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“Beautiful house with disappointing service”
3 of 5 bubbles Review of The Dutch House

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The Dutch House
Ranked #15 of 23 Hotels in Galle
Hong Kong
Level Contributor
106 reviews
57 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 132 helpful votes
“Beautiful house with disappointing service”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 31, 2011

We can not fault the beautiful old house and grounds but the service or lack of from the manager, Henri, was irritating. The staff were friendly and tried to be as helpful as possible but they did not seem to have had much training. We agree totally with one of the previous reviews that the two properties, the Sun House and Dutch House, were the private entertainment area of the manager. On one of the nights, there was a 'charity party' with loud music which Henri said would end at 11pm. The music did not stop until well past 1am as well as all the noise that all of the non-staying guests were making as they were drinking and smoking on the lawn. Although this was not my idea was a boutique hotel experience, it was not a big problem. However, we did expect at least some attempt at an apology from Henri the next morning but of course, there was none. We've seen other old properties inside the Galle Fort that may not be as fancy but perhaps would have more heart and soul.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Ladybug789
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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55 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (21)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Glasgow Scotland
Level Contributor
92 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 179 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 23, 2011

My wife and I had originally booked into the sister hotel of the Dutch House ( The Sun House) but when the management offered to show us round the Dutch house we were bowled over.
One big plus was that for most of our 9 night stay we had the whole place (and staff) to ourselves.
We live in an old property in the UK and sometimes find that hotel rooms can be a bit small in comparison to what we are used to - No problem of this nature with our suite in the Dutch House.
We had what used to be the "ballroom" of the house. High ceiling and a great feeling of space.
Management and Staff could not have been better throughout our stay.
If it helps we saw round all the 4 suites as the House was empty and this was our preferred option.
Breakfast was great "chilli eggs a must try" - Dinner was offered at the Sun House across the road and again was of a high standard. We did venture out in the evenings however and there are a few good hotel restaurants in the Fort.
If I were to be honest I might have a concern if all the suites were occupied. It might just change the great ambience my wife and I were fortunate to have experienced during our visit.
I can safely say however that im sure we will return to The Dutch House at some point.

Room Tip: The Ballroom is the best in my opinion
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank AllanWanderlust
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
31 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 9, 2011

Probably the best place i have stayed in world wide! You have to experience it for yourself, it's hard to say in a review what makes this place so special, for some it wont seem 5 star, but i am one picky traveller and this place had me from the moment i walked in, heaven! We stayed in the Ball Room and theres not a single thing i would change. Make sure you eat at The Sun House and a have drink or two in the bar, they are all so friendly and make amazing food(not that i had a bad meal the entire Sri Lanka trip) I highly recommend the Dutch House to everyone, and i want to go back! Please make a trip to Wijaya Beach Cafe for lunch/dinner, it's a must! Yay for Sri Lanka!!

Room Tip: All looked great, we were on our honeymoon and they suggested Ball Room
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Pipaya
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arpora, India
Level Contributor
33 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 31, 2011

When we were told on arrival that we were being upgraded to the Dutch House as the Sun House where we were booked to stay was being renovated, we didn't know quite what to expect. But one peep into the cool recesses of the high-ceilinged living room filled with books, lamps and deep sofas convinced us we were onto a good thing.

The suite we were allotted was beautiful and had what I would certainly not hesitate to call the loveliest bathroom in the world! Grey cement his and hers wash basins with old-style fittings, large ornate mirrors and a beautiful old tub in the middle of the floor! Clean white bath linen and dear little silver and glass containers for bath scrub and shampoo in the bath area.

The sitting room attached to the bedroom had lovely old style wooden windows opening out onto the garden, a bookshelf with an eclectic selection of books, a seating area and a desk with of information on facilities / things to do etc and a beautifully designed map of Galle Fort. The bedroom was lovely too. The AC didn’t work properly but we were to blown away with everything else to bother complaining. Someone connected with this place is a perfectionist with a great eye for detail.

The lunch we had in the deep veranda was exquisitely set out with lovely crockery and cutlery and the girls who served us were discrete, gracious and helpful. We didn't use the pool but spent our evening enjoying the house and gardens. We had dinner at the Sun House that has a restaurant that serves both properties and the manager agreed to let us have a look at the celebrated Cinnamon Suite the next day. It was a bit overrated to be honest and we are so very lucky to have ended up spending the night of my 50th birthday next door quite by fluke!

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank GoanBananas68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
102 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 17, 2010

I hardly ever write reviews. The small number of reviews for this property indicates that most visitors feel a similar selfish desire for secrecy when chancing on a gem. But not enough to vote Dutch House in the top 10 (Asia Hotels) of the Conde Naste Gold List 2010 – a huge achievement for a 4 room property.

This was our second visit to the Dutch House (previous was in 2005), this time we had 7 wonderful days. Wonderful.

LOCATION
To explain, the Dutch House and Sun House are opposite each other on a small hill above Galle Fort (10 min walk) - with the advantage of quite and cooling breeze. Galle is a pretty town on the SW coast of Sri Lanka, and for my money, the most charming. Currently a pain to get to (3 hours from the airport) – it will soon be opened up by the opening of the highway in 2011/12, which will make the airport less than 2 hours away. The only real downside is that the beach is a good 15min tuk-tuk ride away (out of town).

