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Reviewed September 24, 2018

Stayed 1 & half night at the end of our trip to Sri Lanka. Based on TA review I chose here and I am very happy with my choice. There were a lot of choices in Negombo and ocean front hotel sounds good that we did on the first night, but this hidden gem beats that. As others mention, it is such an hidden gem. Stayed Elephant villa that has a nice river view. Very clean, nice, spacious room. Nice bathroom amenity. Everything works as it supposed to (Not really at other places we stayed). Friendly staff. Breakfast was a bit healthier side, though it was good, no bacon,ham &egg,etc. Had lunch which was good and reasonable. I would stay extra night to really RELAX and enjoy Negombo.

Date of stay: September 2018
  • Trip type: Traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
1  Thank TravelProNY
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mark N, Owner at Waterland, responded to this reviewResponded September 25, 2018

Visitors to Negombo are spoiled for choice. There are hundreds of places to stay. Many of them are on the beach and most of them are less expensive than Waterland. We strive to provide an extraordinary guest experience that those other hotels do not provide. It's gratifying to hear that we are succeeding in this aim.

We are deeply appreciative to each guest who chooses to stay at Waterland.

We are also very grateful when guests take the time to review their stays. Such reviews provide fellow travelers an honest appraisal and help them make informed decisions about where to stay, where to eat, and what to do. Such reviews and word of mouth are invaluable for a small boutique hotel such as Waterland. Not only do they help attract guests, but they help attract guests for whom Waterland is a good match and help guests for whom Waterland is not a good match to choose other accommodation. An additional benefit of such reviews is that they help us to offer a better guest experience. Most of the enhancements made since we opened 3 years ago were made because guests identified what we could improve and in many cases suggested how we can improve.

Thank you for affirming the quality of the accommodation including the spaciousness, cleanliness, service, and pricing. We have worked especially hard to create a delicious, elegant, diverse, and healthyish dining experience and it's nice to hear that the cuisine is getting to be of the same quality as the accommodation.

We're glad you had an enjoyable stay at Waterland and were happy with your choice. We hope that you enjoyed your holiday in Sri Lanka and discovered some of the charm of this remarkable island.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 23, 2018

We love Waterland. This was our second visit and this time we took friends back with us. It’s in a stunningly beautiful location, is a stylish and very comfortable property and is very convenient for the airport at the beginning or end of a trip. What we and our friends loved the most, after the attentive but not intrusive service, was the position of Waterland in its local community. As an introduction to Sri Lanka, there can be no better place to experience the sights and sounds of that mesmerising country.
I mistakenly booked the Waterland Suite instead of the Peacock Villa but realising we were two couples and not a family, the staff at Waterland did everything they could to allow us access to extra space and the use of a plunge pool. This would not always be possible so be aware of this when booking. I believe there are plans in the future to add a pool to The Waterland Suite.
The Waterland Suite was absolutely beautiful though. We loved the traditional style beds and furniture and I adored the swing seats provided in the rooms and over the quirky water feature in the central space. However, my fellow travellers would have been more comfortable with the option of traditional seating.
We had breakfast and an evening meal and both were lovely. Just so that you are aware, on one of the days, I believe this is a Tuesday, in order to give the kitchen staff a day off, no food is cooked at Waterland so an alternative breakfast is provided and guests have to go out for lunch and dinner. It’s easy enough to order a tuk tuk to take you to Negombo in the evening and we found a short stroll in the mid to late afternoon (shops tend to close around lunchtime in the local village), provided us with a wonderful choice of bakery goods...oh the chocolate eclairs!!! Also on offer, among many delicious things, were Western style egg and tomato torpedo rolls or more traditional Sri Lankan pan rolls.
On our last day we chose to go for the river cruise and were treated to a wonderful experience. We would highly recommend it. I’ve been on two similar cruises in other parts of Sri Lanka and this one, with its toddy tasting experience, the accommodating boatman and just its sheer beauty, has to be the best.
Thank you Mark and all your staff, we look forward to seeing you all again on a return visit. Your establishment is a gem...and wow! So impressive that you were able to return Andy’s lost property to him after 18 months. What service!

Date of stay: August 2018
Thank Nickitickiturvi
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mark N, Owner at Waterland, responded to this reviewResponded September 23, 2018

When reading guest reviews, I am often struck by how fortunate I am to work with such an excellent staff.

Reading your review made me acutely aware of something else: how fortunate the staff and I are to have so many thoughtful and kind-hearted guests. To be sure, some guests can be difficult and acerbic. On the whole, though, Waterland seems to attract guests who appreciate natural beauty, value the simple pleasures of good conversation, enjoy experiencing life on the river as boats glide by, and are uncommonly humane. The lovely setting, the refreshing luxury of the plunge pools, and the warmth of the staff bring out the best in people, which in turn enhances the mood of the place.

