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“nice hotel bit pricey there are better locations”

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Royal Palms Beach Hotel
Ranked #3 of 11 Hotels in Kalutara
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed November 12, 2012

We stayed at the royal palms in aug 2012. we were beginning our tour of sri lanka and intended to travel north to kandy and the cultural triangle. however if we were to do that again we would choose a hotel north of colombo rather than south. it took about 2.5 hours to get there from the airport (roads very poor and you cannot travel anywhere fast generally in sri lanka). the hotel itself was very nice. rooms were large clean and fairly well appointed. starting to look a little tired especially the bathroom and could do with some refurbishment. the pool area was very pleasant and there were activities organised at various parts of the day which were fun. the sea was very rough when we were there and swimming was prohibited at that time of year. check in was slow especially tiresome after a long flight. we chose a b and b option but there was also all inclusive. the buffet restaurant was standard fare and expensive for what it was especially in comparison to some of the restaurants outsite of the hotel. however kalutara is somewhat lacking in many good restaurants so you may struggle - wouldnt stay in this town again.
no free wifi - had to pay for a card and then had to use it in public area - poor in this day and age! not much to see in kalutara other than the temple. we enjoyed other towns much more.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank RobA9_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 11, 2012

My wife and I spent 10 wonderful days in this hotel. We found all the staff to be very friendly and helpfull even down to them rushing out to tell us they could see the rain coming over the sea, it was monsoon season, and helping us to bring our belongings indside. The room was very comfortable and spacious and on arrival we had balloons, flower petals and a basket of fruit waiting for us. The main restaurant was very clean and tidy and the food was delicious. They had a dfferent theme every night and there was plenty of choice, my wife especially enjoyed the dessert selection. Overall the hotel and the staff gave us some wonderful memories and Sri Lanka is a fantastic place to visit.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Robjacko
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 6, 2012

Having just returned from this wonderful hotel yesterday we would like to say:

Do not believe any of the rubbish reviews you read, this hotel was lovely. The rooms were great, the staff unbeatable. Really friendly and helpful. The food was great, trips lovely. we bought jewellery from the shop at the hotel and will update when I have had a valuation for these. The entertainment was low key, but you are in Sri Lanka and not Benidorm so it is a different kind of holiday. We visited, the turtle sanctuary (lovely), did a river cruise (fantastic), rode an elephant, and in general had a great holiday. We also met some lovely fellow guests at the hotel.

YOU WILL ENJOY THIS LOVELY HOTEL

Room Tip: Ask for a sea view overlooking the pool.
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  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with friends
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3  Thank jenny j
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 31, 2012

We went to Sri lanka mainly to see the country so we booked the Cultural Trip with Mercury Direct and were finishing with a week on the beach.The Cultural Trip was amazing and far surpassed our expectations. However, you do need to be reasonably fit for all the walking barefoot around temples and climbing steps etc .I say this because we are in our sixties, but I wouldn't have missed it for anything because you see the heart and soul of Sri Lanka and its people on this trip. Our driver/guide was excellent. Thank you Ashan.
We liked the reviews of the Royal Palms and decided to go for it. We were overwhelmed by the welcome we received there and the constant attention and pleasantness of the staff from the doorman/men right through to front of house and management. The food was unexpectedly good and each meal offered a huge variety. We were all inclusive so our food and local drinks were free.I really couldn't do justice to the food and drink available - too much!. The pool snaked around the hotel and offered a couple of jacuzzis midway and a pool bar. Everything about the hotel was top quality from the wooden floors in the rooms to the sunbeds on the lawns overlooking the sea. The only disappointment was the sea- too dangerous for swimming. the beach was not great for walking, tar underfoot in the sand. An animator offered aquarobics, beach and pool volley ball, crazy golf etc daily and there was entertainment nightly in the Hurricane Bar. Ayurvedic massages next door and on the beach ( cheaper). Columbo near enough for a good day's shopping We visited Barefoot in Columbo - incredible shop. using all local craft, cloth bags, ayurvedic creams etc Car and driver from hotel took us shopping at reasonable cost. Hotel pulls out all the stops for guests. Altogether a lovely pampering experience. Thank you Rumeisha, Mohan and many others.You can be proud of the Royal Palms.

