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“Strange experience - but I liked it”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Closenberg Hotel

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Closenberg Hotel
Ranked #13 of 23 Hotels in Galle
Moscow, Russia
Level Contributor
30 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Strange experience - but I liked it”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 28, 2013

I booked the hotel for one night in January 2013. Just for fun (wanted some atmospheric place for a change).

Well, it is true, what is written here – there is some restoration needed. Anyway I won’t say it is too bad – rather tired than completely ruined. At least my room saw some recent painting and was really clean. However, something could be done to the bathroom: replacing the taps and clearing the sewage could do a good job. I was living in a contemporary block of the hotel stylized to resemble the older building, which dates back to the colonial times. For me it was a good stylization, nothing more is really needed (at least in the rooms). The style may seem simple or coarse, but it is a good match for the old part of the hotel, which is also not too smooth or luxurious.

The staff is amazing. You get all sorts of help (or “help” depending on how you may treat it). You’ll get a card from a guy saying his brother is a taxi driver and may take you to some excursions for a reasonable price (I never checked that afterwards). You’ll have a tuktuk driver at the entrance eager to take you to Galle (more expensive, than if you catch a tuktuk in the street). That’s on the one hand. You have a greeting tea, a lady helping you arrange the mosquito net and everybody asking you, whether you need anything. On the other hand. You sleep to the sound of the waves…

…7 a.m. The phone is ringing. Their question is – when you plan to check out today. Well… ordinary check-out hour, that is 12, as everywhere else. OK, they say. Do you want tea or coffee? Errrr… I know that locals wake up early, but… am I also supposed to do the same? OK, I’d have my coffee later… probably in two hours… Well, I never had that coffee. And never heard about it again. No early rising – no coffee (singing: “It’s now or never…”) 

Anyway, I don’t treat that too seriously. I had my atmosphere I was after. That’s the main thing.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled solo
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank olgaginger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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304 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (48)
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China
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 15, 2013

I stayed here in May 2013 for few days to attend a scheduled meeting in the city. My stay was very comfortable and refreshing. From beginning till end the way the staff members pampered, was very amazing. Nothing was difficult there; rooms were perfect and had all the things of need. All the guys here are very friendly, they guided me a lot about the nearest tourist destinations of the city. The way they served that delicious food, was simply great. I would highly recommend it.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Jo Ling K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 19, 2013

A beautiful colonial building in a prime location , in urgent need of restoration .
The splendid drawing room and verandah are dark and gloomy , with dirty , dark drapes and cushions .
The rooms are basic at best, old, dirty, uncomfortable mattresses and furniture , bathrooms are grubby and tired..Totally overpriced.
The food is a farce : a la carte!! and fine dining indeed ! at crazy prices.The only decent food is the traditional rice and curry which is prepared outside by local women.Delicious and unpretentious.
It is a bit like Fawlty Towers , masses of willing staff and managers who don't really know what they are supposed to offer ,
Their uniform is a testimony of this mish mash of styles ,: mock Movenpick outfits ( with Dicky bows!) for the waiters,(The black cloth shining with wear )in which they look very uncomfortable.
the room boys look a lot smarter in the traditional sarang .
All in all , not many rupees have been spent on the place for decades ,(I knew the hotel many years ago and it is sad to see it looking so drab.)and the prices charged are totally unjustified.
Cashing in on the tourism boom , without offering comfort isn't what hospitality is about.

Room Tip: Wait for refurbishment.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank John633
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
E_Abeyewardene, Owner at Closenberg Hotel, responded to this review, March 4, 2013
Dear All
I first want to thank you for all your feedback which we take very seriously for the betterment of our product and service. I also apologize for our shortcomings.
Closenberg is a wonderful colonial property built in 1860 and I understand that we do not have some of the latest amenities one may expect. We are however changing this to create a heritage experience with all the modern luxuries through refurbishment and investment. By the end of this year you can expect an infinity pool on our lower terraces, a new bar, refurbished rooms and an improved service all in keeping with our colonial concept.
We are continuously improving and determined to provide an excellent service when you visit Closenberg, my family home.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 18, 2013

