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Reviewed August 31, 2013

I loved The Mermaid. We went (couple early 30s) in December 2012, catching up on my travels now I have time! Arriving in Colombo for the frist time, the drive to the resort was such an eye opener to us who hadn't seen the city before, we booked with Hayes and Jarvis and had a driver through their subsidary. The hotel is off a rail road but do not be put off by this, its not exactly a busy line and it will not effect your stay in any way A sense of servcie and calm as soon as we got out the car, welcome drink, bell boy taking bags to room, its a u shape resort so most rooms will have a partial sea view I would say and all overlook the grounds and pool. We loved the food here, plenty of choice and healthy options, with carvery/special nights as you would expect. Only think Iw ould have liked to have seen would have been an area of the restaurant for those wanting a romantic meal away from the main area.What i really liked about the restraurant was that they were just chucking out any old things like fries or breaded things, it was all fresh. The entire staff were attentive, no hard or up selling, a few times the spa staff woudl ask if you would like to book treatments but didn't push it. The location of the hotel meant that the trip to the elephant sanctuary etc was an early start but it was worth it seeing the sunrise over the villages you have to drive through to get there.The beach isn't the best for sunbathing or anything, but the resort grounds take you right up to the edge so you still get the benefits of being by the sea.when we went there was free wifi in the bar area, not the best signal but hopefully this will improve over time. Drinks were great but not wine unless you want to buy it outwith the AI package, we stuck to spirits and soft drinks with the occasional lion beer! The savings from booking your day trips from the beach boys are huge, so do book with them, take recommendations from other guests, I was wary but it was fine, we booked with one of them, he took us to his home just off the beach, sat us on his deck and showed his photos etc, he turned up the next day to bring us on our trip with a driver and him as the guide and when we got a bit harrased by sales people near the elephant village he ushered us away.. i wish i could remember his name! Also, service .. when a fellow guest took ill with a virus, they were very helpful in arranging doctor etc, all very discreetly and professionally, and i know the husband of the lady was delighted with what they did for her care. What else can I say, i was sad to leave! In terms of the type of resort, I woudl say couples of families, but only if your kids are happily entertained with a quiet pool and hotel grounds and the evenings shoes such as singers and cultural nights, there are not specific kids facilities, and if you are travelling from Europe, the drive down from Colombo isn't child friendly in terms of what we are used to for road laws and safety!

Room tip: Its a u shape building so i think most are ok. Wouldn't waste too much time worrying about it.
Date of stay: December 2012
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Holy M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 29, 2013

Myself, my son and his girlfriend stayed in August 15th for two weeks.
The hotel is lovely with very friendly staff. The bar boy Chathana is very nice lad, always smilling.
Our rooms are kept very clean. The room boy Neel is a good hard working lad. I am a very fussy person for cleanliness.
The food is excellent. I really like the bell boy Sumith, very cheerful ever ready to help.
All the reception staff are wonderful.
I will be going back again.

Room tip: Rooms on the sea side are quieter
Date of stay: August 2013
  • Trip type: Traveled with family
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3  Thank Hemmy P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 27, 2013

We stayed at the mermaid in August for 12 nights. All I can do is reiterate what has already been said about the hotel You will not be disappointed. Food good rooms extremely clean and the staff are extremely friendly .......couldn't do enough for you! As for a tour this is a must , the island is wonderful. We booked a 3 day tour with Reshni tours before we went (via his website) , Reshni operates as one of the 'beach boys' but runs the most professional tours. He personalised everything for us and nothing was missing , hotels, entrance fees, guides mini bus driver the lot! And for a very reasonable price I would highly recommend him. Have a great time we did !

