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“Good But Getting Tired”

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Heritance Kandalama
Ranked #1 of 15 Hotels in Dambulla
Certificate of Excellence
New York City, New York
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Good But Getting Tired”
Reviewed February 6, 2009

We stayed two nights in Kandalama. Visiting Mother-in-law loved the place and was thoroughly impressed. We had received mixed reviews from others who had stayed here especially about the poor service. We didn't find this criticism justified. Service was very good. We asked for a cot for our 3 month old baby and it arrived within 30 mins. Staff were friendly and helpful. Other reviewers had commented on slowness of service but after living in Sri Lanka for 18 months this is the way it is here and is not an issue particular to the hotel.
Rooms very good.
Food good but a little bland. Drinks were quite expensive compared to other hotels in SL.
Views stunning!
Overall, a great experience in a gorgeous setting. My only quibbles would be:
1) Checkout is slow - there was only one cashier on duty at 0930 when we checked out.
2) While the common areas are clean, the windows are pretty dirty. Used condom and wrapper outside my jacuzzi window was a cute touch but probably not appreciated by everyone.

  • Liked — Views and location
  • Disliked — Starting to show its age
  • Stayed February 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank gilesnorman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Michigan
Level 4 Contributor
46 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed January 31, 2009

Without a doubt, this is easily the best hotel in Sri Lanka. Beautiful and peaceful location overlooking a lake. We have been there several times over the years, and the property and service remains consistently excellent. The service is outstanding and the buffets exceptional. Make a special effort to visit Kandalama if you are in Sri Lanka, you will not be disappointed.

  • Liked — Location and service
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank sirijay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jounieh
1 review
Reviewed January 30, 2009

Kandalama hotel is one of the most amazing places we've ever been.
The harmony with nature is just wonderful.

  • Liked — its location
  • Disliked — ---
  • Stayed July 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank assymptote
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
australia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed January 17, 2009

all i have to say it was gorgeous! the hotel is so well designed, its built along with nature so even in the corridoors you have a view! the pool on the top deck also has the best view and the bottom of the pool is rock. so in a way its a natural pond.
the food is just great, soo many options. but i dont recommend staying for too long as since it is buffet every day and night then you might just gain a few pounds!

it is just a relaxing resort and you are mainly in the hotels premises for most of your stay. there are activities such as an elephant ride and an eco park. the rooms are great. bathrooms have a view as well (one side of the bathroom is glass but dont worry, nobody can really see)

the only problem was the mosquitos, so make sure to bring insect repellent. its a MUST or otherwise your a plum

  • Liked — the location
  • Disliked — mosquito
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank anjiethebanjo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hong Kong
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed January 4, 2009

As far as very big hotels go this is a very good one! It looks incredible and has beautiful pools and the rooms are very nice. The food is pretty good and the staff are friendly. The service is generally a bit on the slow side but after spending over 2 weeks in Sri Lanka I think this may simply be down to the speed at which Sri Lankan's do things. I would stay here again and I'd recommend it to others

  • Liked — The design
  • Disliked — Food and drink prices
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank ColonialMaster
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ahungalla, Sri Lanka
Level 6 Contributor
9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 124 helpful votes
Reviewed December 19, 2008

Heritance Kandalama, Dambulla

I stayed at this hotel for 5 nights in early November, it is supposed to be a 5 star hotel, and YES indeed this is a TRUE 5 Star.
I have stayed at many 5 star hotels in Sri Lanka, and this must rank among the very best of them, including its sister hotel Heritance Ahungalla, of which i am a great fan.

Let me explain in detail:

Arrival:
Very warm reception, they even knew my favourite drink, hmm, now how did they know that i wonder considering i had not been here for 7 years! , someone had been doing their homework i think!

Front Office, Guest Relations one word EXCELLENT
Rooms:

FABULOUS views !!, over the Kandalama Tank (lake) and over to Sigirya Rock
Excellent large with huge bed, AND cleaned to 5 star standards, and very well appointed with modern furnishings too.
Showers?, well simply fantastic rain showers here, and i do mean that, like standing under a heavy downpour !, the bathrooms generally are fabulous, no blinds on the floor to ceiling windows, but no one can see in so don’t worry, well that is of course except the monkeys !, so using them, along with the Jacuzzi was like being in heaven!, truly back to nature.
Also air con was very good!, made everything feel very fresh, unlike other hotels in Sri Lanka i could mention that made everything feel damp, even the bedding !, not the case here at Kandalama.
Complimentary tea/coffee making facilities in rooms, and an easy to use electronic safe too, plus nice size TV with plenty of channel choice, movies, sports BBC news ect..

