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“Less than it seems”

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Heritance Kandalama
Ranked #1 of 15 Hotels in Dambulla
Certificate of Excellence
Hong Kong
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Less than it seems”
Reviewed July 1, 2013

Bawa, the famous Sri Lankan architect, did a nice job of blending this hotel into the surrounding countryside, and the staff is friendly, but the hotel is badly in need of renovation, and the interior is cold and without charm. The small pool is surrounded mostly be untended grass and earth instead of a large and pleasant deck. The bar is a hole in the wall with no inviting place to sit, and the bartenders had to be told how to make some basic drinks. In our room, the toilet handle was almost falling off and the porcelain was stained, and there weren't sufficient electrical sockets for today's device-laden guests. The wooden trellis outside the rooms was crumbling. This is ostensibly one of the best Sri Lanka has to offer, but like much of the country it is overpriced for what it offers.

Room Tip: We are told (but cannot confirm) that some sections of the hotel have been renovated. If true, it m...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
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Helpful?
3 Thank Barry K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Heritance K, Executive General Manager at Heritance Kandalama, responded to this review, July 3, 2013
Thank you for staying with us and regret very much that the experience was not to your expectation. Your thoughts and comments are appreciated while looking forward to welcoming you back at Heritance Kandalama.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (844)
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English first
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed July 1, 2013 via mobile

I went to sri lanka for my honeymoon in september, and kandalama was the first hotel. You first pass through a forest and wonder where you are heading, but once there, you are just speechless! A hotel built on rocks! Simply breathtaking! The staff is really nice, the food is AMAZING, the service is excellent and the room was perfect with a jacuzzi! Monkeys would come to the window every morning! It was really unforgettable! Anyways, if you ever want to go to sri lanka, you have to go with the heritance chain of hotels! You will not be disappointed!

  • Stayed September 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Meemeez
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Heritance K, Executive General Manager at Heritance Kandalama, responded to this review, July 8, 2013
Thank you very much for staying with us and glad you enjoyed the experience being one with nature. Your kind sentiments are truly valued while looking forward to welcoming you back at Hertance Kandalama.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed July 1, 2013

this really is a class of a hotel, beautifully engineered hotel in the wilderness. You're part of the jungle ranging from monkeys, ghekos, bats, not to mention bitten by mosquitos... nonetheless, a truly remarkable feeling to be so closely associated with nature. The deluxe room was a real treat, wonderful rainfall shower with a jacuzzi. Booked a superior, got upgraded to a deluxe free of charge. Excellent variety of food both breakfast/lunch and dinner. Great Spa facilities - though expensive, but again with the architecture of the building, you're literally enjoying the spa in wilderness.
A few cons:

Hotel is not accomodating in ordering a loca; tuk tuk or a cab for you. Therefore they try and give you their cab, which is expensive. So its best you pre-arrange a local driver, if you can get hold of one. Great cabbie based in Dambulla (where the hotel is based) Athula - 077 3934054. He is extremely reliable, trustworthy, excellent spoken English and is a real delight to be around. His prices are unbeatable!

Hotel really is isolated, so if you're staying there 2 days and more - you're bound to dine there, unless you want to go into town each day which is 12km away.

No iron/board in room. There's only one in the entire hotel.

Other than that - most definately a great hotel to be in, for a maximum of 2 days!

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
1 Thank patiala p
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Heritance K, Executive General Manager at Heritance Kandalama, responded to this review, July 8, 2013
Thank you for staying with us and glad you enjoyed the experience being one with nature. Your kind sentiments and comments for further improvement is much appreciated. We do have an insect known as a " tank fly " which exactly resembles a mosquito and wonder whether you were referring to same. Looking forward to welcoming you back at Heritance Kandalama.
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Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
149 reviews
47 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
Reviewed June 29, 2013

Driving through the jungle on a dirt track through the trees which seems to go on forever, at night this is quite a magical drive. As the car turns the bend, the hotel emerges from the trees. This is one of Geoffrey Bawa's architectural feats and an iconic hotel for Sri Lanka.

The hotel is situated on a hillside overlooking Kandalama Tank and the national park. There are plenty of monkeys, birds and other wildlife including a resident elephant who is close by most mornings.

Rooms are large and luxurious with great beds and wonderful bathrooms. Large windows give plenty of light but the creepers growing over the facade of the hotel doesn't allow for many views.

The hotel offers 2 pools which give you panoramic views of the surrounding area and the main restaurant also has great views.
If you can afford a Luxury Room it is definitely worth the upgrade.
Staff are friendly and polite and happy to assist with any request. Very hospitable and helpful.