Date of stay: August 2013
  • Trip type: Traveled with family
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4  Thank Pippa S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 25, 2013

Well fellow trippers where do we start? Rather than re-iterate what others have already said I want to list a lot of things which I hope other travellers awaiting their holiday will find useful in the form of "tips" to bear in mind.
a) If you are a drinker you may like to consider taking your own favourite tipple when you pass through Duty Free, we bought ours at our departure airport in the U.K. make sure that the duty free bag is sealed and do not open it until you get to Sri Lanka! When you get to Dubai they check your hand luggage and if they see bottles the rule is that any bottles should as I have already said - be sealed in a duty free bag, if they are not they will confiscate and destroy, take my word for it, it happened to us on our way back as we forgot to get the bag sealed when we bought in Colombo on the way back.
b) The hotel does not supply water for you in bottles, water is provided in the rooms by means of a flask, tip....use the flask daily as otherwise you will not know how old the water is. Water is also readily available in the snack room and at the restaurant and bar when ever you need.
c) Chips.... what are they? you will forget what they look like. Chips only come with Al a Carte meals and then they look like the McDonald type of chips.
d) Electrical outlets....these are the same as in the UK, take an extension lead with you gives you the extra sockets if you are taking other things like chargers etc.
e) Mobile phone charges.... turn off your Data Roaming. Better still do what we did. Used our own phone for the odd text only and then because we used the beach boys for our trips they lent us a phone and we loaded it with a Locally Bought Sim card ( 100 Rupee - 50p) and bought credit top ups, these come in 200, 400 rupee amounts there are 200 rupee to 1£. .... A 5 minute call back to the UK was costing on average approx. 20-30p depending on what time you made the call, a text cost approx. 10 rupee which is 5p. Using your own mobile will cost you a fortune no matter what network you are on, We used Diallog which is a well known provider in Sr Lanka. Worth taking an un-locked phone with you if you can and try a bought Sim card from the little shop located to the left of the hotel entrance as you go out of the compound other wise ask the beach boys.
f) Beach Boys... As I have already said we used the boys for trips instead of the agents. The boys are every bit as good and a lot cheaper, I fully understand concerns if you have them but we had no difficulties at all, The way that they work is simple, they all take it in turns who gets the next customer. Our guides name was "Suller" Wears a red shirt most days. I even met his family who were very nice.
g) Hotel Entertainment... very limited, as is the television choice but its adequate for a holiday.
h) Getting around, the cheapest way is "TUK-TUK" but a car from the hotel with your own driver will not cost you a fortune. Driving in Sri Lanka is not for the faint hearted and an experience that awaits you. Us ethe train service if your brave but be warned although very safe its crowded and not comfortable, a ticket to Colombo will set you back less than 50p!
j) Internet in the Hotel...whether we just were unlucky or as others have said it is very hit and miss, I found that the best time to connect was actually just after breakfast cos everyone tries mostly at night and the system will not take the load. But it is free, and if your close to reception or in the room across from reception next to the shop these are the best places to connect.
Well fellow travellers that's all I can think of in the hope that you will find my tips useful, every thing else about the hotel is exactly what others have already commented on, we had a fabulous time, the hotel lives up to its reputation for being number 1 in Kalutara. The staff, food, cleanliness are all and everything you would expect from a 5 star hotel even though the Mermaid is rated as a 3plus!
To all the new friends we met and shared company with, " thank you all" best wishes from Pete and Margaret.

Have a lovely time trippers, if you only do one trip you must go to the Elephant orphanage, what a day, absolutely fantastic. Don,t forget your camera for a lifetime of memories.
The other trip we did was the river trip, another wonderful day.
All the best wishes for a memorable holiday, have fabulous time, I am sure you will and you have picked a wonderful hotel.

Room tip: Be careful asking for an up grade to Deluxe.... I asked and it was an amazing 58 U.S. Dollars per night even though your room had already been paid for it was not taken into the calculation of the difference between the 2. All rooms are located near to Reception but there are no lifts, having said that getting to all floors is really easy as there are walk ways between the restaurant to the floors( restaurant is on the first floor).
Date of stay: August 2013
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
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13  Thank Peter J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 23, 2013

We stayed here for 5 nights. Staff were friendly and service was exceptional. If you are looking for the "Hilton" brand, you won't find it here. The hotel is relaxed, rooms are clean and the food is fresh everyday. Our only gripe is that other guests will come out (early in the morning) and "reserve" their sun lounger (with a towel or bag), that was annoying and I think management should address this issue if possible. The buffets are of very high quality with excellent and authentic srilankan food as well as European offerings. We will definitely come again!!! We used Anu Tours for day trips out, very good. 0775294128!!! Overall an excellent hotel, with a very relaxed atmosphere.

Date of stay: August 2013
Trip type: Traveled with family
2  Thank Faron J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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