Room Tip: All rooms face the pool and the sea.
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank Marieo445
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 24, 2012

Stay duration: 19-23 October 2012

When my travel agent told me of this hotel, I was a little skeptical because of its distance from Colombo airport which is a 2.5 hour drive, plus the fact that the price for a five-star hotel seemed too good to be true even at the package discounted rates of US$145 for a double room and US$120 for a single for bed and breakfast. Nevertheless, we decided to give it a try; and we're so glad we did.

If your flight into Colombo comes in early morning, I would suggest making use of the WC at the airport because it's a long drive with almost no place to make a pit stop.

Once we pulled into the driveway of the hotel, we knew we'd made the right choice. Check-in time is at 2pm, but they immediately checked us in. While waiting at the reception for our rooms to be ready, we noticed a board with a list of the day's activities like;
11.30 - Water Aerobics;
13.00 - Lunch;
13.30 - Pool Volleyball;
19.30 - Dinner (Italian Night).

Our rooms, located in the North side of the resort on the first floor, were beautifully furnished. A little damp, yes; but I would expect that of rooms with balconies. Overlooking the pool, the music during the water aerobics can get a little loud, but the A/C sound was enough to drown it out.

Dinner was a grand affair at LKR3000 per head. Every night there is a theme; for the nights we were there, there was Italian night, Sri Lankan night, Around the World, and Indian night. The food was excellent.
Breakfast, too, always left us in a very happy state of lethargy.
The day before our day trip to Kandy, we informed the desk that we'd be leaving at 5am and they offered to make us packed meals to take with us.

Overall, an excellent hotel.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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5  Thank leica82
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 22, 2012

This was our first visit to Sri Lanka and we thoroughly enjoyed both the country and this splendid hotel. We travelled with Mercury Direct who arranged the transfer from the hotel. Our driver was waiting for us at the airport and delivered us through Colombo to our destination. Transfer time was aprox 1.5 hours due to traffic and smaller roads.

Check in was smooth and quick and our luggage was taken to our room (311) and the "all inclusive" option fully explained. Our room was clean, modern and spacious with excellent air conditioning, mini bar, flat screen TV (quite a few UK language channels). Each room has a small balcony with a view over the pool and towards the sea.

Food
We could not fault the food in either the standard or the a la carte restaurants. In the general restaurant, you can either eat inside or out and the food is served on a buffet basis. The choice is very wide and changes on a day to day basis. There is far to much to list, but here is an example.

Breakfast - Juices, fresh fruit, cereals, porridge, pancakes, waffles, omlettes, bacon and eggs, etc, Sri Lankan food (you MUST try), freshly baked bread, doughnuts, pasties, rolls and more.

Lunch -Salads, appetisers (Try the Cord Fish), Sri Lankan food, European food plus more. A wide range of deserts, chilled soups

Dinner. In addition to a massive range of European and Sri Lankan meals, there is a theme for each night. This changes each day and you therefore get a wide range of cuisines such as Indian, Asian, Mediterranean, Mexican, etc

On the terrace at every meal there are also chefs preparing food from the grill such as fish, kebabs, stir fry, steak, etc, etc

If you like spicy food, you will be in seventh heaven. Sri Lankan curries are hot and spicy, but packed with taste. If like me, your only experience of curries comes from Indian restaurants, you are in for a treat. A few of my favourites were the Crab curry, Daal, tempered beans, prawn curries and wonderful aubergine curries. You will find a choice of different rice, noodle and pulses too along with breads, popodoms and pickles, relishes of every type.

We ate in the Japanese restaurant on our edding anniversary and had an amazing sea food platter loaded with enormous prawns, lobster, crab and fish. Wonderful!

On our last night we had a private meal in the gazebo which offered 6 or 7 set courses prepared by the chef. Served by your own waiter and waitress and accompanied by a Sri Lankan musician who will play local or European music of your choice. This was sensational and even I couldnt manage more than a couple of the hand made chocolates at the end of it.

The pool is large and split into two sections. One is aprox 3 feet deep and contains a swim up bar. Through the tunnel is the deeper "end" and here the depth is 7 to 8 feet in depth. The pool is spotless and cleaned every morning and its a wonderful place to cool down from the heat.

