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“Great hotel but not that great”

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Royal Palms Beach Hotel
Ranked #3 of 11 Hotels in Kalutara
Certificate of Excellence
Yorkshire
Level 5 Contributor
58 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
“Great hotel but not that great”
Reviewed October 21, 2012

Just returned here after 19 days on all inclusive package with Mercury direct. Went out ostensibly to watch the cricket but that was just an excuse for a beach holiday. It's important to say this hotel is very good. The food is excellent and varied especially the puds which are wonderful. There is a small Japanese restaurant attached to the main restaurant and the menu was good although the staff didn't have much idea what the menu options were. the booze on the all inclusive is OK . The beer is Lion which is excellent but the spirits were a bit rough. The rooms are nice with big comfy beds, nice bathrooms Some of the older rooms have a shower in the bath but newer rooms have a walk in shower. The pool and gardens are lovely but theres no beds on the beach and the sea was too rough to swim in when we were there. The staff are generally great and do their best to help

The main niggles are 1. ongoing minor building work. This is not a big problem but mercury said there wasn't any which is clearly wrong ( see pics). 2. No free wifi. This is annoying. cards can be bought for £2 or £4 but most hotels in Sri Lanka of this class do have free wifi. 3. The trainline directly at the back of the hotel. There nothing anyone can do about it , but people who say they cant hear the trains must be seriously deaf.

Theres plenty to do in Sri Lanka. Kalatura is about an hour from Colombo (nice shops -try Odel) and 1 1/2 hours from Galle which is well worth seeing. Kandy is OK and the elephant orphanage en route is superb and there's plenty of trips to wildlife parks to see elephants and leopards. The mercury rep is very good but their trips are very regimented with too many sales orientated stops. If you don't want this, arrange your own with one of the many tour companies just outside the hotel but check on your vehicle and which hotel you're in for overnight stays. Overall a very nice hotel and definitely would go back to Sri Lanka.

Room Tip: Newer rooms are on the top floor
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank BrianK02
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (244)
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English first
Norwich, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed October 19, 2012

having returned from our second stay at this resort, we can not praise it enough. We stayed for three weeks all inclusive travelling with Mercury Direct. We returned this year with all of our family, as we loved this place so much. The accomodation is being updated block by block, bathrooms being modernised and new bedroom furniture being placed. However. this hotel continues to have a very special atmosphere of charm and grace. I hope the new building work does not take this away. All of our rooms were clean and well presented, anything needed was provided with jsut a phone call.

ALL staff were amazing, courteous and polite. We never had problems with anyone waiting for tips inside the hotel. Pool staff were all fantanstic, having traveled with someone with poor mobility they could not do enough to help if required.Nothing was too much trouble. We loved the fact that they were the same guys as before and enjoyed their banter as well as the professional attitude they all had.

All management on all levels made sure our stay was wonderful. Our parents like plain food, we were all inclusive which meant a rolling weekly menu of international cuisine, this meant that quite often there was nothing they liked. It was no bother for the staff to prepare meals for them.
Restaurant and bar staff, again very helpful, courteous and fun. They were also all very caring not expecting anything for this.Unfortunately food was sooo good we all put on weight!!!

House keeping were fantastic, making animals etc. out of towels and leaving them on our beds, a lovely touch. Canapes and chocolates every night.
People that do not leave the hotel really do miss out on seeing and meeting the real Sri Lanka, we would often walk out and stop and talk to people. We all really enjoyed the laughs and kindness we had with everyone we met. People from shops would just give us things because we stopped and talked. Mad. We met some wonderful peole that helped make our holiday fantastic.

last time we went we met and used a tuk tuk driver called Damika, he waits outside the hotel for business. We highly recomend him. He offers a fair price and is a great asset when out and about if you need some assistance with being understood.

As for the people earning their livings selling on the beach, they will not bother you if you just say no thanks.
We will return again at some point and look forward to seeing the new Pent House, which is presently being constructed, this will have the most amazing view. The new cabbanna style restaurant was also being finished off. This will have a modern theme, selling snacks, coffees and also i believe offer an alternative to the other bars and restaurants. I do hope that they keep the ambience and atmosphere they have created whilst they update and modernise this very special hotel,

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
5 Thank Nikki M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ivybridge, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed October 13, 2012

We have just come back from our trip and felt I needed to have my say on this lovely hotel. Many people have written on trip advisor, that the hotel needed updating and basically running the hotel down. We had a great experience. The staff were amazing, always helpful. Yes you had to tip them, but we only did this at the end of the holiday. Come on, they don't have much, lets help them, in the only way we know, and that is give money. The AI worked for us, we were with another couple, so the men had beers and we had two glasses a wine at every meal. We have been drinking nearly all day, around pool, so that was enough for us.

There were some lovely people, there, Janet and Steve, Candice and her mum, Dane and Nicola etc. thanks to you all helping us enjoy our holiday.

The trip we had to see the elephants, was not good, the roads being so rough, but can 't be helped.

