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Reviewed March 25, 2014

This was my first trip to Sri Lanka and Plantation Villa. I did not know what to expect since I didn't read the brochure the organizer of the trip created for us but I think for me that was okay because this trip was full of amazing surprises. They were:
1. Yoga twice a day, in the morning and meditation at night. The morning was on the sand and you could hear the birds chirping and the sun peaking through the clouds. One day you could hear the monkeys talking to each other outside the fence of Plantation Villa.
2. The Ayurveda treatment. I learned what my dosha was and to my astonishment, the doctor was correct with her assessment of my health. The pills and the "cleanse" was a leap of faith on my part since I was not sure exactly what they were going to do but after a couple of weeks I felt great. The massages were the highlight of the 7 days of my 10 day trip. Rashon was fantastic and the intensive, foot, and head massages were unbelievably relaxing. I am not a bath person but LOVED the herbal baths.
3. Plantation Villa was a photographer' s dream. Every day I would take walks and find different birds, flowers, and people to add to my collection of pictures.
4. The staff was friendly and all they wanted to do was make your stay the best ever.
5. The trips that were planned with our package were fantastic. They ranged from releasing turtles back to the ocean, relaxing on the beach, visiting temples, going to wildlife preserve for elephants, and walking around the villages.
This was the most relaxing vacation I have had in a long time. It is a shame that the ride from the United States to Sri Lanka is so long but I would return in a heart beat.

Paula Miller West Chester, PA

Stayed: January 2014
1  Thank Paulapjmill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 18, 2014

Good points

1. Nice scenic environment
2. Good massages
3. Staff are very friendly and exceptionally caring

Issues

1.  English is poor - Staff couldn't explain what ayurvedic  treatments you were being given by the `doctor` and why....e.g. I asked why I was having oil poured into my nose.....I got a head shake and told  to ask doctor in 3 days when she comes back (note - doctor is not on site)

2.  Likewise they couldn't explain what was in the pills , potions and couldn't explain the contents of all food ingredients.   I found this both a risk and troubling.   There is no one on location permanently with sufficient English to assist /clarify

3.  Booking of the resort car was grossly inflated eg I got a taxi from Galle to Colombo (120km, it cost 9000 RPS), the price charged by plantation from Kalatura (the resort) to Galle was 12000 RPS for half the distance.  Use Kangaroo cabs

4.  The pricing difference between rooms does not reflect the standards eg. The suite has a bath, wifi, and TV versus the double room which is broadly similar to single room, bar the bed. 

5.  Guests pay different prices on their bookings...so negotiate before you pay as prices are inflated. 

6.  The swimming pool is not cleaned properly, it has bugs in it as it is not actively filtered, was frankly disgusting ( algae had started to generate at bottom).

7. Yoga chanting at 6am was done outside my room twice, waking me up once.  No consideration. 

Now I wrote this review on day 5 of my 7 day stay, and given I really like the staff and they are dependant on tourists coming I did not publish, but then the below happened:

8. The staff burnt/ruined an item of clothing (a technical hiking item), by ironing an obvious non iron item, they also hide this from me and only on asking for my laundry for a 3rd time did they show me, this was just disappointing.

Although I was compensated for this item, I was left with anger at this last event.  I waited 8 days to decide whether to still publish as Roshan and Lalita (main staff) are really pleasant, but this item tipped me.

To summarise this place needs some better management, if you hire staff that cannot iron clothes, build a pool that is not cleaned properly and do not have sufficient English in your staff onsite, this needs to be addressed. 

If you want just a room, go elsewhere.  If you want ayurveda I think you would prefer better explanations of what's going into your body,  I got told there are many in Sri Lanka. 

Keep looking

Room Tip: negotiate room cost. don't do ayurveda everyday, days off are useful
  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled solo
    • Service
2  Thank Mark J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ishara D, Owner at The Plantation Villa, responded to this reviewResponded March 20, 2014

Dear Mark,

I am shocked and completely disappointed to read your review. I am truly sorry if your stay with us was this bad that it warranted such a poor review. I wish you discussed these with me on atleast one of the many times we spoke during your stay. You never even hinted at any problem and if you did, I could have fixed these or come to some solution that you are happy with. Even on your last day, I spoke to you at length and even asked you if you had any thoughts on areas for improvement for the hotel and the service we offer. This is something I do with most of our guests who stay a fair length of time with us. And you said you had a great stay.