Room Tip: Luxury Room is worth the extra expense.
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank HasantiP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Heritance K, Executive General Manager at Heritance Kandalama, responded to this review, July 3, 2013
Thank you for staying with us and glad you enjoyed the experience being one with nature. Your kind sentiments are very much appreciated while looking forward to welcoming you back at Heritance Kandalama.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Level Contributor
27 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed June 29, 2013

Stunned by the architecture and the location upon arrival and what an environment this hotel has. You feel it that you are inside the jungle and always your eyes keep watching the superb panoramic view it opens to the beauty of the nature surrounded by lake, jungles and rocks. Truly this is an amazing place to stay if you planning to go out of the hectic Colombo.

Rooms were spacious and nicely set up and bathroom also very clean and big enough. Make sure to enjoy the three swimming pools here as the infinity pool was the best with the view and the atmosphere.

But, the day we were there had a big number of visitors in the hotel and service was not up to the reputation it has as specially when we were dining. It was extremely difficult to find a place in restaurant to dine there and sometimes some of my friends loss the place when they were coming back with the desserts. Finished plates were there in the tables and had to wait for a long time to bringing the drinking water...etc. Though we had four meals through out the two days there, it didn't have much variety specially during the breakfast (Could be due to the off season.Don't know exactly).

Apart from the above issue, all the other expectations other were fabulous and I could have given excellent rating. But definitely I'll be back with my family to this place very soon again.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank ChamaraDJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Heritance K, Executive General Manager at Heritance Kandalama, responded to this review, July 3, 2013
Thank you for staying with us and glad you enjoyed the experience being one with nature. We appreciate your kind sentiments and sincerely regret if you were inconvenienced while assuring you a truly memorable stay on your next visit. Looking forward to welcoming you back at Heritance Kandalama.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Birmingham, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
22 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed June 28, 2013 via mobile

This was our favourite hotel from our trip. Everything was A1. Food great in the buffet: room fantastic: service excellent. The architecture, the way the building merges with the rock and the jungle was stunning

  • Stayed June 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank theprincemoseley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manchester
Level Contributor
67 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 99 helpful votes
Reviewed June 28, 2013

Having travelled extensively and stayed in many 5 star/luxury hotel, I can safely say that Kandalama is my favourite. Designed by Geoffrey Bawa on a staggering budget, the hotel is literally built into the rock-face and has superb views onto the lake, the rock palace of Sigiriya and the temple of Dambulla beyond. For nature-lovers, this hotel is unique: birds and bats fly through the corridors and out into the gardens; butterflies flit around your balcony and the Brahminy Kites wheel above the lake. Just wandering round the corridors of Kandalama (the entire length of the hotel is over 1km) is like exploring a beautiful, rock cave.

The staff are truly lovely people. We have got to know them well over the years and they are like family now. Whatever you ask for is not a problem. They even make special jams and chutneys for my mother to take away with her. The level of service is absolutely flawless.

Even for a 5 star hotel, the buffet is spectacular. My family has been coming for years, and even we forget quite how extensive and luxurious the food is here. There are two swimming pools, an immaculate gym and now a superb spa. As well as an Ecopark, cricket pitch, tennis courts, escorted walks to the nearby forest and many other activities. You really do not need to leave the hotel.

This hotel will not suit everyone - some people may find the element of nature too intrusive. If this is the case, then stick to your Hiltons and Radissons. For me, this will always be the perfect escape for the mind and body.

Room Tip: Try for a room on the higher floor, with views out over the trees.
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank MrandMrsinManchester
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Heritance K, Executive General Manager at Heritance Kandalama, responded to this review, June 28, 2013
Thank you very much for staying with us and glad you enjoyed the experience being one with nature. Your continuous patronage and kind sentiments are very much valued and appreciated, while looking forward to welcoming you back at Heritance Kandalama.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Heritance Kandalama

Property: Heritance Kandalama
Address: | PO Box 11, Dambulla, Sri Lanka
Location: Sri Lanka > Central Province > Dambulla
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Luxury Hotel in Dambulla
#1 Family Hotel in Dambulla
#1 Spa Hotel in Dambulla
#1 Romantic Hotel in Dambulla
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Heritance Kandalama 5*
Number of rooms: 152
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Heritance Kandalama is shaped like the outspread wings of a bird, following the line of the cliff from which it seems to emerge. The hotel is a staggering 1km from end to end, and rises up seven floors, yet appears to be a perfectly natural extension of the mountainside. The flat roof and timber pillars support a screen of vegetation that attracts local wildlife. The abundance of real-life animals around the hotel is complemented by wonderful large-scale sculptures within it. A metal owl is suspended outside the main restaurant; wooden elephants inhabit the lounge; a stone cobra uncoils along the terrace overlooking the infinity pool. However, while focusing on highlighting its enchanting natural surroundings, our luxury resort in Sri Lanka gives priority to providing its guests with the finest comforts and service. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kandalama Hotel Sri Lanka
Hotel Heritance Kandalama
Heritance Kandalama Dambulla
Kandalama Hotel Dambulla

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