Beyond the pool is the beach and here you will find the beach boys and girls who can offer you trips, sarongs, etc. Some reviews have stated they were a bit pushy or persistant. We didnt find that to be the case though. A polite "no thanks" was all it took and we were left in peace. The surf was quite high during our stay and the red flag was flying every day, so dont consider swimming unless you are VERY confident.

Outside the hotel there are a number of tuk tuk drivers who will take you wherever you want to go. The requested fare into Kalutara is 800 rupees (4 pounds), but if you wish to haggle, you can probably get the price down to 500 rupees!

There are many small shops within a five minute walk of the hotel. These are great places to buy souvenirs. The shopkeepers are not pushy at all and their prices are very good. Be sure to check out the little tailors shop on the right just after the level crossing. My wife had 2 sarongs made for her at £4 each, while I had 2 shirts made for about £7. Just select your material and collect them the next day!

Trips
You can book your trips through the hotel, but they are much cheaper using one of the many independents (ask in any shop, on the beach, or via your tuk tuk driver). We did a trip arranged by "Buddy" who runs a little cafe just up from the afore mentioned tailor. We went to the Kandy area to visit the elephant orphanage, The Temple of the Tooth Relic, a spice farm and a tea plantation. Buddy arranged for us to stop for a breakfast of fresh pineapple and tea at a roadside cafe and (at our request) found us a cheap place to have a buffet lunch (5 courses for £4.50!). He speaks excellent English and is very friendly and knowledgable. The whole trip took 14 hours and cost £70 per head including admission to all the sites plus breakfast and an additional fruit stop (try the red bananas and mangoes!)

Tipping
We never felt obliged at any point to give a tip and anything you give is always appreciated. We tipped certain hotel staff at the end of our stay and 500 - 1000 rupees (£2.50 - £5) seemed fair. You can make your own decision on this and if it helps you decide an amount, the average manual worker earns about £10 per day.

Trains
As others have noted, there is a train line running behind the hotel. In all honesty this didn't make any impact on us whatsoever. It certainly didnt disturb our regular afternoon siesta nor our sleeptime at night.

Wildlife!
In the hotel grounds, there are many chipmunks, lizards, geckos and a few large monitor lizards. All are friendly and none bite. If you are lucky, you might also see parrots, mynah birds, tortoises and more. There are also a number of opportunist crows who delight in raiding your plates if you leave your outside table unattended! On the creepy crawly side of things there are mosquitos around at dusk (The hotel provides a plug in mozzy killer though which is changed daily). At nights you may also come across the odd praying mantis, moth, etc. None of these worried us though

The hotel also has a fixed price souvenir shop. The prices in here are reasonable, but you will get more choice and a better price in local shops.

Scams- Outside of the hotel, there are people who would love to take you to their "brother / mother / fathers" shop. A polite "no thanks" is enough. We didnt experience any of the constant "hassle" we had in Egypt or Tunisia for example. Beware of so called cheaper "government" gem shops. Apparently many of these sell very convincing fakes, so my advice would be to only buy gems from a source you are sure of

The hotel has a number of bars but only the main bar and the pool bar are "all inclusive". The main bar has entertainment every night and this can range from groups, to fire eaters and more.

Every time you get a drink (wether all inclusive or not), you will be asked to give your room number and sign a chitty. Any extras you buy are then tallied up and you pay at the end of your stay.

Money exchange. - You can change money in the hotel until 10pm every night. There is very little difference in the exchange rate between here and other official exchanges.

Tips for smokers. Technically it is illegal to smoke on the street in many parts of Sri Lanka, but it is fine in cafes, etc. 200 cigs in a local shop are £20 to £25 pounds for UK / USA brands. The best price for duty free though is at Colombo airport when you leave. When we were there yesterday, you could buy 200 L+M for 9 US dollars! or aprox $20-$25 for 200 Marlboro or most UK / US brands

WiFi is available in the hotel and you buy a voucher from reception to cover 1, 3 or 7 days. Please note though that signal strength away from the main areas, lobby, bars, restaurants isn't very strong.

All in all, this was an amazing 7 day trip. My only regret is that we couldnt stay longer

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank sowie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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3  Thank BrianK02
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

Address: De Abrew Drive, Kalutara 12000, Sri Lanka
Phone Number:
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 Family Hotel in Kalutara
#3 Romantic Hotel in Kalutara
Price Range: $72 - $274 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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