To let you and other readers know, this hotel was created to offer guests an authentic experience of Sri Lanka whilst getting specialist Ayurveda treatments. It is a different concept to the standard tourist hotels. We are not a large hotel or a 5 star one with all the luxuries. This is a place that does Ayurveda, in the specialist way it is practised in Sri Lanka - which is different from Indian Ayurveda - and offers a wholesome experience in terms of organic food, environment and personalised service by a team of caring staff within a rural village community. In the recent past I had a time in my life where I was so stressed and depressed by a physical illness which could not be cured by western medicine. I searched for a place where I can escape to and where I am looked after and put my mind at rest. I went to many Ayurveda places and wellness holidays in search of this and whilst most offered good treatments, none had the caring approach and relaxing atmosphere. This is why I created Plantation Villa to offer my guests a place to escape to and relax and ensure all aspect of the guest is approached in a pure natural manner. The food and herbs we use are organic, the water is natural from our spring wells, the environment is peaceful and natural and the staff are unspoilt and just good village people who are honest and caring. The annual profits which are not re-invested are shared with the staff and the local community though community projects. The hotel is still not where I want it to be but over the last yr and half we have made a lot of progress and helped a lot of guests feel better and more peaceful with their lives. Our returning guests and those sending their friends through to me are a testament to our service level. I am sorry if we in anyway caused you discomfort during your stay with us as this is exactly the opposite of what we wanted to give. I wish you discussed these issues with me during your stay where I met you many times, so I could have addressed your concerns and helped you have an enjoyable stay.

I will respond to each of your comments both for your interest and the interest of other readers.

1. "English is poor - Staff couldn't explain what ayurvedic treatments...." - This is indeed disappointing if this happened. I wish you mentioned this during our many chats in the hotel. The doctor should explain the treatment plan to the guests so they are aware of what treatments are being administered and why. I will investigate this matter and get it fixed immediately. As we only have 8 rooms, there is no full time work for an inhouse doctor. Our doctor works at the local Ayurvedic Hospital which is 10mins away and will visit as often as required by guests. Yes staff English levels needs improvements and this is currently being addressed.

2. "Likewise they couldn't explain what was in the pills , potions and couldn't explain the contents of all food ingredients...." - Majority of the food comes from our own garden and cookery classes are given on request. Sri Lankan Ayurvedic cooking is rather complex and not easy to just list out the ingredients of which there are many. The Ayurvedic Pills and Portions are a combination of a number of herbs boiled and simmered over days. Even with my English knowledge I will struggle to explain the ingredients in them. Most guests are happy with taking them as they are all deductions of organic herbs, if guests are concerned and want more detail, which is completely understandable, this can be clarified with the doctor. I will also investigate in to what happened during your stay and why no one explained to you what you are eating and what medicine is given to you.
I am surprised by this comment as when I queried about your thoughts on our Ayurveda treatments, food and medicines, you mentioned to me that you were not interested in Ayurveda and only came to get massages and you got excellent massages and so you are very happy and had no concerns or points for improvements to comment on.

3. "Booking of the resort car was grossly inflated...." - I am sorry but I find this is a very unfair comment. You are comparing a one way taxi ride, in a smaller car with a smaller engine by a specialist taxi company, to our day trip price which allows you exclusive access of the car for the whole day with the driver to go and come back. Also the hotel car is bigger and more comfortable. We are not in the transport business and cannot match the prices of taxi companies. We also informed you and inform other guests, that if they want we will be more than happy to call for an outside taxi or a tuk tuk. However, we do not take responsibility for their services. We have some guests who come to stay with us who want the security of the hotel car and sometimes for the driver to accompany them even in their walks during these trips so they do not get hassled by beach boys and tourist guides etc and that they do not get ripped off at shops. No guest is required to take our hotel car on trips and yes our car is marginally more expensive than outside taxis but guests do have exclusive access of the car and the driver for that trip. If more than one guest is taking the trip, the cost is shared between the guests making it cheaper for each guest.