Food:

One word again EXCELLENT, and yes i do mean that, superb selection of Buffet meals, and of the highest quality too, maybe a way of checking the quality Buffet meals is to see the quantity of each dish on offer, most hotels would have large containers of food, not here at Kandalama, the portions are much smaller so insuring that they are fresher and hotter than usual, made a great change.
Lots of themed dinners, BUT and this is important, there was an alternative should you not like what the themed foods were, again a great change from other hotels , maybe a lesson could be learned by other hotels here?, not everyone likes forced themed nights !, so a very BIG well done Kandalama.
Maybe a well deserved mention for the lovely hostesses in the restaurant too ! , Rashika and Rupa, lovely people.

Drinks:
All international and local drinks on offer here, and yes should you wish only to drink the local ones, like i usually do in Sri Lanka, then no problem, you will NOT be coerced into the more expensive imports here, again, a big well done Kandalama.

Entertainment:

A little low key, but i guess that is maybe something to do with the fact that this is a mainly tour stop hotel, so people having to be up early in the mornings don’t usually stay up too late.
The Saturday evening Magic Show was.... well surprisingly very good!, ok maybe mostly aimed at the kids, but certainly entertained us older kids too !, especially the trick where liquid was poured from a tin (Red Bull) into a seemingly mid air suspended glass, wish he could do that with my Lion Beers !
Live band entertainment, and Cultural show on the Saturday evening too.
Animation team good, and tried to get everyone involved, with plenty to do if you so wished, snooker available but chargeable though.

Service:

I thought this was VERY good for one of Sri Lanka’s higher class hotels, could so easily have been MUCH worse considering it is a tour stopover hotel in the main, but service i could not fault at all, and yes i am very much used to excellent service too, again, a big well done to all at Kandalama for this.

Pools:

3 pools here at Kandalama, and yes i did try them all, one is a quite pool on second floor of Dambulla wing which we had all to ourselves one Sunday morning, one is a sort of rock pool not tiled as such but made to look like a rock pool like you may find on the beach or in a river maybe, but nice touch anyway.
Third pool, well this will take your breath away, a TRUE infinity pool, hard to tell at first glance where pool and Kandalama Lake (Tank) started or finished, truly fab place for a swim after a hard day’s sightseeing.
All 3 pools well maintained and clean, sun loungers and towels provided free of charge, with lifeguards on duty till 8 pm.

Lots of activities to do, including the following:
Bird watching, Boat rides, including breakfast should you wish, Guided cycle rides, Horse riding, Elephant safaris, Lake Safari, the list is endless here.

So, did i have a great holiday at Heritance Kandalama?, YES of course i did AND the hotel really did contribute towards this. Would i go back to Sri Lanka?, yes of course that goes without saying, BUT to Heritance Kandalama ? Well a VERY BIG yes to that question, was sad to leave when i did, but at least it was to go to another fab hotel on the beach, Heritance Ahungalla !, but i am now a VERY BIG fan of Heritance Kandalama and would definitely go back and recommend it to anyone.

Thanks to everyone at Heritance Kandalama for making my stay one to remember for a long time, and hope see you all again soon.

  • Liked — Fabulous all round
  • Disliked — Leaving Heritance Kandalama !
  • Stayed November 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
5 Thank travellerguy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
lincs UK
Level 6 Contributor
449 reviews
217 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 379 helpful votes
Reviewed December 6, 2008

Everything that could be said about the hotel had been said - it is a lovely hotel with high standards and an excellent evening buffet. Staff were extremely pleasant & helpful.

There are 2 swimming pools, one is an infinity pool - my only comment is where are the umbrellas for shade?

  • Stayed November 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank kaw118
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member 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 Family Hotel in Dambulla
#1 Spa Hotel in Dambulla
#1 Luxury 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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