnt work in your rooms. The hotel can score well if they had some good English speaking staff- we struggled with a few at the front desk.
There is nothing much you can do at the resort- though it has a health center, tennis court, swimming pool and spa. Most of the guests prefer going to the nearby Galle town for some sigh seeing and activities.
Overall 3 out of 5

  • Stayed: October 2008
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1  Thank skumar2008
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 30, 2008

We spent 7 nights here after touring for 5 days with Kuoni. the hotel isn't the prettiest looking place but once inside its excellent. Rooms are large and comfortable and the staff are brilliant. When we arrived there were unfortunately only 24 guests in the hotel (possibly due to Mumbai and the credit crunch). Our room overlooked the beach and although classed as 5 star would probably equate to a high 3 or 4 star elsewhere. The food here though is exquisite. Due to the low numbers of guests we ate from the a la carte menu each night and can only say the food was fantastic and easily better than anywhere else we've stayed (including 4 seasons in Cairo). We were given a complimentary bottle of wine and large fruit basket on arrival. If I had anything at all to complain about it would be the price of drinks in the hotel but then I didn't expect them to be cheap. All in all a fabulous hotel in a wonderful location.

  • Stayed: December 2008
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1  Thank Lancslad_Sheffield
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 8, 2008

This hotel is not in London or New York and so our expectations of the 5 star rating were lowered. Having seen the prices that the hotel charges, akin to those of a 5 star hotel in these cities, I feel it only fair that this should be the basis of your expectations.

Firstly, the absolute highlight of the trip was the hotel staff. Nothing was too much trouble, they are truly the most hospitable, caring and interesting people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. I mentioned to a waiter that it was my birthday the following day- he got up early and was waiting for me at breakfast in his civvies to shake my hand and then arrived at our room later in the day with a token present that he'd gone out and purchased. How he found wrapping paper locally I have no idea! This act of generousity was typical of all the staff we encountered and one that I found humbling. They are a credit to the hotel and will be my abiding memory of Sri Lanka.

The location is amazing and I still miss the sound of the waves crashing on the rocks whilst lying in bed at night.

If you are staying only one or two nights before moving on, like most of the guests we saw, you will be very happy that you came. If you stay a week or more then I feel that you may experience a few frustrations.

The hotel was virtually empty during our week there. At most there were about a dozen couples- brits/russians/germans. At the weekend there were lots of wealthy Sri Lankans, down from the capital. The staff said that it was the quiet season but I would say the country is still suffering a downturn in tourism following the tsunami and threats of terrorist attacks. Don't let either of these put you off. Sure, the coast still bares some scars of the disaster in 2004, although if you aren't looking for them they are not too apparant. Considering the devastation, it was suprising that unless you bring up the subject, the tsunami won't be mentioned by most of the locals you meet.

It is also worth bearing in mind the cultural differences and relative affluence of the hotel staff. We found that offering tips to the right staff made a huge difference. It doesn't need to be much; 50 rupees (30p) to the pool boy who puts your towels out, 200 rupees (£1.20) for the waiter/ress after each meal, 500 rupees (£3) for the tuk-tuk driver that takes you to the beach and waits patiently for you all day. There are no outstretched hands of expectation and your generousity will be gratefully received.

The food served in all the restaurants is excellent and great value for money. From the snacks served poolside, to the set menu 5-course dinner (£12), to the fine dining restaurant- all would be considered to good by any standards and the prices were suprisingly reasonable.

The prices that the hotel chooses to charge for certain items are suprisingly high. Whilst the food is reasonably priced, if you want a bottle of wine with it, then be prepared for a suprise. When you are presented with the bill you'll find that there is a 10% service charge and then a further 12% tax on top! This makes the cheapest bottle of wine around £25 and lots of the wine list was unavailable. I actually felt cheated by this- prices for everything else (food and bar drinks) are listed with taxes included. At the bottom of the wine list (in small print) it states "a 10% Service Charge will be added, together with any other appropriate taxes".......deliberately vague?

We encountered genuine frustrations when dealing with the reception staff. We asked 5 times about our return transfer and each time were fobbed off with excuses and told to come back later. In the end it got to our final day and we asked to speak to the manager. Needless to say, this was the first time anyone had contacted our tour company to arrange the taxi. In all likelihood, your driver will have to come from Colombo and stay at the hotel overnight so don't assume this will be arranged for you....is this 5 star service?

If you want to arrange a trip, don't ask the hotel reception for advice as they won't help you at all. They'll arrange for you to see the hotel "Naturalist" (if he happens to be working that day). You will then be told about expensive trips which the hotel puts a mark-up of 25% on the taxi fare. Also, the prices are quoted in US$ and even if you have hard currency in your hand, the cost will be converted back to Rupees at an appallingly rate (thus raking in even more for the hotel). We befriended both a tuk-tuk driver and one of the van drivers and if you walk out to the car park to haggle a price with them directly, you'll find there's a considerable saving (travelling with the exact same driver the hotel would have arranged anyway).

What the hotel is lacking is a Conceirge. Someone that you can ask once and who will take responsibility for actioning your request. Something I would expect at a 5 star hotel!

If you are in any way an animal lover you should be aware of the cultural differences towards the treatment of dogs. Sri Lanka, like all similar countries has a problem with stray dogs. Without enough money to castrate and vaccinate you'll see dogs everywhere you go.

Being open to the beach there are a couple of (relatively healthy looking and well fed) dogs around the restaraunt tables at night. I understand that this won't be to everyone's liking and I know that complaints had been made. One night we were distressed to witness a few members of the local council arriving (invited and accompanied by a hotel manager) and finding it funny to attempt to throttle one of the dogs right next to our table, turning to us & laughing. How anyone would find this acceptable, never mind funny, I have no idea. After our very vocal remonstrations they went away, altough I have a suspicion that this will only be temporary repreive. Surely something you wouldn't expect to witness at any hotel and despite the restaurant, assistant and then senior manager's apologies, it ruined our evening to say the least.

  • Stayed: November 2008, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank rtwexplorer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 7, 2008

Now, as a seasoned traveller in various parts of the world, Rio, Mauritius - I can't think of a better over-all hotel experience. The staff is simply wonderful, always immaculately helpful, interested (and conversationally interesting), always smiling, genuinely warm.
The style and architecture of the place is breathtaking (design by the well known and somewhat eccentric Sri-Lankan architect, Bawa). The view...! And the pools...! WOW!
The food too is lovely; and unbelievably varied - my comment to breakfast-staff should be telling: "I have never had a better breakfast!"; a feast to both eye and tongue (I say that as a lover of spicy food). I found the rooms stylish; though, truth be told, "the walls..." of the combined toilet/shower/wardrobe "...are paper thin". Otherwise impeccable in all respects. I'll be going back!

  • Stayed: September 2008, traveled with family
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3  Thank RasAnbassa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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