In the ever-modernizing pantheon of travel accomodations, few stand out. The Closenberg in Galle was pre-booked for me, so I arrived for a two-night stay without knowing I was stepping back in time. The rooms, the service, the history are extraodinary. If glass, steel, mirrors, and rap in the elevator are your thing, you'll hate this place. If history intrigues you, go to Galle, stay at the Closenberg and talk to the owner and hear the story of 150 years of his family's ownership. And, that's just the latest chapter.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Don A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
E_Abeyewardene, Owner at Closenberg Hotel, responded to this review, March 4, 2013
I am thrilled that you could truly appreciate all the beautiful things about Closenberg. We hope you return and look forward to welcoming you again.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Shanghai, China
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 18, 2013

To have classed this as a standard hotel is deceitful. It is old, run down, with poor room amenities. The door to our bathroom was cracked and filthy, the sheets and blankets stained, as was the mosquito nettings. The room was full of mosquitoes but we did not use the mosquito nets as they looked filthy. Their idea of hotel toiletries was a single sachet of fair and lovely shampoo/shower gel to be shared amongst us.

The restaurant was equally appalling with stray dogs roaming around and the hot water I asked for was yellow. At breakfast, the sugar bowl at the tea/coffee station was covered with ants.

We arrived at Closenberg late at night when it was all dark, did not like what we saw but had no other choice but to stay for the night as it would have been difficult to find an alternative. The view in the morning was somewhat better but did not make up for the experience of the overnight stay.

What probably tipped it over to the other side for me were the waiters and manager coming over telling us what a charming hotel they have, in the guise of questions over our stay. To be honest, we have reviewed the trip advisor page and saw only glowing reviews before 2013. having stayed here, i had my doubts about the site! now it feels like everyone made a new year's resolution to be honest for a change as all reviews since 2013 concurs with our experience! thank goodness - I was going nuts!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank DoH65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
22 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 15, 2013 via mobile

This hotel is definitely Fawlty Towers. So much so it added a great deal of humour to our experience. The bones of the building are delightful set on a lovely setting overlooking a beach.The Wi Fi is efficient and the breakfasts are good. That is about where it stops. On arrival shown to our small room overwhelmed by dirty curtains. Immediately found the safe did not work. No Battery!! We were taken to another room and told how to use that safe using their code. Explained we wanted our own code this was difficult but it was finally explained. When switching on the light this did not work. We were terrified when the fan was turned on as it looked as if we could be decapitated it wobbled so much. The second room reeked of cigarette smoke. The hotel is highly staffed but do not seem to know what they are all doing. This is not their fault and most were pleasant. The highlight is the cockroach "ancient" in the light fitting after you leave reception. I could continue. The hotel is four KMS from the fort so not convenient if that is what you are in Galle to do. We were on a prepaid tour so not sure of the price but the sight shows $US200 per night. There must be better value unless you really have a sense of humour and want a touch of BASIL!!!

Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
3 Thank Philip B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Colombo, Sri Lanka
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 6, 2013

Stopped over for a quick lunch and what we got was downright miserable and overpriced. I wouldn't recommend this place to anyone unless it got a major facelift! It's a shame because the location is beautiful and the colonial style building has immense potential. It just needs a complete overhaul in order to compete with some of the other properties in the area.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Niki M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Closenberg Hotel

Property: Closenberg Hotel
Address: 11 Closenberg Rd, Galle 80000, Sri Lanka
Location: Sri Lanka > Southern Province > Galle District > Galle
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Galle
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Closenberg Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Closenberg was built by Captain Bayley in 1860 on top of a peninsula overlooking Galle harbor and the Indian Ocean. Since 1889 it belongs to the Perera Abeyewardene family and is today preserved as a heritage hotel. Large spacious halls, long verandas adorned with antique furniture and terraced gardens are in keeping with Dutch architecture. High ceilings resting on tall round columns and large louvered Teak doors set in arched doorways permit the flow of cool air. Alongside an experience of Sri Lanka's rich colonial past, we offer our guest a welcoming atmosphere, fine dining and an unparalleled view. Closenberg Hotel unique features are: The best location at the middle of Galle Harbor, Uninterrupted seaview from all our rooms, Direct access to beautiful sandy beach ideal and safe for surfing and swimming in all seasons, The unique and timeless elegance of an old Sri Lankan Heritage Hotel often copied but so hard to achieve, A sophisticated blend of service, tradition and cultural experiences Luna Terrace Bar Lounge is the funky trendy place to go and be seen in Galle. Great selection of cocktails, top brand spirits, tapas and fine cafe food. The new infinity pool overlooking the surf of Magalle Bay is a "must have experienced". Closenberg is the ideal gateway for enjoying the beauty of Southern Sri Lanka! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Closenberg Hotel Galle

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