Thank you for returning to Waterland, for sharing Waterland with your friends, for writing so lovingly and thoughtfully about your experiences, and for your remarkable generosity!

Thanks too for your suggestions on how we might improve the Waterland Suite. I am meeting with the architect this weekend to review the plans for an addition to the Waterland Suite. As you note, those plans include adding a plunge pool to the Waterland Suite. While meeting with the architect, I will also ask him to explore how we can add a traditional seating area to the Waterland Suite.

We're glad your stay was rewarding and comfortable and that we could reunite you with the property left behind on your last trip.

We look forward to your next trip and to arranging something extra special for you.

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Reviewed September 20, 2018 via mobile

Waterland peacock villa in negombo is the best villas we have ever stayed in.

Spacious,clean and well equipped with a fantastic infinity pool and a deck on top.Stunning views of the river, canal and the ocean with infinite palm trees along the banks of the river. Great srilankan breakfast is provided on request and friednly staff always ready to make your stay more enjoyable.

Strongly recommend this place if you are looking for total relaxation with family.

Date of stay: September 2018
Trip type: Traveled with family
Thank Nitin P
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mark N, Owner at Waterland, responded to this reviewResponded September 22, 2018

Thank you very much for staying at Waterland and taking the time to write such a gracious review.

It's marvelous to hear that the Peacock Villa was the best villa you have ever stayed in.

Thanks too for vividly describing various aspects of your stay including the spaciousness, cleanliness, pool, views, cuisine, and staff.

We look forward to your return.

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Reviewed September 18, 2018

We stayed 2 nights at the Lotus Villa and came here right after landing in Sri Lanka. It was an amazing experience. The staff welcomed us with a refreshing drink (much needed after the plane) and flowers as a celebration of our marriage. The suite was beautifully decorated with flowers and in the evening they even performed a small ceremony also to celebrate our marriage and it was an unexpected and truly magical experience. The room was perfect: clean, private pool which is cleaned twice a day, gigantic bed with mosquito net and good WiFi. We couldn't have asked anything more, everyone was so nice and helpful. Bonus, there were some very well behaved kittens roaming around our hotel which the staff cares for and they were just so cute!

Date of stay: September 2018
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank Brenwan
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mark N, Owner at Waterland, responded to this reviewResponded September 19, 2018

It gives us immense pleasure to hear that your stay at Waterland was magical. A honeymoon is a special event and we're keen to help enduring memories.

Thanks for sharing about the various elements of your experience at Waterland including the welcome drink, flowers, decoration, pool, Wi-Fi, marriage celebration, housekeeping, and kindness of the staff. This is now our 3rd year of welcoming guests and it's increasingly clear that it's the staff's warmth, dedication, and attention to detail that distinguishes a stay at Waterland. The cuteness of the cats that we have taken in are a nice plus too!

We wish you a lifetime of happiness together!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 6, 2018

We booked Elephant Villa and room was very clean and lovely. Calm place to relax !.
Suggestions:
- All prices are quoted in US dollars. It's complicated for local guests. So better to quoted with both LKR and US Dollars.
- And better to show room rates with Full Board and Half Board meal plans.- Like other hotels.
- Menu was complicated and expensive for local guests. Better to have suitable menu for locals quoted with LKR.
Excepts these suggestions others are great.

Room tip: Nice and calm place to relax!!!. Great hospitality..
Date of stay: August 2018
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
1  Thank Sujith S
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mark N, Owner at Waterland, responded to this reviewResponded September 7, 2018

Thank you very much for staying at Waterland and for reviewing your stay. It's nice to hear that the hospitality was great and that you found the place very clean and lovely.

Thanks too for sharing your observations and thoughtful suggestions.

One of the things we discovered soon after we opened is that local guests and foreign guests have very different preferences in terms of cuisine, meal times, ... For a small place such as ours, we realized that by attempting to compromise and serve both constituents well, we were not serving either constituent well. Since the vast majority of our guests were from abroad, we decided to focus on the preferences of guests from abroad. Now, about 95% of our guests are from abroad. Since most of these guests arrive directly from the airport or are at the end of their trips in Sri Lanka, having prices in US dollars turns out to be convenient for our guests. Guests are welcome to pay with U.S. dollars, rupees, MasterCard, or Visa.

Regarding meal plans, half board or full board options are well-suited for hotels with buffets. Our menu, by contrast, presents a myriad of a la carte options of freshly and individually prepared meals.

The expansion of the staff and improvements of the property, meals, and service seem to be appreciated. These enhancements, though, have made Waterland significantly more expensive.

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