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Reviews (4,111)
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Reviewed February 16, 2008

We arrived without a reservation. The hotel was quiet and we were shown the rack rates but then told that if we opted for the grade above the lowest room type we would get a free upgrade to the next level up (jacuzzi bath). The cost would be USD250 room only (or something like that) and no discounts were available. We had previously checked the prices on the hotel's own website and knew this didn't seem right. We left the hotel, went to an internet cafe, went onto the hotel's website and booked online. We booked a luxury room for USD150 including breakfast, and when we went back to the hotel we were given a suite! How ridiculous!!
The hotel itself is vast - 1km long! Our suite was lovely - nicely decorated, very clean, great bathroom and large terrace. There's a lovely infinity pool overlooking the lake - you can swim around and watch the birds and monkeys. At night bats come into the hotel to catch their dinner (bugs attracted by the lights) - magic!
I would definitely recommend this hotel, but just be careful how much you pay!

  • Stayed: February 2008, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank emyLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 15, 2008

We stayed at the Kandalama two nights during a six day trip to Sri Lanka. Of the three hotels we stayed in, we liked the Kandalama the most, mainly because of the views of the lake and the surrounding jungle. I almost wish we could have hung out at the hotel more instead of touring. Watching the bird and monkey activity from the many open areas of the hotel was fun. We were booked with breakfast and dinner included and enjoyed the buffets, although the waiters were often too attentive, refolding napkins while we were at the buffet table and sometimes trying to take away plates before we were finished eating. There is free wifi available in the rooms although we used the business center computer; access was slow. The room was comfortable and the bathroom large--my only complaint was that the pillows smelled slightly musty.

  • Stayed: February 2008, traveled with friends
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Thank UnderwaterDiva
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 5, 2008

We stayed at this hotel for the first 3 nights of our trip to Sri Lanka. There are some amazing sites to visit in the area but the hotel proved disappointing on 3 main grounds:
- The hotel was designed by Sri Lanka's leading architect, but it must have been on one of his off days. Alternatively, he liked to paint with a broad brush and let the detail take care of itself. The hotel's architecture is sweeping in its vision but not very pleasant for its guests. The public areas are grossly over specified with huge sweeping areas. The concrete structure is brutal and bleak and reminiscent of communist Eastern Europe. Overall it has the feeling of a huge multi-storey car park. Many of the features are simply badly conceived. The shopping mall (so-called) is in utterly the wrong place - it should be in the hotel. The pools are miserable and badly located and utterly unenticing. The walkways to the rooms are dark and eerie. Much of the detailing is also absurd; for example, we had to step into the bath to reach across to check the temperature of the water coming out of the bath tap; the lighting in the rooms is poor; stairways do not have rails for the bottom few steps and one can easily trip over the edge of the lower steps. The list is endless.
- The interior design of the hotel is equally bleak. There are no pictures or other ornamentation apart from a few silly wood carvings on the landings which look like totem poles from British Columbia. The rooms have no decoration, the entrance corridor running through the rock cries out for some interior design treatment, the public furniture is tired and uncomfortable etc etc.
- The service in the hotel is also pretty second rate. As everywhere in Sri Lanka, the staff are charming and helpful but the hotel cries out for decent management. It's not really spotlessly clean (cobwebs, smeared glass etc), the pillows are cheap and lumpy, the sheets and towels have seen better days, the communal self-service dining room is really a not very good canteen.
We have stayed in many hotels in Asia and could not but reflect how different this hotel would be if it were to be managed by one of the top Asian chains. The location is stunning and with some retrofitting, interior design and competent managing, the hotel could be up there with the best. As it is, it is a pastiche of a great hotel and while not awful, leaves a lot to be desired. Having said that, we didn't hear of anywhere better in the vicinity.


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  • Stayed: January 2008, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank FoggMurphys
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 3, 2008

I stayed at the Kandalama for 6 nights from January 18th 2008 as part of my honeymoon. The first thing to say is that, despite a couple of negative comments I make in this review, the hotel is definitely beatifully designed and is built in an amazing location.

The hotel is situated in the middle of the jungle, with views over Kandalama Tank (Lake) to the front and Kandalama Rock behind the hotel providing the back drop. The views from the upper floors of the hotel and from the infinity pool just blow you away!

The hotel is beautifully designed to make the most of the natural features of the landscape and the jungle. It blends discreetly into its surroundings and from a distance it almost appears part of the natural landscape.

We were given a Deluxe Room on the 5th floor of the Sigirya wing of the hotel. The views from the bedroom and from the massive window in the bathroom were incredible and great for bird and monkey watching. The room itself was comfortable and reasonably well equiped and we particularly enjoyed the rainshower and hot tub next to the massive feature window in the bathroom.

The service and food in the hotel was generally excellent. Tthe choice of restaurants is limited to the main buffet, a small a la carte restaurant and a small cafe, however the main buffet always has a wide selection of food and so we didn't feel too restricted during our stay. The restaurant staff were always friendly and well trained.

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the Kandalama and in Sri Lanka......but I do have a couple of negative comments about Kandalama.

The first is in relation to the way the staff handled a problem we encountered. Monkeys are constantly playing in the trees around the hotel and on the hotel balconies. There are signs on the patio doors in the rooms warning not to feed them and to keep the door closed to prevent the monkeys getting into rooms. We were very careful to always keep our doors closed and locked but one day we returned to find our patio door open, the room in dissarray and all the food in the room (including our complimentary honeymoon fruit platter and treats we'd brought from home) missing with just the wrappers remaining. It was clear that our cleaner had left the door either open or unlocked and our room had been raided by one or more monkeys. This was a litte upsetting in itself but not the end of the world.....when we called reception to report the situation they sent a cleaner and a supervisor to clean up the mess, but they didn't apologise. When we asked if we could have a replacement platter they mumbled a yes but never delivered. We asked at reception a couple of times over the next two days but again no apology and no replacement. This situation didn't ruin our holiday but was a disappointing.

The other point of criticism is related to the numerous excursions the hotel offers, including elephant trekking, jungle walks, bird watching and boat rides. As we were in the hotel for several days we booked onto all of the above. Each activity was great in itself, particularly the elephants. Our warning is to be aware that the guides don't generally speak much English. So the jungle walks, bird watching etc are not interpretative. The walk in the jungle was pleasant enough but it would have been enhanced if our guide had been able to explain about the flora and fauna we were seeing.

In summary, despite a couple of negatives, this hotel is fantastic and we would highly recommend a visit.

  • Stayed: January 2008, traveled as a couple
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10  Thank gcairns
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 2, 2008

We stayed in the Kandalama in April 2006 as part of a tour around Sri Lanka.

The hotel itself was one of the highlights of the whole trip.

The room was very comfortable, especially the bed. There was a balcony overlooking the jungle- great for animal and bird watching.

The bathroom was spectacular, a fantastic bath and a huge shower head, in front of a panoramic view over the jungle and the lake. A wonderful way to relax after climbing Sigiriya,

We enjoyed experiencing the the infinity pool, again this has great views over the lake.

The design of the hotel is very clever, the corridors are open and you can experience bats flying around at night. All the rooms are on one side of the hotel looking out over the lake and you feel like part of the environment.

Overall a truly wonderful experience.

  • Stayed: April 2006, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank whlsarah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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