DESCRIPTION
The Dutch House is 4 suites within a historic 1712 Dutch captain's house. These are tastefully decorated, with plenty of space. There is a huge veranda, common library, croquet lawn and wonderful swimming pool. Our room, the old ballroom, was over 10m long, and 7m high (2 stories).

SERVICE
The property is managed by Henri, a highly organised English lady who left a PR career nearly 10 years ago, to manage the set of properties the owner has renovated through Sri Lanka. Henri now also manages one of the most active post Tsunami charities on the island. She was not there on this visit, but I had met her previously and she was charming in communications. She has a good day manager who checks every day of we needed excursions organized, and to arrange our dining requirements.

The property itself is staffed with the usual compliment of gardeners and security, while there is 4 dedicated staff to the guests. The ladies who support the guests are charming and speak good English. Their approach is discrete (rather than overly forward), but are always available (will stay up as long as guests are up). The rooms are tidied during breakfast, cleaned more thoroughly during the day, and turned down and tidies while at dinner.

Let me mention the owner, Geoffrey Dobbs (a investment banking millionaire, and now active philanthropist). He may be around when you visit (he spends a few weeks a year at the property), and he is a slice of anglo eccentricity. However, he was astute to our desire for distance. When he is there he is more colour than anything else.

FOOD – excuse my focus on costs, but I was incensed by Anonymous’ comments in this area (the review actually set my expectations, which are pleasantly improved upon)

There are plenty of breakfast (formally at a cost, but this was waived for us) choices and lunch snacks – and the cake for tea is sublime (complimentary).

Dinner can be taken in the Dutch House, but the restaurant is in the Sun House. Focused on fish, it is nothing short of fantastic (the best food we had in Sri Lanka). Henri has astutely formed relationships with a number of well known chefs, and Rick Stein regularly sends his staff to the Sun House to train the kitchen. Dinner costs between $12 and $20 per person. Wine (as throughout the island) is not cheap (but similar to UK restaurants) – while beer is $2 a bottle. Compare this to a recent visit to the Bahamas where we rarely spent less than $100 for 2 for dinner and beer could be as high as $10 per bottle.

Local Gin was $2 per large measure, while imported whiskey etc was between $4 and $5.5. In all considerations, reasonable.

CONCLUSION
The Dutch house is a fantastic boutique luxury experience. Most guests are here for a short visit while touring (as we did on our first visit). I can heartily recommend a longer stay as an alternative (as we did) to the Caribbean or Maldives – and at bargain prices in comparison.

The staff have managed to keep the standards high at the Dutch House (typically in Sri Lankan properties, the benefits of great design are rarely kept up with spending any money on regular maintenance) – although Henri, if you read this, you really need to replace those night lights (hey, one gripe is not too bad!)

The infinity pool does not make this child friendly to the very young (there is a restriction to the under 13). As my wife and I are trying for kids, I will be praying it will be many years before our return. But return we will. My advice – go, go, go!

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank APURKISS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
nairn
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 16, 2010

We are writing this to give all those who read reviews the benefit of our experience and to put into perspective a negative, rather uneloquent review. We stay at the Dutch House twice a year and have done so for the last 10 years and can quite categorically say that every negative comment made in the last review is wholly inaccurate. We realise that it is a personal opinion and people look for different things but as a Sri Lankan with a Scottish wife it really doesn't get much better than the Dutch House. We travel all over the world preferring to stay in similar establishments and what really stands out about the Dutch House is just how exceptionally well it is managed. When you walk through the gates of the Dutch House you don't leave Sri Lanka behind as you would walking into a 5 star hotel, no, you slip into a different time zone a zone that takes care of your worries and allows you to truly relax......

  • Stayed February 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank ambalama
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
42 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 149 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 22, 2010

Though the hotel it self is a beautiful old house, we have experienced service that was far below standard and prices too high for what you get. Dutch house and Sun house belong to the same Australian manager, who walks around flamboyantly dressed and talks as she has is recovering from a hangover all the time. We stayed in Dutch house with lazy untrained staff that was always hiding in the kitchen and sighted if you asked them something. Sun house felt to us like the private entertainment area of the manager. Some guests will interpret as a homely atmosphere (and I expect have therefore put a high rate); we thought the whole experience was very unprofessional. The staff gave us the impression there were not motivated and not interested in you. Food is also not prepared by a chef. Dinner was reasonable (but too expensive for what you get), but breakfast was bad and you had to wait 45 min to have a simple fried egg. One warning. When we checked-out the bill was unspecified and ridiciously high (drinks must have cost around $ 12 each and dinner around $40). There are probably hotels with better motivated staff and more value for your money around. We were not the first one who have complained and the travel agent told us they remove this hotel from there list.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank anonymous01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Dutch House

Property: The Dutch House
Address: 18 Upper Dickson Rd, Galle 80000, Sri Lanka
Location: Sri Lanka > Southern Province > Galle District > Galle
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#7 Romantic Hotel in Galle
#10 Luxury Hotel in Galle
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — The Dutch House 4*
Number of rooms: 4
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
The Dutch House Hotel Galle
Dutch Hotel Galle

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