4. "The pricing difference between rooms does not reflect the standards..." - This again is not a fair reflection. The Suite Room is more expensive and therefore has more to offer. You were offered both room options but you picked the standard room category. A day before your arrival you asked to change to the Suite Room but by then it was booked and occupied by other guests. The details of what each room offers is summarised in our website under 'Accommodation'.

5. "Guests pay different prices on their bookings...so negotiate before you pay as prices are inflated..." - This is a completely untrue statement. We are cheapest in the market for Ayurveda for this standard of service, food and quality of accommodation. We are not at the category of large 30+ room hotels and this is reflected in the price. We also offer a more personalised service than the larger hotels as our size allows us that flexibility. Prices of rooms differ by room category, dates of stay - peak season vs off peak season - and length of stay by the guest. Our standard rate is for guests staying 1 or 2 weeks. Guests staying a longer period will get a discounted rate depending on their length of their stay. We also offer discounts for our returning guests.

6. "The swimming pool is not cleaned properly..." - Our pool is an outdoor pool and as such, it does at times have leaves and bugs falling on it. The pool is cleaned twice a day and if a guest sees it with bugs at any given time, they just need to ask a member of staff who will clean it immediately. It was not full of algae, but there was one day when another guest pointed out that in the corner around the pool stairs, there was some algea and this was cleaned up immediately. It was unfortunate that this happened and we have addressed this to ensure this doesnt happen going forward.

7. "Yoga chanting at 6am was done outside my room...." - Yoga is normally done outdoors at times agreed by the guests. Our yoga master prefers the yoga to be performed at either Sunrise or Sunset as per the recommendations in the original teachings. However, we understand that guests are on holiday and therefore might want to sleep in a little and if this is the case, yoga is arranged for late afternoon. Unfortunately for a few days, the other guests had requested the yoga to be done outside their rooms and as they were keen yoga followers and early risers, preferred it to be done at 6am. This has happened before and not woken up our guests but as soon as you informed us that this bothered you, the yoga was shifted back to the garden where it is normally conducted.

8. "The staff burnt/ruined an item of clothing..." - This is true and it was very unfortunate that this happened. You had given your laundry on your last day and they returned it at night and showed you the damage on your tshirt. I came to speak to you immediately and offered to pay you the cost of the item. You mentioned it was an expensive tshirt and I told you to just tell the price you want and we will refund that. The next day when you were settling the bill we asked to deduct this cost from your bill and you said that its ok and 'mistakes happen' and you are ok about it now. I still felt its not right and offered you compensation which you were happy with. You hugged the team when you left and we thought you are leaving after a nice holiday with us.

I can understand you are angry and upset over the shirt. I am truly sorry for that incident and I think you know my staff team are also very upset over it. However, as we do not have items such as this in Sri Lanka, apart from refunding you compensation for the cost of the Tshirt, I dont know what else we could have offered to make it right for you. If you feel like discussing any of the above items, please feel free to email me. Again, I am sorry you felt the need to write such a review of our establishment and I promise to put my continued efforts to improve this hotel. I wish you a pleasant holiday during your travels in Sri Lanka and the rest of Asia.

All best wishes,
Ishara

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 17, 2014

A perfect retreat for relaxing and enjoying the simpler things in life. The entire atmosphere encouraged you to leave the busy world behind and enjoy the wonderful messages, new food experiences and friendly hostess and staff, The afternoon trips arranged through the villa's hostess were educational and great fun. The sea turtle release and strip to see the elephants The very capable staff tended to your every need and always with a smile and kind word. I even received Avurveda treatment that cured my cold in 36 hours. A miracle.

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with friends
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Thank caroldawnchris S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 13, 2014

We stayed for one week in this beautiful estate to relax do yoga and receive ayurvedic treatment. The serene tranquility of the surroundings filled with birds songs, the warmth and friendliness of the staff, the excellent ayurvedic treatments, and the delicious food using organic home-grown ingredients from the plantation made it for us a very wonderful stay. We definitely would love to come back!

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank solli2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 2, 2014

Lovely people, an excellent cook and excellent service, beautiful surroundings, quiet.
Great place to relax, hike or enjoy the Ayurveda treatments.
We booked the B&B, and had some extra treatments. Very good value for your money.

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank sacha b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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