For anyone thinking of going, please do not hesitate. It was good value and I would go again.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Samatha-D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tel Aviv, Israel
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed October 12, 2012

When you turn up looks great, clean, excellent room, pool one of the best. Beach is a bit step and surf the week we stayed was always "up". The hotel attracts lots of inclusive holiday guests, so all buffet and cheap spirits on offer. The problem was we booked on line for B&B. We prefer to not do the buffet and eat freshly cooked food off the menu. The menu was limited but food was okay. We eat cheaper and better in other places we stayed. What was disappoting was still having paying the normal price for booze and getting the cheapest local spirts availble. Go inclusive and enjoy the organised volley ball, excercising in the pool, crazy golf competitions and you like so many there will have a great time.......perhaps a lttle bit Costa Del Sri Lanka rather than Sri Lankan luxury. There was out of season building work, so various restaurants were closed for certain n ights during our stay.

Room Tip: Not next to the building work (sept 2012)
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank peter r
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manchester, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed October 11, 2012

Me and my mum came for a nice relaxing trip for 10 nights and it was lovely. Rooms were big and we had a great view of the sea however could do with being updated which they are in the process of doing especially the bathroom. But the beds were big and comfy!

The food is great in the main restaurant, with many dishes inside, and a few outside that they made while you waited. They had a Japanese restaurant which we didn't try as felt no need to as it cost to eat there and at the main restaurants they had themes. My favorite themes had to be mexican and indian. The onion bajhis and vegetable pakoras were to die for!! A few days we had to eat in the banquet whilst they carried out work in the main restaurant which was slightly dull as the main restaurant has lovely views and had the option of sitting outside but no biggie, was only in there for 3 days.

The hurricane bar was good, could just be a few more cocktails added to the all inclusive menu.

The beach is nice with golden sand but you feel put off from going on it as many people stand at the gate wanting to sell you stuff. But all you need to do is carry on walking, try ignore them or just firmly say no and they leave you be. Also you can't go in the sea because it was rather rough. But the pool makes up for that, it is huge!!

The Sri lankan people are lovely, the pool boys, restaurant staff and guys on reception were so friendly. However some wanted tips for everything and made it slightly awkward. The gardeners make you things out of leaves and give them to you, but they want tipping for it. And also, the cleaners on our last couple of days cause they knew we were going kept opening the door for us when we came back from the pool and wanting tips. I don't mind tipping, just don't want to be asked all the time and we usually do it at the end of our holiday.

What made my trip was seeing monica the elephant come to hotel, she came twice for weddings and they are such beautiful creatures! You also had the opportunity to ride her for £5.

Overall, the holiday was great, would definitely return, just the rooms need updating and they shouldn't make you feel as pressured for tips.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank candice2411
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed October 9, 2012

Having spent a week touring, the Royal Palms was a welcome rest. Accommodation was fine, staff great, pool lovely and the pool bar even better. It's a non swimming beach in August so the pool was a must. Being all inclusive meant using the main restaurant and bar area (others were not included and unsurprisingly empty) but this was no issue as there were different "themes" every night so the need for "a change" never arose. The evening entertainment was local, sometimes cultural so not everyone's taste, but not unpleasant either. Staff in the pool area and grounds were very helpful and the sporty "animators" good humoured.

Minor issues, pool bar seats were not too stable even without a beer :). And the occasional monsoon downpour arriving at pace - 3 minute warnings from the staff were both accurate and essential and the accompanying dash for cover livened up the day - didn't happen every day but were dramatic when they did. Local train line was close by but didn't disturb - might have from a room that was closer.

Room Tip: Second floor rooms away from the railway line were fine
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Chris N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
bigbum0204
Level 5 Contributor
50 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
Reviewed October 9, 2012 via mobile

Just returned from a fantastic holiday at this lovely hotel. Our Room was clean and spacious but in need of refurbishment .many had already been finished .All Staff welcoming and smiling always willing to help with any thing.food was amazing. 1st class service from pool boys ,doormen, waiter service , gardeners , nothing was a problem. We had a small problem what was dealt with good humour and efficiently (thank you ) .we had no problem with outside hawkers. Just say no thank you and walk on. We used a lovely men from the 1st shop outside the main gates for a few trips. I would highly recommend him. He is honest and has great knowledge of the areas we went to and had a fantastic driver. And a lot less than using your reps.over all our stay at this wonderful hotel was 1st class .can I just thank Campari for the many drinks he made for us.
Would recommend staying here and we will definitely return. Many thanks to all the staff for making our holiday a special one
Janet & Steve

Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank bigbum0204
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Royal Palms Beach Hotel

Property: Royal Palms Beach Hotel
Address: De Abrew Drive, Kalutara 12000, Sri Lanka
Location: Sri Lanka > Western Province > Kalutara
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#2 Spa Hotel in Kalutara
#2 Luxury Hotel in Kalutara
#3 Romantic Hotel in Kalutara
#3 Family Hotel in Kalutara
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Royal Palms Beach Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 136
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Also Known As:
Royal Palms Beach Kalutara
Hotel Royal Palms Beach
Royal Palms Beach Hotel Sri Lanka/Kalutara

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